“In all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us. There is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.” —Romans 8:37, 39 (GNB)
Our family moved to Lake Preston when I entered the first grade. I loved my small town and my friends, and I had a steady boyfriend, my prince charming. When I was a senior, my family moved to Sioux Falls. Exactly one week after my high school graduation, I married my prince and moved back “home.” Unfortunately my marriage ended nine years later. I was a single mother with two young girls who I tried to keep safe and happy. We moved back to Sioux Falls and the security of family. But a terrible guilt nagged at me. How could I have decided to deny my children the right to live with both their mom and dad? I had to work every day, but thankfully my mom helped care for my girls. Yet what about what the Bible said in Matthew 5 and 19, Mark 10 and Luke 16 about divorce? Hadn’t I promised to love and cherish “until death do us part”? I felt as though I had committed an unforgivable sin.
And yet God still loved me. One August day Pastor E.S. Skaar from First Lutheran stopped by and invited us to attend church. I dropped the kids off at Sunday school but spent the entire hour beating myself up. What was I doing trying to raise my kids by myself?! There was that nagging guilt again. To my surprise, when I went back to church, my daughters were all excited. It had been Rally Sunday with notes and helium balloons and they both wanted to join church choir. The service was a contemporary service, and I sat next to Diana Borgum who made us feel so welcome. Over the coming years we attended church and became involved in church activities—Joy and Carol Choir, Mother’s Club, Sunday school, Christmas programs, Bethel Bible Study and Hannah Circle. Over and over I heard about confession and forgiveness, God’s grace through faith and God’s love, even for sinful people. I confessed my seemingly unforgivable sin to God and asked forgiveness. It was comforting and reassuring to accept God’s forgiveness and to have the conviction that he loves me always and he sent his Son to die for my sins.
Two years later I met a wonderful man who accepted my daughters as his own. Together we have four children and seven grandchildren, and God has blessed us for over 33 years. To be sure, I must daily confess my sins of commission and omission, and it is a daily challenge to be the person that God wants me to be. But I am eternally grateful for the Sacrament of Holy Communion where we can all come before God, confess our sins and be forgiven and loved unconditionally.
Dear God, thank you for gift of your Son, Jesus, who is full of grace and truth and for your love and forgiveness of our sins. Amen.