Everyone Has A Precious Story

Kimberly has graciously agreed to help babysit my blog while I’m on vacation.  I had the privilege of meeting Kimberly briefly at the Kyra Sedgwick event I attended in NYC.  I was immediately taken in by her warm smile and friendly eyes.  We’re hoping to get the chance to hang out again sometime in the future.  Please make her feel at home!

I was so honored when Jo-Lynne
asked me to do a guest post.  I kept debating what I should write
about.  Then, I took a look at her “About” page to see what
you readers expect from this blog.  The main thing that Jo-Lynne
and I have in common is that it is also “my heart’s desire to honor
Jesus Christ in all that I say and do.”  Since I don’t normally
blog about religion on my blog (it’s more parenting news, reviews,
giveaways and such), I thought, this would be a great opportunity to
share this aspect of my life.  Then, last night the women from
the Bible Discussion Group that my husband and I lead had a “Ladies
Night”.  Afterwards, I was convinced that I should go this route.
So, here’s a glimpse into my spiritual life…

Last night, we had dinner and
a cooking lesson from one of our members who is from Africa.  We
had an amazing time.  (It’s something about cooking and eating
together that just opens us women up to a new level of intimacy and
openness.)  We learned to cook fufu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fufu) one of the staple foods
of West and Central Africa
while listening to African music in the background.  Later, we
enjoyed an African feast.  Along with the fufu, rice and vegetables,
there were so many types of meats – some I loved (shrimp, chicken);
some I skipped (tripe, goat) but everything that I ate tasted amazing.

Okay, enough about the food.
The most amazing part of the evening was hearing our hostess/friend
“G” share her life story.  She grew up in a part of Africa
where there was a civil war.  One night, when she was around nine
years old, a group of men with guns came and forced her family to walk
for miles and miles.  There was death and destruction all around
them.  At one point, they (along with many others) were stopped
and the guerrillas arbitrarily decided that every third person would
be killed.  It just so happened that my friend “G” was a third
person.

As her mother and the rest of her family wept, a woman
(whom they had never met before), told them that she would take her
place and proceeded to do so.  The woman was killed and “G’s”
life was spared.  Later, after a series of other such “miracles”
someone (not related to her family) paid for her family to escape to
America.  Initially, they weren’t able to get their passports,
but one day after praying and crying, her mother went back to the passport
place.  The person, who had turned her down so many times before,
greeted her with a smile and gave her the passports for her family.

As “G” shared, we (a group
of all races / all backgrounds) hung on her every word.  After
she shared her life, she mentioned that one of the things that she has
always struggled with is wondering whether or not God loved her / why
He allowed her and her family and friends (her best friend had been
brutally killed) to go through those horrors.

I was like, WHAT?!
Not only did Jesus die for you (your sins), some stranger literally
gave her life in exchange for yours.  I told her that if I was
her, I’d walk around with an imaginary “S” (for special) on my
forehead.  Very rarely would someone die for someone they knew
and loved… much less for a stranger!  It was so obvious to me
(and the other six women that were there) that God had a special plan
for her life.  Her story reminded me of the Scripture in Isaiah 43:4:
“Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love
you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for
your life.”  (NIV version)

Later, as I reflected on the
evening’s events, I realized that that “God doesn’t love me”
is one of the biggest lies that we women believe.  All of us go
through hardships at various times in our lives (though most aren’t
as extreme as my friend’s experiences!)  We always have a choice
regarding what we focus on though – the hardships or the miracles
that we experience because of them.  I’m so happy that my friend
is starting to see the love of God and the miracles that he has performed
in her life.  By sharing our stories with others, it helps us all
to get a fresh, more grateful perspective on our loving Father in Heaven!

Kimberly blogs at Mom in the City.