About a month ago, I was asked to speak at the MOMS group I’m a part of at Bethlehem Baptist Church. We were asked to share a testimony of God’s work in our lives, and when I thought about it, I kept coming back to the story God has thus far written in my life…
You can hear the recording of that morning here – I was the first one out of three women that shared. I typed it all up and read it mostly because I didn’t trust my memory and I knew I might cry at a couple points. 🙂 Yes, I’m a crier. As I shared what is most definitely GOD’s story, though sometimes I call it mine…I hoped that it would encourage and bless those who heard it and lift the Lord high.
A Girl’s Dream
Psalm 139:16 – All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD, and he willgive you the desires of your heart
As a young woman, I had a secret little dream that I never uttered to anyone. Mostly because it wasn’t a special dream or a big dream – it was just a simple dream of a girl. A dream that included marrying someone I had known all my life, finding a place to settle and STAY there, raising our babies near their grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins. A dream of a cute little house in a small town, or maybe a suburb, filled with joy and laughter and a life that brought joy to the Giver of all Good Things. I didn’t grow up near my extended family – my parents were MN transplants when they moved here when I was 2 years old. Family vacations always meant a road trip to FL, MS or TN to see my grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins. We had wonderful friends here in MN that became like family, but there was always that hole without family close by.
After high school, I found myself going off to college in Indiana and that was the beginning of a journey that would, strangely enough, or should I say gracefully enough, brought me back almost to where I started from.
This adventure of grace took me to six states and a foreign country in the five years before I came “home”. The miles were many. The lessons were precious. And the ends of chapters were often cliffhangers, the story: beautiful.
In junior high, God very clearly called me to be a missionary to Australia. He never made it clear whether this was a life long call or a short term thing, so when He brought that call to pass in 2003, and then very clearly brought me back to the US a year later due to visa issues…I looked toward going back at some point in the near future. But God had other plans…
He dropped me in Orlando, FL when I returned to the US – 2000 miles from my MN home I had left a year prior. From there, I quickly I transitioned into a job at a camp in Washington State, working as a camp cook with a friend I went to college with.
The theme of my song during all this transition and moving across the country and back again was Joshua 1:9:” Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
And He was with me. He hemmed me in before and behind – clearly making my path before me. My Father was so faithfully by my side, leading me with His kindness and bringing me into communities of sweet believers that challenged and renewed my faith. He carried me through the lonely times of living by myself in a tiny 8 x32 foot trailer and starting over finding churches, community and the best place to get groceries. He brought amazing friends into my life that became like family when I was 2000 miles or more from home and my own flesh and blood. He provided all I needed and much more.
During this time, I received my first email from a guy I grew up with in MN named Kyle. We emailed back and forth for about 5 months and then one day in July of 2004, I woke up to the fact that I really, really liked him and I knew, with a settled peace in my heart that could only come from God, that I would marry him someday.
Two years and two months later, after a long-distance relationship and the accrual of many frequent flier miles, I happily became Kyle’s wife. I married a man I’d known since we were 10 year old kids on the playground. Our mom’s are best friends. Our families shared holidays and events. I’d known him for more of my life than not. God heard my simple dream and gave me the desire of my heart.
I moved back to Minnesota just before our wedding and for the past 5 years, we’ve lived in the same small town half an hour north of here. God gave us a beautiful home and in the same breath, an opportunity to use it for the Kingdom when a friend of mine needed a safe place for herself and her four children after her alcoholic husband abandoned them. But that’s a whole nother story of God’s work in our lives.
Today I’m no longer a weary traveler…God has given me the chance to sink some roots down – into a relationship with a wonderful man that daily shows me God’s grace, into a community, a body of believers, into friendships with new friends that have become old friends. I still get the itch to go on adventures, and God has been gracious to allow us to travel, though on a much less frequent basis than in my single years, but now my adventures are in homemaking and child-rearing. Making a game out of staying in the grocery budget and blowing bubbles for a millionth time because of the joy it brings my 18 month old once again.
Today I want to testify to the goodness of God in the land of the living. Sometimes I wonder why me? Who am I, God? Why have you lavished me with blessings and good when others I know and love are going through unspeakable grief and trials that seems to never end?
Recently I read this from Francis Chan in his book Crazy Love and it gave me some perspective.
“Maybe life’s pretty good for you right now. God has given you this good stuff so that you can show the world a person who enjoys blessings, but is still totally obsessed with God. Or maybe life is tough right now, and everything feels like a struggle. God has allowed hard things in your life so you can show the world that your God is great and that knowing Him brings peace and joy, even when life is hard.
To be brutally honest, it doesn’t really matter what place you find yourself in right now. Your part is to bring him glory…the point of your life is to point to Him.”
I’ve chosen to say: Blessed be Your Name in these times of the sun shining down on me, while the worlds “all as it should be”, and I can only pray that seeing His great faithfulness over and over in my life will sustain me should the road become marked with suffering and I find myself in the desert places. He promises that this world will have tribulation, but in the same breath I know He has overcome even the most horrible things of this fallen world. I ask Him humbly for faith to walk through whatever lies ahead in the story He has written for me.
In the end, I only want to point to Him – whether the road is sunshine kissed and flower filled or dark and rife with pain.
A girl dreamed a little dream – a big God who loves that girl made it reality. He is good.