I just bet you never figured to see a PERSONAL TESTIMONY in a cookbook before? God has done some mighty things in my life - not because I deserved them but because He can do whatever He wants. I am always so amazed at His love for me because I've not been the best daughter He deserves (though I still believe I’m his favorite!).
My husband and I met after we had both completed our college degrees. I was a Home Economics teacher and he was soon to be a Social Worker. Neither one of us had asked Jesus to be our personal Savior though we had a lifelong relationship with the church. Being good members of a Southern Baptist church we attended a revival which would change our lives. I had always heard of the word "conviction" though it had never personally applied to me. Well…I understood what it meant this night and realized that I wasn't the perfect person I thought. Sure, I grew up in church hearing the bible stories of Jesus dying on the cross for my sins but had I asked Him into my heart? If you were to ask anyone that knew me (especially my Mom) they would assure you of the day I was baptized in Jasper County, MO. It didn’t matter what others thought… I had to know that I know that I know - I would spend eternity in heaven which meant there needed to be a change in who I was. Don’t listen to others on who they think you are – only listen to HIM.
It wasn’t but a few months later that my world would now be topsided! We surrendered to the ministry and after much prayer felt the Lord guiding us into the pastor side. Whoopie…no foreign missions, no Africa, no Talihina, OK (no Wal Mart). Keep in mind I was a new Christian so I hadn’t developed a very God like maturity, good excuse huh? Then reality hit! I was going to be a preacher's wife, in fact for the next 20 years. Growing up my experience with preacher wives was that they sat on the second row and left during the invitation with the preacher as he headed to his next service in a neighboring town. What was I to do with that information?
I can guarantee you that as a child when I walked into church, folks weren’t pointing at me going…now there goes a Godly kid. My personality went against every example I had of preacher's wives. I was the daughter who wore purple toe nail polish, laughed from her gut, played pranks (we won’t discuss the EX LAX episode) and enjoyed life to its fullest. My Grandmother Bowman always had talks with me about talking quietly, not bringing attention to myself and behaving like a lady. I think those are good qualities - I just thought that being a lady could also include being happy all the time, talking to everyone, bringing in folks who felt left out and having a fun sense of humor.
In the beginning, trying to picture what a perfect preacher’s wife would be included quoting scripture to all the ladies and fully accessorizing my clothes – after all…I was the PW AND a Home Economics teacher. Eventually the ‘real’ me started slipping out. At our first Women’s Christmas party in Scipio, OK I taught all the ladies how to play ‘SPOONS.’ We were rapidly passing cards, grabbing spoons off the table while some flew to the floor and down we went to grab them. When I got back in the chair one of the ladies looked at me and said, “we’ve never had a PW like you before,” and we all laughed. I found out then that God can use EVERYONE that proclaims His name – NO MATTER WHAT, regardless. I have run out of fingers and toes for the amount of times folks have proclaimed – ‘AND YOU’RE A PREACHERS WIFE?’
When God created each one of us He knew we would be different from all the rest. Sometimes there are struggles to find where we belong, to find our place in line. There are a thousand stories I could share with how the Lord has worked in our lives to SHOW that HE is GOD. Believe me it has not always been an easy life but I literally have had to learn to ‘BLOOM WHERE I’M PLANTED.’ Where God ‘plants’ you – start BLOOMING. Sure I may not look or act like your average preacher’s wife (isn’t that sad for everyone else) but God has shown that I am important too, just like everyone of you.
That earlier thought of NOT serving in foreign missions, it’s out the door! It’s been almost 8 years since the Lord moved my garden to the missionary field. I can scale mountains, cross rivers, do the fire ant dance, shape tortillas with my bare hands, share the Love of Jesus Christ with the lost and have traveled to Mexico, Nicaragua and Africa! All because God looked at us and thought….I guess being in their 40’s isn’t too old to change them (we’re in our 50’s now). Now just how cool is that? I can do ALL things through Jesus Christ which strengthened me (Philippians 4:13).
It’s been an amazing journey and many of the stories included in this book are from our mission trips. Don’t ever believe that God can’t and won’t carry you through life – who knows? He may be getting ready to do a big WHOOP DO in your life right now! Are you ready?