Recently I was having a conversation about Reformed theology with some friends and as we discussed different topics I began thinking back to the first time I heard of them. Many old memories of conversations came flooding back to me. I could trace back through my life and see how the threads wove together like a tapestry. A sense of gratitude came over me as I reflected on God’s perfect placement of friends in my life, at His specific appointed time.
I remember the very first time I heard about election. My friend Gina and I were at McDonald’s, letting our daughters play on the playground. We were chatting away and the conversation turned to election. I had questions and she took the time to explain things to me. I was in a church that was Armenian, so all of these new thoughts were raising many questions.
About the same time God did several things to aid in my growth. Though the church I was in didn’t teach much in the way of doctrine, we did have ladies Precept Bible study. This Bible study helped me grow tremendously. One of my favorite studies we did was on the Blood Covenant. My eyes were opened to so many ideas and insights that I was unfamiliar with even though I had been in church for over 10 years. In the Precept study on the Blood Covenant I saw how God’s redemptive plan was revealed throughout His word from Genesis through Revelation. What I learned in these studies opened my mind to so many truths and I was taught how to truly study my Bible.
Around the time that I had my third child the Precept classes ended. God had another plan for helping me continue to grow and the thread continued. He brought several friends into my life that would encourage me in more Reformed theology. They were all other moms and we all had children around the same age. As the Lord used them to encourage me as a mother, they also encouraged me in my faith. The conversations we had would often turn to the things of God. Melanie, Gale & Kevin would share thoughts about doctrine with me, taking time to answer questions as they would arise. I don’t remember a lot of the specific conversations, maybe because the things we talked about were about things that I was already beginning to see, but I do remember how encouraged and challenged I was by them.
Some of my friends also taught me a lot by what they didn’t say. My friend Sarah had a conviction about only wearing dresses, and in all of the times we were together, she never said anything about it to me. She didn’t judge me or criticize my different convictions, she loved me where I was and encouraged me in my daily walk.
My friend Starr blessed me greatly by encouraging me to read the book, “A Journey In Grace” which helped me to solidify my understanding on the 5 points of Calvinism and explained them in an easy to understand way.
Through the homeschool group we were all in I also learned a lot about different doctrines. Many of my homeschooling friends went to churches that taught greatly different doctrine from what I believed. I learned from them how to love my sisters in Christ, even when we disagree on doctrine.
In the last few years God has brought more people into my life to help me refine my understanding of Reformed doctrine. There were many concepts I learned through the years, but as I learned the concepts I didn’t learn the names that described the concepts. I call these names, “the big words.” There are many of these big words, some of which I have learned some of which I haven’t. I am thankful for my brothers in Christ, Paul and Jeff, who have encouraged me to learn the big words and to study more.
I’m also thankful for my brother in Christ, Kevin, from across the pond in Manchester who has been more than willing to answer questions and explain concepts in a way that is easily understood.
This list is by no means exhaustive, I have been blessed by many other wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ that I haven’t mentioned. Tonight as I look back over the past 27 years of my Christian walk I am humbled to see the way the Lord has chosen to bless me. Not because of anything I have done to deserve such blessing, but only because of His grace. I can see the threads of my life that He has woven together, though I haven’t a clue what the final image will look like (I hope it’s a lot like Christ). I am thankful for my dear friends, and pray that I can help others as they have helped me.