If you knew me when I was …
Growing up, you would see me seated in between my parents and brothers every Sunday in church. My family occupied the same pew give or take one in front or in back every week. We learned at an early age that church manners were expected. Any deviation would result in a “kind” correction once we got home.
Weekly church dates taught us the value of community and the importance of time with family. When sitting on the wood pew grew uncomfortable, we learned to keep our grumbling to ourselves. If the service seemed to go on forever, we remained quiet and tried not to fidget.
This time marked my identity as a believer who understood the ins and outs of the “rules” but little else. The gift of song and worship carried me through from a young age and still does today.
If you knew me when I was …
A teenager, there was a subtle shift into discovering that church contained more than I knew as a child growing up. The all–girls high school, where I went, grew my love of worship and the idea that God was not just a disciplinarian.
Hope rang loud and a new kind of love–one of a Father for a daughter whispered its way into my heart. The desire to know more about Jesus stirred and I began to stretch my faith in new directions.
God took root in my soul and new branches grew and blossomed (John 15). It was a glorious beginning and a taste for love and grace that whet my appetite for the One who chose me.
If you knew me when I was …
Newly married with two young sons, busy became my battle cry and church sank to the bottom of my list of priorities. I called myself a believer but allowed religion and its nuances to take precedence over relationship.
A false sense of knowing lulled my desires to sleep and I found the routine of church took over. It was all I could do to get to church each week. I loved checking it off my to-do list.
Deeper was not part of my vocabulary and the tiny seed planted in high school grew dormant. And all I can do is give praise for the reckless love of God that never stops pursuing me (Psalm 23:6 TPT).
And oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
And I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah (Reckless Love)
If you know me now …
My story is evolving. God continues to transform and redeem. He writes the best stories. No longer do I try to check church off of my list, but instead, desire a deeper and long-lasting relationship with my Father.
The beauty of my story is how God has taken a string of words and woven them together to share His love and grace. God takes my desire to be His child and creates a beginning, middle, and an end that is still playing out today. To me, the miracle is how God’s love is abundant and the overflow allows my story to grow and spill into others.
Maybe your story has circled around somewhat like mine. Maybe you are at the beginning and God is writing an abundance of grace into your life. Or perhaps, you grew up cherishing God from a young age. Each story is God-ordained and beautiful. My story is one that grows with each new day and my hope is that my own abundance becomes my kids’ and grandkids’ legacy.
I know that God bookends the beginning and end of my story with His love and new mercies.
He takes my mistakes and wipes them away with His forgiveness and restoration.
God loves my mess and teaches me how to seek Him more fully and trust His message.God writes the pages of your story to share His legacy with the world. #newpost #TellHisStory #linkup #ifyouknewmewhen Click To Tweet
God loves everything about you. He delights in all He has planned for you and when He wrote your story, He knew it would be good. Remember this …
Your story is always beautiful in the eyes of God because of His deep love. God writes the pages of your story to share His legacy with the world. Your story becomes His story when you allow His words to collide with your own (1 Peter 2:9-10 MSG).
Photo by Caroline Hernandez on Unsplash
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!Click here to enter
Join my mailing list!
Subscribers receive updates, newsletters, and FREE resources! Your information is safe and will never be shared.
If you're not receiving emails from me, check your spam folder and mark my emails as "not spam."
This is so beautiful, Mary. It reminds me of how Jesus is described in Hebrews 12 as the “author and perfecter” of our faith. He doesn’t just start the story, he writes the whole thing, polishing and tweaking and maybe even completely revising as He goes along. There’s so much comfort in that, especially when we remember that his motivation is his unconditional love for us. Hugs, friend!
I receive so much comfort in knowing God is the Author of my story. He is in control so I don’t have to be (even though I try to grab control at times). We are blessed to know Jesus and to turn over our stories to Him.
I’m so glad that our stories continue to evolve over time. God deepens us and our relationship with him. Thanks for sharing these snippets of your story, Mary! My own story has had many subtle shifts and a few major ones. 🙂
I agree that knowing my story will continue to grow is the best gift God has given me. I pray you find a deepening of your connection to God in your own journey.
Isn’t it amazing that He allows us to be part of His story. laurensparks.net
It is amazing! May we allow God to write our stories knowing that He writes the best stories!
