"But As For Me And My Household...", A Story of Faith and Perseverance

Written by  Agnes Padula-Merchan, Long Island, NY, USA Friday, 07 December 2012 20:59

Have you ever heard that a household that has been broken cannot serve the Lord?
“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
This scripture was part of a wedding vow to me when I was first married in 1986.

Let me backtrack a bit. I was converted in NYC on February 22, 1985. I am Italian and was brought up very connected to my family and traditions. I grew up in the Catholic faith, went to Catholic elementary school and high school. I became interested in God when my future sister-in-law started sharing about her new faith. I was very concerned for her and was on a mission to rescue her from what I thought was a “cult”.

I did not know what the bible said about being saved and discipleship. Once I started to study (after visiting the church for a long time), I got it. The costs I had to count were my family traditions,(Sunday meals at 2:00pm- church met at 3:00pm in NYC, I lived in Queens) and my boyfriend possibly not becoming a disciple. God gave me the strength through bible study and deep-rooted relationships and encouragement from disciples to make the decision.

My parents were mad, I was breaking the tradition of the family and they stated they would never come to my wedding if I got married in that church. Well, my boyfriend didn’t become a disciple in the time span I had committed to God, and we broke up. After four months, he did become a disciple, we waited a few months and dated in the Kingdom and it was a pure christian relationship. We got married a year later, it seemed so right, God softened my parents hearts allowing my relatives from Italy to come for my wedding and my father gave me away. We rode off on a horse and buggy, it seemed like a fairytale.

Unfortunately, we were divorced after 18 years, in July of 2004. My dad passed away suddenly a month later. As we were making preparations for his funeral a drunk driver totaled my father’s parked car (thank God no one was hurt). It seemed like so many losses at one time, then two very close families I met and converted moved out of state. I was heart broken and holding on to my faith. Somehow I declared that “I will not fall away because of all this”! The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:17-19. I thought Heaven never looked so good, I realized during these losses that I didn’t think of Heaven enough through my walk with God.
Even through all of this God did give me kisses. While I was going through my divorce I was able to study the bible with people and a couple I reached out to became disciples. This is when you see what is important in fulfilling your purpose. Hebrews 6:10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.As time went on, I still continued to have challenges as a single mom, going back to school and trying to keep life/family normal. But, somehow through all of that my 15 year old daughter became a disciple, another kiss from God!!!!
In January of 2005, I fractured my back at my very first “Singles Skiing Retreat” and in May that same year on my birthday, a woman slammed into my car causing $7,000 worth of damage and triggering some back and neck issues. All I could say is God, I know I said I wouldn’t fall away, but this is a bit too much now!

I continued to face challenges but was able to see God working on my heart. I have learned more about God’s love in my second half of life than I did when I first became a disciple. Romans 5:3-53: "Not only so, but we[] also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

It hasn’t been easy and I have been through some dark places in this journey. But I do know that everyone has a journey and it is an adventure. We need to remember to persevere because it does build character and hope.

Fast-forwarding to this year 2012, my 17year-old son became a disciple in June. What a wonderful feeling that is! In spite of my weaknesses, God has still been able to fulfill the vow that seemed to be broken…. “as for me and my household we will serve the Lord”……….

Read 2284 times Last modified on Friday, 07 December 2012 21:04