HEY, MY NAME IS GINI AND I AM SECOND.
If you’re like most people, you’re probably thinking, “huh?” “You’re second? Then who…what is first?”I Am Second is actually a movement meant to inspire people of all kinds to live for God and for others. In the past couple of years my husband (Adam), my brother (Atikus) and I got connected with this simple statement, and by default–in our own very small way–became disciples through it.
Some history: I was raised in a “Partially Catholic” home. Let me explain. My mother is Catholic, her mother is Catholic, her mother’s mother was Catholic. My father is Muslim. So it went. As a very young girl I would attend church at St. Joseph’s Cathedral everySunday morning and sit in catechism on Wednesday evenings. By the time I was a young teen I had received my communion and confirmation. Officially a Catholic. I knew Jesus and I loved him.
Meanwhile, ALL of those years, my father stayed home and performed his own religion. It was beautiful. He had prayer beads (that resembled a rosary) and a prayer rug–I would walk past his bedroom at times and see him kneeling down on his red rug with tassels–never questioning. It really was beautiful.
My parents had a rough marriage. I’m sure there were remarkable, loving times (having three children together, vacationing, etc.), but it’s much easier to recall the fights, drinking, affairs and late-nights out. Eventually it got so bad, that I (as a fourteen-year-old girl) approached my dad, with tears in my eyes, and told him that it was enough. My parents divorced, my brother and I moved in with my dad and, as you might guess, stopped attending church. That said, I remember thinking…knowing that I would do whatever it took to make my future marriage different.
Adam and I met when we were twenty and began to attend church just about every Sunday. Of course we would go to a Catholic church–that’s all I knew. We did–every other Sunday. You see, he grew up Baptist, and that’s all he knew. One Sunday we would go to my church and the next we would go to his. We did that for a year. As any couple would, after a year or so of dating you begin to discuss your future. Marriage, kids, you know, all the things guys really love to talk about. It turned out that we were on the same page. Having a spiritual foundation that our marriage, our children and our life would be held steadfast on was imperative. So eventually we found mutual ground, started attending a Christian Fellowship church, and are better for it.
My story takes a slew of turns; including the time I took my dad to church with me, and the time he asked me to pray for him. You see, just because he’s my earthly father doesn’t automatically make him my spiritual father–even though I would desire that, I had to find it somewhere else. And even though he taught me things my whole life (and still does) doesn’t mean I can’t plant seeds with him, too.
I am a sinner. I am prideful. I am overly competitive. I am short-tempered. I get loud when I am angry. I am an overeater. I am jealous. I am easily annoyed. I am weak. I am too strong. I am scared. I am fearless. I am NOT perfect. I am a sinner. BUT, I’m forgiven. And I choose to live Second.
I know. It’s difficult to understand–incomprehensible really– why/how there can be someone else who loves you for you, and every single one of your flaws. A love that is SO deep, that once you actually realize what that means, it rocks you to your core. When you cross that threshold, your life is changed. Forever.
Are there ever times when awesome things happen to you–maybe you’ve called them coincidences? Someone once said “Those are like little kisses on the cheek from Jesus.” I choose to believe that.
From the Heart
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