“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV)
At the tender age of four, my large imagination began to blossom. I had a story for each of my dolls. Every stuffed animal had a name and they were often included in the wonderful adventures in my mind. Hooded coats became hair as long as the enviable Crystal Gayle’s. I took phantom road trips in my dad’s inoperable Rambler. My uncle taught me how to knot a rope so I could catch the wild horses running around his front yard; horses that only I could see. I whirled around the porch posts, singing like Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis; one of the many musicals I watched with my mother. My two sisters were much older than me and this could have been lonely but it wasn’t. My ingenuity and creativity knew no bounds. I am extremely close to my sisters and they have always loved to tease their quirky baby sister.
My imagination may have been a source of amusement for my family members but not so much for my teachers. My wandering mind made my early school days difficult. While reading and writing came easily, the other subjects didn’t. I typically received average or below average grades because I had lots of questions but was too timid to ask for the answers. Instead, I doodled on my pages, much to the angst of my fourth grade teacher. Most of the time, I was bored. That’s a dangerous adjective for me! Why? Because I quickly remedied this condition by grabbing onto a drifting cloud that transported me somewhere else, doing something else, anything more exciting than the subject being taught.
I don’t mean to paint a dismal picture. School wasn’t horrid. I had some good teachers. I had real friends; one of which remains a cherished and lifelong part of my life. However by third grade, a seed had been dropped into the soil of my heart. I knew I wanted to be an author. I started my first story, but when I finished the second or third chapter, I abandoned the project. You see, another seed had been sown within my heart; the seed of doubt. I thought I was dumb and for too many years, this belief became a stumbling block. So, I will be forever indebted to the handful of teachers who saw my potential, who took the time to encourage, inspire, and invest in me.
At eighteen, I started a full-length novel but never finished. I went on to college with the intent of becoming a teacher but when I met a very special young man, I married him. I dropped out of college and accepted a full time job. Do you see a trend here? Perseverance was hard to acquire.
For the next twenty years, I attended the institution of life; working, having children, dabbling in poetry, taking a college class here and there, and learning how to write Children’s Literature through a correspondence course. I still wanted to be an author so I finished my first novel, sent it to a writer’s group and realized how much I did NOT know about the craft of writing. So, I went back to college and at the age of 41, I received my degree in English, with a minor in Writing.
Education has and will always be important to me. I’m a lifelong learner. However, my life was transformed by my faith. You see, my parents believed in God, just not organized religion, so while I have never doubted a big transcendent being who created the earth, I didn’t have a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ until I was an adult.
At the age of eighteen, I was in a serious car accident. An AC/DC song played in the background of the car as metal crunched, glass shattered, and the bone in my thigh broke in two. In hindsight, I know I could have been killed that night. While I would like to believe that I would have received a pass into Heaven, I don’t know for sure; especially when I remember the AC/DC song playing loud and clear; Highway to Hell. Ironic? Coincidental? Maybe. But most likely, it was Divine intervention.
One thing is certain. A merciful God used this traumatic experience for my good. The special young man I mentioned earlier? He was in the emergency room where I arrived after the wreck. I will never forget his bright green eyes staring down at me as he took my hand and explained what the doctor didn’t. He reassured me that I was going to be okay and stayed with me on and off throughout my two week hospital stay. In the months to follow, we had quite a few conversations about the Bible, Jesus, and “the man upstairs.”
He invited me to a little Oklahoma church where I felt the hand of God reaching out to me for the very first time. It was personal; life changing, almost indescribable and my feet were walking to the Alter before my mind had a chance to protest. Throughout the years I have wrestled with Biblical and theological questions, trying to understand this great big God. I have experienced His extravagant gifts of love, peace, and hope and I continue to see His undeserving grace and mercy in my life. Through Jesus, I know I will spend eternity in Heaven but that’s not all. I have His spirit living inside of me today so that I am empowered and equipped for this exciting journey called life.