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THATíS LIFE...

 

Kathy Dingus

 

Iím a second generation WCG member. My parents started attending the WCG in 1964, part of the "early years!" I was 5 years old. My father had listened to Mr. Armstrong on the radio for a few years before he actually knew there was a church available to attend! He wrote for a visit and thatís where my story starts. My life didnít really change much when we started attending church. We never kept Christmas or ate pork...(kind of the things young kids worried about anyway!) Such as we couldnít go to grandmaís any more on weekends, because we had to go to church, no more sitting in class alone while everyone else enjoyed Christmas, Easter or Halloween parties! We had to be escorted to the library, away from the bad influences of paganism!

I know all of this sounds bad...but it wasnít really that hard on me. I canít speak for my brothers and sister, but I really didnít care what the other kids thought of me. I adopted my parents attitude of supremacy...or our own special corner of God, the one of being special and the one that all of the other poor people in the world didnít have what we had...the truth!

This attitude sustained me throughout my teenage years and I was baptized at a young age for a WCG Teen...16 years old! I wasnít really ready then...but it was what I thought I was supposed to do, and the ministry agreed. I thought I had a wonderful relationship with God (not much thought about Christ or the Holy Spirit, though).

Only after many hard knocks and several broken hearts later, (from men who werenít members and "off limits" at that time), one failed marriage with a WCG member, who probably had as many problems as I did, and a realization that I really needed God in my life did my spiritual life start to form..

I previously dreaded Saturday mornings. I had 3 young children to get up, get ready for church, drive for 1 hour, and spend all morning in the mother's room, not being able to hear any of the sermon, try to sit on my 3 kids and keep them quiet, and then drive home again after it was over. No spiritual rejuvenation or love from Grace was felt here! Just that I knew something was missing...and that it was probably my attitude, which made me feel worse! After all I had married a man that wasn't a member and I deserved what I got, didn't I? This was actually repeated to me by a minister of the WCG!

I did marry a wonderful man who was not a member, had three children, but still kept my close relationship with my parents who remained loyal and faithful members of the WCG. My father was the strongest and most faithful "rock" I have ever known, even to this day. He died at the young age of 58, leaving my mother alone. The New Covenant was just starting to be preached, but oh, how I embraced it! I drank in the new revelations and attitudes toward Jesus Christ and Grace and even the Holy Spirit! I thanked God for the wonderful new truth and the much needed spiritual boost in my life! I felt guilty because I understood all of the changes... almost before the ink dried on the paper the new truths were being printed on, and many of my friends didnít.

Even now, I long for some of them to know the wonderful "free" feeling that I have deep inside. I always felt guilty before...like I would never measure up...I knew it, and God knew it, but my pastor, my friends and my parents didnít know how "bad" I really was inside! I could "fake" spiritualism with everyone but God! I knew I would never "make it." Grace was the most wonderful concept to me. Jesus actually love me...how much? To die for me? Wow!

When I finally understood, it didnít matter how good I was or how bad I was, Grace was mine...a free gift from Jesus Christ...my life changed totally...for good...forever. I could never go back to the attitude I had before. No way...no how!

I have always seemed to be a leader, and now am the womenís ministry coordinator for Norton, VA congregation. I publish Sarahís Daughters Newsletter, and have had the pleasure of meeting many wonderful women at our Beaconís Retreat! I thoroughly enjoy living under the "Grace" of Jesus Christ. It makes me want to attend church, want to serve others, want to be there for the members in our little church. Want to pray every morning, and throughout the day, just a thought away from Christ at anytime. I have grown so close to Jesus, so much more close than I had ever thought I could...before.

I sing songs of praise in my car, driving to work in the morningís, not caring what the other passers by or motorist in the next lane think of me, bouncing up and down, tapping the wheel with my hands in time with the music. I talk to Jesus whenever something comes up throughout the day..whether a friend is in crisis, a patient of mine really needs Christís help, a hitchhiker needs a ride in the rain, etc. I share my day with Him...I share my entire life with Him, and I love Him with all my heart and soul. I donít know how I lived before. Honest!

I donít think what I had before was living...it was existing. But now I have come into the fullness of His joy, the joy that comes from His Grace and Holy Spirit within me.

I know that I fail Him many times throughout the day...I also know that He knows I will fail. I do feel like I have let Him down when I sin, although I donít feel like I am condemned and will never make it, like I did before. Instead I confess my sins to Him, all throughout the day, and on a bad day, many times!!) and let Him comfort me and lead me to where He wants me to be, where He wants me to go and into what He wants me to do!

As I read my words now, I realize that I sound like the people I used to privately "make fun of" for being one of those syrupy Christians.... How tragic I was, and didnít even know it!

Itís true that there is no joy, but for and in Him.

After being married to a wonderful man for the past 15 years, he is now attending church every week in another denomination and I now have the freedom to attend with him on Sunday morning and experience a closeness that I never expected to have. I pray that he will come to realize that He also needs Christ in His life, just as I did! He sees the change in myself, as well as the change in our denomination and I think this has changed his perception of "religion."

He has been attending church now for almost 3 months, and I can sense Christ working through Him. Besides, I tell him that I am now "extra-righteous" since I attend my church on Saturday mornings and his on Sundays! (Just kidding!!) He knows all to well my faults!! HAHA!

I hope you can make sense of my long ramblings, however heartfelt they may be...they are all for His glory now! I am so glad that I can write these things with complete honesty and Love for Him. I wish everyone could have this feeling of complete LOVE. I would give it to them if I could, but I realize it must come from Him! I know how wonderful life will be for the world one day, when He returns and His reign will descend upon this love-starved planet! I pray for that everyday!

I do not have any feelings of regret over anything that I might have missed out on! I realize the attitude and sacrifices that we made in our early years, were just that! I made those sacrifices to God, and do not begrudge them or want to take them back! That would be like an "Indian Giver"! (no racial slur intended). We need to be thankful instead, that we no longer have to miss out on anything! God has given us the best of all there is!

When we fully experience the "forgiveness" and know that we have been forgiven...we are washed clean...there's no greater feeling of love that we can experience, I think. When I wrote the article on "Forgiveness" for In Touch, the thought of being forgiven for my transgressions does actually make me weak in the knees! I wish we could all bestow a little more of His Grace on each other!" Imagine how much happier we would all be!