When I first met Maggie, she was still in high-school. Her sweet disposition, her humility, and awe of God impressed me from the beginning. As I heard more of her story, it was evident that she’d responded through life’s brutal blows with a surrendered heart. She’d come to trust that her Heavenly Father was good and would be faithful to her, no matter the cruel disappointments she’d already experienced in her few short years.
Maggie followed God’s call to step out into the unknown. She left all that was familiar to her, her family, friends, church, and community, and set out to follow God on a faith journey. Maggie raised financial support so she could serve at Life Action Ministries in Niles, Michigan. She went not knowing what God had in mind, she just knew she needed to obey the God she loved. She went not knowing all the good He had in store for her there.
Maggie met her husband while serving at that ministry and now mothers three precious little ones and writes a bit in the midst of all the wonderful craziness.
This week, I want you to get to know my friend Maggie, and I’ve asked her to share her heart with you here on the blog. I think you’re going to fall in love with her heart and I’ll be offering her book in a give-away contest this week!
Here’s the first post from Maggie:
Why We Need Never Despair (And The Tale of Two Mommas)
(By Maggie Paulus)
When I was born, I had a different momma. And I don’t know the circumstances of her life, exactly, when she first conceived me and then carried me around in her tummy before I was birthed out and into her arms. I just know that she was broken. Painfully so. But, still, she gave me life and she kept giving me life as she held me close and let me nurse, my eyes blinking awake in that hospital room, adjusting to all the light.
I remember her well. The last time I saw her, I was five, and I can still vividly recall her giving me the white birthday cake with the blue roses made out of icing. She had her problems and her addictions, but when she was sober, she was gentle and loving and kind.
When she wasn’t sober, she was angry and cried a lot so I sat on the floor and cried, too. I remember the men and the booze and the way she kept leaving and I lay in bed at night aching for her to come home. Sometimes she left me and my little brother all alone or with strangers, so the police came and took us away.
When I was seven, I got a new momma. Because God had put it on her and my daddy’s heart to adopt some kids, so they prayed and asked God where we were and how to get us home.
And that same year, my new momma told me about God and how He made me and this whole place and that He loved us and that’s why He sent His Son. I sat there in the passenger seat as we turned off onto our dusty dirt road, soaking her words in. When she told me about Jesus, I was born all over again, but this time into God’s family, the eyes of my heart blinking awake for the first time, adjusting to His Kingdom light.
And even though I was still in elementary school, my new momma taught me how to sit a spell and read God’s words for myself. So sometimes in the mornings before the bus came, I’d plop down on my little blue rug, open up my new Bible and see what He had to say.
One day I read something that nestled down in the fertile soil of my heart and took root:
[box]For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:13-16) (ESV)[/box]
It’s been a lot of years since I first discovered this truth that God knit me together when I was in my momma’s tummy, but I’ve grown to love my Maker ever since. I’ve learned that life is a gift, always a gift, because He conceived us in His thoughts and then carried us around in His heart long before time as we know it began.
And even if we’re born into a busted up mess, there is a God who rescues, a Savior who redeems. This God who spoke and sun woke up to shine, who breathed and stars came out to play, He came for us. The One who the heavens themselves cannot contain folded Himself down into an embryo, and quietly grew in a womb before tearing through to our broken humanity to give us life. The fullest kind.
I’m thankful for the momma who first gave me life, though hers was a bit battered and broken. (And aren’t we all broken, really?) And I’m grateful for a momma and daddy who prayed for more kids and then introduced me to the God who can make beautiful things from a fragmented mess. And even though in this world, there’s trouble, we need never despair. Because we’ve got a Maker who thought us up and had a plan before that first gulp of air ever filled up our lungs. He’s teaching me to never stop looking for His light in everything. Even in the dark.
[box]“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…” (Jeremiah 1:5a) (ESV)[/box]
[box]“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) (ESV)[/box]
Thanks, Maggie! If you enjoyed Maggie, you can read more from her at her website: http://maggiepaulus.com/