Something bigger than me

beautiful-in-its-time3I still recall the night I lay on my belly, top bunk gazing out the window… past the pussy willows and lilacs…. into an endless night sky littered with stars so numerous it terrified me.

The mountain breeze was early-autumn crisp and clear,  light was scarce, except for that blanket of stars winking above me in the night sky.

I was 8 or 9 years old  and I had a secret: a calm and steady Voice inside my head  somehow held things together inside of me even as the adult world around me was falling apart.

It held me when parents were fighting and the police would come, when bullies were mean and friends were scarce. It held me together all through days I seemed invisible to everyone around me. It sheltered and protected me even when those who should have, did not.

Looking out the window, I struggled to think past the angry voices rising,  falling and crashing in the other room. Fixing my eyes on the starry sky above and the stars, I relaxed and an inner dialogue began:

“Where did I come from?”
“Mother.” I heard.
” And where did she come from?”
“Many mothers before.”
“And them?”
“Heaven.” came the answer.
“Yes, and Mary and Joseph and Jesus came from God.” I thought.
“God is in heaven too.”
“He is.”
“Those stars came from God too. And all the planets…the entire universe….everything!”
“Yes. “

Suddenly, panic seized in my chest. Earth shaking awareness came over me so terrifying because my next question… somehow, even in my child-like, barely-churched existence… I knew…would not have an answer:

“Where did God come from?”.

Silence.

No answer….not then.   I cried myself to sleep that night.

A few years , a nasty divorce and an abusive stepmother later, an early morning escape on a Greyhound headed south would deliver me to Georgia and although I didn’t know it then, it would lead me one step closer to the answer I’d stopped seeking.  The Answer, however, never stopped seeking me.

Places inside of me were hardening while Something else struggled to take root in the softer parts left of my soul.

Still, there’s very little love to be found for an awkward Yankee transplant in the heart of the deep South and I soon felt myself sliding sideways into my early teens with little to hold on to and the dirty weight of gravity pulling me down. Parts of me contemplated  selling out to the “status quo” even while that Something inside encouraged me to hold on.  Why or what, I really did not know.

An invitation outside of the norm of my deeply abnormal existence would change the tenor of my life. A neighbor, a concert…a group going from their “church”, a rock band was playing for the youth that night…did I want to go?   Sure… why not?

You need to understand, “church” was not at all a part of my family’s history. They wore the label “Catholic” which  was about as meaningful as ” 100% Cotton” or “Dry Clean Only” on their shirt tags.   Nothing more.

Until that point, my recollection of “church things” was shaped by time spent with a childhood neighbor, Elsie and shrouded in vague memories of a Sunday bus ride to a Big Place of juice, cookies, happy Ladies, flannelgraph stories and crayons. While I didn’t get to stay in these places for very long, Something met me there and seeds were planted.

So off I went with the neighbors to “church” that night.
No cookies…
No juice…
but whoa…the place was PACKED!
These people were HAPPY!
These people were LOUD!
The band,  “Mylon LeFevre and Broken Heart”, kicked in playing the most amazing music (to my highly sophisticated, Journey, Styx and Billy Joel lovin’ 13-year old ears!). I was trans-FIXED…in awe of this energy…this music…these happy people and those words. The combination was overwhelming.  OK, honestly….  I was confused as hell.

Things settled down and the lead singer, Mylon started telling a story. It was his story… his messed up and broken, sold-out to the world, rebellion, pain, drug and alcohol story. The story of a man from a successful family who’d hit bottom nearly killing himself….until Something clicked inside of him. “It was Jesus.” he explained.

Jesus?!?!
This Something is Jesus?

Then Mylon sang a love song and… I can’t explain it any other way but that Something came alive inside of me.  A connection was made and a million pieces of me came together. It wasn’t weird or cosmic or all that spiritual… just a growing warmth of love, peace and acceptance for the first time ever and suddenly, the answer to my question of long ago rang out loud and clear;

“I am….   and I always have been   and I always will be …. for you.   Come.”

I did.  I walked straight into that place…towards the Voice I now knew was Jesus. Salvation was mine and the restoration had begun.

I’d like to put the finishing touches on this story, cue the cheesy inspirational music and call forth the “Happily Ever After ” but there isn’t one. Life didn’t get easier after that night; in fact it got much harder almost immediately. Many things still didn’t make sense.

I walked wide circles of misunderstanding God and floundered without discipleship.  Further home disintegration would place me in foster care where, in low self-esteem and quiet rebellion, I chased after other lovers and wandered in enemy territory for a time. Too long.

But God…
was faithful …
even then …
even when …
even though
I am not.

  • God was there before I was born, knitting me in my mother’s womb and whispering to me even then. I knew His voice.
  • He met with me through the darkness of my world, at my window and showed me how to fix my eyes on Him…long before I ever knew His name.
  • He guided me safely through each moment of pain and confusion, guiding me to Elsie, and the happy Big Church Ladies, caring teachers at school and  just loving me through the years of abuse and onto that Greyhound bound for Georgia.

In every moment, God was plowing my life and allowing seeds to be planted…His deep Gospel seeds. They would begin to sprout at a concert that night where I’d learn the name of the One who put them there.  Although the growth was painfully slow and for many years, largely unseen…God was still at work.  I’m thankful to say, He still is!!

Of course there are many details from that point forward shuttling back and forth weaving the tapestry I know as my life. Many good, wonderful,  difficult and still happening  God things.

Some argue it’s “not fair” what God allows in the lives of those He loves and calls according to His purpose. I disagree. Looking back, I agree with Paul that whatever I was for good or for evil…is garbage compared to the glory I know in Christ. It was worth it. It’s making me who I am and making me wholly His.

