THIS IS MY STORY by Mary Lynne Hodson
“This is my story this is my song praising my Savior all the day long.” Blessed Assurance is one of my favorite hymns and is one of 9,000 hymns written by Fanny Crosby. She was born in 1832 and as I read about her life; I am filled with awe and incredible admiration for this humble godly saint. Her life contained, like many of us, disappointment and hardship but she was a woman who knew God and knew who she was created to be in this life. At six weeks of age she contracted an eye infection that left her blind. Fanny’s only child died shortly after birth. Faithfully she followed God’s call, ministered and lived in the poorest and roughest sections of Manhattan. God had a story for Mrs. Crosby, she lived it out in faithfulness, humility and beauty until her death at the age of 95. I love her story; I love to read about people who abandon themselves to our wonderful Savior.
God calls us to live in our own story. In the Chronicles of Narnia Edmund asks Aslan if his friend Aravis would encounter any more trouble.” Child” says the Lion, “I am telling your story not hers.” All of us are living in a story. It is a love story beginning with God creating us to have relationship with him, watching it destroyed through sin and then God in his great mercy sending his own son to die on our behalf so that we are restored into a relationship with God again. However, all of our stories are different and unique.
15 years ago my husband Clyde and I found ourselves living in a very difficult part of our own story. My husband needed to leave a place of ministry we loved. Our family was blessed to be a part of that church and we loved sharing live with the people there. It was in so many ways a very hard season of our lives.
During the process of looking for another place to minister, two different men contacted my husband and asked him to consider coming on board with them in their para-church ministries. When Clyde came home I could immediately saw how very excited he was about these new possibilities for ministry. I was making the bed really enjoying listening to him talk about the future. When he took a breath, I innocently asked him about the budget concerns for our family. Would these positions pay enough money to support our young, growing family? No, he explained hesitantly we would be required to raise our own support. The bed sheet froze mid air as I began to wrap my brain around the concept of raising enough money to support us year after year. In a few seconds, I whispered in my most definitive voice, “there is no way, no how (actually I think I said a bad word in there somewhere). I am going to allow you to try and raise support to feed and clothe this family. We have three girls to consider so don’t even ask me to pray about it. I already know the answer and it’s NO. You need to ask God to call you somewhere with a steady pay check. Trembling, I went back to making our bed with my heart wildly beating through my chest. My sweet husband knew when he was running into an immovable object so he limped over to the phone and called both ministries, thanked them for their interest but graciously declined.
A few weeks later, a sweet couple, the Bardens, took us out for dessert and shared with us an occasion when their own story became difficult to live out. They were a couple who loved ministry and were sure God would take care of the business they owned as they ministered sacrificially in the church. Sadly, in the end, through a variety of circumstances, they lost their business. She shared how she watched many of their material possessions be loaded up on a truck and taken away. However as they shared, their story wasn’t at all about the loss they suffered, but about God’s redemption and restoration of a family and faith. Unfortunately, through the grid of my pain, all I heard was the reality of their absolute loss.
In the following months, God graciously called us to Texas and a steady paycheck. After five years of ministry I felt the winds of change began to flow through our home again. Clyde began to talk more and more about a new missions organization that was holding meetings in our area. Sure enough one afternoon as I was once again innocently making the bed Clyde came home very excited and began to share his heart with me. He felt God might be calling him to leave local church ministry and pray for the nations with a new ministry called MentorLink. With sheets mid air I asked about a pay check even though I think I already knew the answer. With great fear and trepidation my husband whispered the dreaded phrase “well we would have to raise our own support.” If I remember correctly, even the birds stopped their singing as they waited for my reply. I let the sheet fall to the bed, turned to Clyde and to my shock as well as Clyde’s I said “I really do want to be open to what God has for us and I am willing to pray with you” Suddenly the birds resumed their singing, Clyde took a deep breath and embraced his bride. I stood there with palms dripping with sweat wondering what in the world did I just say. Yet, even as he held me the tiniest thread of hope about the new things God was weaving into the tapestry of our lives began to find its’ way into my heart.
So for the last 10 years we have raised our own support. It is a faith journey. Every month is an adventure when Clyde’s check comes in the mail. If it is a good month I feel like a five year old child who just opened a long awaited present on Christmas morning. Sometimes I open the check and the mountains of my heart falls into my stomach. That’s when I hear the whispers of unbelief “remember the Barden family; they believed God and look what happened to them”. After a few consecutive months of “Barden” checks I was really becoming desperate and vulnerable in prayer with my Heavenly father. Did he see us here? Did he know how seriously we needed him to be a provider? What in the world is going on? Are you going to let what happened to the Barden’s happen to us? In that moment the Lord gently came and spoke so clearly to my desperate heart. He said, “Child that was the Barden’s story but it’s not your story trust me and live in your own story.
In the last year, Clyde and I and began a new adventure called Prayer Mentor. Here in this new place God continues to weave our story of faith through surrender hope and gratitude. God has a story for each one of us. As John Eldridge says, it’s a story of epic proportions and it’s unique to each one of us. Today ask God to give you the grace to live in your own story. Just as Fanny Crosby had a story to tell to the nations we all have our own story to live out praising our Savior all the day long. (back to 'Weekly Blog' page)