I can remember going on a missions trip to
Mexico when I was a young teen and
feeling inadequate to share my testimony because I felt I didn’t have one. It
has taken me all these years to finally see the story God chose for me.
People stand in wonder when they come to find out how I was as a child. How I don’t remember a time that I didn’t love the Lord. How I smiled and laughed at everyone and had a sense of peace about me, from infancy. How I felt his presence as a kid and would cry my eyes out just thinking about how much He loved me.
How I would close my bedroom door and worship him for hours and hours with music and dance. I would write love notes, poems and prayers to Him and memorize Psalm 139 over and over again.
I would burn the midnight oil discussing theology with my dad and loving every second of it. I would think about philosophical questions and ponder those thoughts for days, weeks even. I noticed that where others might have seen just a pretty flower, I saw God’s awesomeness and creativity. Where others were tucking God in nice little boxes and placing it in their pockets, I was seeing God bigger than life and infiltrating through everything. I saw life through a God-filter and I’m not sure why. I felt that everything was interconnected, and that God was in it, working, moving.
I was much more of a Jesus freak then I led on and I still am. Growing up it pained me that I didn’t have a specific day and time that “I asked Jesus into my heart” so I would ask Him over and over, scared to death I would go to hell if “I really didn’t mean it.” How much more I still had to learn! As I grew up, it was hard for me to understand why others may not have felt the same way I did. I gradually came to realize this was His gift to me, to snatch me up and never let me go.
This is not to say I lived a perfect, sinless life either. I made lots of mistakes, I faced peer pressure with the best of ‘em. I never thought I was better than anyone else. I experimented with the world but probably in different ways than a lot of others. My conscience was too strong for me to ignore, I had a hard time overcoming it when the waters were tested.
It wasn’t that I was always following a bunch of rules for rules sake, but I had experienced the very love and affection of God.
I don’t think, even today people know just how much God loves them. If they did, I’m convinced they would fall on their knees and never get up. As the Psalmist says, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, it is high, I cannot attain it.”
This incredible experience, this amazing relationship was my motivation, my reason for my decisions. This deep and powerful love kept me from a lot of strife. Did it keep me away from experiencing all strife, no- but a lot of strife? Yes. I don’t have a prodigal son story like so many have. I don’t have an ‘I was lost and now I’m found’ epiphany. I felt deep within my soul that He found me as a babe and kept me so close to His heart. That was His doing for His purposes. It was so pleasant there, so reassuring and peaceful that I never left. I would look at others and just want them to know this living God who had everything they could ever hope for or want. I knew God was the only one that could open eyes and hearts so I just stayed on the side lines a lot- watching, hoping, living my life. I found this quote the other day that kind of puts it exactly how I felt.
So this was my life. My story is God created me to love Him. In doing so I am complete in Him. I’ve felt this ‘wholeness’ my whole life, from the beginning. I can only hope I’ve had a positive impact on others but I’ve come to realize my true legacy will be through my three boys. I’ve been called, “so grounded, an old soul, compliant, always smiling, wisdom beyond her years, etc.” That’s all sweet and kind, but the truth is, I’m just a girl saved by grace and loved beyond anyone’s imagination by her Maker. I credit nothing to myself. I don’t have it all together. I am just like anyone else out there. This just happens to be my story. It’s not that exciting and maybe it turns people off. I fear people feel they can’t identify with me or I with them. That’s just not true. I struggle, I make mistakes, I offend people, I goof around, I judge, I laugh at stupid stuff, I ask for forgiveness (all the time), at times I think too highly of myself and at other times I think too lowly of myself. I am every woman with fears and guilt and insecurities.
Motherhood is not all flowers and butterflies… in fact it’s more like mud puddles and snot rockets. At 6pm you won’t find me all put together with my perfect makeup, darling apron on sweetly calling the little ones to the table while they come totting pleasantly to the dining room with smiles and amicable and grateful dispositions.
It’s more like me being frazzled, glancing at the clock every 2 minutes counting down the minutes before B comes home and can save me from the wild zoo I feel like I’ve been trapped in. About that time usually one kid is coming off the rails from hunger and the other two are tearing up my living room by building a fort out of every toy, blanket and object from their room. Trying to keep my sanity and make a healthy dinner I try blocking out the cries, accidental falls and such so I can calculate doubling the recipe with fractional units while trying not to break my neck with the random toys left on the kitchen floor.
I’m in the trenches feeling burdened by responsibilities, debt and plain ‘ole life. We’ve made bad decisions and I need humility and grace just as much as the next guy and I’m not afraid to admit it. I write all this to say don’t be intimidated or in judgment over someone else’s story. The one thing I know about God is that He loves variety. He manifests a different part of His character in different people. God loves to show a part of who He is in every single person. In me, I see His steadfast love. Maybe you have the same story or maybe not. It could be that in you He reveals his long-suffering, his order, his justice, his peace, his grace, or a beautiful combination.
When I hear someone’s story I feel honored to listen to yet another side of God in action. Let’s rejoice in the way God has moved or is moving in someone else. The story may have just started or more than likely it’s right smack in the middle. What I know is that unless you’re dead, He’s still writing it, revealing an important part of who He is in you. One of my most favorite things is just listening to someone tell their story because it makes me stand in awe of God that much more. His splendor is boundless and His variety simply immeasurable. So, what’s your story? It doesn’t have to move mountains but it might be just the thing needed to move someone else’s. Share it every chance you get- it blesses others, gives them hope and encouragement and if that’s not enough I believe it makes God smile. J