You should be proud of me. I didn't cry. I just knew I was going to, but I didn't, but not by anything I did!
Background: I moved to Enid a little over 6 years ago after getting married. For several weeks I didn't go to church because I was so homesick for the little church I grew up in and didn't know where to go. Not one single person I met in this new, completely different town invited me to go to church with them. My husband doesn't go to church so I'd have to go by myself and being in a new town that kind of scared me. I wanted desperately to know SOMEONE! Then we found out we were going to have a baby and I knew I had best get myself into a church if not for me for this baby on the way. I tried a couple of churches both big and small. None quite feeling like home. One day I stumbled into Cornerstone Baptist Church about 15 minutes late (which was just fine with me) and sat down next to the sound system because the last several rows on both sides were full. It was a nice service. They sang songs I didn't really know, but they were pretty. These people seemed nice and friendly. There was lots of laughing and smiling a good feeling. The next week I came back, even showed up on time. I tried to sit next to the sound system again, but this friendly lady named Cathy came and grabbed me and told me to come sit with her on the back row. And I did. She was my first friend.
Fast forward to about three (maybe two or maybe one...I really can't remember now) years ago: Pastor had called me during the week and asked me to read Matthew 25:31-46. I agreed and thought nothing else about it until that day. I've read before a congregation before. Heck, I did a three minute monologue in front of 10,000 people when I was 18 and loved every minute of it! Being in front of a crowd doesn't scare me. Sunday came and I was homesick again. I never joined Cornerstone even though I attended faithfully for a couple of years because that would mean I was no longer a part of my church that I had grown up in and that thought crushed me. But that day I realized and accepted that as much as I loved that place I grew up in, Cornerstone was now my home. I told the congregation this and then I started to read. But I didn't make it very far for I saw just what I was about to read:
I was hungered and you gave me meat:
I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink:
I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Naked and you clothed me:
I was sick, and ye visited me:
I was in prison, and ye came to me.
These were just the thoughts I had about Cornerstone and I started to cry. I stood there for what seemed an eternity trying to regain my composure, but it wasn't working. I tried to get a lady in the front row to come help me but she just sat there smiling at me. I couldn't stop crying. Every time I tried to read through it I would cry all the harder. Finally, Pastor and someone one else... who I honestly can't remember now came to my rescue(maybe JD or Gary?). Pastor hugged me and held me there while he finished reading and I cried the whole time.
Fast forward again to this week. Pastor called and asked me to read. I said, 'sure what is it?' 'Matthew 25:31-46' he said. 'You know,' I said to him, 'I'm going to cry.' And I reminded him what happened last time. He insisted that I could do it this time and I knew it would mean so much for me to read it... and NOT cry. So this morning I prayed for extra strength because I knew that I couldn't stand up there on my own. So today, God held me and used my voice to read his word to the people who years ago took me in when I was a stranger, who fed me when my soul was hungry, who quenched my thirst with living water, and visited me when I was in my own person prison. God also held my tears back, it was awesome! So thank you Cornerstone for being good sheep!