Hearing Him in a Story

The stairwell down to our basement has a mantel full of pictures from our past. From college days to wedding to pre-child ski trips and post-child trampings through fall leaves, we have nearly two decades covered.

There is one in particular that tells a certain story.

The night before our college graduation, we gathered, my girlfriends — who had shared bathrooms and books and boyfriend stories for 4 years –gathered with our parents to celebrate at a friends’ cabin home. The next day we would hide our identities behind matching caps and gowns and walk uniformly through what would be the last stage of life that I’ve known to be uniform.

This picture on my mantel is a panorama of all of us, just shy of a dozen, in our pre-graduation glow. And our cardigan sweaters. Yes, almost all of us, donning pastels — probably swapped just hours before.

We matched, in so many ways.

Too early to have life’s scars and His ways make us different, we shared much in common at twenty-two.

And the next day was my last day, since, to rub elbows, daily, with others almost just like me.

In those days, sameness meant oneness to me. I wasn’t seasoned enough to distinguish between Jesus’ prayer that we would be one from our flesh’s migration towards those that are same. So, when I left those that were same (and, also, in many ways one!) I mourned. And for years when I couldn’t find anything quite like it, I felt the loss.

Until He started weaving my story with others that were in few ways same, but with whom I could find a connectedness of heart in Him that made us one.

The three ladies in their late forties when I was mid-twenties, who taught me to pray. The couple raising six, when we were childless, who gave us a vision for a future. The friend, forging her way through singleness, when I was en route to four kids, who knew the pain of my waiting, intimately. These are just a few of those, across the pew and at the church down the street, who gave me pictures of Him even when our sweaters didn’t match.

I’m learning that a significant part of loving Him, is loving the testimony of Him bubbling up in His people. This kind of love is imparted, not inherent. To look past the differences in another and search out the kindred hunger for Him which they have within requires God-perspective.

Growth doesn’t happen in a silo.

My flesh has me wired to draw lines in the sand between me and another, to find out who is “like me” and who isn’t. But His eyes see into the heart of a man. And many hearts share the same hunger but in a different skin.

Those who have challenged me the most to know Him more in this post-college life I live are often the ones most different than me. I sometimes think He likes it this way. He offends our flesh to stretch our hearts.

So as I lean deeply into His chest, to know the heartbeat of the God-Man for me, I can’t help but ask for His heart-beat for my neighbor, and the friend on the other side of the tracks.

He has a story welling up in them too. Am I humble enough to hear it? To receive what He has for me in it?

In the next 5 weeks this little space I’ve created to tell His story, through my lens, will be expanding. Between now and June 11th, I’d like to share with you the stories of some whose paths I’ve crossed who are writers. I want them to tell their story of how they have seen Him turn bitter into sweet (the theme of this blog — Proverbs 27:7).

In these weeks where I will be relatively radio-silent while their stories speak of Him, I’ll still be clicking away at these keys, trading in my late-night hours posting here for a focus on finishing a book I’ve been writing. I have eyes on June 11th, to wrap up the last chapter and to begin writing here again.

In the meantime, I can’t wait for you to meet my friends … some from across the pew, and others from across the ocean or the church down the street. They share two things in common with me and, some, not much more: they love weaving stories through the written word and they love this God-Man and want more of Him.

His story is up-springing. Everywhere.

And you’re going to relish these stories. I’m excited to share what I love!

 

 

First photo compliments of Cherish Andrea Photography. Second photo 
compliments of  Mandie Joy.
Pinterest
View All Posts

Recent Blog Posts

Wrestling Through Grief

As the book has made its little way out there, I’ve had the privilege of meeting others I might not have otherwise. One of those is Jonathan Merritt of Religion News Service. Here’s the exchange we had about dealing with grief. Though I tend to write in broader strokes, his more-practical questions demonstrated real depth. So much of what he…
Continue

Broken (Together)

Before I share this very personal post, let me tell you that not one of these posts goes up without Nate’s eyes first reading them. And this post below, especially, I might as well call *our* post, not just mine. I wrote the words, but we both are living them. I chose to be discreet about any specifics here because…
Continue

When God Has a Better Word

As I sighed under my breath towards her, I caught her eye. She’d heard the exasperation that was intended only for me. Her sister was on edge, too. She needed my cheek against hers and my hand on her back, but in my tiredness she got the one-sentence pep-talk that rarely moves a heart. I was coach, today, barking instructions…
Continue

Waiting On Thankfulness

We’d been home for months when this curious stranger approached me with eyes full of questions. “Where are they from?” and “Are they siblings?” and “Are they all yours?” stumbled out of her mouth. I was trying to shield little ears from hearing when she looked at my daughter and said, “Sweetheart, you must be so thankful to have a…
Continue

Inviting Your Child to Find God, One Minute at a Time

At fifteen, I said “yes” to Jesus under the Michigan sky. My body shivered under layers of winter gear but my heart burned. At twenty-three, I linked my arm inside my Dad’s and walked with him to meet the man who would now kiss my life-ouchies. At thirty-two, my dad died and at thirty-four I went from being a mother…
Continue