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Drastic Alterations

Updated: Feb 27

I'm sure there were previous moments where my faith was challenged, but my first and lasting remembrance was as—a twenty-four-year-old youth director in St. Louis, Missouri.

Having recently undergone a life change and returning to an upscaled model of my childhood belief system, I had taken the position of youth director at Memorial Presbyterian Church near Washington University. This meant a drastic alteration in my income and outlook. Most of my friends were concerned as I left behind my education and future prospects as I had received a scholarship only a month prior.

I was now earning a grand total of $300 per month, with the church providing a place to live that included breakfast. As the end of the month rolled around, I was dead flat broke! I had to dig into my penny jar for an assortment of change to buy a hamburger.

I became acquainted with the art of fasting during the first few months. This journey in and of itself may be worthy of a blog. Then discovering how to budget, I learned to skip meals throughout the month to make it to the end of my $300. This had to be a short-term answer as I was a very active twenty-four-year-old that led a youth ministry. Missing meals was starting to take its toll. Losing weight and regularly getting some sickness became a concern.

Possibly you've read my blog, How I discovered My True Passion? During this season, I began learning to walk moment by moment with God through a book called The Practice of the Presence of God. This series of letters taught me and continues to remind me how to have a conversational lifestyle with God. Leaving room for my voice and God's to be heard.

Delving into the joys of thanksgiving while learning to lament without being a victim opened the door to heaven. A pathway of friendship. It was here I could tell the Father my concerns while learning to journey into a relationship of trust. This lifetime journey builds upon itself, expanding my faith into new revelations as long as I'm willing to pursue this relationship.

These letters from Brother Lawrence opened up a relationship of trust where I could express my heart with the knowledge that God was for me, not against me. He is good.

One morning I arrived at the church office to find an envelope waiting for me. On the envelope was my name in bold, BYRON written on the front. There was no other name, address, or postage. Opening that first envelope and seeing a crisp ten-dollar bill will forever be etched in my memory. Every month after this, I received an envelope with an increased amount that carried the near exact amount I needed to make up the difference for the month.

I'm forever grateful to Brother Lawerence and those letters he wrote. I'm also thankful to a God who cares and has allowed me to live moments of faith and experience that generous love.

The last person I wish to thank is the church secretary. I never knew it was her until years later when I returned to Memorial to discover she had been the one delivering a gift each month. She has passed away into a beautiful kingdom of hope. May this gift she gave be a true crown of joy to her!

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