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M

y love of cherries began early, as

you can see in the dress my mother made for my 3rd Grade picture—the same year I met my husband. We’re raising our daughter in the same town where we both grew up—in fact, all four of our parents live within two miles! My favorite television show when I was a child was Little House on the Prairie. When Laura Ingalls bowed her braided pigtails and asked God to forgive her sins, I prayed along with her. After my TV-inspired confession, my mother, father and I were baptized together—a triple dunk! Although my parents did almost everything right, I still chose to do everything wrong. From the time I was fifteen until I was 35, I walked away from God. I didn’t lose my beliefs but I lost my faith. I still believed the Bible stories I’d been taught, I still believed God loved me—I just didn’t want anything to do with church or prayer or the actual live-like-you-believe-it stuff. My wedding was one of the last times I went to church except for occasional holidays with my parents. When they prayed at the start of the service, I prayed it would end. While they worshipped, I wondered what’s for dinner. As they sang all 19 verses of “Just As I Am,” I would harden my heart and say, “Just as I am is perfectly fine, thank you very much!”

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So I avoided church, and I wasn’t teaching our daughter my beliefs. We had enrolled Emma at a Christian school for the “superior academic curriculum.” I knew many of the parents and staff from my church-going days, and they thought they knew me. I could sling their Christian-ese lingo and stop cussing and smoking long enough to get through a parent-teacher meeting. When I told them we didn’t go to church, not one single person invited me to go church with them. Instead, they invited me for coffee. We worked together on committees and school carnivals. Our children played at each other’s homes. I saw firsthand how these women relied on God to make them good parents even when their kids behaved badly. I watched how they responded when they didn’t agree with each other. I overheard their heartfelt prayers and realized their beliefs went beyond simple Bible stories. What they had was real, and it made a difference in the way they lived. They had hope and joy even as they took children to chemotherapy and buried beloved parents. They were content planning fundraisers instead of exotic vacations. They were lovely, and they loved me. As we became friends very naturally, I began to soften spiritually. One day I realized I didn’t want to live a lie any more. I wondered if God would be angry, irritated or

Praise and Coffee | Spring 2013

Praise and Coffee Spring 2013  

Women who are making a difference! Connecting, encouraging and inspiring women.

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