My name is Marlys Cash, and today I’d like to share with you how I changed God. You might think I have that backwards because we all know that God is the one who changes us; and true as that is, it’s not my whole story. Let me begin with a little background about myself. I was born and raised in a great Lutheran family. Do you remember the show “Leave It to Beaver”? That was us; we were just like the Cleaver Family. Life was good. As I grew up, my faith became more my own, I married Dave, we had 4 beautiful kids, and… life was good. But it wasn’t good enough, and so 20 some years ago I went on a search to find more about God. I can only explain that longing as coming from God Himself, because the God I knew wasn’t someone you really wanted to get closer to. The God I knew was really, really big; He sat on a really, really big throne; He made really, really strict rules and inside me was fear. He was thunder and lightning, personified. Then there was Jesus, my savior, come to protect me from God. That’s how it was in my head anyway. And because it didn’t quite make sense, I started this new journey. I didn’t want church services to be boring anymore, I didn’t like that I hated reading the Bible, and I didn’t want to be afraid of God It didn’t take long before I found myself fascinated by verses like Nehemiah 8:10, “The joy of the Lord is your strength” and Habakkuk 3:18, “I will be joyful in God my Savior”. Psalm 37:4 captured me with, “Delight yourself in the Lord” as well as the book of John, chapter 17. Over the years I discovered the heart of a Father, I discovered the heart of my Father. And in His heart is joy and delight, not only toward me, but also for me. Jesus didn’t come to protect me from God, but to connect me to my Father. So God did change, in my head anyway. Who I had made Him out to be, isn’t anything like the Father I am getting to know more and more. I’d like to finish with a short prose that I wrote. I think it sums up where my journey is at this point. It’s called, “Garden Whispers”. Garden Whispers Before the dawn broke through the distant horizon, I silently stole out into the morning air. The dew danced on the perfectly manicured grass and beckoned my feet to follow. I was led to an eclectic garden bordered by simple stones, flowers, and the wooden remains of days long past. The solitude was a self-made seclusion from the world around, walled in only by the bounds of my imagination. It was here that I came to start the day with my eternally wise Father, for He alone could direct my heart in the ways of truth and purity. Quietly I sat and listened to His words wash over me; what joy in belonging to a Father such as this. I felt, rather than saw, the sweet mercies of my God rise with the golden sun; a new day, a fresh start, the old has passed away and there are endless possibilities before me. Today, in this simple garden, I am witness to a beautifully profound reality. The birds are proclaiming and the flowers are attesting to this one simple truth which manifests itself in this unassuming place. God is mine and I am His.