Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Grateful

by Vicki Cromarty

I grew up in a Christian home.  My parents were both raised with a Christian background – my mom in Arkansas, in a Baptist Church and my dad in Illinois as a Presbyterian.  When they married and settled in Illinois, they felt that a Methodist Church seemed like a great middle ground for them, and then later, their family as well. 

For me, as a kid and teen, going to church was always part of the natural flow of our life.  Sunday morning included Sunday school, and then worship service as a family.  I fondly and vividly remember all of the old hymns, sitting next to my mom, her singing the alto part.  As I got into the junior high and high school years, I was involved with youth choir, and youth group.  The friends I made there and lifetime memories that I have are what began shaping my faith story. First United Methodist Church in Monmouth, Illinois will always hold that special place in my life.

Fast forward to the next phase of my faith – First United Methodist in Boca Raton, Florida.  It had been a few years since I had been active in church, and I began attending there (and later working there) after realizing that something very important was missing in my life.  It was this church that helped me to own my faith at a different level, where I experienced my first women’s Bible study, and as an adult experienced a new level of fellowship with people who I still love and consider my Florida “family.” They were the ones who saw Dave and I get married, have a child, and see our family through good times and bad, modeling the love of Christ. 

It was also at this church in Florida that God gave me a reality check.  While all of my history sounds like a happy little story, I was missing one HUGE part.  I had taken for granted that I was blessed to be born into a family of faith and church of people living out their faith.  I realized through a neighbor’s faith story that not all people were introduced to God’s love at an early age.  Many people have had to find faith on their own, and those closest to them don’t always support their beliefs.  It was there that my “taking for granted” turned to “grateful.”  God really drove home the importance of what the church can mean in people’s lives - at any age - when it’s working the way He intended.

I’d experienced two churches at that point that modeled what I needed to learn:  it doesn’t matter if we come with a lifetime of church memories or not a clue about what church can be for us. God can use people of a church to impact faith stories and to help others experience God’s love -- no matter their history, faith background, or season of life.    

These days, I am grateful more than ever for my own faith story and the opportunity to witness the faith story of others.  I now call Broomfield United Methodist my home - another amazing church family I’m blessed to know.  BUMC is regularly living out the things I had taken for granted.  I see faith stories being impacted at all walks of life.  Kids and teens are brought to church by parents who want to give them a firm foundation of faith – whether the parents themselves had that or not.  Small groups are growing people from right where they’re at in life – whether having no faith background or a mature life of faith. Rich worship services help us think about our weeks differently and call us to action and service.  All of us get to be present as God is at work and people’s faith stories are formed- not something to take for granted!

When I’m lucky enough to go back and attend my childhood church, I see many of the people who helped to shape my early faith story.  Some of my Sunday school teachers still faithfully sit in the pews.  I can almost count on seeing my elementary PE teacher, Middle School Math teacher, and High School Biology teacher, still actively living out their faith.  Countless friends of my parents who have loved me through my growing up years and beyond are still there too – along with many new faces that call this church home.  Just as these are people for whom I’m extremely grateful, we at BUMC have this great opportunity to be the same for those who grow up here or who currently call our church home.  

Let’s be all these things for each other and the people who walk through our doors! Don’t waste a single Sunday!  What or who are you grateful for today that has made a difference in your faith story? How can you be that for someone in this season of your life?




Vicki Cromarty is the Family Ministry Director at BUMC.  She loves getting to know families and kids and having the privilege to learn with them about God’s amazing love.  Vicki has been married to Dave for 15 years and they have one beautiful daughter, Lauren, who is 11 years old.  She loves spending time with her family and friends, enjoying all that beautiful Colorado has to offer!  You can contact her at vicki.cromarty@broomfieldumc.org. 



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