A Song of Gratitude: Part 1

The new church we are attending has asked me to do a short bio for their monthly womens newsletter.  It is because I am the newest woman in the church, probably, and no one knows much about me.  Anyway, I am trying to write two paragraphs summarizing my life up to this point.  As I attempt this short-winded feat, I am constantly thinking of all the people who gave of themselves so I could be where I am today.  I have gotten to be loved on by some pretty amazing people in my relatively short life time.  So I'm going to spend today telling you about one family...in hopes to follow it with others.

My Senior year of high school...a pretty selfish time in the life of Katie Branson.  Katie mainly cared about one thing...Katie.  I did some "good" things that year...and even hung out with the "good" crowd most of the time.  I can not say this is any of my doing though...I just really wasn't interested in partying.  If I had been, I'm sure that is where I would have been.  But this isn't about me.  :)

Calculus class...senior year.  After the first few weeks I began to notice a guy in class.  I couldn't have told you what it was at the time, but looking back, he had peace.  I'm sure he also cared what others thought of him, but not like most people.  It didn't seem to be ruling his life.  He had something that I didn't and I wasn't sure what it was...I just knew he was different.

A few months later as I was talking to him and he asked me where I was going when I died.  Going to church my whole life, but never cracking the Bible, my view of God rested on I'm not sure what, but anyway, I was somehow sure that a loving God wouldn't send people to hell.  He responded in a very strange way.  He told me that the Bible didn't say that.  Interesting thought, having an authority outside of yourself.  As the conversation finished and he explained what the Bible did say, I remembered hearing that same thing at a Baptist youth event I had gone to in Middle School.  "Oh, yeah, I know that."  I can't remember the exact wording, but it was something like that, because, I knew everything then.

As life progressed and I did crack the Bible, I did start learning what it actually said, and I also began dating this guy.  Now if I'm his parents, this is not a desirable situation to be sure...I am not cream of the crop here, and I am pretty much as selfish as people got, but I am immensely grateful to them.  I am in tears I am so grateful to them.  Not for letting me date their son, but for letting me glimpse into their lives.  For the first time in my life I got to peer into the inner-workings of a functional family.  A family where the kids respected their parents, and the parents respected their children.  In fact the entire time I knew this guy, I never heard him speak even a slightly bad word of his mom or dad.  They spent time together...the Bible really was their authority in life...and they genuinely loved others.  This stuff was all foreign to me, I really didn't know families could actually function that way.

Today, I'm sure their family is much the same as it was, healthy, loving people, loving God.  And I know that this side of Heaven, they won't see any reward for loving on me, and allowing me to be part of their lives, but I am immensely grateful...and my family is too.  Without them I wouldn't even know what a family living for God would look like.  But today I think of their example regularly, praying for the strength to love like that.  It is also unlikely that they will read this, but if by chance they do, Thank you.