My Hope Next Door by Tammy L. Gray

My Hope Next Door

Getting out of town for Katie Stone, seemed like the right idea at the time. Running away from the demons of her small hometown. However, when returning home four years later, she never realized how hard it is to bury those demons and put them to rest would be.

A bad girl during her teenage years,  the new Christian, Katie, comes home to help her parents and struggles to let go of her past. Judgemental looks fill the eyes of the congregation at church, the grocery store, everywhere. Everywhere but next door.

When returned, Katie realizes her parents now have a new neighbor, Asher Powell. They grew up in the same town, but their lives were complete opposite. Asher was the good, Katie was the bad. Katie’s parents were never really involved in her life, Asher’s dad is the town Pastor.

Even though they have vast differences, Asher and Katie strike up a friendship that help the two of them through rough times in their lives. Asher is totally swoon worthy. He is a hot nerd, what is better than that?

This book was amazing. I devoured it like chocolate cake. It didn’t want to put it down and I didn’t want it to end. That is how you know you have a good read on your hands.

The story is about overcoming your past, living with your mistakes and trying to move on and grow from them. That is a lot of what becoming a Christian is. Katie learns to not let judgement people stop you from living your life. She and Asher both learn to stop living in the past, which is something that is so hard to for some of us.

This read was relatively “clean”. There are a few bad words here and there and talk of drug use and abuse. There is no sexual content at all just a slight mention, which is great. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading smut/steamy reads too.

You all have to check it out!

 

I am the one!

Sunday came, Thank God. We went to the new church and it was an eye opener! Holy cannoli! I thought that I was going to be really nervous, but when we arrived it was just like calmness settled over me. We walked in and there were so many people that we both knew. We were given the “VIP” treatment, which included information about the church and activities there, a tour, and we were seated.

I have to tell you, once everything got moving, the music and baptisms and the service, the Holy Spirit was in the building. I have never in my life felt it as much as I did there. Everything was so moving that we both had tears in our eyes.

The sermon really lit my fire. The pastor preached about the story in Luke15:1-7 were Jesus tells a story about a shepherd who had 100 sheep. He counted them and there were only 99 in the field. The shepherd goes and looks for the one sheep. Even though he has 99 in the field that one is so important to him that he goes and searches and searches until he finds it and he rejoices when he did. The sheep is us and the Shepherd is of course Jesus.

He is always looking for you. No matter what you have done in life, no matter how low you sink into the mud, he searches and when he finds you, he and the angels rejoice in your salvation.

That hit me. Because no matter how much I have messed up in my life, Jesus is still here. He looked for me and found me and he has picked me up and saved me.

Let me just say that is has almost been three days and my soul is still on fire. A person from the church reached out to me today asking if we wanted to take any next steps. I explained to her that we have been saved, but we want to grow and to learn. They have a program there called “Life Group” and there are many small groups that meet and do a bible study together and the lady that reached out to me is actually going to help me join into a life group.

I am so excited to be a part of this. I can’t wait to learn and grown and to become a servant of God. I want to learn how to stop living my life the way I want to and start living the way God wants me to. I really hope and pray that this will be the church home for us and the one where we both belong.

Uncovering the truth

I know that I am a new blogger, so I know there are a lot of things that you don’t know about me.I am a sinner. We all are of course, but I think I am the worst kind. Hypocritical even.

You see, three years ago on August 4th 2013, I was baptized. I accepted the Lord into my heart and my life. My husband did the same, we were very newly married. We became members of the church that he had grow up in. I, myself, did not really grow up in a church. I went a few times here and there with my grandmother, but my parents did not and still do not go.

At first, things were great. We went on Sunday mornings and I went to bible study on Wednesday evenings.In my car, I would listen to Christian radio and sermons.I was living life right. I was doing really good, trying to learn and read the bible. But then things began to change. I had given birth to my 3 pound miracle and we missed quite a bit of church because I was “that” mom. The one that isolated her family to keep the germs away from her newborn preemies lungs.

Once we did return to services, I usually was rocking the unwashed pony tail and flip flops look. We would walk in and I would feel their eyes on me. I would be tired from staying up all night because the little princess had colic for the first five months of her life. The bags under my eyes were gigantic. I would barely get foundation on my face to hide them. My toenail paint was chipped away, I only got five minutes to myself I usually used that time to shower. So you can imagine what a sight I was walking into the church and add in post partum depression and I was a hot mess.

