Redeeming Love: Megan’s Story

March 10, 2010 at 1:18 am (Purity, stories) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Megan’s Story

Megan Graham is a fellow sister and friend who I have enjoyed getting to know over the past two years. She is a hard-working wife and mother of four (with a fifth on the way!). Abigail and I think her story is absolutely beautiful—a wonderful tale of God’s redeeming love and His power over our sin—whether it is in the open for all to see or hidden in the deep recesses of our hearts. We hope you’ll rejoice in what the Lord has done in her life as you read her story! Here’s Megan:

To write of what God has done in my heart and life, to speak of Him who redeemed me, is truly a joy and an opportunity I’m so very thankful for. While writing out my testimony I’ve been able to review God’s faithfulness, love, and mercy towards me. And there is so very much to speak of! During my review of the abundant grace I’ve been mercifully shown, words penned by William Cowper have run over and over in my mind:

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.

I was born 30 years ago in Tulsa and was raised in the same house until I moved away to attend college. My brother is eight years older and my sister two years younger. Early memories consist of my mom taking my sister and me to the little Free Methodist church down the road each Sunday while my dad stayed home. I do not remember too much of the theology I was taught, but distinctly remember learning that Jesus Christ was God’s son and that He died on a cross for sin.

It was during this time period, I’ll say I was around seven years old, that I remember driving home with my mom one evening and asking her something along the lines of “how do I become a Christian or how do I go to heaven?” My mom told me that I needed to acknowledge that Jesus died on the cross for my sin, ask for forgiveness, and ask Jesus into my heart. So, I remember turning to look out the window and praying for Jesus to come into my heart and make me a Christian. I told my mom what I’d done and we soon went to our pastor, who talked with me and shortly thereafter baptized me. I knew the gospel message, but I knew nothing of a holy God, the sinfulness of my sin, nor was I convinced that I deserved punishment for my sin. My life reflected this as I grew.

Although my mother, sister and I attended church often, church was very separate from my home life. My father was, and still is, not a believer. There was no biblical training and little example of godliness. I saw much of the world and the sin of man, both of which were appealing to me. While I was not raised in a Christ-exalting home, I praise God for the parents He purposed to give me. I love them dearly.

As a child, pride was the prominent attitude of my heart. I was involved in many activities; I was a good athlete and made excellent grades. It was easy to think I was the golden child of my family. While I was doing so well in school and getting complimented on what a nice young lady I was, my older brother was an alcoholic and drug addict by the age of 15 and my younger sister struggled terribly in school and was labeled as ADD. I took great pride in being the good girl. I can remember a friend’s mom saying on several occasions, “why can’t you be more like Megan?” And I loved hearing this. Along with a heart full of sinful pride, I longed for the praise and approval of man. I would have said that I wanted to please God, but the attitude of my heart and my actions proved that Megan was the person I wanted to please most. As a teenager I may have performed well, but at home I was a hateful, rebellious girl with a serious attitude.

During this time I was attending an independent Baptist church where knowing the date and time of your salvation was given great importance. I didn’t know that date and time of my prayer as a young child and thus proceeded to walk the aisle and be baptized around the age of 13. J.C. Ryle writes that “men will never come to Jesus, and stay with Jesus, and live for Jesus, unless they really know why they are to come, and what is their need.” I had a date and time to write in my Bible, but I didn’t truly have a need for a savior.

Although I was active in church, the world was so very appealing. I knew full well what was wrong in the sight of God, but I did what was right in my own eyes.

One week after my 16th birthday I found myself sitting in a Planned Parenthood office with a positive pregnancy result and a counselor asking me if I’d like information on an abortion. God graciously pricked my conscious and gave me a heart that knew I would keep the baby. I praise Him for the blessing of a child, even in the midst of sin. My sin grieves my heart, yet I am so very thankful for the gift of my daughter Kaitlin. Children are a gift of the Lord, even to a rebellious, unwed 16 year old child.

