Chocolate Chip Salvation
I am ordinary, about as ordinary as they come. I have the same hopes as most mothers, dreams as most women, the same love as most wives. So, that's how I know God loves all his children. Not just the special, most talented of his children. Not just the ones who are disabled and are in special need of Him, not just the ones who excel in all they do or are the most righteous. God loves ALL his children and longs to help ALL his children. How do I know that? Because He helped me when I least expected it.
I had been raised by two alcoholic parents in a lower income existence in a disheveled home. Mom hated house work and it definitely showed. My parents taught me that Jesus Christ was a swear word, at least that's what I thought, until I was old enough to look at Christmas cards and wonder who that small baby was lying in straw.
To fast forward, and not go in to a boring ordinary child's life, at age 16 I started attending the Mormon Church. At age 17 I was baptized and the day before my eighteenth birthday I married the missionary that taught me the discussions before baptism. We were married for 10 years and had four wonderful children. He left one day with a back pack and never came back. One of the brothers from our church became interested in me when he found out that my husband had left and started courting me. I fell weak to temptation one time and immediately went to my bishop. A church court was convened and I was excommunicated. We married shortly thereafter and several years later I was re-baptized. It was the most humiliating experience of my life to have to go through all that but with such a strong belief in Mormonism I would have done anything to be allowed back in to "His" fold.
Two years after we were married we had a beautiful baby girl. However, due to my husband's bi-polar disorder our marriage was crumbling away. During the twenty years that I was a member of the Mormon church I taught Primary in just about every class they had, was in the Relief Society Presidency, Young Women's presidency, Primary Presidency, Stake Primary Board, choir director, Stake Primary choir director at the young age of 19, and more "callings" that I cannot even remember. I was a "staunch" member for the 20 years I was a Mormon. I attended the temple regularly, but I never felt once in those 20 years that I could ever "measure up". I could never store a full year's supply of food. I could never save a full year's worth of income. I could never have a year's supply of fuel. I wasn't an accomplished seamstress. I didn't know how to cook really well with wheat. Sometimes my house would be messy, sometimes I argued with my spouse. Sometimes I would be too tired to write in my journal or say my prayers at the end of the day. But I knew that if I kept trying maybe someday I would feel that I had "arrived". I was trying desperately to raise five children on a single income and it was becoming harder and harder. I finally started working for a dentist that I went to church with. After being employed there for about five years he laid me off and put his wife and daughter in my place. I was under the assumption it was to try and save his practice some money. I decided to collect unemployment throughout that summer and spend some much needed time with my children. That was probably the most wonderful summer of my life. There was so much I wasn't "good" at but one thing I really loved doing, that was being a mom.
When school started I knew it would be soon that I would need to be finding employment. However, one day, while all the children were at school I made them chocolate chip cookies. I liked them coming home to the smell of that cooking in our home and that nice treat waiting for them. I had done this a zillion times before.
However, on this particular day, as I was cleaning up from making cookies, I was remembering what I had heard spoken at church the previous Sunday. The speaker was talking about all of God's children. They were as many as the sands of the sea. (Genesis 22:17: “I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.”) I began thinking how many children that was. Just one cup of sand holds more grains than I could ever begin to count. I looked up at the sugar decanter. It was a clear decanter sitting in the corner on my counter. I was staring at all the grains of sugar thinking about them each representing God's children. I walked over and got out my measuring cup, bowls and spoons. Talking out loud I said, "If all this sugar represented all the children God had ever had, has now on earth, and who will ever be born until Christ comes and if I were to take out all of the sugar that represented Mormons I would probably end up with maybe two cups. I took out a bowl and measured two cups into it. Out of these two cups if I were to take out those that were active L.D.S. it would represent what? Maybe one cup. I took out another bowl and measured from the first bowl one cup into it. Out of this one cup if I were to measure those who were heirs to the celestial kingdom I figured it would measure maybe about a quarter of a cup. I took out another bowl and measured a quarter cup from the last bowl. Out of this quarter cup how many would be heirs of the highest degree of Glory in the Celestial Kingdom? Hmmmmmmmm, maybe a full tablespoon. I stared at the tablespoon and then at the sugar left in my decanter....................... NO! The God I love and worship would never just do away with all these children for one tablespoon of these. No. Not my God. I poured all the sugar back into the decanter and said out loud, "Oh, my gosh! I've been living a lie for twenty years!" The previous Sunday I had been teaching music to the primary and teaching a Sunday School class, had just said my prayers that morning and read my lesson for the following Sunday, and now I knew I could never do that again, in just one split second of a moment.
