“A Love Story” by Lyndsey Voss
A Love Story
by Lyndsey Voss
Stories are my favorite. I could sit for hours listening to someone tell stories of their past. I particularly enjoy love stories, especially from the older generations. Their eyes light up when they tell about how they met their lover and the smile on their face makes my heart melt. My testimony is a love story… not with a human, but with my Jesus. You see, there was a time in my life where nothing was working and there was a God-sized hole waiting to be filled with the love of Jesus, only I was filling it with everything but Him. If there is one thing you take away from reading this, I hope it is that He is more faithful than our tiny human brains could ever comprehend, and remains the same day in and day out, showering us with grace that we never deserve but is freely given because of a price that was paid on a cross.
Like many you come across in the good ol’ south, I grew up in church. I walked down the aisle at 6 years old, prayed the prayer, got dunked. I absolutely believe I had an encounter with Jesus and was saved. At 11 years old, I re-dedicated and got baptized again, living a Christ centered life until I was about 14. Innocence was slowly slipping away from me and I didn’t even realize it.
I am a transparent person, and will tell you that I grew to despise church. I was forced to go by my parents, and looking back, I am incredibly grateful that they drug my butt to church despite my kicking and screaming. But the reason I despised it was because I looked around and to my judgement, boredom covered most faces, few people sang the worship songs, and if I tried to wear anything but a dress on Sunday morning, guess who went back to their room to change? I thought, “This can’t be all there is to it?” Little did I know that was not all there was to it. It’s very ironic now because you will find me every Sunday in jeans… not out of spite from childhood, but because I work in kids ministry and we get crazy back there!
High school went by, and then came college. For me at that time, it meant freedom! I was 4 hours from home with my best friends and boyfriend (now husband, Jacob) with no one telling me what to do or making me wear a stupid dress on Sunday. Go figure, I fell flat on my face day after day. The fruit that I was bearing, well, let’s just say it was past rotten. By no means was I an alcoholic, I just really enjoyed partying. Living for self was my way of life. Now, remember, I had constantly had the bible and christianese shoved down my throat, so although I strayed (probably a little further than the prodigal son) it was always in the back of my mind, only I ignored it. *Side note- Proverbs 22:6 says “Train a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”* This is one of my favorite verses in scripture.
I moved home in December of 2010 after calling my dad crying asking him for help after a dramatic break up with Jacob. Don’t worry, it’s comical now… remember, we’re married so it’s a happy ending. Before I get into the next part, I have to say that, regardless if you believe it or not, God’s timing is perfect. He’s got your back my loves.
A few months after I moved home, life sucker punched me. Not a soft little girl punch, but a Mike Tyson kind of knock out. My parents got divorced and it was a nasty one. I was 21 years old but divorce hurts at any age. All I had ever known was ripped away from me and what was left of it resembled a pile of ashes. The enemy hates the family unit because not only does it affect the immediate people, but it impacts generations after it. Had I not just moved back home, my story would look a lot different-His timing guys.
As I watched a parent walk away, the feeling of abandonment started sinking in. Picking up the pieces proved harder than I ever imagined. I was pissed off, sad, hurt, lost, disappointed, and confused. The beautiful cookie cutter family that everyone knew us to be was no longer. Eating dinner together around the table, which was religious at our house, was a thing of the past. There were more tears than laughs during that time and nothing that anyone did or said relieved the pain of what happened, and to this day there are remnants that still sting a bit. We’re working on that. Remember that God-sized hole I told you about? It was still there, only I started to fill it with God-sized prayers because that was my only hope. Slowly, I opened my heart to Him and began a real relationship with Jesus. I would get on my knees and cry to Him to please fix my heart. I was exhausted from years of doing things my way. I needed a healing so supernatural and He was the only answer. He scooped me up in His Papa bear arms and loved me like I never left Him.
Not long after my parents split up, my sister told me she was going to Africa. I, being the younger one, told her I was following her there, and my dad also followed with his girls. God divinely ordained this trip. The primary focus was orphan and widow care. I had no clue what I had signed up for. Maybe I was a little naive but I really hadn’t done my research on exactly how many orphans there are in the world. In case you are wondering, that would be over 143 MILLION. Understanding the feeling of abandonment from a parent, I had a desire so strong to care for these sweet babies. Obviously, my situation pales in comparison to theirs, as other situations like hunger, disease, or natural disasters have made them orphans.
Getting the privilege to love on them has been one of the highlights of my life. I experienced God in a way that is hard to put into words, but He met me in the red clay of Africa, and the supernatural healing began. I fell completely in love with Jesus and was hungry for more. Friends, He will literally meet you, wherever you are, to redeem and restore. I have learned that for each heart and soul, there is a battle happening. Both the enemy and God are fighting for you, your family, your co-workers, and the people you may meet across the world. You may be the only true light that someone sees, so plant your feet firmly in The Word. I have learned that happiness is circumstantial, but joy, that comes from the Lord, will not fade and that trusting in Him with every aspect of your life will prove, that He indeed is the Banner of Victory. My heavenly Papa loves me and showers me with blessings, so that I can glorify His name and go to ALL the nations (locally and internationally) sharing His goodness. Now, do I screw up? Yes I sure do and on a daily basis. But thank goodness Jesus loves this hot mess and His mercies are new every morning, for EVERYONE.
There is no fear in His perfect love.