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I Wanted to be Special
She had rejected church, but couldn't resist God's love.

I lost count of the schools I went to as a child. With a father in the air force, our family moved constantly from one base to the next. I went to four different high schools. Perhaps this lack of roots, and being the eldest of six, were the reasons why I never truly felt loved.

… these people had something that I didn't, and I wanted it too.

As a young person I was drawn into the church by different personalities—by people who somehow made me feel special. This would make me feel good about myself for a while, but people can also disappoint you, and in the end, I rejected church and God, along with those very human people who had let me down.

When I married, I began to view God through my husband's behaviour. Poor John, he isn't perfect; so again, I was disappointed. John and my daughter Susan, who was four at the time, went to church regularly. I went once in a while, to keep them off my back. But one day, John pressured me to join him in an interdenominational Bible study group which was meeting in a friend's home. I don't like being told what to do, but nevertheless, I agreed to go.

On the first night, John was away working and I was forced to go alone. I wasn't too happy about it and arrived reluctantly to find 40 people singing and praising God. The music was wonderful and I felt something special there. I argued with myself all night but my conclusion was that these people had something that I didn't, and I wanted it too. At the same time I felt pulled to get out of there. When a woman next to me said a beautiful prayer, I felt she was talking about me and I thought everyone else knew it. I wanted to escape; yet I felt God was speaking to me through her. I sat glued to the chair.

As soon as the study was over I edged my way to the door, only to have it blocked by the leader. He was gentle, but firm: "Have you made a commitment to Jesus?" he asked. "Well, no," I answered. "Would you like to?" he persisted. I mumbled something about needing to study the Bible first and learn more. "Do you believe in Jesus?" he asked gently. "Yes," I said. "I do believe He died for me, but … "

We continued talking quietly in the corner while others left. My heart was wide open; only my will was in the way. Thank God, the leader could see this. I then heard a voice across the room ask: "Are you married?"

"Yes, I am."

"Did you learn all about marriage before you got married?"

"No, I had faith in John's love for me … " Suddenly I understood. All I needed was faith in God's love for me. I took a deep breath and surrendered my will and my pride.

I no longer felt alone and I felt loved for the first time in my life.

When the leader and I prayed together, I felt a warm feeling cover me from head to toe. I felt the Blood of Christ cover me at that very moment. I experienced the assurance inside that if I had been the only person in the world, He would have died for me. In His sight I was loved and special. His Blood had made me clean. The empty hole I had been carrying around my whole life was suddenly, gloriously filled.

I did become a new person that night. I had peace within, I no longer felt alone and I felt loved for the first time in my life. There was a lot of healing to follow and it continues to go on now, and for the rest of my life. But for several months I just wanted to read the Bible and nothing else. It came alive in my hands and God spoke to me through His Word. I went to every Bible study and, for a while, I even lost interest in pottery, my life's passion.

Then one day while I was praying, I felt God speak to me saying: "I have given you a gift and I want you to use it in the world. Put Scripture verses on every piece of pottery you make and continue to teach." From that day, I returned to my teaching and creating pottery. A Scripture verse is inscribed on each piece. There are times in my life when I feel I don't have a right to put them there. But I know for certain that although I may stray from Him, He will never, never leave me. He is the Potter—I am the clay.

Barbara-Joy Peel lives in Haliburton, Ontario where she teaches pottery. She and her husband attend Haliburton United Church.

Originally published in the Fellowship Magazine, April 1996.




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