Everything I Need
February 1, 2003 - The music blared as I stood, staring at a wall, at a trendy bar in Los Angeles. In the midst of all the noise, I heard, loud and clear, a voice in my heart: "Is this where you really belong?" Throughout my life I often wondered where I did belong.
by Marsha Skidmore
I grew up in a pastor's home, and our lives revolved around church. I never thought of not going to church. It was like brushing my teeth or going to school— just something I did. When I was 6 years old, I walked the aisle with my best friend, Donna, and asked Jesus to come into my heart.
As I grew older, I felt different from my friends because I was a "PK" (preacher's kid). I became increasingly aware of the world outside of the church. My friends at school were inviting me to parties.
I wanted to do what was right, but I also wanted to belong. I began to push the boundaries of my faith.
By graduation, I was a true "fence rider." I didn't want to disappoint my parents, and often I felt guilty for the choices I made. I loved singing at church, but my faith was my parents' faith. I had no idea who I was or where I was going.
In the midst of this confusion, in my loneliest moments, I would ask my dad for the keys to the church, and I would sit at the piano for hours playing and singing. I sensed God's presence in those times.
When I left home to attend a Christian college, church moved to the bottom of my priority list. Although I still wanted to be a Christian, I didn't want to obey God.
By the time I was 23, I had finished college and started a career in aerospace. I was thankful for the job, yet I felt as if I had no life outside of my work. I felt a tug at my heart telling me that maybe I was called to something else, but I didn't know how to re-connect with God to find out what it was. My faith had been handed down to me; I had never embraced it for myself.
During this time, my parents were praying for me and encouraging me. They recommended a church in my area. That first Sunday, the pastor spoke straight to my heart. I rededicated my life to Christ, and for the first time I felt as if my faith was my own. The worship was great, and it stirred in me a longing to have music back in my life. After working in aerospace for three years, I took a leap of faith and accepted a job on staff at the church. I found opportunities to teach as well as to sing with the worship band.
I started searching for identity in my accomplishments. I began singing more solo concerts and working on various studio projects.
After experiencing some unsuccessful relationships, I felt that I was at a dead-end looking for fulfillment in a relationship with a man.
Still, I didn't want to be single and alone, and I wanted to have children. I began working in foster care, giving temporary care to children in need. Soon after, I had an opportunity to have a 4-month-old baby in my home: a blond, blue-eyed angel named Norman.
A new sense of family and love filled my life. I felt "whole" being a mother. As my love for Norman grew, my realization of God's unconditional love for me grew also. I had a new sense of identity as a child of God.
After two years of court hearings and back-and-forth decisions regarding Norman's future, I was approved and accepted to adopt him.
But a few weeks before our final court date, everything turned upside down. An appeals court ordered new attempts at reunification with Norman's birth father. Hopeless and fearful, I didn't think that I would survive if I lost this child who had been mine for three and a half years.
But the Lord reminded me of His truths: "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10, NIV). "Do not fear, for I am with you. . . . I will help you" (Cf. Isaiah 41:10).
One Sunday at church during this time, we sang "How Firm A Foundation." Each verse poured healing and hope into my brokenness: "Fear not, I am with thee; O be not dismayed, for I am thy God, and will still give thee aid."* The words helped me to feel as if I had been released from my burden. The Lord showed me that my circumstances were in His control, and He filled me with His peace.
On our final day in court, I sensed God's presence strongly. The judge looked at the father and me with tears in her eyes and said, "I rarely see a case like this where both parties work together for the good of the child. You have acted like family." I knew in that moment that even though I was being asked to let go of the son I loved, God was accomplishing His good work.
After three and a half years in my home, Norman was moved to his father's house. I wondered if I'd ever be a part of Norman's life again, if my heart would heal.
But since that day three years ago, God has lovingly kept us together, and Norman's father and I share responsibility for and time with him. My father baptized Norman last year after Norman asked Jesus into his heart. Norman still calls me "Mom," and I still call him "Son." God is good.
Throughout my life, Jesus, the gracious Friend and Lover of my soul, has lovingly brought me to the truth of who I am in Christ. I am whole in Him. I am accepted in Him. I am loved. I am the daughter of a King. I have a glorious future. These are the whisperings of my Savior, and He continues to remind me of these things. He is my Husband, my Provider, my Healer. He is everything I need.