Hi there and good morning to those you might not know me I am Tina Clayton. Just a few seconds of background to get to today and my purpose for standing up here. I have moved 31 times. I have been involved in a church my entire life and this is the first Lutheran Church I have had the pleasure of being a part of.
Very simply put, I am a 30 years child, teen, young adult and full-grown adult with 2 children – victim of multiple myriads of abuse. I did not know until after I had my second child, Kristen, that I had been surviving with anxiety and acute PSTD. It started at 5 and I was then 36. The good Lord obviously had been there for me in a way only he could understand.
To this day, my life is a technique in coping…From the beginning, church was a comfort to me because I was reminded that I was a child of God, and if only I believed I would be safe. Still as n intelligent and understanding adult, to let go and let God – to give up the little control I have fought so long to maintain – is a hard one for me.
It takes a lot of courage for me (to this day) to step out beyond my doors on a daily basis. Gods gift of voice, to me, in a group setting that has conversations with and about the heart and soul, drags me out… my first direction being the Church. As scared as I always am (and was two years ago) – a friend had suggested that I try a Lutheran Church. When I walked up to the door on that Tuesday afternoon, there was Kathryn – what a wonderful soul – She said Hi and took me on a tour. She was inviting and warm. It felt good. I came to Lenten service the next day and basically threw myself at the choir and they opened their arms and caught me so I wouldn’t fall, bringing this always scared, desperate child under their wings without a clue of who I was.
When I needed to move out of a bad situation, Cheryl and Ted and company (small group) were at my doorstep to take me wherever I needed to go. Before I knew it, I was in my new little safe place…being a congregation of action, they were gentle and very loving.
Everyday takes courage for me to mobilize and go. I have found that peace with God, yet, where I do not feel alone, but, being around this congregation has been ultimately important in helping me move that direction. Your actions speak as loud as your words. I am just one small voice. The soul of music has always been the root of my spirituality with God and my survival from day to day; sometimes moment to moment. This Church is/ This Congregation is/ the musical conversation/ the accountability to others/ - to paying it forward. The get to… on a daily basis. It is here…I am not the only “frightened child” out there. I thank God for every one of you.