I am a Wilson…always have been, always will be. I’m also a Mraz, a Kemp, an Asimakoupoulos, a Pappas, a Tyrus, a Turley and even a McCoy. I have something of each of those families in my genes. I’m very aware that I am who I am today because of my family heritage. I have strong Czech and Greek ancestry, and I love that.
I’m a Presbyterian. I’m also an A/G, a Charismatic, and a Word of Faith. Today, I guess I would identify myself as a Christ-follower. At different stages of my life I was heavily influenced by each of these denominations/streams of the Body of Christ, and I love that. That is my spiritual heritage. Just as I couldn’t/wouldn’t say, “I used to be a Wilson,” I don’t say, “I used to be a Presbyterian.”
As a little girl at Lapwai Presbyterian Church (membership @ 65), I could recite The Apostle’s Creed before reciting the Apostle Creed was cutting edge. We sang the Gloria Patri and The Lord Bless You And Keep You With 7 Fold Amen, and I learned all four verses of A Mighty Fortress, O For a Thousand Tongues, Fairest Lord Jesus, Take Time To Be Holy, and on and on and on. Those rich aspects of the church are a part of my core. Why would I ever let go of that? Why would I “used to be” that? When I was in my Confirmation Class at age 12, I asked my pastor if a woman could be a pastor. He wasn’t real encouraging about that, but did suggest I might become a missionary. I didn’t realize I was feeling a calling into ministry at that time—I didn’t even know that there was such a thing. (One other thing, it’s not everybody who gets to sing Zulu Warrior and Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree at church camp.)
As a teenager, I fell in love with Jesus as a result of my involvement in an Assembly of God church. I don’t think the “Jesus Freak” movement ever made it to Lapwai, so I didn’t get to officially be one of them, but I did love Him. My pastor preached about Heaven a lot and could scare the Hell out of you if necessary!
When I went to Oral Roberts University (”the largest Charismatic University in the world”), I learned that God is a good God and I could expect a miracle. I became acquainted with the Holy Spirit and how He wanted to speak to me and that I could hear His voice. I experienced a new expression of worship. I met the Holy Spirit and my husband!
In the early years of our marriage, Dave and I were blessed to be in a setting where there was a great deal of emphasis on studying and speaking/professing/confessing God’s Word. It was the first time in my life that I understood the importance of hiding His Word in my heart and confessing and praying God’s Word. It hurts my heart today when I hear people mock the part of my heritage referred to as the “Word of Faith.” We fellowshipped in the heart of that community of faith and we learned how to “eat the hay and leave the sticks.”
As I’m writing this, I see the progression in my spiritual life of learning to:
1) Love God
2) Love Jesus
3) Love the Holy Spirit
4) Love His Word
Today, I find great peace in being able to find something to celebrate and even honor in the variety of expression in the Body of Christ. In the spirit of full disclosure, I also love the Gaithers!
1 Thessalonians 5: 12-28 (MSG)
The Way He Wants You to Live
12-13And now, friends, we ask you to honor those leaders who work so hard for you, who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along in your obedience. Overwhelm them with appreciation and love!
13-15Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part. Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on. Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs. And be careful that when you get on each other’s nerves you don’t snap at each other. Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out.
16-18Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.
19-22Don’t suppress the Spirit, and don’t stifle those who have a word from the Master. On the other hand, don’t be gullible. Check out everything, and keep only what’s good. Throw out anything tainted with evil.
23-24May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it!
25-27Friends, keep up your prayers for us. Greet all the followers of Jesus there with a holy embrace. And make sure this letter gets read to all the brothers and sisters. Don’t leave anyone out.
28The amazing grace of Jesus Christ be with you!