Some who read this  are today struggling to come to terms with life and what God is allowing to happen to you or a loved one. It’s no small thing.  I am sorry.  I only know He is faithful.  I pray you’ll  find ways to lean hard into God and learn of Him with the prayers of a faithful friend.    Message me; I’d be honored to pray and walk with you.

Others need to know that time you spend inviting  friends and neighbors to church and into your home, or ministering to “those” kids from crazy, fractured places; those of you who have taken the time to invest in broken lives,  discipling a young mom,  family or foster kid…it’s worth it.

You truly never know where you’ll find yourself the lineup of God’s grace in another person’s life. And since you may not  hear it from them, allow me say…“Thank you.”

I have the privileged perspective of one who’s lived life on both sides –as one “sheltered” and now as one who can “shelter”. It’s a wondrous blessing.

This is my story. This is my song…praising my Savior, all the day long. Do you know it?

Singing and Dancing,Lorretta signature

26 thoughts on “Something bigger than me

  1. My favorite thing about your writing is your complete honesty. Always.

    I identify with your story, especially the praise you exude for a faithful Father who never stops pursing us.

    1. Sarah. You have no idea how much that comment means to me. Honestly friend, there are times I have been tempted to “tone it down” a bit but then God reminds me of the necessity. I know I can be a bit intense for some folks….but I guess that’s why there’s so many of us out here. Can’t wait to meet you soon! Bless you.

  2. I love hearing stories of the Voice. All of the significant milestones in my faith and life can be attributed to hearing the Voice. I’m so grateful that he is alive and speaks and relentlessly loves.

    And long live the days of Mylon Le’fever! Oh, the memories!!! 😀

  3. oh… oh… just wanting to hug that little girl who’s lying there and going through so much hell and promise her everything will be okay. oh friend. you’ve gone through SO much. and he never left you. you are such a gift. thank you for your words and heart.

  4. Oh…SheSpeaks is the one that caught my eye at the beginning of it all AND it’s closer to me which makes it a little easier to dream about! I will check out the link you’ve recommended and thanks! You know…this is really what I call my “earliest” testimony–there’s another post called Sparrows http://wp.me/s1Aknn-sparrows where I share a little more about Elsie.

    I only say that to hopefully encourage you to take one bite of that “elephant” at a time–because it’s a story that’s continuing to be written…won’t ever be complete until we are fully known by Him in glory!

  5. This is my first visit to your blog, and I don’t know what to say. This is one of those times that I wish we’d *met* in real life! I can relate to so much of what you are saying…and not just in this post, but in all of them. It was at this one that I couldn’t take it anymore…I had to stop reading finally and tell you.

    You have an amazing story and He is truly doing a mighty work through you. The honesty in your writing is such a blessing.

    I am grateful to God to have found your blog (through a comment on incourage).

    1. And I felt the same when I read and heard your voice (HIS voice) coming through your story of that place we are citizens of and yet have never seen. So C.S Lewisian! Took my breath away and I totally geeked out and sent it to several friends! What I’m loving the most about what God is doing in this is how he is weaving together His voices…His story through our stories and bringing his daughters (and Duane Scott!) together “for such a time as this”. Praise God that in the Hands of our Redeemer…not a SHRED is going to be wasted. I wish I was going to Allume this year, but I think it’s too soon for me (a newbie fer shur!) and by this time next year, I’ll be so pumped my husband will be BEGGING me to leave and get my Blog-girl on! Thanks Christine this means the world to me to know that you know!

      1. Thank you for geeking out (ha! too funny!) and sharing it! : )

        You mentioned Allume, I am thinking this about SheSpeaks. Ooooooh, I so want to go next year. I was just too new to go last year.

        A blogging friend of mine, Felecia, has a Testimony Blog, “Live Your Sanctified Life”. Maybe you’ll consider posting this there? I would post mine too, but it is so overwhelming to type up! I haven’t done it yet. : ( Horrible, I know. Anyway, if you would like to, here’s the link… http://www.testimonypage.blogspot.com/

  6. Oh thank you so much for linking up today. This is stunning really, just an opening chapter to what is, I’m sure, and amazing story of God’s goodness. I love your writing here. Blessings.

    1. Thank you Alia. I am *most* grateful for what I see God doing in stitching His remnants together…how He moves each of us in the same direction until…like here, we find ourselves walking along the road together. Jesus is here and He is good! Thanks for the encouragement! Blessings!

    1. Thanks Michelle! I am in the process of waiting upon the Lord to direct my steps in that department! I don’t want to sound “super sanctimonius” but I have a prideful tendency to push hard on doors He’s not ready to open! Like the story I’ve told here–I’ve sort of watched God order my steps to get to the place of transparency required to simply start a blog for goodness sakes! He’s opened the door for me to begin teaching bible studies and I’m finally writing one this time around called “Fruit” based on Galatians 5:22 but with a twist! I’m learning humility and obedience are the keys to usefulness. Period! I feel called to speak and am praying for God to reveal that in his time too.

      Boy….can I blah blah, or WHAT?!!? I love sitting on the porch and reading what you write as well…this is what gives me courage…I see God moving in the lives and circumstances of others and it’s SO stinkin’ beautiful!

      Thanks so much!

    1. Thanks Stephanie. I’ve been following your story for a little while too and what you wrote not long ago truly resonates with me–this is not a hobby–writing never has been a hobby for me.

      Now, what God will do with the baby steps of faith I’m led to take is totally up to Him–I learned hard lessons not long ago about why I should not try to define my calling FOR God…He defines it through HIM for me. I can wait.

      Thanks for reading–I hope we can be “friends”!

  7. It’s a sweet gift of God to be able to look back over our lives and see how all those seemingly horrible and ugly threads have turned in to something beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

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