Friday, June 11, 2010

this is my story.

Perfect submission, all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

--Franny Crosby, "Blessed Assurance"


I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and
that you are now doing more than you did at first.

--Revelation 2:19

Since I turned 13 and held my breath and went under water, I’ve struggled through moments of insecurity over my “conversion story.”

Because sometimes, I felt like I didn’t have one.

I remember coming up from that water thinking excitedly: I wonder if anyone will notice a difference!

So I packed my backpack and went to school that Monday morning, hinting to my friends about my awesome weekend. I thought I’d have a glow, like a pregnant woman. Pregnant with salvation.

Nada. Zip. Nothing.

If I wanted people to know my exciting news, I was going to have to tell them myself.

So I did. And they got it.

And then we went to class and life went on.

And I didn’t drink.

And I didn’t smoke.

And I didn’t have sex, and I didn’t do drugs.

Not only did I not do those things: The thought never crossed my mind to do those things.

I never wanted to go to parties, never really had the desire to fit in with a group I knew I didn’t belong to.

I never looked in the mirror and thought I was too fat or too skinny. I didn’t hide my food vomit in jars like that girl Nancy on the Lifetime movie our P.E. coach made us watch.

Friends mistakenly called my parents Ward and June. (And Chet was a skate-boarding, plaid-clad Beaver.)

We ate dinner together every night and breakfast together every morning.

We had family meetings complete with agendas.

Chore charts.

Dates with Dad.

Game nights.

Vacations on which we did not desire to kill each other.



I went to a private Christian school.

Then I graduated and went to a private Christian college.

And I’ve spent a lot of my life apologizing for these things.

Because sometimes, people made me feel guilty for these things. Or worse, they made me feel as if living a life like this was wrong. I wasn’t living in the real world. I was “sheltered.”

And sometimes, I’d fall for it.

Because Scripture is full of dramatic stories of repentance.

Of lust.

Of temptation.

Of failure.

Of second chances.

And I struggle to find myself in those stories. And at first glance, those stories don’t really look like mine.

And then I remember two really, really important things:

God is telling a story through me. He chose this life for me. Yes, I am a blessed girl. My family situation is drastically different from the one most of my childhood friends had. But you know what? Those friends needed my parents. They needed me. They needed my story. When their family life fell to pieces, my family was there to help get those pieces back together. God has used me. He has used and will continue to use my situation, because it is His. It is the one He has chosen for me. And sometimes, I don’t know why I got this lucky. I don’t know why I never struggled with some things. Why beer never looked appealing and drugs were weird and most boys were dumb. And I ask God, and I remember: It is all because of His grace.

His grace is for me. I’ve never been drunk. I saved myself for marriage (right down to kissing with tongue. TMI? Oh well). I’ve never been high or starved myself. But you know what? My life is far from perfect, and my own sins are just as great (if not more so). I need God’s infinite grace. Because I gossip. I get angry. I am impatient and bossy and judgmental. I struggle with feelings of guilt and pride. And His grace covers it. Because to Him, every sin matters. Every sin causes Him pain and tears and hurt. And that is not His desire for me.

There are days when it is hard to find my conversion story in Scripture.

No blinding on the Damascus Road.

No name change.

No confessional at the well.

And yet there was — and is — sin. A lot of sin.

And there was a Savior to cover it.

And that little 13-year-old girl getting out of the bathwaters of baptism is foreign to me.

Because I am changed.

And conversion doesn’t have to look big or sound good on paper.

Conversion is about a life’s decision and a life changed.

And the girl I was is not the girl I am.

And the girl I am is not the girl I will be.

Yes, I am blessed.

Blessed to have a Savior who knows and understands my story.

Blessed to have a Savior whose grace covers all my sin and all my life's imperfections.

Blessed to experience a joy-filled existence and a life, I hope, of high calling.

And despite my insecurities, my conversion story is dramatic.

Because I’m not who I was.

And that is always a story worth telling.


Jordan Jones said...

Great post. Our conversions can be ongoing throughout our lives, as we constantly reorient ourselves towards God, even if there's never a blinding light moment. Plus, as you noted, we're all sinners. Every one of us is the prodigal son--none of us can pretend as if he has never left the Father to try to find pleasure in sin. And Christ covers us!

Anonymous said...

What a blessing that God protected you from those teenage temptations and what a blessing that you have Christian parents who lived an example of a Godly marriage! You're absolutely right, your life is nothing to apologize for. I feel sometimes like I should embellish my testimony for impact but that would be an insult to God's perfect plan He's written. My salvation came about a the perfect time and in God's grace, He protected me from so much hurt by keeping me relatively well-behaved and chaste. But my good behavior and chastity didn't prevent me from sinning. I needed a Savior all the same. How blessed we are that He loved us while we were still sinners!