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Tell Me a Story

February 24, 2009

Only the living can praise you as I do today.
Each generation tells of your faithfulness to the next.

– Isaiah 38:19

The night that Lara told us her testimony, I couldn’t stop crying.  There were three of us in the smallest bedroom of her tiny townhouse.  Lara started at the beginning.

Abuse.  Really bad abuse.  Abortion. (Why do those “A” words so often go together..? Rise up, Church.) Later, as an adult, cocaine.  Pain upon pain.

When Lara got to the part of her testimony when she first heard the Gospel, she stopped talking for a second.  Taking a deep breath, Lara said: “No one had ever told me about Jesus before…and all I could think was…’Why hasn’t anyone ever told me about Jesus?'”

I cried harder.  It was impossible to imagine this woman – now living her life fully for God – as someone who did not know about God and the His mercy.

Once Lara became a Christian, she took every opportunity to tell people about Jesus.  Her violent and unstable family members, her drugged-out co-workers, everyone.  She lived and breathed to tell her story.  His story.

My own testimony is pretty radical but when I listened to Lara that night, I felt sort of lame.  I wasn’t physically abused.  I’d never done drugs or had an abortion.  I think I’m interesting but…well…maybe not.  I’m just an ex-Mormon from a dysfunctional family. Sigh.

Later I told Lara how I felt.  I still remember her words to me that day.  She grabbed my hand and held it in her own cool, slender fingers.  “Jess,” she said, her voice full of emotion, “every story is amazing.  Yours.  Mine.  Don’t be ashamed of your story – any part of it.  It’s the story of how God led you to the Cross.”

Today as I reflected on the word “towdah” – I thought about those words.  I want to live a life giving God praise for the work He has done in my life. I have a story to tell – to my children, my students, and other people that God has put in my circle of influence.  I don’t need to worry about how it sounds – or how it fits together – I  just need to tell it.

I am often consumed with communicating unimportant things.  Bills, groceries, irritations.  I want to spend more of my time talking about what God has done and who He is instead of what I don’t have and how I’ve been wronged lately.

I haven’t seen Lara in a long time.  She’s married and gave birth to a little girl.  But I can imagine how she is spending most of her days.

“Daughter, come close.  Let me tell you a story…”

Telling of His faithfulness to the next generation.

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