I thought I’d share a little more about myself and my life story. You might have read the ‘Meet Angela’ section of my blog, but maybe you’d like to know a little more. Let’s go back to the earliest memories I have as a child. One of my very first memories is of being in a shopping cart, in the front seat of the cart, and my mom is pushing me. It’s the strangest thing, my siblings are not with us. I have a brother and a sister; I am the oldest. My brother was born when I was 21 months old (3 months away from being two). So, he must have been there, but in my memory, it’s just me and my mom. My mom and I did spent a lot of time together. From a very young age I started going to doctors, and my mom would take me. So, because of those appointments we spent a lot of time together, and developed a very close relationship. Often, my siblings would stay with my grandparents. So, I guess the fact that my first memory is of time with my mom, and no siblings, makes sense.
Speaking of my siblings, another one of my first memories is of the day my sister was born. I was about two months away from being four. I can picture my house, running from my room with the pink carpet, down the blue carpeted hall, towards the kitchen, because someone (I think it was my Grandma Freda) called to me, “your mom is on the phone.” I remember my mom telling me that I had new baby sister, which was a surprise, for all of us, because in 1987 most women didn’t have ultrasounds, unless there were complications. “It’s a baby sister, what should we name her?” she said. “Jenny,” I yelled with excitement. Jenny was the name of my favorite doll at the time. Guess what, my sister’s name is Jennifer. My parents say they had that name already picked out, but I would rather believe that my sister was named by me, after my doll.
Here is one more, and the last memory I’m going to share for now. This memory takes place sometime in the year my sister was born, and besides a faint memory of sitting in my room tying my shoes all by myself, for the first time, I don’t have many other vivid memories until I went to Kindergarten when I was 6. This is memory is one of my first and most important memories. It begins one Sunday morning.
Every Sunday, my family would load up in the car. Three children, ages four years and under, meant a somewhat stressful morning, just like most Sundays, but that’s not what I remember about this Sunday. Most Sundays, you would find the Youngers in the front row, at First Covenant Church. My mom played the piano for the choir and for the church as they sang hymns; so, we sat in the front row so that she could get up to the piano quickly. Sitting in the front row meant behaving and for a four year old that was sometimes difficult. When you turned four, you came to big church with the adults, but we only had to be quiet until the kids were excused for children’s church. Mrs. Char Kellogg would be waiting by the side door, the pastor would excuse the children before he began preaching, and we would run to the side door and head to our classroom down stairs in the fellowship hall. I’m not sure if this was my first time at children’s church, since I was four when it happened, but this time I remember what Char shared with us that Sunday.
She pulled out a book that had five pages but contained no words. I’m not exactly sure what the words she spoke were that Sunday, but since then I have heard the story of the wordless book many times, and have told it myself to the children of my Sunday school classes throughout the years. Many of you might have heard it too.
Char turned to the first page, an empty page, the color black. The page, she explained, represents your sin. Again, I don’t remember the exact words she spoke, but knowing what I would say to four to six-year-olds, I would probably explain sin as the times when you don’t listen to your mommy and daddy and do something you are not supposed to. Even at that age I understood the difference between right and wrong. I have found that children understand a lot more than we think they do. The bible says in Romans that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” which means we all do bad stuff that keeps us away from God.
Char then turned the page. Red. She explained who Jesus is, the Son of God, who came down and lived on this earth without sin, and then died for our sins. The red reminds us of the blood that Jesus shed for our sins. His blood, that he shed on the cross, is the payment, the sacrifice, for my sin, so that I could be forgiven and receive eternal life. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” But Jesus’ death is not it, he rose again, defeating death and is in heaven with God.
Char turned to the next page, white. I imagine she said something like, “this white page represents us after we accept Jesus in our hearts, our sins, remember the black page, are washed away and we are as white as snow. The bible says in Psalms 51:7, ‘wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow,’ Jesus’ blood washes way our sins, and we are white as snow, just like this page.” I have this memory of thinking how cool that was, we didn’t have a lot of snow where I grew up, in California, but I loved the snow, and Christmas, and presents. Hey I was a four year old, it probably went something like that.
Char turned the page. Gold. Gold represents Heaven. The bible talks about heaven having streets of Gold. “If we want to go to heaven” she probably said, “we have to ask Jesus into our heart, to thank him for his blood that takes our sin away, and makes us white as snow, so that when we die we can be with God in heaven.”
Then Char turned to the last page. Green. I found this excerpt on a website that explains the wordless book (https://www.abcjesuslovesme.com/ideas/wordless-book). I imagine that Char said something similar to this.
Once we ask Jesus into our heart, we should not be the same. We now have Jesus to help us make good choices. The green page stands for the things that a Christian’s need to grow! The Bible tells us in 2 Peter 3:18 that we are to "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Plants need three things to grow: sunshine, rain and good soil. Christians need to pray, read the Bible, and spend time with other Christians at church. All three of these will help you grow.
If you have just prayed to God and meant it from your heart then you will go to Heaven when you die! You only have to receive the Lord once. Please go and tell your parents, brothers, and sisters that you received the Lord as your Savior and that you will be going to Heaven and tell them what they can do to go to Heaven.
I did not pray the prayer there at children’s church, but this is the best part of the story, and what I remember most clearly about this day.
Later in the day I asked my mom about Jesus, and told her what we learned about at Children’s Church. I remember she was sitting in our pink rocking, swivel, chair. The chair wasn’t actually pink, but there was always a bright pink blanket covering it. If I close my eyes it’s all most like I can watch it, the memory unfolding, on the back of my eye lids. I am sitting at the feet of my mom, on our blue carpeted living room near the red brick fireplace. She is sitting in the pink chair, sharing with me what Jesus means to her. I remember her asking me if I wanted to have Jesus in my heart, and answering yes. I remember bowing my head and folding my hands and praying. I don’t remember the exact words, but I do remember after, wondering how a physical actual man, crawled in to my heart. Thinking that maybe there was a little door that he went through and he just hung out there. And really for a girl that from the youngest of age didn’t like to be alone, having a little guy in her heart was very comforting. So, on this Sunday next to the pink chair, sitting at my mom’s feet, on the blue carpet, I asked Jesus to come into my heart, to be my savior.
Since then I have grown, just like the green page represents. I am very thankful that I grew up in a family where my mom helped us grow in our own faith, encouraging us to read God’s word and learn who he was for ourselves. Various circumstances in my life have also helped me grown in my faith. I have seen countless times prayers answered and a couple very miraculous things happen. Yes, many times God has answered my prayers with a no, or not right now, but his “peace that passes all understanding”(Philippians 4:7) is with me. I have this peace inside me, when I really shouldn’t, when I really should be anxious and freaking out. Here’s an example of that. Countless people prayed that my knee would be healed, that I would not have to go through with the amputation, but they also prayed that if the surgery was God’s will, even though we don’t understand, that he would give me peace. The morning of the surgery, I kept thinking ‘I should be freaking out right now’ but I wasn’t. I was calm, I had peace that I have never felt before, and I believe this was because Jesus was with me. No there’s no little guy in a little room in my heart. But as a child I was right to 100% believe that Jesus was right there with me all the time, because he is. In Deuteronomy it says, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Which means Jesus is always with us, when we ask him to be, when we thank him for his sacrifice and surrender our lives to him.
There’s so much more that I could share about my faith, but I think this is a good start. Feel free to ask me questions. I don’t know everything, and I’ll be the first one to admit I don’t understand why a lot of things happen, but I do have faith