But I did know their feelings and their fears.
I became a Christian around the age of fourteen or fifteen when an acquaintance from school invited me to attend a revival meeting her church was holding.
Now that may not seem so unusual except this... the church members had been told to ask the least likely people they thought would accept the invitation. She asked my best friend and me.
She had no idea that He had been wooing since my childhood even though I came from a family that was not only un-churched but tended to distrust organized religion. Many... if not most... were pagans and "darn proud of it".
When my father suddenly passed away, the tether to the rest of the family became loosened. For you see, I'm an "ours" in a yours, mine, and ours marriage. My siblings all grew up together many years earlier and some had children already when I was born. A few of their spouses were even hostile toward me but never showed it when my father was alive.
Then a few years later, my mother remarried a neighbor whom we came to realize was mentally ill... that tether broke and was never fully recovered with my much older siblings. So by that tender age I was fully and unmistakably... lost.
If He had not wooed... if she had not asked... if I had not accepted... I seriously doubt I would have survived my teenage years with any sense of wholeness. I had already been hospitalized with a nervous breakdown once and my choices in friends could easily have taken me down the road to the same lifestyle choices of those around me.
Did accepting Christ as Savior and Lord change my relationship with my family? Yes, indeed... but not in a good way. That decision furthered the chasm dramatically with many family members. But it changed me. And He filled the empty space in my heart.
He exchanged the pain of trials for a testimony of Redemption.
Did life become a journey of perfection? Absolutely not! In these past decades there have been many tears and trials as the journey has taken twists and turns over hills, around mountains, into deep valleys of pain, through fields of joy, on the way to a Heavenly destination.
But all along I could rejoice, even during those seasons of hanging on by the thread of His Grace. For deep inside my spirit I knew this journey was part of the kaleidoscope of His-story. I am certain many looking at my journey from the outside saw only the mess. I could see far down the road when all would be made whole.
We all have a Story.
It is through our Stories that we interconnect with others and if we dare not share the path we have walked... then we are of little use to Him who redeemed our Story.
- Are there areas of your life where trials and tragedy threatened to define who you are?
- Was there an unexpected twist in your journey that seemed to take the very breath out of you?
- Has God allowed you to experience one or two or more trials that appear worse than anything your friends have gone through?
It is not by accident, even if your trial was of your own bad judgement or wrong turn in the road. It doesn't matter. Whether you were an innocent victim in the walk of life or you feel you are paying for your own actions.
Your life's mission is found in the dark chapters of your Story.
Whatever part of your life you lay at His feet, he can redeem. Not only for your own peace but for His purpose. For you see... what the enemy of our soul whispers in the dark of night is not true... you are not alone.
There will come a day when we will see Him face to face and all doubts will be dissolved. But in the meantime, there are many people within your realm of influence who need to know there is one who can shine light on the dark places and heal their soul. They only need to know there are those whose Story has been touched by the great Redeemer.
Artwork: Water Baby and the Moon