The flashbacks to February 2004 were so vivid, I just couldn’t help myself! I found a scrap piece of paper in my pocket and scribbled down my name and email and a web site address, and I took it over to this young mom who was trying to keep up with her little ones. It was a Saturday morning full of Upward basketball games. During the halftime break for Upward games, someone from the staff of the church was responsible for sharing a lesson and inviting people to begin a relationship with Christ. On this particular Saturday, it was the new youth pastor’s turn to share a sermonette. He introduced himself as the new youth pastor who moved his family just one month earlier from sunny Florida to Maryland where we had just experienced a blizzard. That’s when my flashback began.
Oh how well I remember moving from North Carolina to northern Virginia right after a snowstorm with Poppa Bear (PB), Cub 1 about to turn four years old, and Cub 2 preparing to make his entrance into this world. I remember feeling so alone because I didn’t know anyone. I remember being so frustrated with PB because he dove headfirst into pastoring this new church leaving me to try to unpack boxes and boxes of stuff that I didn’t need to be lifting or moving from room to room. I remember feeling trapped in our old, dusty, creaky, dog hair-infested rental home because it was too icy and slippery for me to take a chance on going out alone. I remember loathing all of PB’s stories about where he had been taken for nice seafood lunches while Cub 1 and I had Oodles O’Noodles or macaroni and cheese. I was MISERABLE during the first year (and more) of being back in Virginia. I missed our house. I missed my friends. I missed my classroom of first graders. I missed our church family. I couldn’t think of one positive thing about our move except being a little closer to our families. I totally felt alone and on my own.
You see, that’s the enemy’s most successful mind game. When we think we’re the only person in the world going through whatever it is that we’re going through – he wins and we lose. Sometimes we just need to know that someone else has been through what we’re currently going through, you know? That’s why sharing our testimonies are so important! You know that the storms that we face have a purpose, right? We may not understand it all as we’re going through the storm, but when God delivers us from it, then it’s our responsibility to help someone else by sharing what we’ve learned.
By the time this new youth pastor at the Upward game had finished his sermonette, I knew that I had to share with his wife what I have been blessed to find through a ministry for pastor’s wives and women in ministry called Leading and Loving It. I don’t know if she was miserable or not, but I remembered what that transition was like for me, and I couldn’t ignore the tug at my heart to reach out to this young youth pastor’s wife. I never saw her at any other Upward games during the season. My assumption is that she came that one week to support her husband as he gave his sermonette for all of the Upward games that day. Having little girls that were four years old and younger, I imagine, required lots of work to get up and out of the door just to hang out in a gymnasium all day watching game after game. That wouldn’t be my ideal Saturday if I didn’t have any kids playing either. I don’t even know if that little piece of paper with my name and email and web site address made it to her pocket or purse that day, but I couldn’t leave without letting her know that she was not alone.
Who needs to hear your story? Someone going through a divorce needs to hear about your divorce. Someone struggling to get their finances in order needs to hear about your journey to getting your finances in order. Someone facing a serious illness needs to hear about your battle with an illness.
Encourage the new single mother because you were once a new single mother.
Give advice to those new parents because you were once new parents.
Put some money in the hand of a college student because you remember being a college student.
We don’t have to pretend that we’ve always had it together and life has just been overflowing with beautiful rainbows and sunny spring days. The truth is, we’ve experienced some lightning and dark clouds and downpours that we could barely see through. However, God brought us through those storms for a purpose – His purpose.