This old steamer trunk has been kicking around my home for years. In the 50’s and 60’s, it carried the belongings of my grandparents as they traveled around the world on special assignment with the State Department. Today, it’s filled with old letters and pictures of my ancestors. Each face representing a story.
One of my favorites is Cattie Johnson. My grandfather’s mother. Her story is compelling. As a young girl, she walked from Oklahoma to Texas behind a covered wagon.
Also in the trunk is this letter, written by John Morgan Rice. It says:
“Compliments of J M Rice to To Miss Cattie Johnson and will be pleased to accompany her to Prayer Meeting tonight at the Baptist Church, if agreeable. Yours Respect. Moody, Jan – 1-30-1887.”
Some time later Cattie married John Morgan…
and down the line came my Grandfather, Morgan Hampton…
then my mother Josephine…
I love to tell my children and grandchildren about Cattie. I want them to know about her strong pioneer spirit. How it lives in me, and in them too.
Regardless of whether we realize it, we are all writing our story. Every decision we make, every path we choose, every word we speak, has the potential to be the story our future generations tell about us.
In the last five years, I’ve lost just about everything. My life savings, my home, and my husband of 38 years. Then last week, I stood on the grass as the grandchildren who – for the past 14 years – have lived right around the corner, left for the 500 mile move away from me.
My first inclination was to rage against the God who controls the universe. In my inability to see Him as a loving God, I wanted to blame Him for my loss. But instead I’m choosing a different path. I’m writing a different story.
Instead of despair, I’m peering around the bend anticipating what God has in store for me. I’m clinging to His promise to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you.” I’m choosing to believe He is enough to not just carry me, but to elevate me above my loss.
One day I hope my great grandchildren discover this trunk of old pictures.
And when they do, I hope they stumble upon Cattie, Morgan, Josephine, and me. As the stories unfold, I want mine to be about a woman whose faith stood the test of time. Who despite her struggles, held firm to the truth that God’s grace, was indeed, enough for her. For this is the story I want to choose to write for the rest of my life.