How The Church Changed My Life – Heather Ragot

Like so many stories we have heard over these last few weeks, my relationship with the church began as an infant at my baptism. Christian faith was a birthright given to me by my parents and claimed on the day of my baptism. My parents and the assembled believers at Church on that day prayed for me and this relationship. Over the years these believers gave me a template of a Christian life. Psalm 139 verse 13 and 14 reminds me of this gift. “For You formed my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Your works, and I know this very well.”

The years have given me the opportunity to claim for myself this gift of my baptism and the house of my faith, the Church. Other members in the Church have inspired me to carry on down this path. To stand among other believers in Church has encouraged me to fully claim this gift from God and to proudly proclaim myself as a “Child of God”.

But in reality, the truth of my faith and the relationship I have had with the “Church” was fully articulated and came to be when I had my own children. I reflected on my faith, how I wanted to introduce God and his Church to my child, and how so very blessed I felt at becoming a mother. My husband and I both felt a deep sense of blessing and immediately thanked God for the miracle of our son Eric. I remember attending the baptism preparation meeting for Eric and explaining why we wanted to present our child for baptism. We said, “We are overwhelmed with the enormity of the blessing and the trust God had placed upon us with the gift of this Child.” We explained that “we were so sure that this child came from God”, and it was “our duty to return this child back to God”. This formed our parental philosophy for a Christ Centered experience for our child and now our younger children!

As an educator I have observed that if parents don’t choose a group experience for their child, then the child will always find a group to experience life, and that may not always be a healthy choice. And so we chose the Church over all other things. Sunday to Sunday, much like my youth, we come to Church and week after week we are encouraged by the assembled believers

Since the birth of Eric in October 2002, we have been blessed beyond measure with the two more wonderful gifts from God, both through adoption. First, a beautiful baby boy Elliot in November of 2009 and our sweet and determined girl, Margaret in July of 2014. It is hard to put into words the answer to prayers, the unmeasurable joy and blessing of these two children. We were told when we first attended meetings on adoption that we would “have to wait 8 years for a newborn baby” and so we tempered our prayers. We hoped and prayed to have any child that God would grant us join our family. As we went down this path, we called upon God and the Church. We were rewarded with two newborn babies over 5 years. Our Elliot reminds us that Eric came “regular delivery”, whereas he and Maggie came “Special delivery”, but in truth we are not fooled, they are all wonderful blessings and miracles of faith, prayer and God’s trust!

We feel so blessed, grateful and so very happy that the Church is here and supports us, and encourages us, and houses our faith, and allows us, in real time, to demonstrated our faith to our children! And now this journey of the gift of faith belongs to our children as they are known to be “Children of God” through their baptisms and for this we rejoice! Thank you for the opportunity to put into word the importance the Church has been to me and my family.. The Church has changed my life in ways that words could never be enough to explain…..it has given me the gift of deep, profound belief in the hand that guides, once you have the faith to let go…..Yah God!