Valerie is a 42-year-old, single, Reformed Christian lady who lives in Baltimore. She doesn't remember a time
before she knew and loved Jesus, but she does remember accepting John Calvin into her heart in March of 2000.
Valerie is a member of Christ Reformed Evangelical Church in Annapolis.
Though her career aspiration is to be a housewife, Valerie has not yet found anyone suitable who wishes to hire
her for employment in that field (or, more properly, anyone suitable has not found her), so in the meantime she
earns her daily bread working in communications -- editing, writing, print design and website management.
When I was 12 I "went forward" one night at music camp and told the counselor, "I want to love Jesus better." (It wasn't my conversion, I was already a believer, though a former Baptyterian pastor who heard my story assumed it was so.) I need to keep praying that, and keep measuring the answer by how well I love others around me.
Remembering mercy seems key to this endeavor. It's not just the one who's been forgiven much who loves much, it's the one who grasps that she's been forgiven much. Simon, had he sought and found mercy, might have needed more than the foot-washing whore of whom he was so contemptuous. Paul, who did seek and find it, knew that he needed more -- he was the chief of sinners. Anyone who really knows himself knows that he is the chief of sinners -- knows more of his own unworthiness than of Hitler's or Judas's. What do I know of their wrongdoings? A few pages in a history book? A few lines of Scripture? But of myself I know 40 years of rebellious thoughts, words and deeds. How well do I really know the corresponding 40 years of grace? And how much greater do I consider His mercy than I do my sin? If I don't get grace, I can't fight sin. Grace is my fencing instructor. Ingratitude is the path to insanity. Gratitude (for mercies of every sort) must be the other path, the one less traveled by, to sanity, maturity, wholeness, holiness, life.
Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we, thine unworthy servants, do give thee most humble and hearty thanks for all thy goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all men; We bless thee for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all, for thine inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we beseech thee, give us that due sense of all thy mercies, that our hearts may he unfeignedly thankful; and that we show forth thy praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up our selves to thy service, and by walking before thee in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen. (Order for Daily Morning Prayer, BCP 1928)