By Mary Zatkalik
The first years of my marriage were like the countdown to Christmas. I had everything a girl could want and more. I was loved by my man. After our first year anniversary we purchased a starter home, a cute Cape Cod. We painted and wallpapered together creating an adorable dollhouse with low mortgage payments. This allowed me to live my dream of having a baby and staying home so that I could raise her according to my standards. Every time I turned around, my husband was promoted higher on the corporate ladder. He bought me a brand new Chevy Malibu, mint green with a foxy green interior. We paid cash for it.
In no time at all I began to feel empty. What was wrong with me? I should have been over-the-top happy. I will never forget the day in the park, pushing my toddler’s stroller with leaves falling upon us and how we enjoyed a sunny afternoon chill together all bundled up in our sweaters. In desperation I cried out to God, I admit, in a lame fashion: “Can you help me?” I felt silly and ungrateful because I had so much. It was a good enough prayer though and it changed me forever. The very next week I found myself sitting in a living room with five Christian ladies studying the gospel of Matthew. For some crazy reason I had agreed to accompany my neighbor, Sue, to her girlfriend’s new fall Bible study. “How quaint,” I thought; “I’ll give it a try because I like being with Sue”. At first, I gave Sue grief on the drive home from these studies. Do you think these gals are blasphemous? They talk about Jesus like He’s their best friend. I criticized their ways, calling them a cult. But every Thursday evening, I put on my makeup and got in her car.
Like Sue, I was raised in an orthodox religion. I only knew Bible verses by listening to Sunday’s homilies. I only knew music that was sung by serious choirs. I only knew a Jesus that was contained in a religious box, never to be embraced as a personal God or friend but to be feared if I didn’t perform. None of the women in my church had a sparkle in their eyes or seemed excited about life like my new friends. I labeled these gals “women with dancing eyes.” The closer I got to the truth realizing that Jesus was a personal God and interested in every detail of my life, my eyes began to sparkle too. No one had ever loved me like that. And that is when I got into trouble.
My husband, home with our little girl, began to question where I really was going on Thursday evenings. I looked too happy. He was suspicious and He was jealous. He thought I was seeing another man. I came up with a genius plan. I took in-depth notes at the study and when I got home, I regurgitated them for him. Funny thing is, after months of this, he got saved just by my second-hand presentations!
I find it interesting in the gospel of John, Chapter 8, that Jesus protected the adulteress from critical lovers who wanted to stone her. He simply told her to stop sinning and go on her way. In contrast, He had much harsher words at the end of that very same chapter for religious folks, like me. I hold my breath when I read Verse 37: “Yes, I know that you are Abraham’s offspring, yet you plan to kill Me because My word has no entrance (makes no progress, does not find any place) in you. (Amplified.)
Mary Zatkalik. A wife, a mom of two daughters, a grandmother of two girls, retired and enjoys country living. My family and friends are important to me, but Jesus is my lifeline. You can find Mary at her blog: Piles of Smiles or on Twitter.