“Oh, Sweetie, I just take it day by day now, ” she said with a smile. I smiled in return but the truth in such a statement caused me to reflect later - was that the appropriate response? I hugged her. My blossoming baby-belly quickly bringing us close together, one of her arms tightly wrapped around my shoulders and the other still gripped onto her cane. Camp hosted a special women's retreat this midweek. Many of the ladies that came during this time have built their legacies and are in the last chapters of His narrative in their lives. I had the privilege of speaking to them the first night about my experience in China. When I surveyed the group, it was clear that their concept of the nation was much different than mine. They lived during the time of the Cultural Revolution. They knew Red China. They heard the front line news of the closed doors and the persecution, the oppression, and the famine.
I entitled the talk “Three Lives, Three Women, One Story” and as I spoke to them in that dimly lit room, I could clearly see their faces, imprinted with stories of their own to speak of and share. After forty-five minutes, we thanked God together for the Greatest Story Ever told and the honor and privilege it is to a be a witness to His kingdom coming. But there was one more story that they insisted on hearing about: how did I meet my husband? I briefly shared about my sister working at the camp where Ben was the Outdoor Education Coordinator and how on my return visit back from China, I shadowed her at work. That is when it happened. Ben was standing up in front of a group of sixth graders singing about three short-necked buzzards when I fell in love. The last of the three women's lives I shared was my own but I stopped the story simply with my return back to the states. But these women knew better than I, know better than I. They insisted that I continue sharing. It all brings Him glory – in China, in Prescott, as a single woman, as a married lady, as a mom! After all, his story in us and through us never ends. Let us not keep from speaking of the things we have seen and heard. And even when they might not be able to return again to camp next year, His story will continue on. It is all a part of the One story. “See you again next year, I hope,” I say to her, life in me forming and life in her nearing the end. She smiles at me. And I smile in return. This is the right response. She knows. Stories have beginnings and ends but His story is eternal, everlasting, amen!