It may not seem important, but God can use anyone’s story . . . this is ours.
Part 1 – from Natalie
Steven always begins our “How We Were Called to the Mission Field” talk with this: “We were the people in the back row at the mission conference.” And though I would never publicly argue with him, I always have a skeptical look on my face when he says that. Really, Steven? I actually don’t remember us even going to a mission conference, much less staying long enough to receive a call.
Steven and I were high school sweethearts – no, really we were 3rd grade schoolmates who had a little “beef” with each other. In our elementary school cafeteria on a certain momentous day in our 3rd grade lives, some lucky student had a bull sticker on the bottom of his or her lunch tray. That favored scholar would earn the prestigious prize of a genuine plastic blow-up Buddy Bull.
That person was not me. However, when I realized that my much admired classmate Steven Hall had in fact won it, I promptly marched up to him and demanded the coveted-of-all-third-graders bull. He turned me down flat – hoof, horn and saddle. And since this little jilted cafeteria scene practically mandated it, he married me 14 years later.
The bull was nowhere to be found.
We settled into the routine life of newlyweds. He played golf. I shopped and had lunch with my friends. We went to supper club on Saturday night and church every Sunday morning. We helped out with the junior high youth group and I joined a Circle (Presbyterian for women’s monthly Bible study). We hosted parties; we attended parties. And then our friends began to settle down and start families. So we decided it was our turn.
We had two children, a girl and a boy, 22 months apart and life was good.
And then we hit the wall. A wall built of stones so immovable, that all of our parenting preparedness, every book we’d read on childcare and every pediatric expert we consulted left us with paralyzing doubt and uncertainty.
God had our attention now.
While we faced what seemed to be insurmountable obstacles that included doctors and therapists and long nights and no sleep and tears and hours of whimpering why, there were no real answers – only more doctors and supplementary insurance and an ocean of weeping and experimental therapies and possible diets.
And then we were at the end of ourselves.
It’s funny how when everything looks hopeless from our very limited vantage point, we just then begin to slowly take a step back and try to gain our bearings in a different context. God can and does that for His glory, to get our attention, to change our perspective, to REFOCUS our lives.
When we come to the end of ourselves, we may well discover the very starting point of all that He is . . .
(To be continued – Pt. 2 from Steven)