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kori southwick
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Enoch and Miss Julianne~

          When i was a child, i walked by faith:) God was as present as my earthly family in my eyes. I had a wonderful Sunday school teacher named Miss Julieanne. She was a little old lady, with rosie cheeks and big grandma glasses (she still has them too!) When Miss Julianne told us about Gods love, she expressed it with songs, poems, and of course, the scripture. I hung on every word:) I gave my heart to the Lord at a very young age. I think i was about 4 or 5. Some people have told me that I couldn't have possible understood that kind of commitment at such a young age. But now that I am older, I see how tragically wrong they were. And how foolish I had become, when i Believed them, instead of God.

           I grew up in the same church. But as i grew, I saw the church change shape. From what Miss Julianne taught me about Gods Love...to how adults behaved  who claimed to worship the same God I call Papa(Abba:). When i was about 12, I over heard two women talking about my mother. My mom had confided in them that she was married and divorced before she met my dad (dad knew of course, but they chose not to tell us kids). When i heard these women talking about my momma like she was a "less than" person, I was just devastated. To hear these women, who I looked up to,  talk about my mommy....well lets just say i was upset. Every seed they had ever sown in my heart, for Gods glory, was torn up my its roots and the hole left empty. Confusion grew, and then came anger.  I didnt have the heart to tell my mom why I didn't want to go to church any more. So i just started acting like a teenager and pitching a fit...:) I also started to see how hypocritical everyone was when it came to the scripture. It seemed that they only "walked" with God, when he was heading the same direction they happened to be going. I started to feel that church, was just a bunch of rules, that no one really followed, but everyone judged each other by...and empty rituals meant to show everyone that you gave to the poor, and took part in the communion celebration.  Mind you I had been blissfully blind to the world as it is. So when these thoughts came to me, I felt like everyone had LIED! 

            In hindsight  I do feel blessed that I had gotten to experience joy, before I saw the nature of man... I fell away from the church in my mid teens. I just didn't take it seriously....But I still felt God was with me. Even though i had let anger blind me to his calling. I kept secret that I still prayed every now and then. It was something I had grown to feel that most ppl thought of as wish full thinking, much like leaving Santa cookies on Christmas Eve. But I still wanted my Papa to hear my voice.

           I went to my best friends church for a few years. We had a great time in the youth group (all 15 of us! lol) We went on mission trips, and had bible studies, fasted together. She and I could talk the talk...but neither of us believed it anymore. We had seen to much(or so we thought) Soon, we started skipping the service. lol We had a lot of fun..:) we would get all dressed up to go, stay for the singing (our favorite part:) then when the service started, we would do one of two things, either we would go to the stairs and kind of listen to the sermon and talk, or we would put on our field jackets (dad had given me his old air force jacket, and I got Liz one to match me:) and go hiking down the road to our favorite cemetery:) The cemetery became our place of sanctuary. We could be silly and loud and no one seemed to mind us:) lol i do get the irony there... we were used to being the life of the party:)

            I remember one particular Sunday, we had slept in to long so we skipped breakfast and made it down to church just in time for the singing.(she lived just up the road from the church so we often walked) We were both hungry  so we made our way to the kitchen. When we opened the door, there on the island was a HUGE loaf of yummy french bread! The kind that has the hard outer crust, and the SOFT yummy middle! mmmm makes me hungry to think about it! One look at her, and i knew she had the same idea..BREAKFAST! We sat on the counter talking and nibbled on the bread. I dont know how U eat this kind of bread, but Liz and I always tore out the middle and left the crust in tacked...:) So when we were done, it looked like a normal loaf of french bread. After eating the whole thing, we were thirsty. In the frig was a big jug of grape juice...unopened...so we opened it and helped ourselves to a glass. and thats when we saw the little communion glasses set out....I gulped down my last swallow of juice and said "Umm lizzy?... did you get those out?"   "No why?...." Our eyes met we both just started laughing! We cussed a lot in those days too, so it was very colorful laughter... We thought it best to skip church that Sunday...we figured we were good on communion for the next few years.HAHA Later we heard a few of the elderly ladys talking about how a RAT or something must have gotten into the communion bread! LOL ahhhh its still kinda funny to me:) we did come clean about it, and got a stern talking to, which of course went in one ear and out the other.=) ohhh we were little wild ones. 

            When I was 16 I meet a boy named Dale:) He was HOT! (lol he still is:) Anyway, eventually dale and I started dating, then about a year or so after that, we got pregnant.....pause for gasps...:) When i heard the news, I was sitting in the Dr.s office,  looking cool in my red plaid bell bottoms, button up shirt I made myself (very tall collar...think Elvis in Vegas...yeah...) and AWESOME blue hair=) I heard the Dr. say "Well, It came back positive..." all I heard after that was like the charlie brown WA WA WAA...then i heard her say "..so I can stay in the room if you want when you tell ur mom..." I said "Nah, Ill tell her..." She gave me a prescription for vitamins, and I left. LOTS happened after that, I could go into detail, but its not important....The point is, I when things calmed down, Dale and I decided that It would be good to go back to church. I  had great support  from Dale (as we were in this together:) from the beginning, but I felt like the right thing to do was get right with God. I felt like I needed forgiveness for the decisions I made, and grace to deal with everything we were going to come up against. In no way do I blame anyone but Dale and I. Sure a lot could of been handled differently... but ultimately, when two people have in their minds to do something, they will find a way....The only thing we had to worry about at that point was growing up. And we did.

