Several months ago I read a post that absolutely captivated me. It was written by one of my favorite bloggers, Elizabeth at Just Following Jesus.
She admitted getting the idea from one of her blogger friends, so I hope neither of them will mind my borrowing their idea, but in no way their personal experiences.
I AM FROM
I am from the piney hills and red clay soil of north Louisiana.
I am from a country preacher's modest home provided by a rural, conservative congregation, with constant red sandy floors scrubbed daily on her knees by a meticulous mother who couldn't bear the thought of her baby girl crawling on such.
I am from another parsonage with a tree stump front porch step also kept as clean as possible by a devoted mother and grandmother.
I am from a time when it wasn't uncommon for a grandmother to live in the home and hold a child on her knee and read and tell stories to.
I am from a Father who pastored three small country churches one of which provided fried chicken and mashed potatoes every Sunday.
They all had wooden benches without cushions;
Sunday School lessons taught with flannel graph by old maid teachers;
Sunday bulletins that still smelled like the purple gel from the mimeograph machine my dad used every Saturday night to produce them;
hymns played on an out-of-tune piano and led by my baritone singing Dad;
pinches from Mother when I was an over-zealous squirmier.
I am from a Mother who taught that a table is to be set properly and three meager, yet well-balanced meals a day are to be enjoyed with the whole family but not much laughter; that is until we girls along with "Daddy" convinced her that food tasted much better when sides were splitting over some silly happening during the day that must be shared while the family was all together.
I am from a Father who loved greatly and withheld none from his family and friends;
who loved the outdoors and gardening, and fishing and hunting and playing a secret game of Solitaire;
who loved poetry and beautiful music occasionally played over a loud speaker for the community; who was the smartest person I ever knew;
who danced me around the house when he and Mother knew I had no business attending a questionable birthday party;
who studied hard and preached gently;
who demonstrated God's love on a daily basis.
I am from a Mother who taught us that good books are good to read;
that God's Word is precious;
that when there's no money for clothes, we make our own;
that even though we may be able to buy only two pairs of shoes a year, they must be of the best quality affordable;
to pin-curl our hair every night before rollers were invented.
I am from sharing a bed with a younger and much prettier and sweeter and smarter sister.
I am from catching fireflys at night and pinning them on the wall above my bed and watching until they no longer flicker.
I am from a prolific watermelon patch where favorite boy cousins take you and insist a melon is better if dropped on the hard clay soil and eaten on the spot. And he was right!
I am from another parsonage set behind the big white church house on the fringes of Acadiana with people who speak the English language with a Cajun accent and insist they be called "Aunt" and "Uncle."
I am from this "heathen" land that soon becomes home with loving and giving people who delight in every opportunity to party and visit and play games and eat delicious although strange foods and celebrate strange customs such as loading up all the kids in the community onto a flat-bed truck and taking us around to back-wood homes where people raise chickens they don't mind wringing the necks of and adding to an ever bulging crow-sack for making a huge community-wide sauce piquant.
I am from playing all day in the woods and exploring a hidden world under trees and across gullies.
I am from building a Texas town and hideouts around the blown-down trees of a recent hurricane.
I am from even another white parsonage this time set beside a large white church house and across a busy road from a train track and people don't want to be called "Aunt" and "Uncle" and no one even knows what turtle in a sauce piquant or gumbo tastes like.
I'm from a home where Mother has to go to work for the first time, and we ride a bus home from school and open a can of asparagus and eat it with mayonnaise for an after-school snack.
I'm from a community that was never home and that gave my preacher dad good reason to go back to Acadiana where people love you and will be your friend for life if you don't ever make them an enemy.
I am from strong athletic programs in Class C schools where every one is encouraged to play at least one sport and the whole community turns out for a ballgame, rooting loudly for the home team.
I am from a place where a special lady recognized I might have a talent for singing and offered to give me free voice lessons.
I am from a small commuter college where students thought I was pretty enough and nice enough to be their "Miss" whatever.
I am from knowing I never wanted to be married to a minister who met and fell in love with a minister.
I am from having a son and daughter who made me a Mom and brought more light and joy into my life than I can ever describe; who brought more heartache and confusion than I could ever imagine; who grew up and blessed me by being some of the finest "big people" I've ever known;
who have blessed me with seven of the most amazing grandchildren in the whole wide world.
I am from having served in five churches with my Music Minister husband and been blessed and angered by church members and staff members who helped me grow in spite of myself.
I am from growing older and happier with the man God introduced me to almost 49 years ago next month;
from full-time service in music programs, Sunday School leadership, and state convention involvement;
25 years of driving a school bus so I could be home with my kids;
from another 20 years working with students and administration in a technical college.
I am from reaching the time to retire and never regretting making that decision.
I am from being disappointed and frustrated with a citizenry who is complacent enough to elect twice someone to the highest office in the land without ever considering the consequences to our nation of doing so.
I am from loving to spend time with my two younger sisters at every opportunity.
I am from looking forward to having time with my children and grandchildren.
I am from the family of God and brothers and sisters in Christ who love Jesus with all their hearts and desire to know Him more and to serve Him more.
I am from desiring to be more like Christ every day of my life.
I am from the homesickness of missing beloved parents and from looking forward to being with them and other loved ones in the presence of my God and Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Thank you Elizabeth for your "I Am From" inspiration.