It has been a while since my last post, but I thought what better timing than to post on the eve of one of our biggest services yet at OneLife Church. Looking back on past blogs, I noticed that I had written about our 100th service and couldn’t help but feel grateful and encouraged to see that between 100 services, our mission and our vision as a church has not changed.
I am honored to be a part of a church that is not there to be a place that you “attend” on Sunday. Instead, it is a place that truly challenges you and stretches you and gives God and the Holy Spirit the room to move in the lives of our people where the things that they learn are applicable and real.
Beginning with this post, I will be featuring life change stories that I have asked friends of mine to let me share publicly. What is written are not my words but their’s, and I hope that by posting these stories there is something that you can relate to. And if you haven’t yet really gotten to know who God is or what all of the “life change” stuff is about, I would love to share what that means with you!
Morgan Savage’s Story
Growing up our family never attended church or even really spoke about Jesus. I was brought up to believe that if you were a good person you would go to heaven. My eyes have now been opened to see that people can never always be “good”. We are flawed, make mistakes, and do wrong things daily.
Having grown up your entire life being taught one thing, then realizing that everything I had known about heaven and God was wrong was really hard for me to wrap my head around and accept. I was definitely a skeptic and had more questions than answers. It was difficult to for me to let go of my questions and not let them consume me and keep me from Him. But once I did it was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.
When I began my journey seeking Jesus, nothing in my life was going wrong and I never had anything terrible ever happen to me. I was perfectly happy and content with life and didn’t think it could get any better! When I began to know Jesus on a personal level, what he did for me, and what he wanted to do for me; that’s when I found a joy unlike any other that is unexplainable and overwhelming.
My questions didn’t go away, they just became smaller because something so much bigger and better was way more important to me than my questions!!
What a week or, should I say, past couple of months. Things have been anything but “normal” for my myself, my family, friends, church…
Sometimes it is easy to look at circumstances that are “out of the ordinary” or “tough” as a black cloud hanging over our heads. Actually it is impossible not to think of it that way sometimes.
One of these black clouds has hung very low and heavy on us this week.
This time last week we were returning from our first beach vacation as a family of three. We watched as our little girl Mariclaire experienced so many “firsts”. First time putting her toes in the sand, or even seeing sand for that matter. First time seeing the ocean. First time “swimming” in water besides a bathtub or the grandparents’ kitchen sink. There were so many “firsts” I could not name them all, but it was so amazing to see how our little girl was really enjoying taking it all in.
Then it happened. We got our first taste of “I am too cool for you” as parents. And it only took eight months!
Rodney and I have already learned that Mariclaire finds other people so much more interesting and fun that she does us. But I think it may have hurt some feelings (a.k.a. mine and Rodney’s feelings) when we realized that the pool at the resort where stayed was no fun to Mariclaire unless there were other kids around.
Rodney and I could be splashing around, making absolute fools of ourselves, but nothing made that girl smile more than the 10 year old girl who kept swimming around Mariclaire playing peek-a-boo with her. We found it quite annoying. Mariclaire found it hilarious.
Of course we loved seeing her so happy, but just to be honest, it still had us a little jealous that we weren’t cool enough to make her giggle and squeal the same way!
I was so hopeful that one day I would be the proud owner of a Magic Bullet blender. I watched that blender as it was marketed for years.
It was literally the most popular item I have ever seen marketed on a basic cable channel. And it was amazing to see how two people could talk about a blender. For four hours straight. That blender really looked like it could work some magic… on TV.
I would watch as the cheesy, overly excited salesmen convinced me that I could basically blend up a five course meal in 15 minutes. And I fell for it hard.
One of the very first things that Rodney and I registered for when we were engaged was that dang Magic Bullet. And we got it, used it once, and then donated it to KARM (Knox Area Rescue Ministries) who then sold it to some poor soul who should not have paid a THING for it.
