Share Your Story
My TRUE STORY of what happened to me, when faced with a male stranger, inside a parking garage. Please share with everyone you know, and then share your own story.
(I originally wrote this letter to my friends 1 year ago. I felt called to share it today, to mark the 1 year anniversary. This story is personal and true. )
Many of you know that my baby “L” had two procedures on her mouth right after she was born. The mouth care was around the clock and for the first months of her life I had to rub her mouth and do mouth care every 2 hours / 24H a day. No sleep, screaming baby, painful mouth care, difficulty feeding, aspirating, plus caring for the rest of our family of 5. My spouse was working a very long hour job, medical expenses were a huge concern, life was difficult. It felt like it was the “not perfect” storm. So we pressed into the Word and read James ALOT. We were very purposeful about spending time with strong, faith-filled people. We continued meeting with them, even when we did not feel like it. Just when we needed it most, another seed of faith was planted in our hearts by one of them.
Every time I had to wake up in the middle of the night to do L’s painful and exhausting mouth care I listened to a song by Meredith Andrews, “Not for a Moment will He forsake Us” a song about God’s faithfulness.
Some nights the only way I could continue on was because I had this routine of hearing that song and praying through the painful procedures I knew I had to do. It was a time when I felt completely depleted.
But today I left the Children’s Hospital after L’s 6 month check up. It was the first “Normal” check up she has had. It took just a few minutes, all was well, and we were on our way. Hooray!
Leaving the hospital, I stepped off the 5th floor elevator, and I heard music. “Not for a Moment, Will He Forsake Us” the same song that got me through so many difficult nights for procedures and care while coming to this hospital. I glanced over my shoulder, and the Children’s Hospital Security Officer was playing the song out loud, on his phone, as he stood his post. I smiled and kept walking.
I continued on my way, got in my van, and the seed of faith that was planted during that trial took root. I felt peace in my heart urging me to just go and talk to that man. That was not what I had in mind, so I began to leave. I got halfway down the parking garage and stopped. I came through a trial and actually believed that God brought me through it, then was that trial only for me? Could more good come from the hardship? Was I changed during the process of the storm? Or was I simply the same? Did I have more faith? Or less? I felt in my heart a huge peace- that I should just go and talk with the Security Officer.
Reluctantly, I reversed my van. Honestly, I hoped the man was gone. But there he stood, still at his post.
I rolled down my window, and said, “Sir, may I speak to you?”
The about 50 year old Black gentleman with a strong appearance rode his bike toward my window, reservedly.
“Sir, I just want to tell you that when I came off the elevator and heard the music you were playing, it reminded me of my testimony and what God did in my family, and I wanted to thank you. Thank you for playing that song, at that moment.”
He looked surprised. “Well, he said, “God is always good. So I was playing this music.” His words said the response of faith, but the fatigue in his voice said he was barely hanging on.
I asked, “How are you doing?”
He went on to explain that he is going through many difficult trials right now. Family problems, trials, hardships, burdens, the list went on and on and on. He was exhausted from it. Even though he was a believer, the weight of this battle was so heavy, he did not know how he could go another day. He was crying out, trying to remind himself that God was faithful even though it did not feel like it right now, and so he turned on the song.
So standing there, in the 5th floor of the hospital parking garage, I simply shared with him God’s testimony in my life.
As I shared with Him the testimony of faith that the Lord took our family through the last few months, including how hard it was and yet how faithful God always is, his whole body, heart, mind, were visibly changed. Yet, he had a huge wall of discouragement, pain, and depletion, and just could not lift himself out of it. After we spoke, I did not know what else I could do. He still had so much pain. So I told Him that I will definitely be praying for him. And prayed for Him there. His name is Jim. I told him, thank you again Jim, for keeping the faith, and playing that song, to remind me of God’s testimony. You could have given up, even if you are barely hanging on, you are still keeping your faith. It was great to meet you today Jim, I had better get going now. “By the way, My name is Joy.”
Looking back, now I can see, the man that stood before me at his post was strong. He was not a new believer. He was believing, but he was barely hanging on. He was at a place in his faith where he was faithfully obeying and yet he at the same time his heart was crying out at the top of his lungs, “DON’T YOU HEAR ME?!?! DON’T YOU SEE ME?!?! I DON’T KNOW HOW MUCH LONGER I CAN WITHSTAND THIS STORM!!!!!!!!”
And, even though he listened to my testimony, and I could tell he desperately wanted to open his heart to the seeds of faith, he had built a wall around his heart so thick that joy, hope, emotion ~ could no longer pass through. Yet, he was standing his post in faith.
I did not know what else I could say, so I prepared to leave and simply for courtesy said, by the way – “my name is Joy.” That instant I said my name, tears filled his eyes. He finally, for the first time, in the conversation smiled. A huge smile. A smile etched forever in my soul. I cannot explain the presence of God’s peace that filled us in the parking garage in that exact moment. It was as if the world stopped, and God’s peace stepped in.
In near disbelief through joyful tears he said, “My….my….my…. Daughter’s name was Joy.” “Wow.” He kept saying that over and over. Then he was speechless, and simply received a blessing from God that I had no idea he even needed.
Then he looked me right in the eyes and said, “I….. I….I…thank you for just talking to me.”
One busy, stressed out, dirty mini-van driving mom was going about her own life, and this faithful God – put so much peace on my heart to look around after a trial and talk to others who may be hurting. The peace was so strong I reversed my van, came back in the parking garage and shared God’s testimony with him.
* I have never, ever, before met another person with a daughter named Joy in my life.
* The song he played, at the exact moment I stepped off the elevator, was the same song that I committed to God would always be a reminder in my life of God’s faithfulness in difficult times.
*That hospital visit at the Children’s hospital was the LAST hospital visit I went to (after going over and over) because right after this happened, our family was relocated.
What if I didn’t reverse my van?
God is always good.
Sometimes we think our trials are only about us. That we are only supposed to endure them. But, what if they were about being used for so much more?
I learned today that what God brings us through- even the horrible storms – can be used for HIS plan, HIS purpose, HIS will. If we just stay faithful, do not give up, and then open our hearts to sharing how he has worked in our lives.
Romans 12:2 “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Somewhere, someone in life is struggling, yet not giving up on their faith. They are standing their post. They are worn and raged by the storm. They may feel nothing. Yet they choose to stand their ground and choose to still believe. Lord, I pray that you give us all the courage not to look down in defeat, while we are in hard times ~ but instead look around, for who may need to be blessed by the testimony of what God has done in our life. Even if it means reversing our vans, changing our plans, and simply sharing a story of what God has done in our lives.
If you were inspired by this story, share it with others. Then go and share your own with the world.