I felt that they were looking at me and saying “Oh wow, she looks horrible” “can you believe she wore that” “it looks like she hasn’t washed her hair in weeks” “They have missed the last ten sundays, why are they even here”. I felt judged. I felt unwanted and poor.

I was a new Christian, I still am. I wasn’t involve in church activities, I wasn’t asked to be. I began making up excused not to attend services until eventually we stopped going all together. We would make an appearence here and there, but the majority of the time we did not go.

Within this time, I began into my old ways. Gossiping at work, making fun of people, being just as judgemet to people as I thought they were to me. Cussing. The whole nine yards. I fell back down the rabbit hole.

I still believe in Christ. The fire still burns inside of me, but its more toward the back burner now. I feel guilty. I want to live like Jesus. I want to follow his words. I want to be involved in missonary work. I want to belong to a church were I will meet new people and feel like they want me there. I want to do Christ like things. I want to be someone that a nonbeliever looks at and say “Man, there is a light shining from her”

I had been feeling that maybe in my town there is another church that would accept me and help mold me into a real Christian. A good one, not a hypocrite.

So, in the past there was a lady at work that had invited myself and a friend to her church. I had somewhat told her about my past church experience and told her that I have heard about her church. They are doing great things in this town. She invited us, but the invitation fell on deaf ears at that time.  Well, Wednesday at work she came over to us and she ask if we had gave any thought on joining her for a church service. She handed us each a card that says “Impact Sunday”.

She told us that this Sunday, they are wanting to make impacts on peoples lives. People like me. I felt convicted. God seems to be telling me in my heart that I need to go. Being the anixous person that I am, I began to do research. I know a lot of people that belong to that perticular church, so I began Facebook snooping to kind of get the feel of what I will be walking into on Sunday. The church also has a Facebook, as well as an app and an old youtube channel. I have started listening to past sermons. This church is nondemoniational and I am not really familiar with what type of preaching they do so I was curious.

I listened to the past two Sundays sermons and I learnt something. In my county, there are 44,391 people from the 2010 cenus that state they do not go to church. Both of the last sermons talk about this and how strange it was that it ends with a one. The purpose of this “Impact Sunday” is to reach out to one person in your life. One person you want to save and want join you in heaven. I began thinking “Wow, out of all the people this lady must know, she asked me to join her” It makes me feel special to know that she wants to help me.

Tomorrow is the big day. Impact Sunday and it happens to be 2 days after my birthday (yes my birthday was yesterday) and it is also Septemeber 11th. I can’t wait to go. I hope and I pray that this will end up being my families new church home. If you want to pray for me, I would greatly appericate that.

Easy Like a Sunday Morning

Here it is Sunday Morning once again and let me tell you they are anything but easy here. Let me start by saying that my husband and I are both Christian’s. Whether you are or not you may still be able to relate to my Sunday mess.

Sunday’s I wake up after gripping onto the edge of the bed all night because my toddler, who I co-sleep with, has tried to push me into the floor all night. I get up and my back aches and I can barely hold my eyes open.

Sunday’s, all I want to do is rest. I have been on the go all week. Between going to work and picking up our daughter, going back and forth to the store and to the gas station and where ever I end up needing to go that week. I am tired and I just want to hang out on my couch while my husband watches football and my kid plays with her toys all over every inch of my living room floor. I don’t want to go any where, because I know what looms tomorrow and for the next six days.

So what about Church? This is what my problem is, my husband he wakes up and he always says, “Let’s go to church.” And I know in my heart I should get everyone into our Sunday bests, hair fixed and shoes shined. But this is my internal battle.

Every time we go, I feel as if I am being judged and I do not mean by the Lord. I feel like the whole congregation is looking at us. Judging us because we where not present last week, or because my hair is in a pony tail and I am barely wearing make up because I have had to chase a two year old up and down the hallway trying to get her clothes on. I am wearing flip flops because my other dress shoe decided to run away to some unknown land.

Maybe it is a part of my anxiety or because I am a woman and women judge all of the other women in the world. Or it could be because my husband grew up in this church and I did not.

I suppose what I am trying to get from telling you all this is Sunday’s are not easy for me. I fight myself trying to make a decision that shouldn’t be that hard to make. So if you are the praying kind, maybe whisper a prayer for me.