Becoming a parent at the age of 16 caused me to grow up fast in some ways; but, more than growing up, it brought out more of my prideful, sin-stained heart. I graduated high school a year early and moved Kaitlin and myself to Norman to attend the University of Oklahoma. My family, friends and even strangers praised me for being such a success story. And remember, I loved to be praised. What people couldn’t see was a heart that was determined to prove to the world and to God that I could make up for my sin. I truly thought I could show a holy God that I was good enough. I put a burden on myself to excel that was very heavy, not to mention impossible.

My time in college was used by God to show me Himself and to open my eyes to the sinfulness of my sin. The Lord surrounded me with believing friends and involved me in a church that challenged me to study scripture. I can’t tell you a specific date or time in which I truly humbled myself before the God of the universe, but I can look back over my life and see this time as a turning point in the desires of my heart.

Shortly after graduating from college I moved back home to Tulsa and began working for a large accounting firm as an auditor. Through events that could only be the meticulous work of God’s providential hand, I became involved in a solid, Bible teaching church and was surrounded by Believers who sought to follow Christ with all of their lives. Many weekends were spent in the home of a Godly family where I saw what God’s design was for a husband, wife and children and how disciples who truly loved the Lord lived lives committed to Christ. Over the next year, God prepared me through His Word, other Believers and books for the next course of my life.

Fourteen months into my career as an auditor, I was married to Gabe, my Beloved, and was able to retire. For the first time in eight years as a single mom, I was able to stay home with my daughter. God is so very good! When married, I left my church and joined Gabe’s Southern Baptist Church. This first year of marriage was difficult, not in terms of my relationship with my Beloved, but because God used it as a time for me to wander in the wilderness, so to speak. I was no longer hearing meaty sermons or being fed spiritually. God showed me that much of my faith had been lived vicariously through the lives of those around me and He graciously and mercifully showed how lazy I was, both spiritually and practically. He caused me to learn to depend on Him and live out my own faith.

Over the past few years I’ve been learning more of the nature of sin, the attributes of God, the Bible, and my own heart. I’ve been challenged in ways that have made Christ increasingly beautiful to me. God has taken me to new depths by challenging me with the words of a dear saint who said, “The great thing about the kingdom is the King!” I remember hearing that and thinking “Is Christ what I’m most looking forward to?”

God has done a mighty work in the heart of this sinner. I can stand before the Lord clothed with the righteousness of Christ. My heart sings a new song:

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.


Praise the Lord! Tomorrow we’ll hear from Megan again as she shares with us on the topic of purity.

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The Absent Hen

September 14, 2009 at 1:43 am (Godly Living, Homemaking, stories) (, , , , , , , , )

Posted by Abigail

ist2_3179230-mother-hen

Once upon a time there was a very beautiful hen, the pride and joy of the farmyard. Always she had an encouraging word for everyone, a smile, a pat on the back. Watching her from the farmhouse window one spring morning, the farmer thought to himself, “How wonderful it would be to have a whole brood of chicks just like my little hen!” This goal in mind, he set her on a soft feather-lined nest.

The little hen was so excited when the first egg appeared, warm and brown beneath her. It was so smooth and round and perfect. She vowed she would raise it to be a perfect chicken, to scratch and cluck and lay eggs for the farmer.

Soon her nest was filled with eight beautiful eggs, each one seeming more special than the last. Clucking delightedly to herself, the hen would settle in at night to think about all the things she must do the next day. And always, always she had an encouraging word for everyone around the farm-yard.

Then tragedy struck. Not the little hen, but Old Mrs. Goose woke up one morning to find all of her eggs broken, their jagged edges pricking up out of the hay. As she wept, the little hen was right there to comfort her. She scratched up corn to bring Old Mrs. Goose and sent her sympathetic notes.

Not long later an old duck came down sick and the little hen rushed to her side and stayed by her night and day for three days until she was well.

When she returned to her nest she discovered a terrible thing: one perfect, round brown egg was missing. Where could it have gone? How could it have been taken? She had loved those eggs and cared for them and sought the best for them. And she had left them warm and comfortable and well-provided for, hadn’t she? What more could eggs need? Sadly she shook her head and settled back onto her nest of seven.

