E is for Earthly Parents
With Mother’s Day this weekend it has me not only thinking of my mother and all of the amazing and wonderful things she has done for me. But it also has me thinking of my earthly spiritual parents that have impacted my life so greatly. Recently a dear friend pointed out that we have spiritual mentors, like spiritual moms and dads that are in our lives. I have had several thinking back over the years. My parent’s are Christian and while I love them dearly, with all my heart… they have not been the greatest spiritual leaders in my faith. Don’t get me wrong now, they brought me up in the church and loved as best they could and as best they knew how to, but something has always been slightly missing. They didn’t know how to love with the love of Christ, they didn’t entirely know how to direct and lead me and our family in a spiritual and godly way of life. They lacked a personal saving relationship with Christ, one that relied on faith and prayer and living within our means. My parents are loving and hospitable, and caring but they have not only been the only influential people in my life. My grandmother Millie is super foundational to my faith, but that is for another letter and blog entry.
I have been more than blessed by spiritual leaders and parents in my life and I would like to just talk about a few:
Next is my dear and sweet Kelley. She was a “proctor” while I was in middle school and I talked to her about everything. Middle school was a time when my mom and I fought a lot and even my girl friends and I were always fighting or disagreeing about something or everything… we were preteens and teenagers. The drama always kept me coming to Kelley because she would just listen and talk. Sometimes I even felt like the teacher’s pet and I was more than okay with that because Kelley loved me and always supported me. She came to every promotion, graduation, and ceremony from middle school to now.
Two others are Rachel Collins and Joey Versace, my college and young adult pastors and CCV. They are amazing, almost too amazing for words. I call Rachel, Mamas or my Rachy Boo. She is funny and quirky and totally crazy and I love her and her curly hair and her amazing personality. She is the mom over the college ministry and couldn’t imagine someone better fit for it. She is nurturing and loving and she isn’t just my pastor. She is sincerely a friend who I confide in and who I share my life with and she shares her life and stories with me. I am so blessed to have her in my life. Then there is the one and only Joey Versace. Joey is one of the reasons that I am involved in everything that I am. He sought me out and saw me as a leader and guided me and directed me into new ministries and into realizing new and wonderful things about myself and about how to serve God. I am one of Joey’s bible divas… Bare Hipani… a personal favorite if I do say so myself. Joey is also determined to fine me a husband after I helped him and did wonders with an event at the church… bring on the men, Joey. Also I know that Joey has my back and deeply cares for me and is super protective like the Italian father that I never had.
Lastly, there are two new “parents” and mentors in my life that I am still learning from and getting to know but I do believe that they will hold an exteremly important part in my life and in my walk with God. Mark and Shanda Oakley.
Mark is my team leader for my missions trip to Peru and has played such a foundational role in the funcuality and success of our team. He is a nurturing and caring leader and such an awesome man of God. His wife Shanda continually amazes me. She is outspoken in the best ways, lovely, beautiful, kind and caring, and funny. They have been more than generous to me with their finances in helping with the upcoming trip to Peru, their open years for listening, and in giving me guidance recently. I feel as though they have really taken me in under their wings and into their family. I was reminded of being thankful for the simple things that God provides for me as I just sat in the sun with Shanda at a yard sale talking about life, as I washed cars with their daughter Adele for her trip to Kenya, and as our team sat and laughed with Mark over self-serve frozen yogurt. They are truly a blessing and I cannot wait to see what God continues to do in their lives and in their walk with Him. They are my CCV mom and pop!
To end I want to say that God chose Joseph and Mary because of how they would provide for Jesus. God picked them because of how they would fulfill what God had in store for Jesus. While all of these people have been placed in my life for a reason, my lovely parents have been foundational to my faith in bringing me to church at a young age and nurturing me. Maybe my purpose is to continue to help them strength and grow in their faith and to have them have a personal loving and saving relationship with Christ.
Love you MOM and DAD!