Psalm 78:6-7, “That the generation to come might know them, The children who would be born, That they would arise and declare them to their children, that they may set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.”
Two weeks ago I crossed the Alabama state line on my way to support my second daughter. She was awaiting the birth of her second baby due November 21st. As I read the words, “Welcome to Alabama,” many memories began to flood my mind. Thirty-three years ago I crossed the Alabama state line for the first time. I was a new Army 2LT on my way to my Aviation Basic Course followed by flight school training at Ft. Rucker, Alabama. I was a young woman with attitude and plans to make the Army my career. At the time I was unaware of God’s best plan for me as I began a new season of life in the deep South. Shortly upon my arrival I was reacquainted with a young Second Lieutenant named Rich Juergens, who I had met the previous spring at an Army conference in Virginia. We became quick friends and he invited me to attend Sunday school and church. This invitation would forever change my heart and life. Within one hour of entering the church building I knew I was missing something in my life. Each person I met extended a love toward me I had never experienced. These people were unlike anyone I had ever met. It was then God began the process of revealing Himself to me and the true plan He had for my life. He brought me to Enterprise, Alabama to get my heart to a place soft enough to hear Him and see Him through the lives of those that truly knew and loved Him. The most important memory of my lifetime is forever etched in my mind and it happened in Alabama! The memory of the day I met Jesus for the first time through a handful of single adults who lavished me with His love. I left that day in search of the real meaning of life and I quickly found my answers in the word of God. Less than a week later I prayed and asked Jesus into my heart and life. Alabama, the place that began the two most important relationships in my entire life. My relationship with Jesus and the relationship with the man who would forever steal my heart and would eventually become my husband. Alabama, where God began to cast new vision in my heart after so many years of saying I was never going to get married. Alabama, where I finally surrendered my heart and agreed to marry my husband. Then five years later, Alabama is where we would return after I resigned my commission and accepted the call on my life as a stay at home wife, mom and then pregnant with our second daughter Hannah Faith. Now thirty-three years later I am here in Alabama once again. This time in support of my daughter, a former Army nurse who laid down her career to support her soldier and follow him to Ft. Rucker just as I did after surrendering my career twenty-seven years ago. Oh, how much wisdom we gain as we realize the amazing circle of life that God has designed. But I am learning the best is always yet to come. This past week we met our newest granddaughter, Ryleigh Lynn. I waited for my newest grand baby just like I waited for her Momma, who was also late but both born in Alabama! As I have had this special time with my daughter and her family, God has reminded me of so much. I took our first granddaughter to play on Ft. Rucker, as she LOVES to swing. I was shocked to find the same park ,with a few upgrades, that I took her momma and two of my other children to swing and play so many years ago. We returned to Ft Rucker after I left the Army and accepted the calling to come home. We have also walked the trails that were a favorite activity when my Hannah was a little girl. I can only smile when our granddaughter insists “she is going to do it herself,” just like her mom did. What wonderful memories and heart-felt moments. But more importantly the real meaning of God’s plan for my life is unfolding before my very eyes. This time in Alabama I am the grandmother, singing praise songs with my granddaughter just like I did with her mom at this same age, I am watching my granddaughter close her eyes and pray and even refuse to go to bed until her parents pray over her. Our 20 month old granddaughter’s heart already has a love for Jesus and a trust in Him. Her parents are teaching her that every day as they love and disciple her in the ways of the Lord. (Deuteronomy 6) I have watched each day with such gratefulness as I am experiencing the harvest from the seeds of faith my husband and I have sown and experiencing the power of God’s designed circle of life! All of the years of hard work training up our girls is now producing a harvest of faith and blessings. (Galatians 6:9) I am witnessing firsthand the passing on of our gift of faith to the next generation. As I reflect I now realize only God could connect a young woman and a young man from completely different backgrounds who grew up in different parts of the country and bring us together in a random location in Southern Alabama. Only God could make such opposites attract and after a first date at the local Wendy’s and an invitation to church, He would become the center of our friendship. That friendship would grow into a lifetime relationship of love and commitment and later produce eight beautiful daughters. God in His amazing circle of life knew the best plan for my life and He is now multiplying our family. My trip to Alabama was in support of my daughter, yet I am the one blessed as I am witness to God’s vision and plan for family each day. I experienced His word in action as I saw and heard the next generation(my daughter and her husband ) teach my granddaughter a love for God and His ways. Alabama will always hold a special place in my heart and this visit made me remember the faithfulness of God over and over again in my life and now in the lives of my children and grandchildren.
God pursued my heart even when I did not know Him as my Lord and Savior. The love of God to constantly pursue my heart was His faithfulness to me. That amazing grace and love has given me His heart’s desire to pass that truth and love on to the next generation.
May you see His hand on your life and experience His fierce love for you. May it transform your heart and give you the same desire to pass that knowledge and truth to your families knowing God will continue to fulfill His plan from one generation to the next. How exciting to be a part of His amazing circle of life.