The little hen visited all the other hens. Some of them had nests, some did not. All of them were delighted to see her. But one old hen, glad as she was to see the little hen, dared not even get off her nest to visit. “Pardon me, Little Hen,” she said gently, “but I’m afraid my eggs might grow cold.”

“What a pity,” clucked the little hen. “She is such a capable hen and she could be doing so much good for others. Her eggs will keep.”

When she settled back onto her nest that night, there was a frightening crash. One of the perfect round, brown eggs had gone bad and exploded underneath her! All that remained was an empty, shattered shell and a nauseating, lingering stench.

“This is terrible!” moaned the little hen, holding her nose as tears came to her eyes. “It must have been a bad egg to begin with! I did everything I knew to do!”

“What a tragedy!” said all the barn animals, sadly. “That hen is such a good hen, so kind to everyone, so eager to help and she has such a fine nest of beautiful eggs. And she STILL gets to much done!”

But the farmer said, “I wish that hen would stay on her eggs.”

When two sheep decided to take the plunge and get married, there was the hen overseeing the festivities. The cows complimented the lovely hay arrangements. The goats thanked her for the lovely things to eat. The barn fowl cheered her efforts and threw grain on the newlyweds as they rushed out to the pasture. The rejoicing continued late into the night.

During the reception a tiny chirp came from one of the round, brown eggs. The little hen could not hear it over the sound of music and dancing. A tiny crack appeared in the side of one of the eggs as a little chick began to peck its way out of the shell—too early! Soon it had shaken off the pieces of shell and began searching for its mother. No one was there to tell the little chick that a nesting box is too high for a little chick to climb out of. It tumbled from the nesting box and lay still. Tired but happy the little hen walked slowly back to her nest. In the hay below she discovered the tiny, stiff form of her dead baby chick.

Again the barnyard mourned. “How can this happen to such a good hen?”

Not one of the warm, brown eggs ever hatched.

A slithering black snake ate one while the little hen was attending a first-freshening cow at her calving. A raccoon stole another while she was chatting with Mr. Turkey over afternoon tea. During the late frost, one froze and cracked while the little hen was sitting on Mrs. Duck’s eggs for her. One cracked and broke late one night as she turned them after returning home from a visit. She was just too tired and was a bit rougher than she’d meant to be.

The last egg was picked up and placed in a basket by the farmer’s daughter who was collecting abandoned pullet eggs for a picnic.

When the hen began to lay again, the farmer quietly instructed his daughter to pick up the little hen’s eggs. He sighed as he spoke, “No use letting that little hen keep eggs she won’t stick around to hatch.”

The hen hardly seemed to notice that her nest was always empty. She was so busy ministering to the other barn animals that she even stopped laying eggs at all.

The other animals watched in admiration as she fluttered about here and there, doing this and that, always with an encouraging word and a smile or a pat on the back. “What an amazing hen! She’s the best of her kind!”

But the farmer said sadly to his daughter as they watched the little hen scratching in the dirt, “Not much worth in a hen that won’t hatch eggs. Pretty little thing, and so cheerful and full of energy, but doesn’t do what she’s made to do. Guess I won’t be getting any fine chickens from her. She means well, but her focus is all wrong. See, those other animals? They’ve got me. She does so many things that are nice—but don’t have to be done. Times are hard sometimes, but really, they can get along without her. In the grand scheme of things there are lots of other animals that could pitch in and do what she does to help. But not a creature in this barn can hatch her eggs.”

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Daddy, May I Help You?

February 1, 2009 at 11:34 am (Attitudes, Godly Living, stories) (, , , , , , , , , )

daddy-may-i-help-you

Posted by Abigail

“Daddy, may I help you?”

The wide, blue eyes peer wonderingly up as the father raises his head from underneath the car. “Of course, Son, I would love to have your help. It is my greatest wish for you to learn to do everything that I do.”

“What are you doing, Daddy?” There is a grunt as the father lowers himself under the car once more. The child waits for a moment, watching as his father’s body disappears behind muddy tires and dirt-caked axles. “Daddy, what are you doing?” the child ventures again.

