... ... ... My Story – Freedom Cotton

My Story

It began when my mother and I were standing in the check out line at a grocery store. We were waiting our turn when an elderly woman in front of us invited us to church. We didn’t know her. She and my mother exchanged phone numbers. That very next Sunday, I watched from my bedroom window as an old car came up the street and stopped in front of our house, the door opened and the woman stepped out. My mother yelled for me to hurry and we walked outside. The little old woman wore a fancy dress, high heels, white gloves and a hat. She was so cute. We climbed inside the car and sat in the backseat as a little old man, who I imagined was her husband, drove us to church. I can’t remember their names but they were both very kind.

 

This became my new normal. My dad was gone a lot, working out of town. I’m thinking he must have taken our family car because the little old couple picked us up for church faithfully every Sunday giving us a ride there and back. We attended a church with Sunday school for children and adults and then everyone gathered together in the church for the Pastor to preach the weekly message. I sat on the pew beside my mother and listened. I listened intently, and I understood. I wanted to surrender my life and make a commitment to God, but I knew it was a show of faith to follow up with baptism. I was a drop out from the summer swimming lessons at the YMCA and I was scared. Sad but true. One Sunday, we had a visiting Pastor and the Holy Spirit took over. I believed if something went wrong, if the Pastor lost his grip on me, or if I forgot to hold my nose, and I drowned during the baptism I would still go to heaven. I believed in God. And, I believed in the bible. I knew I was born a sinner and the only way to Heaven was with Jesus Christ. So, I stepped out from the pew during the invitation. My mother reached for me but I resisted her. I decided that day to follow Jesus.

 

Fast forward to my teen years. After moving several times during my growing up years we finally settled in one place and I was happy. Moving over and over again became harder and even though my mother and I searched for a church each time and attended regularly it was difficult. She was saved too while we attended that first church with the little old couple. I loved serving God and grew up volunteering in the nursery and later helped with the Sunday morning bus route. It was rewarding in so many ways. Then, I started seeing glimpses of what I thought my future would look like in ministry. It seemed the girls grew up, married, and had babies. They cooked and baked for dinners on the grounds, they took care of the little ones while their husbands were having discussions and meetings, and they played the church piano. I played the piano. I didn’t play well. The devil made me think my life wasn’t headed anywhere fun. And, I left God.

 

I explored the world. I found brokenness and pain. I finally retreated to God with a regretful heart and repented. And, life became very simple with a family of my own. I was really happy. I loved being a wife and mom. The kids grew up and we were very busy. We attended church and loved God but He wasn’t the focus of our lives. God was patient, so patient.

 

Then, everything in my life changed. We had to move from a place I loved and where we raised our children. My children were grown with families of their own and now we were disconnected. My parents passed away. Being an only child I didn’t have any siblings. I felt alone. I felt sad. I felt like God didn’t care about me. I was sitting at the dining room table one afternoon when my husband came home from work and asked, “What’s it going to take to make you happy.” That one question resonated within me. Everything I thought I wanted and had to have was gone. All I had left was God and my husband. And, it was then, I was reminded how very much God loves me. He hadn’t abandoned me. And, I decided to lean on Him and trust Him completely. I never want anything to separate me from Him again. I am so thankful he reached out to me with that little old couple and was so very patient with me when I put other things ahead of him. I have learned He is the most precious thing of all.

xoxo Pam