My name is Gina Berini Smudski. I have had a relationship with Jesus Christ for as long as I can remember. However, it was not a personal relationship. I knew HIS love, I prayed to Him continually, and knew He had sent angels in my life at various times to protect me, but that is a whole other blog :-). Even though I had this knowledge, deep within me I still was afraid of Him. In 1979, I was living in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina enjoying a successful career but inside I was falling apart. I found a small church quite by “accident”. In late fall I had asked Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Savior and was baptized in the swimming pool of Lees McRae College where I served as Director of Admissions. This was a beautiful pool. One entire wall of the swimming pool was glass and allowed all swimmers to look out over the mountains and the sky. When I stepped into the swimming pool on the night of my baptism I could see the dark sky with many, many bright stars shining. My Pastor, Reverend Sam McMillian, gently dunked me into the water and when I came out all I could see was white. EVERY one and EVERY thing was glowing white. I soon found out that I had just witnessed the Shekinah (http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/13537-shekinah) Glory of God. I also noticed that the sky no longer had stars and there were several inches of snow on the ground. Yes, I LOVE snow and felt God let it snow “just for me” on the day of my rebirth. One of the sayings in the mountains was: “if you don’t like the weather wait 5 minutes and it will change” and it did change that night.
Since giving my life to Jesus I started reading the Bible. I have tried over the years to read the bible but would become confused with what I was reading. It was a daunting task which lead me to stick with the parts I could understand and memorizing scripture through wonderful songs of praise. Yet in my spirit, I knew that was not enough. In the fall and winter of 2011 I prayed that God would lead me to a deeper relationship with Him. Most of my life I have been a perfectionist and determined to do things on my own.
A good portion of my life I was very sick. As a child I was not expected to live beyond the age of 12, but God had other plans. Various illnesses came and went throughout my life leaving their own set of scars yet, each of them made me know God was and is VERY real. From 2003 to 2010 my father went home to be with the Lord, as did my mother, and my sister. During this same time, our precious dog of 17 yrs passed and as Billy Graham said: “God will prepare everything for our perfect happiness in heaven, and if it takes my dog being there, I believe he’ll be there.” And, my final loss of that period was a close friend of 30 years. My body was falling apart after being the primary caregiver for my parents and grieving did not help. My circumstances soon lead to three separate illnesses where doctors thought I would not live, once again, God had other plans.
In the Fall of 2011 my prayers became tears of prayer to God asking HIM to bring me closer to HIM. He heard my prayers and in January 2012 I started with an online group to read the bible in 365 chronologically. God used this Bible study to open my eyes and I could not get enough of the Word. I started digging into more books to help me understand. When I learned that the facilitator of the online group was being lead to do something else this year I was in shock because I had fully intended on doing this with her again. I had learned so much. I had grown so much. Before I knew that she would no longer be facilitating the online study, God kept revealing to me that HE wanted me to do this. I thought He meant have a bible study in our home based on the online study. NOT!! HE made it abundantly clear that I was to do a blog for HIM. I gave HIM every possible excuse as to why it should NOT be ME. I KNOW I am HIS child, but believe me I am no one special except by HIS grace and mercy and love. I am NO Bible scholar, NOT a Bible major, NOT a minister, definitely NOT a prophet, and suddenly I was reminded of Moses (not that I think I am a Moses by ANY stretch of the imagination, just that I had some of his same excuses). Each time I would give God my “list” of UNQUALIFICATIONS, thoughts of Moses came to my mind and heart.
Studying the bible in this manner has opened my eyes so widely and my heart so deeply as to WHO God is, and how very DEEP and REAL HIS love is for us that I finally, totally humbled myself and said “OK LORD, I will, but I KNOW I can NOT do this alone. I can do NOTHING ALONE with out YOU.”
Why am I doing this? The first reason is that God made it abundantly clear as to what He wanted me to do. Second is that my heart, mind, spirit, emotions, everything were changed so deeply by the Bible Study I was in that I KNEW God wanted others to experience more of HIM. … Experience more of HIM for your life.
I am merely a vessel, such as I am. I honestly feel so inadequate. However, I move forward knowing that Trish won’t mind my leaning heavily on her previous blog, that God will provide and lead me to dig deeper as He did all last year, and that from this …. some ONE may come to know HIM ….more ..deeper …. greater… more personally… simply MORE of HIM.
Sharing HIS love,