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Friday, November 19, 2010

.When Stories Collide.

Her story began so much differently than mine. As a girl, she would carefully cut out pictures of children from across the world who lived in a world so different from her own. She hung them on her bedroom wall and would daydream about mommying them. I, on the other hand, never thought about children around the world. I dreamed of mommying blue eyed, blond haired children that I would carry in my womb for 9 months. Although I always knew I wanted to be a mommy, my eyes just didn't see as far as hers....yet.

They always knew they would adopt, but were just uncertain of God's timing as to when they would adopt. However, we never even talked about adopting or orphans, we never thought about it. Adoption wasn't on our radar.

Then one day our stories collided.

There were many loosely connected ties between our lives. I knew who she was. Jim had worked closely with one of her sisters, and we attended church with that sister when we were first married. Another sister was in Jim's class in college. I grew up with her cousins, went to school and church with them, and I even attended the same church as her grandparents all through childhood. (It's the same church Jim is the associate pastor of now.) Her aunt and uncle were my youth leaders for a bit during my teen years, and I even went on a missions trip to Quebec with them. I knew all this when I first found her blog, but that is not what kept me coming back. It was the photographs and the heart words that accompanied them. It was the art, and the baring of her soul that captivated me. I wanted to know her.

She was the reason I first picked up a Nikon. I do not even think she knows this. Her photos were the reason I opted to buy a Nikon over a Canon when I purchased my first dslr. She was even kind enough, prior to my dslr days, to look over my attempts at photography and give me pointers. Turn off your flash. That was to this date, the best ever advice I have ever received regarding photography, and it came from her.

Last January, she wrote a post that struck a cord so deeply inside of me that it changed the course of my life forever. It changed the course of a sweet baby boy, an ocean away living in Ethiopia, forever. And the ripple hasn't stop yet. Every few weeks I hear how our story, that never would have been without her story, has impacted several other families and orphans whose lives have been and will be changed forever.

On January 18, 2010, our stories collided, when she decided to bare her soul and lay her story out for others to see. Last night we chatted on the phone, and I learned how close she came to not sharing her story, to keep it hidden from her blog. Now I know my God is sovereign, and that would not have happened, because it was God's plan for our stories to collide. But my human mind quickly went to the what ifs. I can barely wrap my mind around the fact that I could still be living my life completely blind to the plight of the orphan, completely unaffected by adoption, and Jamesy....we would never have known him. Never have been blessed with the privilege to cry for him, to love him, to grieve for all he has lost. Never been a part of God's plan to tie our heart to an orphan boy across the world and be witness to the amazing way God imbeds love for a child we have never met into our hearts.

We've all been given a story. I believe it is one of the most precious gifts that God has given us. It's not always easy, or comfortable to share our story, but I think God is glorified in the honest baring of our souls - the unleashing of the story that He has written for each of us. I believe that God entrusts us with our story and expects us to steward it well. For some - it won't be written, but for all it must be told. The biggest testimony to our faith and to the glorious working of God's hands in our life is our story.

We must tell our story. Only God knows who He plans to have our story collide with, but it will collide. For we are all part of a grand story, the ultimate story that He is writing. So tell, tell your story - steward it well.

And may heaven burst with the people that God allows your story to collide with, and the ripple effect that He orchestrates from the simple telling - the telling of what is yours alone, entrusted to you by God - the telling of your story.

“He has made His wonderful works to be REMEMBERED …” (Psalm 111:4).

“They refused to obey, and they were not mindful of Your wonders that You did among them.” (Nehemiah 9:17).

“They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, and talk of Your power, to make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of His kingdom.” (Psalm 145:11-12)

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him … Talk of all His wondrous works! … Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders and the judgments of His mouth …” (1 Chronicles 16:8-12)

“Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, and I will declare Your greatness. They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness.” (Psalm 145:6-7)

“I will speak of Your testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.” (Psalm 119:46)

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