MY STORY WOULDN'T BE THE SAME WITHOUT THESE MOMENTS. . .
I was born in a little town in northeast Missouri, during the early morning hours of what would become my favorite day in May. It was on that day I became the youngest of five children and was given the name Wendi Dawn.
Wendi with an “i”!
One of my mom's coworkers was sure I was going to be a boy, and she continued to call me by the name Mom had chosen had that been the case. To her, I was always Christopher. Every year I even signed my Christmas cards to this dear lady by the name of Myrtle, “Your Little Christopher."
She lived to be over 100 years old, and I always adored her spunk.
You know how you can find out the “On This Date" stuff? I looked up my birthday once and discovered that I was born on the same day as Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush, the twins who played Carrie on the TV series based on the Little House on the Prairie books. Do you remember the opening credits of the show, when the children were running down the hill to meet Ma and Pa in their wagon, and Carrie did an unforgettably sad but "Yes, I laugh every time" face-plant? I have had my own similar misfortune, except my moment involved a bicycle, a stop sign, and a poorly executed turn.
That day in May, a writer had been born.
My mom was a proofreader while she was carrying me, so I joke that I was bound to have writing in my blood. And I grew up with this innate love of sitting at a desk.
My dad found an old metal school desk at a rummage sale one day when I was about seven or eight years old. He brought it home and spray-painted it a bright red, not knowing that this junk-to-treasure find with its hinged top would become a place of belonging for me.
I can't tell you how many similar desks I have found at antique stores through the years.
If I had the room, I would own them all.
As a child I had many fun times outside on my swing set or my bicycle—minus that one stop sign incident—but some of my fondest memories are of that desk. I would sit at it for hours, writing out sheet after sheet of math problems. First, I would be the pretend student and answer all the questions, then I would be the pretend teacher who gave stars for a job well done, drawn in the red pencil that I thought only teachers were allowed to use.
Play like that had its perks. I could be alone, and I liked that.
You might wonder why a child would want to be alone, but it was because I always felt like I was a less-than person. I had glasses and crooked teeth—still do—and I never felt like I was enough.
I was never picked first to be on anyone's team for anything.
Like the Israelites who spied out the Promised Land and came back with the report that they would surely lose any battles to take the land, claiming that they were nothing more than grasshoppers facing giants, I always felt small. (The Israelites' story is in Numbers 13-14.)
I was loved by my family, and I got baptized when I was ten years old, but the devil's whispers of belittling still made their way in.
As a teen and young adult, I still didn't know how to let God love me, and I was still clueless about my worth. I kept feeling and acting like a grasshopper among giants.
I did a lot of zigging and zagging trying to be worthy. And some of it wasn’t very pretty.
All I would do sometimes was to pray God would keep a tight hold on me, afraid that if He didn't I might never find my way.
And He did. (I have since realized He never had any plans to the contrary.)
February 12, 2001.
I wish I could say that was the date that I learned once and for all that I am a valuable child of God, that I am His beloved princess and an heir of heaven's majesty.
I wish I could say that all my zigging and zagging choices came to an end that day.
But it was a start.
It was the day that I wrote this in a notebook I keep of my favorite Bible verses: “God's Promise. You write for Me, and I'll make it meet your needs. No more distractions or worry. Just write."
Life wasn't perfect after that, by any means. But I had heard something personal that carried me through the following years.
God was reminding me that it was up to Him. Everything about my care—emotionally, physically, and spiritually—was His job.
My job was to trust Him and tell others.
My job was to let myself be entirely and unashamedly wrapped in the grace Jesus had provided on the cross. And if I would keep that in my mind as I did the writing I was born to do—if I would keep Jesus as the hero of every single story—God would take care of the rest.
Several years—and books and newsletters and emails and blogs—later, I am still learning, and I have never been disappointed by a single lesson along the way.
I have succeeded, and I have failed. But I have never once been "less-than" in God’s eyes.
Writing has made me feel like I belong because, when I write, God shows me Himself. And He shows me that I do belong—to Him.
So, I have decided that even though I still sometimes feel like a grasshopper in a world of giants, I am going to sing like a cricket and teach others how to do the same. Crickets are as small as grasshoppers, but they are oblivious to that fact. They sing, and they sing BIG, filling a room so well with their sounds that you have no idea which corner they are in.
I choose to sing like a cricket!
P.S. Did you know the name for Love That Amazes was inspired by a hymn written in 1905? You are invited to read the "Love That Amazes" story. It includes YOU!
"I may get nicked.