“Wait a little and you’ll see,” comes the father’s muffled response.

“Daddy, did you hear me the first time? When I asked you the first time, didn’t you hear me?” The small boy drops to his knees, poking his head under the car to watch his father.

“Yes, Son, I heard you.”

“Why didn’t you answer me?”

The father raises his head to gaze lovingly into the little boy’s face. “Son, if I tried to explain to you what I am doing now, you wouldn’t understand it. I just want you to wait a little while and then it will all become clear.”

“Daddy,” the child wriggles under the car next to his father. “What can I do? You said I could help you?”

The father reaches past his son to grab a tool. “So I did, Son. But right now you are in my way. It would be most helpful to me if you would just climb back out from under the car and sit down on the pavement to wait.”

“But Daddy, I want to help you!”

“Do you want to help me?” the father’s eyes are keen as he again twists to gaze into his son’s eyes.

The child halts in confusion. “Yes, Daddy, that’s why I’m here.”

“I appreciate it, Son. If you want to help me, I need you to do what I ask of you.”

“But Daddy,” the boy whispers tearfully as he climbs out from under the car. “I want to help you, really and truly help you. Not just sit here and watch you work.”

“Son,” the voice is stern yet gentle. “I am not ready for you yet. Right now you are just in my way, slowing me down. Sit there and wait until I need you–then you will be a big help to me!”

“Just sit here?” He isn’t really intending to whine, but the pitch in his voice displays his dissatisfaction. There is no answer from underneath the jacked-up vehicle. The boy glances out of the garage door at the blue sky and warm sunshine. The he crosses his legs and sits quietly on the floor. A minute passes, then two. He can see his father steadily at work and his hands are itching to be doing something–anything. “Are you ready for me yet, Daddy?” No words–only the steady tapping of the metal tools against the underside of the car. “Daddy?”

“Wait–” the grunt is anything but satisfactory.

The little boy glances out the wide doorway again. The fresh air and sunshine are whispering alluring suggestions–he will hear if his father calls.

“Son, could you hand me that–” there is no answering scramble, no eager voice and smiling eyes as the requested tool is produced. The father raises himself on his elbows. Empty. The garage is empty. So much for the child who wanted to help him. The father sighs, crawls from under the car and reaches for the neglected wrench. He can hear his son’s delighted laughter just outside the door.

“Daddy, are you ready for me yet?” the dirty little feet patter across the pavement and pause by the car.

“Son, I needed you just a minute ago and you weren’t here to help me.”

“I went outside to play while I was waiting. What do you need, Daddy?”

“I already got it myself, Son. You will have to wait again, now.” A tool clattered to the concrete floor, drowning out the last few words.

“Why didn’t you come and call me, Daddy? I would have been happy to help you.” The child bent over again to peer under the car.

“It would have taken me longer to come find you than for me to just do it myself.”

“When will you need me again, Daddy?”

“I am not sure, Son. But if you want to make yourself available to help me when I need it, then you must sit down where you are and wait until I need you again.”

“But Daddy, sitting here isn’t really helping you!” the son pouts as he reseats himself in the sunshine that spills through the high garage windows.

“Son, the definition of helping me is doing whatever I need you to do. Right now I just need you to wait so that you will be available.”

The child watches his father’s legs wriggle as he moves to a new position. “Would you hand me a rag, Son?”

“Oh, but Daddy, the rags are so dirty!”

There is no answer. Only the soft shuffling as the father climbs from under the car and walks toward the plastic sack filled with rags at the far end of the building. He pulls out a long, greasy towel and returns to the car.

“Are you ever going to have something for me to do?” the son moans, playing restlessly with his dirty toes.

“You didn’t want to get me a rag,” comes the quiet response.

“But Daddy, getting a rag is not real work. And it’s dirty. You know I want to help you with the real, hard work.”

The father pushes the towel out from the side of the car. It is covered in new grease stains and the dust of the garage is sticking to it. “Work requires getting dirty, sometimes. You are not ready for the big jobs yet.”

“When will I be ready?” the son asks, anxiously.

