I grew up in a Christian home. My Mom and Dad divorced when I was 6. My mom sacrificed more than I will ever know to make sure my brother and I were given an education in a Christian school. Yet I didn't appreciate what I had. I had eyes to the outside and thought others with complete families had it better than me.
I saw the glamour and sparkle of this world and wanted to experience it. As a teenager I clung to friends who aided my obsession with the world. When my husband and I married we knew what not to do, but really didn't understand the "why". We experienced this world to a point but realized that what this world offers is empty. Meanwhile, we went to church every time the doors were open and served in many different aspects of the church.
When my husband woke me one morning telling me he had just gotten saved, I answered, "I thought you were saved". I believe GOD used that to cause me to begin to question my salvation. I started wondering-- "Why do I go to church? Why do I help out with activities of the church? Why do I do what I have just always done?"
Well, what else do you do on Sunday? It's all I knew.
I realized that's not why I should be going to GOD's house. I should be going there because I want to be there, because I love HIM and want to worship HIM.
We were on our way out of North Carolina to Oregon and the first Sunday morning at the church we later joined, I just knew I needed to be saved. I was tired of living one way on Sunday and another throughout the week. What a peace swept over me that I no longer needed to try to please this flesh which always hungers for more!
I have to admit it took me a while to begin even baby steps. I still lived for myself more than I should have but GOD was gracious. HE kept our marriage together through recruiting in Oregon--just barely.
Returning to North Carolina we came back to the same, yet different church. GOD had grown a love for GOD in that church that I haven't seen anywhere else. We began to grow in the LORD, by leaps and bounds, and one day I realized that our marriage was back to what it once was---continuous honeymoon! No marriage counseling or dedicated work to rebuild---just each of us growing closer to GOD separately.
Moving back to our home state of Colorado to plant a church was definitely where GOD wanted us to be. What a beautiful place to have a “desert experience”! Struggles on top of struggles and discouraging times after discouraging times made us (especially my husband) want to quit. But we gained strength in knowing that we weren’t in Colorado for the people in our community. We were there because HE wanted us to be there and HE is worthy of each of the souls in Colorado.—HE already paid for them on Calvary.
Now living in Indiana, GOD has knit our hearts to the people here. We love living here because we know it’s GOD’s perfect will for us right now.
Are there days I want to say "Calgon, take me away!"? Yes. Sometimes I wonder, "What was I thinking having this many children?" But then one of my littles brings me a bouquet of dandelions; or one of the baby giants pitches in somewhere without being asked to help. And I know I am exactly where GOD wants me to be and that pleases me just fine.
22 years of marriage, 18 years of being a child of GOD, and 11 children later, I feel like the most blessed child of GOD!!
Carlene is the wife of Pastor Mike Thornsley Jr. and a mother of eleven children. She is a home maker and home schools her children.