Friday, March 11, 2011

A First Taste Of God

I have been reading Jan Karon's latest book in her Father Tim series.  There is so much to like about these books, including the fact that they teach us much about life, and often challenge our beliefs while strengthening our faith.

In Karon's book, "In The Company of Others" she takes us back to Ireland with Father Tim and his wife Cynthia. During one of their conversations Cynthia talks about a teacher she had as a young girl, and how this teacher gave her encouragement and love when she needed it most.  She says, "I think she was my first taste of God". 

There are always people in our lives who give us a "first taste of God".  Often it is our parents, but there are those who need to find it elsewhere....or does it find them?  When I read this sentence, I thought about who gave me my first taste of God and one person that came to mind very quickly was a pastor from my church ~ Pastor Hauge. He was a gentle man who radiated love and kindness. I can still visualize him handing me one of my first Confirmation papers back with a bright and shiny A written across the top.  He quietly praised me for my good work and gave my much needed self esteem a boost.  He is my first memory of church, which came to be my second home.  He was in many ways my first taste of God.  He also worked behind the scenes to encourage my mom to let me live with my oldest sister and her family.  You see, my mom was a practicing alcoholic when I was a child, and I was in need of a safe place to live.  Years later I ran into Pastor Hauge in a church far from our original home town.  He asked me about my mother.  I was able to tell him she had stopped drinking when I was 20, our relationship was restored, and more importantly my mother was healthy and whole again.  Pastor Hauge dropped his head and shook it from side to side.  He sighed deeply and said with the wisdom and humility of an 85 yr old Christian man, "I gave up on your mother, but God never did!"  Those words were a taste of God too.  God brought us back together and reminded us both that he hears our prayers and is faithful.

So, I ask, who in your life has given you "a first taste of God"?  Have you been that first taste of God for someone else?  Every small and simple gesture can be used by God to show His love to someone who needs it.  He desire to use His children to be the first taste of God to others.

 Lord, keep us open to being used by you, and if I may so humbly ask, let me be the first taste of God to someone else. Amen

Stop over and visit Ginger and Charlotte at Spiritual Sundays to read inspirational posts or link up your own.


Anonymous said...

Renee, What an extraordinary post. I so enjoyed the story of you and the Pastor reuniting and sharing what God had done in the life of your mother.
I have had many who shared a first taste of God with me and I hope that I in turn have done the same for others. Also, my mom was an orphan, and I thank God for the angels He sent to her in younger years as her first taste of God. When mother passed away two years ago, we paid tribute to one such woman...her 80 year old daughter was present to hear how much her mom did to make a difference in our mother's life.
God bless you Renee.
By the way, I love the Jan Karon books also.

Crystal Mary said...

Hello Renee, What a wonderful man that Pastor was, and so humble to admit to you, his giving up on your mother. You have come through a lot of hurt confusion and pain. I am thankful your poor poor mother gave up the drink..I am not and never have been a drinker but I have worked in Drug and alcohol detox, it is a sad place. People turn to drink when they can't cope. I pray your mother finally turned to the Savour and lover of her soul. God bless you Renee, He loves you so much xxx Crystal

Joan said...

This is a lovely post, Renee. I thank God for the Pastor Hauges of the world.

I love Jan Karon's books - haven't read the latest one - yet!


Whidbey Woman said...

Renee, I really enjoyed reading this post. So much heart and such a great story! Thank you!

Charlotte said...

I loved this post. When I thought about who the first person was who provided my first taste of God I immediately thought of my mother. There was really no one quite like her. I have thanked God so many times for giving me such a wonderful mother. Of course there have been many other people through the years who have affected my life so much. I love the Jan Karon books. I have read them all including the one you mentioned. Whenever a new one comes out my daughter buys it immediately. Reads it very fast and then lends it to me to read. Thank you for sharing this post. It has really meant a lot to me to read it today.

Jan Lyn said...

Just wow. This is such a great post, Renee. Thank you for sharing so transparently with us-it is a gift. I find these really good queries to ponder. The thought fills me with gratitude and also humble desire to be that for others.
What a beautiful story to wholeness I hear.
Bless your heart!
Jan Lyn

Lisa notes... said...

A great question. I think my first taste of God was probably my mother. She had such a sweet gentle spirit. I was the 3rd of 4 kids but she loved us all so special.

Ginger~~Enchanting Cottage said...

Mildred,This post brought tears to my eyes. Praise the Lord that your mom is healthy and your in each others life.I had a girl friend in Jr.High that invited me to church with her and her mom. I'm still going,the sad this is that their not. I need to pray for them.
God Bless,

Pamela said...

I love that phrase "first taste of God." I was taken to church when I was days old so that's a hard question for me to answer. But many throughout the years from my parents to Sunday School teachers to pastors--so many who lived the Christ they loved.

Elaine said...

This is beautiful. What a wonderful Pastor you had and such a miracle that your Mom could stop drinking. It's no easy task. Praise God you were able to be safe in those years she was unable to care for you.

Your posts continue to encourage me.

God Bless,