So after all of those years of hoping I would someday own a life changing Magic Bullet, there is my disclaimer. Do not buy the Magic Bullet.
I graduated from high school and went immediately into the college scene excited to meet new people.
Above all, I was excited about the thought of experiencing sorority “rush” (recruitment) and all that would entail. I immediately found my sorority home and got involved.
Then I had really “made” it. By my Junior year I had worked my way up the “ladder” and was nominated as sorority President. I was so excited about this role! Ecstatic actually. I felt such pride for my sorority and my chapter. I was thrilled for every new member that joined.
I will always remember my first experience with recruitment. When our brand new members ran across the field toward my chapter, which meant they accepted their membership bid from my sorority on Bid Day. And seeing how excited these women were to be joining our sorority, I cried like a baby out of pure joy! It was literally like we were welcoming these ladies to our family. And after all of the work we had done during rush week to make these girls feel loved and feel that they would fit in with us, it was so rewarding to see how excited they were to be a part of us!
The college years. Like lots of college students, every Thursday through Saturday night I was tearing it up in the bars and clubs. And then Sunday through Wednesday I was making awesome grades, serving in leadership positions, doing lots of community service and playing in my college symphony orchestra on scholarship.
Then after graduation, I moved from South Carolina to Tennessee in 2004. I had met a guy through mutual friends. He was a student at the University of Tennessee and I moved to Tennessee because I just knew he was “the one”.
I connected with him on so many levels and thought we had a great relationship. Yet since he was still in college, he was still into the party/heavy drinking “phase” and that lifestyle was starting to grow a little old to me.
He was scheduled to graduate from UT in 2005 and I knew at that point the drinking and constant partying would stop. But it didn’t. And that became a huge fight between us.
After all, I drank a lot in college, so what was the big deal? I was asked that question a million times. But this was different. I’m not talking about the “social” drinking kind of drinking here. I am talking 100 beers in four days kind drinking. And yes, I counted all 100 bottles.
Have you ever heard that song? The theme song in the Pampers Pull-Ups commercial. It is so catchy. I know. Lame.
But whenever that commercial comes on, I clap and sing to our little girl and think to myself “wow, Mariclaire will actually clap her hands and dance around with me one day”. But when I do this she pays me absolutely no attention. After all, she is only six months old.
But that is only the tip of the iceberg. I daydream about how she will look (with hair) and what extracurricular activities she will be interested in when she is older. And on a much larger level, during her bedtime prayers, Rodney and I have even prayed for whoever it is that will end up being her husband one day.
Sometimes it is hard to grasp that she will be an adult one day and make her own choices. That is the independence we give our children.
Tonight it feels like the night before Christmas. And I have butterflies, nervousness, excitement, anticipation, and on and on the list goes.
And it is because I am truly excited to celebrate tomorrow. Not just because the Easter bunny brings candy and eggs, and we get to see lots of friends and family and stuff our faces with lots of good food.
Tomorrow is so much bigger than that. And deserves a lot more respect than we give this day every year.
So what in the world is so exciting about tomorrow, besides the obvious for us “churchy people”? Because we all know what tomorrow represents, but what is the big deal?
“I’ll be there in a minute!” What a classic response for “I really don’t want to do what you’re asking me to do!”
I remember using that response a lot when we would get a new video game system for Christmas. Anything my Mom asked me or my brother to do, besides being glued to that TV, was not going to happen. Even if it was to eat dinner, we would be so consumed by that old-school Nintendo or the Sega game that we just could not and would not peel ourselves away. I’m sure it drove my poor Mom nuts.
One of my favorite channels to watch is TLC. I love pretty much all of the shows on that channel, and poor Rodney could vouch for that because he’s had to put up with my slight obsession!
But one of my all-time favorite shows on TLC is “Say Yes to the Dress” . It’s such a fun show to watch now that all of my personal wedding stress is over, and I can watch everyone else go through one of the most fun parts of the wedding process which is picking out their dress!