It was in the midst of a three hour video conversation when Glory shone all around. An ocean and decades of mothering separated us. We were connected as ‘story partners’ through a workshop Jo Ann Fore was leading called ‘Free Your Story.’
Prior to this conversation we only knew each other’s names and I had seen Kathy’s profile picture on Facebook. Yet, there was an instant trust; a sisterhood. We were bound by the budding courage to commit boldly to tell our stories.
Kathy chronicled some of her life. How she had grown up as a pastor’s kid and longed to become a pastor’s wife. She lived her ideal for decades with her husband and family. Our conversation flowed around everyday life.
But, in a moment held fragile in God’s hands, the veil between the seen and unseen, was lifted. And everything changed.
I had seen two beautiful young women on either side of Kathy in her picture. I asked, ‘are they your daughters?’ She said, ‘Yes, they are.’ But she also said that she had three daughters. And she continued, ‘the reason why the third daughter, Leisha, was not there, is because she was run over by a car and killed at 15.’
The tears began somewhere deep. I swiveled backward to secure some tissues.
Kathy, then, listened as I shared some of my story. I told of a heart to write as a lost girl to other lost girls. I said I am to write it all honest and so let God shine His Glory.
As our time stretched to three hours, it soared on eagle’s wings. I didn’t want to say ‘goodbye’. But as we did, I knew I had come to know a true friend who would walk with me in the journey. Later, she said there was something about my smile and sincerity that reminded her so much of Leisha.
Yet, God had only begun to show us the healing wings of shared story.
It was about a week later Kathy told me she found something. She was preparing a talk on grief and was reviewing several helpful articles and Scriptures. Then, she came across one that had been so powerful; she had saved the entire thing. It was called ‘A Tree of Life Out of a Root of Grief’. I had written it nearly four years earlier. It was one of the first things I wrote in the ten years since my mother died.
Kathy found it on a day when she couldn’t get out of bed. All she could see was a tragic death and the roots tying her to that death as a mother. But God; God used something I wrote with trembling hands on a desperate welling of pain. He spoke hope through my story to Kathy.
It is all so very humbling. This is as it ought to be.
It has been a hard-fought, dearly won lesson for me. How our stories are not our own to guard close and tight; to let grow dusty on a shelf. They are dear gifts given to us, to guide us and others home to God.
Here is Kathy’s book about her story and Leisha’s: Lovely Traces
Abby is a small-town loving, big city adventurer. She and her husband have worked with high school students most of their lives! Since their internship in Budapest, Hungary in 2005-2006, they have been working with the ministry of CRU. In May of this year, they moved to Hungary answering God's call to work long-term with the students of Central and Eastern Europe. Abby loves to laugh, especially at herself, has a passion for God and making Him known and is ever learning how to do that with three small children, ages 5, 3 and one month. She wouldn't trade the journey for anything! She blogs regularly at Fan the Flame
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