I was one of those kids who grew up in church. We may have bounced around from church to church as we moved around but I was almost always in church on Sunday morning. When I was about 8, I went down with some of my friends and “got saved”. That was it. I had no clue just what I had committed myself to but my friends did it and my mom was thrilled so I did it. Over the next 20 years, I went through life making good choices and bad choices. I never questioned the existence of God but I never really understood what it meant to live for him either. So I went along in my life just living.
But sooner or later, living that way – disaster strikes, right?
Well it did. It struck again and again and again actually. Through it all, and I can only imagine it is because God has some tremendous plans for me or one of my kids, God kept a hand on me. There were so many situations I got myself into that could have been so much worse than they were, even fatal. But God kept me safe. And he has blessed me so much more than I could ever deserve. I was told by the doctors that it would take a miracle for me to have children. They were being nice but they really meant it would be impossible. Doctors often think they know everything but it’s obvious they had no idea of God’s plans for me. God planned for me to have children. I’m certain he would have preferred I be married to a good man and in a church at the time but I believe in pre-destination and I believe God uses what he can to achieve his plans. I wasn’t where I needed to be but it was time for my son to be born and then my daughter so God used the circumstances I gave him to bring those two Amazing children into this world. Once I realized I was responsible for the life of another human being, that he was going to be counting on me for everything, I did some hard looking at my life. I changed a lot of things but I still didn’t quite “get” how God fit into it or what I needed to be doing to live FOR HIM. I didn’t “get it” until after my daughter was born (actually about 4 years after she was born). Just over three years ago I finally started to understand God’s place in my life. I’m still nowhere near where he wants me or even where I want to be but I finally feel like I’m on the path he wants me on. I finally feel like I’m going where he wants me to.
I finally feel like I’m on the path God wants me on.
Well, in my journey as a mother, we did try to go to church. We visited many many many churches and we were always met with the same issues. Once the church realized the full extent of my circumstances, we were treated more like lepers than sinners and I did not want my son to grow up in a toxic atmosphere like that so we would try again, and again, and again. We still have not found a church that preaches the Bible without politics getting in the way, where they dress like we do (modestly) and LIVE God’s word (not just on Sunday) and don’t treat us like lepers. But we did find ATI and IBLP and we are so thankful for that! IBLP (the Institute in Basic Life Principles) is a wonderful organization and I think EVERY Christian in this country should support this wonderful organization! They focus on teaching families (Yes, the whole family. Not just the children) about how important the Character of Jesus Christ is for us to LEARN and APPLY in our everyday life. ATI (the Advanced Training Institute) is their division that concentrates on homeschooling.
Do yourself a favor. Check out IBLP and ATI!
They have been a tremendous blessing to our entire family and I do not believe we would be where we are spiritually if we hadn’t found them. We have learned so much from their teaching materials, the conferences we’ve attended and the speakers we heard at those conferences. These people truly “GET” what Jesus was all about and they are such a blessing to us! We attended our first ATI conference last year and it was a wonderful experience. Here we are, sitting in this huge hall, not knowing what to expect and in walks David Gibbs Jr. And if you’ve never heard David Gibbs Jr. speak about God, you are missing out! I highly recommend that everyone find a way to attend an ATI conference at least once! David Gibbs Jr., Tom Harmon, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, Otto Koning, Ken Pierpont, Paul and Jenny Speed, Jim Sammons, William J Federer, Doug Small, Dr. Jobe Martin, Chris and Anne Hogan, Jim Schettler and Bill Gothard of course. These men and women really understand God’s love, God’s word and God’s plan for salvation. Listening to these amazing speakers has helped us find God’s plan for our own lives and we might not be where we are today without the amazing experience that conference was for us.
Suffice to say this organization has helped turn our baby steps (a bit faltering at times) into giant leaps on our journey of faith!
If you are not interested in ATI but you think you might want to listen to some of these amazing speakers anyway, they do have MP4s of their messages available in the IBLP store HERE. And you can always check out the Embassy Institute HERE. They even have a few videos you can watch for free (including the first session of IBLPs basic seminar).
1 Corinthians 15:10 (KJV)
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.