Sometimes you have to ask yourself, “If I could only tell one more story, what would it be?” Tell it Well is my answer.
Not long ago I realized I had published over 970 posts. The number kept creeping up and soon I was on the verge of publishing my 1000th post; this nearly paralyzed me. Today is just one more Tuesday and one more post, but I find it sobering to think that I have written my thoughts and tentatively pushed the “publish” button 999 times. There is a sense of responsibility that comes with this.
As I considered today’s post, I prayed about what I most want to say. If this were the last time I ever published a thought, what would I want it to be? Driving through the wheat fields on our way home from Seattle last weekend, I got tearful. I told Russ that I wish I could sit with each one of you and share the one thing that matters most to me.
God is writing a story with our lives, but if we don’t share that story, if we don’t live His story, of what use is it? Today I want to tell you the most profound and only important story of my life. If I had to give it a title, it would have the word redeem in it, because Jesus has gone into the grimy corners of my life and redeemed it all. If I were to tell you the whole story, you would have to visit me for a few days and sit at my kitchen table drinking cups of coffee as the hours ticked by. I would cry, hard, and we would hold hands, and more than anything, I would hope that life would flow to you and you would be amazed at the goodness of God. I would want you to know that Jesus loves you and there is nothing wasted in your life; and maybe you would tell me your story, too.
I hardly know where to begin, but since time is short, I’m going to take a very deep breath and jump right in. I was a very young teen when I found out I was pregnant. Just typing that sentence is hard for me. It was over 33 years ago and yet, it is still so painful. But this story isn’t really about me, it is all about Jesus and what He did in my life, so my pride, or shame, is not the key point.
I went to live in a foster home far from my family, friends, and boyfriend. It was a culture shock. My foster mom was recently divorced with two young daughters and ran a daycare in her home. This was a far cry from the life I had at home, where my mom managed everything for me and my two sisters, made great dinners every night, and washed my clothes. It was 1978 and long before cell phones, so I was completely cut off from my life; I was profoundly alone – alone in a way that is hard to even describe.
I attended the local high school where many assumptions were made about me and the kind of girl I was. They knew nothing about me. I poured all of my energy into growing my baby and reading every book the public library had on pregnancy, especially the radical natural childbirth books written by hippies who gave birth in VW buses. I also studied hard, took honors classes, and refused to be the girl people assumed I was.
One day a girl in my philosophy class invited me to her home for dinner and to her youth group. Marcia didn’t seem to mind my growing belly and the kids at her youth group welcomed me, uncomfortably, to be sure, but I was so thankful to just be with people. I don’t know if I went more than a few times, but the experience made an unforgettable impact on me.
My fostermom and several of her friends were Catholics who were really into Jesus. It was a little odd, but I liked them, and I found myself listening to them talk. I was Catholic, but I didn’t really know Jesus. I respected Him, He was God after all, but that didn’t seem to matter all that much in my life.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. Ps. 19:14