Mary – I loved hearing your journey with faith. God is so good. Blessings, Maree
Thank you for being here, Maree! God is amazing!
Mary, what a gift to glimpse back on your journey with you. Your wisdom weekly inspires me in this space, and I’m am grateful for your open heart, your gift with words, and your willingness to share your wisdom with the world! May we be women who seek after Christ with our whole hearts! I smiled as I resonated with your words about the season of life with young children – when crossing church off the list made you feel good. I relate to this on a certain level. What a precious reminder that the Lord is faithful, that he pursues us, and that my primary calling is to grow in relationship with him. Just what I needed today!
You bless me by being here and sharing such sweet encouragement. God has been gracious to give me this space to write and I love how He inspires me to share pieces of my story that are really His story. You are busy with young kids but you still manage to share God through your own words. Thank you for blessing me too.
I love this SO much. Oh what a God we serve! He never ever stops pursuing us, never stops pressing us deeper into who He is. We find Him most where we least expect Him too. He loves setting out that table in the presence of our enemies that we may become the fragrance of His love and mercy toward others who are aching and yearning for Him. You have been such a gift to me in your witness, Mary.
What a beautiful comment. The image of God setting a table in the presence of our enemies to share His love with others leaves me breathless. I pray we allow God to pursue us and continue to write our stories.
I love your story – and “the reckless love of God that never stops pursuing me (Psalm 23:6 TPT)” – What a story for your children – what a hope for a mama for a child who takes the hard path! He doesn’t rush us – does He. He carefully, gently woos us!
God woos us with His tender love and it never stops calling me ever closer to Him. Blessed to have you here!
I love this so much, my friend! Our story is still being written… I love all the twists and turns and the way our Jesus keeps being the Hero of our story and how He keeps saving us and bringing us to the Father!
God never fails to write the best stories. And as you shared in your comment, Jesus is the hero that brings us back to Himself over and over.
Beautiful story of God’s grace in the journey of our lives Mary.
May God continue to grow your legacy of grace and His love in your life. Thank you for being here!
Thank you for sharing your story of growing in your love of God with us, Mary. What a beautiful way to share your faith! I loved this: “To me, the miracle is how God’s love is abundant and the overflow allows my story to grow and spill into others.” That expresses how I feel when I think about my children and grandchildren and my love for them.
I learn so much by being a mom and now a grandma. I find love has taken on deeper meaning and my story has the possibility of stretching into a new generation. Thank you for being here and joining in the conversation.
If you knew me when, I will think about one for myself. Beautiful post Mary.
I would love for you to share your own “if you knew me when” stories. Thank you for being here!
Dear Mary, thank you for the beautiful words of your story being written by God! I loved this phrase, and your retelling of John 15: “God took root in my soul and new branches grew and blossomed.” What a blessing and freedom to know that He is still doing that in our lives through every season. Blessings to you!
You have a beautiful way of expressing my words in a new way through your comments. It is such a gift to me. May we always experience growth as we reach toward our Father.
Thank you for sharing this, Mary.
It’s good to see past snapshots. I love learning from others’ stories and feel God’s mercy and patience with us in those stories. They reveal he doesn’t leave us despite where we are, nor do our lives always look the same–yet he knows each of us better than we know ourselves. We are dear to him. What great father.
It is good to see you here, Meghan. God writes the best stories and His patience is what keeps me coming back for more. We can learn so much from each other because while our stories may be similar how we got to where we are is not the same. I pray you see the Father in all the details this week.
I can so relate to this, Mary! I’m glad I’m not the only one who grew up sitting still in church and not understanding about Jesus. I’m so glad that as a teenager, I too, discovered Jesus for myself and started really developing a relationship with him. It’s an ongoing process that takes investment, but it sure makes a difference!
How amazing is it to know we have similar stories?? God is nothing but gracious in His patience and willingness to pursue us. I am glad He has never given up on me.
His words collide with ours and we surrender to become all He has created us to be. I hadn’t looked at legacy as God’s story He is doing through us. I put myself in the way and ask what legacy am I leaving behind, not what legacy is God leaving behind through me. Ha! Thank you for HIs teaching today!
I love legacy and all that it teaches us. God has a way of adding layers when He thinks we are ready to read more. Blessed to have you here as always.
