Her foundation was cracked, damaged almost irrevocably; my friend’s young life cradled not by warmth and safety as it should have been, but instead rocked by the abusive hands and harsh words of an angry and drunken father; a man that not only cursed God, but who sat himself upon a self-made throne and ruled with an iron fist.
His family lived scared of him and later scarred by him. For, even after his reign ended in death, the roots he had planted continued to haunt and hurt; to break through and crack almost every inch of the foundation upon which they had landed. Over the years, she lost both her brothers to tragic circumstances and she also seemed destined to continue traveling a dark and cursed road, her choices and current lot in life often colored by her distressed upbringing. She says she often felt like a mere shadow without a soul.
My favorite word combination in the Bible, two words used together 43 glorious times in Scripture and a phrase that is definitely cause for jubilant celebration. God’s unbending, unchanging response to satan’s relentless challenges. The bottom line. The last word.
Two words that speak life instead of death. Yes instead of no. Can instead of can’t. Will instead of won’t. Do instead of don’t.
Two words that create freedom instead of imprisonment. Victory instead of defeat.
“But, God” is a game changer. A Holy and glorious intervention.
Below is a poem that my friend, Denny, wrote after God lovingly intervened in her life in the late 1990s during a trip to a Women of Faith Conference in Seattle, Washington. She doesn’t know I am reprinting it and I am praying for her forgiveness in advance. It’s just too good not to be shared; the beginning of her new story—one that has still been filled with chapters set deep in the valley of the shadow of death, but with one HUGE difference. This time she is accompanied by the Father that loves, guides and protects her just as a father should and who punctuates every stormy, tumultuous chapter with the same happy ending. Two words: But God….
Thank you God for saving my friend and for saving me…for introducing us almost a decade ago over an internet scrabble board…and for etching and intertwining a divine purpose in both of our hearts. May we continue to follow You into this purpose and create works that will grow Your Kingdom and forever glorify You and Your Name.
I also pray that each of you reading this now will recognize your own “But God” moments. If you are in a valley, I promise you that He WILL see you through. Don’t give up. Look up!
You are prayed for…today and always.
Amen and Ehmen.
Twelve Disciples Plus One
By Denny H.
Twelve disciples plus one boarded a van one day,
Embarking upon a pilgrimage, we were traveling far way.
Headed for Seattle, to praise and learn and pray,
We didn’t know each other well, but they had much to say.
Sharing testimony, their convictions wound in tight,
It bound them all as sisters as we drove on through the night.
They joined in prayer; they shed some tears; they sang with great delight,
They came to know each other well; they whet my appetite!
Women of Faith is what they were, as we joined, the ebb and flow
Of throngs of comrades joined as one to hear the Word and grow
But I was anxious, I had no right, to think that God would care
What am I doing with all these women, “God, why am I in this chair?”
I’m not like all these Christians who know the love in bloom,
As brides in their relationship to a God who is their groom;
I’m not a daughter of our Lord, I could never call Him Dad
The God I know is an angry God, a God who is always mad.
The God I knew when I was young, my father proclaimed to be
An irate, furious and abusive drunk, the Lord of our family.
Mercy, compassion, love and hugs were not what we were shown,
But vicious, mean and callous words were all we’d ever known…
Both my brothers and myself were rock, not precious stone.
I recalled our childhood lost to scorn and also so much shame,
How we as children yearned for God, but were deluded by his name.
I mused on the brother that still lived and to the one—discouraged—died
If they in spirit had known a Dad, they’d embrace the love denied.
I thought of me, the years misplaced, a shadow without a soul,
Reaching for wrongs to right my life, to govern and control.
How tired I was of drifting along to a future without a goal,
I felt, if I was to truly live, somehow I must be whole.
So here I am, I’m in this seat, and wearily I began to pray,
While I listened to the gentle speakers, and to all they had to say,
As they shared their lives—their griefs and sorrows—yet held firmly to their trust
That God is there through thick and thin; that God is not unjust.
Then something happened while I prayed; I softly, slowly died,
I doubled over in that chair and I cried, I cried and cried.
I cried for me, and for my brothers; I cried for all the years
That we had lived not knowing God; I cried such healing tears.
I prayed for me that blessed day; how I prayed to be God’s child;
I prayed for Him to be my Dad and through GRACE, I finally smiled.
For in my mind, I saw a girl, brand new and she was me,
Finally now I could embrace my promised pedigree.
I joined my sisters in that van, the twelve of us plus one,
Now thirteen disciples heading home, my new life just begun.
How I sang and shared and prayed as I extolled my Dad above
That I am of His family conceived from His own love.
A soothing balm restored my heart, a spirit set me free.
And I am here to testify, I’m His daughter, yup that’s me!
I searched, I asked, and I received; received His guarantee
That I shall live, because He lived and because He died for me.