After my post about Christian faith and positive politics on the town square, a reader encouraged me by saying that it gave her hope for our country. She said, “Things look a lot different here in Chicagoland.”
The post reminded the reader of her own four years living in East Tennessee, especially of her interactions with a certain family. To protect their privacy, I’ll call the reader Debbie, the family the Gibsons, and the Gibson family matriarch Willadean. Here is a quote from Debbie’s email:
[Your post] gave me a chance to savor some sweet memories. My husband and I spent four years living in East Tennessee (Johnson City) almost twenty years ago now . . . . I was amazed by the kindness and generosity of the people of Tennessee . . . . We rented an apartment in a small six-unit complex just outside of town. What we didn’t know when we took the apartment was that God had us surrounded by four generations of the Gibson family. They loved on us like family, and even took us in when a horrific ice storm knocked the power out for almost a week. We spent several days sleeping in the same room as all those Gibsons, arranged around their big stone fireplace. And, we ate well as the matriarch, Willadean, was frantically trying to use all the food in her freezer before it spoiled! It always makes me smile to think of how God uses ordinary people to take care of us wherever we find ourselves. Thank you for this sweet reminder of God’s goodness!
I loved the picture Debbie’s email painted: great-grandchildren, grandchildren, children, Willadean and her husband, and Debbie’s family sleeping around a big stone fireplace and Willadean busy cooking for all of them. What a beautiful image of fellowship and harmony and of sharing blessings.
Debbie’s story illustrates the power of sharing true stories from our lives and from history. Stories like this one reveal possibilities. If one matriarch like Willadean can do what she did and one family can do what the Gibsons did and one homeschooling mama like Debbie has experienced such a memory, then I know that I can reach higher and live better and bless others, too.
God has filled His Word with true stories that teach us possibilities. The life Jesus lived on Earth teaches us possibilities, too. The author of the book of Hebrews reminds us of true stories from the Old Testament and then tells us:
Therefore, since we also have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us,
let’s rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us,
and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us,
looking only at Jesus, the originator and perfecter of the faith,
who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame,
and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.