How grand to read your words today.
So much of what you have shared resonates. Thank you.
What a sweet treat to see you here! I pray you are doing well. Come back and share more soon! Love you!
What a beautifully encouraging post, Mary! Most of us are probably familiar with times when God’s reckless love has pursued us when we’ve grown less than responsive to His call. Aren’t we blessed to have such a merciful God who loves us through it all?
Peace and grace,
Thank you for your sweet words. I am beyond grateful that God never stops pursuing me. I am truly blessed by God’s mercy.
Good morning, Mary.
This post is divinely beautiful. Thank you for sharing the story He is not done writing in your worthy life.
En-JOY this day He has made dear Mary.
Love in Christ,
Thank you for your sweet encouragement. Don’t you love how God not only writes the best stories but continues to write them with new twists and turns. Blessings!
This post caused me to reflect deep and wide, Mary. While my journey to Christ and with the church looks different than yours, we all have some things in common: Jesus is the only true satisfaction for our souls and we were never meant to do life alone. We were born to not only know Christ, but to also worship Him and connect with a local body of believers. Even as a pastor’s wife, I have a few if-you-knew-me-when stories. Today, I am passionate about the local church and sacred callings. I pray “my own abundance becomes my kids’ and grandkids’ legacy.”
Jesus is my life and knowing He is present makes all the difference. I love how He pursues us relentlessly. I imagine we all have “if you knew me when” stories. God is in the business of pulling us back to Him over and over. Thank you for sharing part of your own story. Love you friend!
Thanks for giving us snapshots of the seasons of your spiritual life. Some of these are not unlike my own. Isn’t it grand that God plans for each season as He pursues our heart, prunes us, nourishes us, and never loses sight of where He plans to bring us. It’s good to have the perspective of time to see He was always there tenderly working even when I was feckless. Blessings on your day and week in this season.
Thank you for being here and I like that you called the snapshots. That’s exactly what they are. I am grateful that God never stops pursuing me and is patient to prune me even when it seems I didn’t learn the lesson the first time. We are in a similar season and we have the luxury of looking back at how far we have come in our faith journeys. May you see the tenderness of God in every detail of your week.
Mary, this post is beautiful. And thank you for sharing 1 Peter 2:9-10 from The Message as I needed to read those very words this morning. So grateful you are sharing your words and your story with us all! Blessings!
You being here always brings a smile to my face. Your encouragement never fails to brighten my day. I love how God gave you 1 Peter 2:9-10 as part of this message today. Blessings to you too.
Your post has done two things for my heart, Mary:
1. It’s a call to patience for my own unfolding story. I’m standing on the edge of an empty-ing nest and wondering where the years have gone and what’s next.
2. I’m looking at young adult children in varying stages of spiritual development, interest, and fervor, and your story tells me that today is just a snap shot. God is never done with the process of growing us, and every single thing he brings into a life is some form of fertilizer for that young plant.
Blessings to you, Mary, and Happy August. Hoping the days ahead yield good conditions for your outdoor walks.
I understand the part about patience for this next season of life. I still go through the wondering of what’s next. I pray that knowing God is never finished with the growing and pruning is reassuring to you. Just when I think I have reached a “pinnacle” God takes the time to show me that this is not the end but another step along the way.
Here’s to August, lots of walks, and beautiful times for growing deeper in relationship with God.
This is so beautifully written, Mary. It’s a tremendous blessing to trace the hand of God in our stories.
God writes the best stories and this is one that God continues to grow. I am blessed to see how my journey is one that God prunes and refines because He loves me so much. Blessed to have you here.
Mary, what a beautiful post! Our stories do seem to have definite chapters in how we walk with God, don’t they? My story is similar to yours in terms of wooden pews and my heart being quickened to know Jesus more deeply as a teen.
And this: “God writes the pages of your story to share His legacy with the world. Your story becomes His story when you allow His words to collide with your own” I loved it. Our stories really are intended to be so much bigger than ourselves.
Beautiful words, friend.
I hope you had a great time away last week!
It’s amazing how God has connected us in so many different ways. I loved looking back at my faith journey. God has brought me full circle in many ways and continues to grow me with His immense patience. I am glad to know this is another part of our stories that connect us.
I had an amazing time last week. Thank you for asking.