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Where it All Began

Posted by on June 29, 2012

Today is a special day. It’s also a normal day, in that I went to the office, answered emails, worked on projects, picked Olivia up, grocery shopped, cooked and had one or two mommy meltdowns as Liv marred random items in our household.

But today is special. It’s June 28th. On this day, fourteen years ago, God spoke to me through His Word for the first time.

There, kneeling in my cabin at Siloam Springs, where I was working as a counselor for the summer, I had prayed: Whenever, wherever, whatever. I will go. I will do. I will be. Use me. I am Yours. I rose to my feet, and these words sounded firm in my head: Jeremiah 33:3. Now, I knew some Scripture, folks. I had plenty of verses memorized, and I always knew their references (book, chapter, verse). That’s what three solid years of Bible Drill will do for a girl. But this reference, Jeremiah 33:3, it wasn’t one I knew. So I sat. I opened my Bible, and I read:

Call to me, and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things which you do not know.

I sat stock still in awe. I don’t know how long I sat there staring at the page, dumbstruck at the divine for the first time in my 18 years. God spoke to me. God. Spoke to me. It felt like a rooftop-telling miracle and the most natural thing in the world, all at once.

Four days later I would be plunged head-first into one very serious struggle for security. I spent about 2 years in very tangible, life-altering fear. I called to Him, desperately afraid. He answered with the Psalms. On the nights when I couldn’t bear to close my eyes until I could see the sun begin to rise, the Psalms spoke peace, protection and rest straight to me. When my soul questioned its security, its place, the Psalms answered: “My salvation and my honor depend on God.” Slowly I moved out of the fear-place and began to trust, to sleep, to get in my car and drive without fear.

More years passed, years when I didn’t read the Psalms anymore. Years when I threw my pearls before swine and handed my days over to locusts, saying, Here. Eat.

Yet the promise held.

When I’d had enough of the mirth and filth, I broke my heart with the tiniest bit of obedience I could muster. And as it bled and ached, I called to Him. This time when I called, I told Him that I didn’t really believe He was going to do anything to get me through this mess. He answered, again, with Psalms, chapter 107. He showed me prisoners in iron chains, suffering because of their rebellious ways, who cried to the Lord, and as my heart thought, “And He let them rot because they brought it on themselves,” I read instead:
“and He saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.”

Stunned, I wept, tears of repentance, tears of relief, tears of gratitude. He had not rejected me, even though I had wandered. This pain I found myself in now, He would rescue me from it. And He did.

But I’m stubborn.

It wasn’t the last time I wandered, or the last time I found myself calling to Him from a place of pain. Eventually the wandering stopped but the sadness took hold, and I stopped calling to Him and instead fell silent to keep from asking vain questions that were only pretending to go beyond who my soul truly knew Him to be. And then my world began to shake, and I began to see who I really could be under all this mess, and I saw that I didn’t have to be sad anymore. I saw that I believed Him — and I could finally trust. On Father’s Day last, I took my hands off that wheel I’d been fighting Him for for so long. I called to Him then, offering Him my trust, and He answered me with: Don’t be afraid to hope.

Oh, the months after that Father’s Day drive. Suffice it to say, they are past. But in the wake of those months, I found myself longing for vindication. So I called to God, knowing this desire could wreck me, and He answered: I will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Not eight hours later, He delivered. Swift feet, head high and sun shining bright, I ran right on past all that shame. It was a simple moment of dignity, but it was everything God had promised He would do if I would trust Him to guard my honor.

Fourteen years now I’ve been calling to Him, and He has taken the unsearchable and made it known. How I needed to remember this today, on this normal day when cares and worries and dark whispers all clamored for my attention, that He is faithful, that He has shepherded me through all these crazy days between that June 28th and this and His provision goes on and on. Praise You, Jesus. I can hardly wait for Your next answer.

And now, as a reward for reading this, faithful reader(s), I take you back to that June in 1998….

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I still love those glasses…

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After one very serious spelunking trip. Amazing.

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Starving model face…and half of Jon Shirley’s head. Love that brother.

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