A beautiful story

I was at a wedding a few weeks ago, perfectly composed - jovial, even - when the music began to play a tune that felt familiar.  The soloist began to sing lyrics I'd long forgotten, but that had been etched into my heart from the very first time I heard them.  

It was late summer, 2009.  The song was written as an accompaniment to a study of the book of Ruth, which the Lord used to reaffirm His both His purpose and His promise of redemption in my life.  He'd whispered to my heart His story for my life and yet, I had struggled to believe and trust in it.  I had just surrendered my life to the Lord earlier that summer and I was, in many ways, still sorting through the rubble, and the consequences, of my former sin-wrecked life.  Although I'd had years of experience with religion, this relationship was new to me - and so was the concept of redemption, and restoration. 

In the years that followed, I would repeatedly struggle with whether or not I'd heard Him clearly.  I would find myself striving to move forward and yet always looking back, wondering if I was disobeying His call, abandoning His promise.  In my heart, I longed for God to restore what had been broken and redeem what had been lost.  Yet, I lacked the faith to trust Him completely with every area of my life.  I compromised.  I settled.  And ultimately, I ended up where I had began - broken and laid bare before Him.  

In the eyes of others, I realize I may have seemed as though I was lost in chaos and confusion during those years, but the truth is, I was lost and wandering in disobedience in so many ways, in the silent sin of faithlessness, so far from the place I knew He'd called me.  I was foolishly listening to the voice of so many others, sometimes even my own, above His. 

Like a Father, He bandaged my self-inflicted wounds and held me close.  His love for me hadn't changed.  His word hadn't changed and much to my both relief and disbelief, His promise hadn't changed.  He whispered His story and this time, I believed Him.  Wholeheartedly.  And by His grace, it unfolds before my eyes.

As the music played that perfect Spring evening, each chord, each word, were resounding in my heart.  The rows of guests faded away and in that moment, it was just me and the Lord.  And I remembered.  His promise.  I couldn't have imagined that four years later, I'd be sitting and listening to the same song - healed and whole - closing my eyes and sitting in silence, but my soul singing as loudly as possible within me... 

All is as it should be.  

Maybe for the first time ever. 

Unexpected mercy.  
Tears filling my eyes, my heart whispers back to Him, "Oh, thank you, for my story."

And my story - and oh my, what a beautiful story, indeed. 


I see your smile 

And it’s so much sweeter
After all that I’ve been through 

And when we laugh 
I get a glimpse of forever 
And I praise God that I found you 

And anytime someone asks me 
How it all unfolded 
I’ll tell them such incredible chances 
Make for marvelous love

Just like the sun lights up the moon 
This love is a reflection 
Of more than just me and you 
Our lives were less than ordinary 

And while I couldn’t see past tomorrow 
God was making history 
Oh my, what a beautiful story of love

Unexpected mercy 
Is the greatest thing to find 
When you’ve been broken many times 
My soul found joy 
And for the first time in a while
I felt singing

And anytime someone asks me 

How it all unfolded 

I’ll tell them such incredible chances 
Make for marvelous love

Love Story by Mandi Mapes


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