The year was 1982. When I was twenty-seven years old, God began the breakthrough to His prodigal daughter. I was pregnant with our first child. Realizing that my husband and I were not capable of raising a child without God’s help, I decided to find a place to worship. I knew we needed to get back to God. A co-worker suggested a particular church so I went there. It’s difficult to walk into a place where you don’t know anyone, but I met a lot of “friendly strangers” that first visit. I was so happy to begin my walk with God again.
Each Sunday for the next few months, I encountered these “friendly strangers” once a week at worship, bible class, and other church activities. In my ninth month of pregnancy, I waddled down the aisle to the front pew, asking for prayers and to be restored and to become a member of that congregation. What a glorious day for me!
Just a few weeks after placing my membership, our first child was born. A few weeks later, one of the church ladies contacted me about hosting a baby shower for our baby girl at her home. I didn’t want to be impolite and ungrateful, so I agreed to it. But immediately, I started to think, who would I invite? My family lived out of state. I had a few friends from work who might come. This could be an embarrassing experience–a baby shower given in your honor and no guests! I begged my sister to travel from Tennessee to Houston for the baby shower. At least I would have her to share in my embarrassing moment.
On the evening of the shower, I was so nervous. My sister and I arrived early, and the hostesses were so kind and welcoming. I didn’t know all the hostesses, and they hardly knew me. It felt strange for these women to host my baby shower. I began to experience a lump in my throat which lasted throughout the evening. This act of love was a humbling experience. The table full of food triggered another anxious thought: Who is going to eat all this food they have prepared? If a few “friendly strangers” from church attended I would be so excited. And then I had another anxious thought: Who attends a shower for someone who is a mere acquaintance? I admit my head talk was crazy!
The next part of my story is God’s story! He showed me a beautiful picture of his church that night. As a baby Christian, I had never experienced an outpouring of love like this before. When the doorbell rang and guests began arriving, my nervousness turned to excitement. It continued to ring and soon women, both young and old, filled the home. These ladies came together to celebrate and encourage this new baby Christian and her newborn baby. Love, laughter, fellowship, friendship, and food filled not only the home, but my heart as well. God poured out his showers of blessings on me through these wonderful Christian women.
With each gift I opened, I fought back tears of joy for a beautiful church family, tears of joy for God’s sweet provision. This baby shower was God’s version of the feast He prepared for his prodigal daughter who had come home. I don’t remember conversations that night, or who attended, but I do remember how the church made me feel: loved and encouraged.
God used a baby shower that night to demonstrate his love, encouragement, grace, compassion, kindness, and hope. It reminds me of the song “My Story” by Big Daddy Weave.
This is my story, this is my song;
Praising my Savior all the day long!
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