in the beginning…Posted: Thursday, February 18, 2010
This is my story. But, really it is HIS story. God’s story. He wrote it, but allowed me to live it…and to tell it. He is the author of my life. I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide me as I try to put words to my experiences over the last few years. My success can only be measured by my obedience to the Lord. Where do I begin? There’s so much I want to share as an inspiration and encouragement.
It started in May of 1963 when I was born to Alvinia and Milton Michalec. I am the youngest of four children born between 1958 and 1963. Mom and Dad raised us in the church. Sunday morning and night, Wednesday night, youth functions, church friends to the house, trips cross-country for Teen Talent, and Summer Camp in Buckingham. If there was something going on in the church, the Michalec’s were there! But, there was a secret that remained at home. Mom, a daughter of an alcoholic father, also married an anxiety ridden man, Dad, who also turned to the bottle to escape the physical and emotional pain of life. Happy memories are hard to resurrect and it seems that the pain sometimes remains in the forefront. I am happy to report that Dad, by the Grace of God, has been “on the wagon” for decades now, and our family continues to work toward healing and reconciliation. I am working on replacing those painful memories with new and positive ones with my Dad. Mom and Dad worked hard to provide for the family, but it was often tough to “make ends meet”. But, in spite of all of that, the four of us, to quote Dad, “never caused him a bit of trouble”…meaning that we did well in school and never ended up in jail.
I am a white woman, who was raised in the white-West End, a suburb of a racially divided Richmond, VA…in America…growing up watching the Brady Bunch, Archie Bunker, I Dream of Jeanie, Sanford and Sons, and the Jeffersons. Oh yeah…and Hee Haw! It wasn’t until I went to VA Tech that my eyes were opened to the beauty of diversity that different races have to offer. My high school graduating class had no more than 10-20 non-whites in a class of about 525.
My journey had only just begun. Now, 4 decades later, is where I pick up the story. It’s the early 2000’s and we made it through y2k. (Does anyone even remember what y2k was all about anyway?) I began to take my relationship with the Lord a lot more seriously than I ever had before. I grew up expected to follow a long list of do’s and don’ts…almost a checklist religion. Can’t wear jewelry, no pants for quite a while, painted nails were considered to be Jezebel-like….just to name a few. Now, I was experiencing and learning about what it was like to have a relationship with the Lord.
I began attending a Tuesday Night Bible study, where women of all races, ages, and backgrounds gathered to spend time in the Word and in fellowship. Unlike the years of Jonah and the Whale, Moses and the Ten Commandments, etc. that you learned in Sunday School, I was now experiencing what it meant to really study the Bible…not just learn it. It became alive for me…like never before. I was participating in our Youth Group as a youth leader and was mentoring a high school student. I shared with one of the break-out groups about my desire to do more. Not sure what that looked like.
In 2004-2005, I started looking to purchase my first home. The housing market in Richmond was a bit out of control…and costly. I had been looking throughout the Richmond area, placing bids on houses…with escalating clauses up to 9%, but someone always out bid me. I was beginning to get really frustrated.
I prayed for guidance from the Lord. My small group of women prayed right along with me.