                   I really wanted to go back to my childhood church. Lizzys church was nice, and they were fairy nice to me about the whole thing, but I wanted MY church.....so I went back. Just one time. Lets just say It didn't go well, I wasn't welcome, nor was my soon to be husband and our baby. Now I KNEW some of these familys that went to this church. and If we were all to be judged by man, they would have been burned at the steak right next to the one i was on. But I saw that when it came to others, the rules were always different...I went there with an open and submissive heart, all they saw was a sinner. That was IT! I was DONE with the church. and because at the time I believed God to be the father of the church...well, I felt like he didn't want me either. I didn't walk away, I ran. The years to follow I read every new age religion book I could get my hands on. I read about  Buddhism (I know thats not new age but it was news to me:) Hinduism, the Koran,  then some one gave me a book on Wicca. I kind of liked the out doorsieness of it...so that is what I explored to find the meaning of life. It all seemed like make believe to me, but I needed something. Someone gave me a deck of tarot cards. I never had an inaccurate reading....but it wasn't at all like my Papas voice.

                   A few more years went by, and I didnt believe in anything, except my family. I existed only for them:) I wasn't living in sin, but I wasn't walking with God anymore. All thru this time in my life, I could still remember what it felt like to have FAITH! When I would play on my swing set as a little girl, I would SING to God! I would lean back and try to touch the clouds with my little toes! I would squint at the sun and try to see how God made it (mom always yelled at me for it too:) EVERYthing had meaning, EVERYTHING was beautiful, because God is an artist.  I knew what it was like to feel complete.

                  Three years ago, after a tugging on my heart for some time, I woke up one Sunday morning and got my two daughters ready to go to church (Dale wasn't into it at first, so he stayed home with the baby) We went to the church just down the road:) and I was welcomed the instant I walked in. Everyone smiled, everyone said "hi" =) after a few Sundays of me going with just the girls, Dale got up with us, and said maybe he should drive us (he said it was because the roads were icy, but i know he was searching for meaning too=):) We have been going to our home church ever sense. The Love that they have shown us has encouraged both of us in our walks. My children LOVE going to church and i can see that they are cultivating their love in God:)

                  Now I can see how I slowly let go...I let the word of man trump the WORD of GOD. When I started looking to the church to tell me who I was, and who GOD is (when i should have gone to the source...GOD!) All I saw was the tainted nature of man.God is the same now as he was in the Beginning. The same power that created the universe, and breath life into it, is the same power he holds this very second. Do not let the world define God. Do not buy into what the church says he can or cant do.He loves the church, I love the church too! but seek God first. Not the affirmation of man.

                 I was reading the other day about Enoch. And it hit me...Enoch was born in a time WITH OUT religion. This seemed unreal to me...was there such a time?! Yet he WALKED with GOD!!!! he had a RELATIONSHIP with GOD! The Bible tells us that Enoch didnt die, God just took him home. 

             When I think back to the Faith I had as a child I think of Matthew 19:14  after the disciples tried to shoo away the little children,  "Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, & do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'"  and in Mark 10:15 "I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."  When I read those words after all these years, I felt such despair...HOW could I EVER have faith like that again! I had seen to much, Sinned to much, Ran to far!!!

               The truth is,  What i feel now is BEYOND! Thru the blood of Jesus Christ I AM FREEEEE!!!!!  My revival has lead me to a reunion with GOD! if you think you have seen emotional reunions on TV shows...let me just tell you,I was a wreck with JOY, my heart was overflowing with LOVE i thought i could just explode!!!! I feel like I am floating on air...Because I see everything for what it is.  He never let go of me....no matter what I did, no matter how far I ran, He was always two steps, if not more, a head of me.

His word is speaking to me now, louder than ever before. I have such a craving to read the scripture. And to share my experiences with others. We are not to judge one another, or even ourselves. God is not keeping score of all your indiscretions, he is keeping score of the times you have turned from sin, with a heart full of repentance! He is watching you with eager eyes, longing for his child to run to him. He wants to walk with each one of us. By faith.  THIS IS GOD!!!! for crying out loud! WHO IS MORE POWERFUL THAN HIM!!!!!! just close your eyes, and open your heart. walk by FAITH!.

about 9 years ago 0 likes  5 comments  0 shares
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it is about your story and region?i am very envy you ,you went many churches.right?actually i don't even go to the church once ,because i am a Buddhist.however i believe god and always pray ~
about 9 years ago
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This is just part of my testimony:) And I had to learn the hard way that God is not found in Church, I do go to Church, and My husband and I are active in it, because of our journey, I think we have a perspective that can encourage people to walk with God by faith.
about 9 years ago
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yes,God is not found only in church ,so even i have never go to church ,i believe God is always with me ~~
about 9 years ago
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Wow, what a testimony. I truly touched by your sharing. Everyone who has been in the faith for long has their fair share of disappointment from man, but the beauty of Him is He is able to turn those disappointment into lessons that He desires to teach us. PTL !!!!!!
about 9 years ago
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God Bless you
about 9 years ago

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James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from bein

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english
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January 11, 2010