“When you become faithful in the little jobs–in waiting.”

“But Daddy, the little jobs aren’t any fun and waiting make my head hurt. Why can’t I be doing something important?

“Son, the little jobs have to be done, and that’s what I need you to do right now. Here, hold these nuts for me.” A hand reaches out from under the car to drop several cold, greasy round objects into the cupped hands of the little boy.

“Daddy, can I put them on or do you want me to put them away in the big jar with all of the bolts?” the boy starts to get up as he speaks, gripping the nuts tightly in his fist.

“No Son, I just took them off of the oil pan–just hold on to them for a minute. I will need to put them back on in a little while.”

“Daddy, may I put them back on?” the child hesitates a moment, deciding whether to remain standing or reseat himself.

“We will see,” comes the response as the father again reaches for the towel. Seeing the movement, the child pushes it toward his father. A nut falls from his hand and rolls under one of the wheels of the car.

“Oh Daddy! I dropped a nut! I’m so sorry! I was only trying to help you!”

“I can get the nut, I believe. But remember, I didn’t ask you to hand me the towel. I appreciate your eagerness, but what I need is obedience. I only asked you to hold the nuts. You dropped one because you did something I didn’t ask you to do.”

“But Daddy, I thought you needed me to help with the small jobs.”

There is a sigh as the father squirms under the far tire to retrieve the lost nut. “I need you to concentrate on doing what I ask you to do, Son, not on whatever you think I need help with.” He places the runaway nut back in his son’s hands. “Now, hold it tightly.” The chubby fingers close over the dirty nut, joining the others, and there is silence for a few minutes as the father works steadily. At last, “Hand me the nuts, Son.”

The child carefully places the nuts, one by one, into the large work-worn hand extended to receive them. “They are all here, Daddy. I didn’t drop any this time.”

“I see that,” the father answers with pleasure. “Good job!”

“How may I help you now, Daddy?”

“Would you like to tighten the nuts?”

“Oh yes!” the child answers eagerly, snatching up the wrench and hurriedly wriggling under the car.

“Son, climb back out from under the car and put that wrench back where you found it.”

“But Daddy, you said I could–”

“Yes, Son, I know,” the father’s voice is reassuring. “But you have the wrong-sized wrench. The one we need is under here with me.”

“Oh,” the sun hands his head as he lays the wrench down again and then worms his way back under the car. He rolls over onto his back and seizes the smaller wrench.

“Son,” comes the father’s voice form just beside him. “Hand me that wrench.”

“Daddy, you will let me tighten the nuts, won’t you? Like you said?” the child clings tightly to the wrench, afraid to let it go.

“Would I deceive you, Son? You must give me that wrench before you can do anything.”

Reluctantly, the boy releases the wrench into his father’s hands.

“Now, use your fingers to tighten each nut.”

“Will I ever get to use the tool, Daddy?”

“Finish tightening them with your fingers, Son.” The voice is firm as the father points to the unfinished work. “Now you may use the wrench, but you must be careful.” Gently the father shows his son how to hold the wrench and helps him tighten several nuts.

“I want to do it by myself.”

“You are not strong enough, Son. You need my help.”

“Please let me try, Daddy. I’m sure I can do it.” the blue eyes gaze up pleadingly at the father.

“You may try, Son, but you will not be able to do it.” the father’s hand drops from the wrench.

Eagerly the son grips the heavy handle and struggles to turn the nut. It doesn’t budge. He grunts and whines and sweats. “I guess it’s tight enough, Daddy,” he pants.

“Let me help you, Son,” the father’s strong hands grip the handle again, turning the nut easily.

“But I was trying to help you,” comes the disappointed whisper.psalm-25

“Help me is correct, but you can’t do it on your own.” The father gives his son a loving squeeze. “Now I need you to climb out from under here and wait until I need you again.”

“Wait, Daddy? Again?” The disappointment is evident.

“Yes, Son. Sit where you are. I will call you when I need you.”

“But Daddy, I am ready now–”

“I will let you know when I am ready for you–but I can’t use you unless you are available and waiting.”

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