Imagine seeing yourself on the missing persons board at wal-mart...
I want you to meet my sweet friend Andrea who I love dearly. She amazes me. There are not many people in life that when you think of them you think, Wow. Just simply wow. But she is one. God made her a wow. Besides her incredible perseverance and character, she is also the funniest person I know. I wish I got to live by her. But when I get sad, like now having just seen her after 10 years, I remember we get all of eternity to hang out.
Here's her story. Get ready to be Wow-ed. When Andrea was 6 she was kidnapped by her mother. For 16 years with a warrant out for her mothers arrest and everyone looking for her and her sister they lived on the run. They lived in car for awhile traveling coast to coast, homeless for a few years and for awhile had a house but had to leave it in the middle of the night. She remembers one week her mom bought sunny delight and pop tarts and it had to last them the week.
Her mom told her their dad was an awful person and made up horrific lies about him. She told them they could never say their names or see family again. If they did their dad would find them and would kill their mom and kill their pets. At 6 years old she didnt know better and this was the life she had to live.
Her mom gave her and her sister different social security numbers and they took on new names. When she was 16 she moved out and life started becoming her own. She finished high school and went down to Durango to go to Fort Lewis College. At the freshman welcome week one of the first tables was Master Plan Ministries. Aaron and Lori, a staff couple invited her cliff jumping, she was thrilled. She started doing recreational activities with Master Plan and enjoyed it so she started going to the meetings. This is when Austin and I met her. As a child she was in an out of church and knew about God but thought chrisitans were hypocritical and liars. She started hearing things like "God loved her and had a plan for her life and would never know peace unless she lived according to that plan." Every week she heard stories from other students just like her that had very real flaws and hurts but also had very real relationships with God. They were real.
A few months later she went to a retreat where she was at war with herself, not wanting to give in to God but knowing it was the only way to have peace with herself. The last night of the retreat she gave her life to Christ. She went home different. She started going to a ladies Bible study and being discipled and got involved in a church. She began to grow. After a few years she looked at her life and realized she needed to make some changes, still living under a false idenity with some dead persons social security number that mother had given. It felt natural to her but it occured that it wasn't the right thing to do, that she wasn't being honest and complicated not having a drivers lisence.
She began to realize the many holes in moms story. She knew her mother lied a lot but began to wonder if she could be lying about their dad being this awful monster. She wondered if she should find him. She began counseling and began to search for him. Google provided his home number and she called him up from a pay phone, afraid he would track her down. She said to him, "Do the names Becky and Beth mean anything to you?" He said, "Who is this?" Terrified, she slamed phone down. Six months later she gathered courage to call again and said, "It's Becky." He jsut kept saying, "Is that you? Is that you? Is that really you?" They talked for hours and he flew them out a couple days later. He was a good man, a flawed but good man who never stopped looking for them.
On the way home they stopped by walmart to get batteries and up on the missing child bulletin board they saw themselves, their age progressed photos. Listed as missing. But now found. In every sense of the word. Within months her mother was found out and went to jail for 90 days. 16 years of my sweet friends life traded for 90 days. Vengence is the Lord's.
Our Lord is a Seeker. He goes into dark, hidden places and brings people out of the dark into the life. Once lost, now found, Andrea has new life. New and eternal life that can never be robbed from her. Nothing and no one can keep us from Him, from His love, from His plan to bring us hope and a future.
I am so grateful my sweet friend Andrea let me brag on God by telling you her story. Thank you Andrea!
What an incredible God we serve huh! Go ahead and share this link with others if you would like. Who knows maybe God will put it in someone's hands that will want to make her story into a movie and be an extra source of income for her. ;)
"Proclaim Men will speak of the might of your awesome acts. I will declare your greatness." Psalm 145:6
I would love for you to join me in Bragging on God's great heart and character this week. Go ahead and link up a post that talks about what He's like or something He has done. Please leave a link or my button (found under the Brag On God Friday's Tab) so others can find these wonderful peoples posts. It is always encouraging to get comments, so if you have time, go ahead and leave your sisters a comment. But remember this is a time for God to get all the attention. So lets ask God to help us not worry about comments and statistics and look forward to the day when He will get all the glory.
It's an honor to partner with you ladies in bragging on our King.