I went to my bedroom, fell on my knees and sobbed! Lord, what am I going to do? I feel like an orphan! What church should I start attending, what books should I be reading, what am I going to tell my family? What will my children do? They don't know any other belief???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? What about my husband? What will he think?
I had never felt so totally alone and homesick as I did at that very moment. I almost felt like I wanted to end my life. As I knelt by my bed sobbing and praying, all of a sudden, I heard a voice say, "Alice, the key to eternity is love.” I stopped praying and listened. Who was that? Lord, what is that supposed to mean? The key to eternity is love????? That doesn't answer any of my questions! I need to know what to do next!!!!!!!! I never heard another thing. The whole rest of the day I was in a state of semi-shock. I called and told the Sunday School President I wasn't going to be able to teach any longer for personal reasons and told the same thing to the Primary President. Miraculously they didn't press or ask why. I surely wasn't ready to explain. I never said anything to my family.
That night, I was sitting in bed clicking through the channels when I came across an evening talk show. I can't remember what it was and I got in half way through but it was enough to catch my interest. There was a lady speaking whose face was horribly scarred. She had evidently been in a plane crash with her husband on a mountain side. She escaped the crash and had crawled away from the plane. She looked at the flames and saw a person carrying her husband out of the flames and placed him on the ground. She went over to her husband and asked who had carried him. He didn't know what she was talking about. They walked down the mountain side and I remember her saying that her lips felt dry and she went to lick them and they fell off. She was burned so badly her lips literally fell off her face. They made it down off the mountain and climbed over some fences and finally made it to a road. She said something about collapsing on the road. It is hard now to remember exactly all that she said, however someone had found them and an aid car finally came and took them both to the hospital. She remembered feeling such intense pain and coming in and out of consciousness. She finally remembers looking "down" at her body realizing that it was covered with a sheet, realizing that it was her body that was covered. Then she felt herself being sucked into a dark tunnel. She could see a light at the end of the tunnel and she instinctively knew to follow that light. As she did so, at the end of the tunnel waiting for her was her Grandmother who had passed away years before. She remembered feeling the most wonderful feeling. No pain, no sadness, just a wonderful feeling of intense happiness and well being. She grabbed her grandmother and hugged her. I don't remember all that she said but I remember her saying that her grandmother told her that she needed to go back. It wasn't time for her yet. She had told her no! That she could not ever endure that pain that earth life had given her let alone the horrible pain from the burns on her body. Her Grandmother said the choice was hers however, it was not yet time. She told her grandmother she could not possibly return. Then a young man walked up to her and said "mother". She looked up and he explained that she was pregnant with him at this very moment and that if she didn't return she would not be able to give birth to him. She felt such a strong feeling of confusion. She didn't know she was pregnant. She had two daughters and never had a son. She couldn't imagine the pain she would have to endure if she went back to earth, but she knew she loved this boy. It took all she could muster to agree to go back. She said goodbye to her son, and then hugged her grandmother close and said goodbye. Her grandmother hugged her tightly then whispered in her ear, "Always remember, the key to eternity is love."
Don't ask me what the rest of her story was. I couldn't tell you if I had to. But, I felt that the Lord wasn't abandoning me. He really had spoken to me and I just wasn't some emotional maniac thinking I was hearing voices that afternoon. My story goes on and on from here as all of our stories do. You see, we all have a story, each as important as the other. We may never write a book, be a famous champion or athlete. We may never hold a high position, or become rich and famous, actor or actress. However, we all have a famous story to tell and our Lord wants to hear it. We are His favorite and He yearns to hear our story. We are famous to Him. We are a champion to Him. We hold a high position...you are the child of an eternal King who loves you to perfection.
I am not a Bible scholar. I can't memorize verses, and I go in spurts studying my Bible. I have a horrible memory when it comes to the important things that I should remember and then I remember the things that are trivial, like lips falling off!!!
I am ordinary, about as ordinary as they come. However, chocolate chip cookies are still my favorite and they brought me toward salvation. It doesn't get more ordinary than this!!! And for that, I am grateful.
Jesus... He is the key to our eternity!!!
John 13:34: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another."