So….there I was. Standing in the back of the church with my arms raised, I sang those beautiful words. 

If I should speak then let it be
Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him.

Just earlier that day I had snuck out of my house, with my shoes in hand to avoid waking up my family. Everyone had come home and crashed after morning church and lunch. Tonight we were having “Night of Worship” and I needed to be at the church earlier than the rest of my family. As I slipped my shoes on and walked down my front stairs, the light rain had saturated them. All three carved pumpkins were soggy and there was a mixture of fallen leaves on the steps. At the bottom of the stairs I stopped and turned around to look. A fall wreath with a gold sparkly letter B hung on the door. That’s when it hit me. A house….my home. Three pumpkins representing my children. Brightly colored leaves showing the change in the seasons…a season that 8 years ago I didn’t know I would see.

Today, I am thankful for my story.

My story couldn’t be found in a fairy tale book and it isn’t for the faint of heart. If you love tragedy, pain and gut wrenching shame…boy do I have a tale for you. I was an orphan, foster kid, victim, rape survivor, whore, divorcee, cancer patient…broken.

Somehow…He loved me anyway.

Somehow…He sent His Son, His only Son, so I would not have to stay those things I was.

Instead, He caught me in His pool of grace, washed me with His mercy and gave me a new story. I am adopted, a family member (let me stop and dance while I weep right there), married…healed. I should be dead…but I am alive. Cancer, abuse, sin...those things shaped my story, but His hand wrote it. Girls like me don’t have homes….kids…or doors with fall decorations.

But, God.

When I look back I see Him in every snapshot of my life. Alone, orphaned and in foster care He put me in that class where Mrs. Akers would show me that I needed Jesus in my heart, giving me a new heavenly Father. He guided the heart of a Christian foster family that would love me and adopt me, giving me a new name. He took all that abuse and pain…patched me up and gave me a heart to help others that have walked the same steps I have. He sent me roadblocks to keep my heart safe and my feet from falling. He gifted me three…three children, so I could see myself in little eyes and give and feel love like I never imagined. He kept me safe in my pit of sin…even though I was breaking His heart, He still loved me. When the consequences of my sin rolled over me and I felt like I was drowning, He held me. When others walked away…He never moved. When I came back to Him…walking up that pathway to Him, battered, bruised, smelling like the pig pen I had been in, after losing almost all He had given me…He ran….ran to greet me. Oh…and the blessings. They just keep on coming. My past didn’t stop what His love had started.

That is my story.

So, while my arms were raised in surrender, praising Him for the story He has written with my life….and continues to write…I am thankful.