ALl The Way
Everyone has a different journey to God. Some people have a “come to Jesus” moment like Saul on the road to Damascus and it is dramatic and measurable. Others were born on a Tuesday and were brought to church the following Sunday, so it is difficult to define when they began loving God.
SHEILA STAMPER is one of those who just about went from the hospital to the church building when she was born. In fact, one of her earliest memories is of playing in a roped-off area with other children while their parents helped build an addition to the Centerline Church of Christ in Warren, MI. She has very happy memories of the friendships she made both at Centerline and later at Echo Meadows Church of Christ where her family began attending when her father was transferred to Toledo when Sheila was eight years old.
But her spiritual journey took some unexpected turns. When Sheila was eleven, her mother went to work outside of the home and with this change, they did not attend church as regularly. Even as a young child, she just “felt a need to go to church” and she and her brother would walk a mile to a church of Christ together. God was working in her young heart even then.
By her freshman year in high school, Sheila still had an inconsistent relationship with the Lord. The Lord, however, continued calling out to her. She was with friends one day and someone asked, “Do you believe in God?” Just to go along with the crowd, Sheila said, “No.” To this day she remembers that moment and feels ashamed. But her journey to God was not over yet.
When her family moved to Temperance, MI they found a nearby Methodist Church where Sheila attended as an adult until her daughter, Angel, was two. Sheila admits that as a mother she did not make church a priority and her girls attended various churches with friends and on bus programs. She is grateful for the influence of Christian grandparents who gave her daughters a strong spiritual background at a time when Sheila did not—a time she wishes she could go back and change. But there is one thing all of our journeys have in common: we can only move forward.
Many years later, Sheila’s family moved to New Hudson where her daughter, Angel, found the South Lyon Church of Christ. Sheila attended when she could, but she worked a lot on Sundays. God was still whispering to her heart. It was the love for God that Sheila saw in Angel’s life that began to change her. She admits that this influence should have been the other way around; but, God works through others on our journeys and Sheila says, “At least I found my way.”
For Sheila there were many curves, stop signs, and detours on the road to God, but He never left her unattended on her journey. After all these years, Sheila now has this to say:
My life is so much richer and happier since I let God in all the way. He has been there for me in so many ways and blessed me when I needed it. I am humbled before Him.
And now Sheila is the grandmother who is spiritually influencing the next generation.