Today’s story comes from a woman whose life exhibits such grace and beauty that you would think she has always walked with Christ. Everything she puts her hand and heart to becomes golden. She literally creates atmospheres where people encounter the rich beauty of Heaven.
Her friendship is authentic, and her relationship with Jesus is visibly the most important part of her life. In everyday conversations and interactions, she has the ability – without even trying – to create a deeper hunger for God in whoever she spends time with. I am continually amazed by how real and present she has allowed Jesus to be in her life. She is truly a gift to me and to so many others.
The story she has chosen to share brings hope for those who have lost their way – whether it is you, or someone you know and love. God can and will reach into any life, in any circumstance, and do what only He can do. He turns things around, bringing life out of death and darkness, usually when we least expect it and least deserve it.
May you find hope to hold onto today, and may you rest that hope in the sufficient grace of the God Who loves with perfection and moves with precision in all of our lives. After all, He is our Maker, and He will not abandon our souls to death or destruction.
“My name is Mary Lou and this is my resurrection story…
It all started when I was 15 years of age and I found myself suffering from emptiness and depression. I had struggled all my elementary years with learning disabilities, and had fallen through the cracks with a D- average. I had very low self-esteem and no talent I could identify with. I dreaded junior high school, where I knew I would be facing six new teachers and classrooms that would quickly learn that I wasn’t the smartest tool in the shed. This painful fact became a fresh wound whenever I was the last person picked on any reading or math team.
The summer before I was to start seventh grade, I began to dabble with drugs and smoking. I set off on my own personal journey to find out where I fit in. It didn’t take long to find others who were on that same journey. I continually cut class for the next two years in my search for the meaning of life. I looked into a few religions, as well, because a spiritual curiosity came with the use of drugs. I was lying, stealing and hurting my family because of my reckless behavior. I often had thoughts of suicide. Although I had found people on the same journey as I was, I felt I was never able to quite fit in with the different groups of people I would spend time with. I knew a lot of people, but I always felt alone and different.
One night at home, I sat at the kitchen table, sad, lonely and carrying a heavy weight within my heart. The phone rang and I picked it up. It was my eldest sister calling for my mom. She asked how I was doing and I replied with a not so convincing, “Okay”. She began to tell me about Jesus! 😳I had forgotten that she had become a Jesus freak!!! I replied, “Jesus is not my thing.” She quickly remarked on my ability to be open minded. and suggested that, since I tried so many other ideas, why not give Jesus a try? Before I could answer she asked if she could pray with me over the phone.? I thought to myself, “What could it hurt?,” and said, “Sure, go ahead.”
I was sitting at the kitchen table doodling on a piece of paper while she prayed. The heavy burden that I had been carrying around for as long as I can remember began to lift – so much so that I stood to my feet as it lifted up and out of my body. Immediately I felt a warm substance from the top of my head pouring down to my feet. I began to cry and I didn’t know why. But I knew that the God she prayed to was real.
Before we hung up the phone she invited me to a prayer meeting. I agreed to check it out and my mom made sure to take me, to make sure I wasn’t joining a cult. The prayer meeting was very different than the church my mom and I attended. They were raising hands, some went up for prayer and fell to the ground, and others were praying in a language I had never heard before. My mom and I agreed we were leaving the next time the group would stand to pray. The man of God then asked everyone to stand and greet one another. My mom and I planned on this being our way out. But as we stood, we both experienced such a strong presence of God’s love that we agreed to stay.
I ended up staying with my sister that night. The next day I had a lot of questions about what I had witnessed. She was about to cook a meal and handed me a Bible. She asked me to read it while she cooked, and said that she would try to answer any questions I might have. It was the King James Version, which can be difficult enough for someone without disabilities to read and understand! She didn’t know about my learning disabilities, that my reading level was at, “Run Spot Run!” She didn’t live at home at the time. She was 13 years older than me and had gone to college when I was only five years old.
When she walked out of the room, I opened up the Bible. To me it looked like words just scrambled on the pages. Thee? Thou? I slammed the book shut and I cried out, “Lord! if you are who she says that you are, Help me!?” I opened up the Bible again and read Psalm 3. I read it, I understood it, and I asked my sister to pray with me. What I had seen happen the night before, I was now experiencing in my sister’s apartment. That was my first dance, over 40 years ago, with the pursuer of my soul. He still pursues me, and is teaching me new dance moves all the time.
The only learning disability I have now is disobedience. The passage that I hold onto is Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through him Who gives me strength”.
Some of the other Scriptures that encourage me are:
“I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.” Psalm 3:5-6
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:26-27
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7
Jesus pursued me as a 15-year-old wayward teenager. He pulled me out of the grave, and He continues to pursue and provide a rich and beautiful life. In spite of all I would offer in protest as undeserving.
Thank you Jesus for your love, grace & mercy💕📖