Dear Valerie.

A two week series on learning from the past and looking to the future…

Dear 17-year-old Valerie,

I know you are someone who was barely in this world for a month when you were baptized. You bowed your head to pray over your dinner before you could even talk, and the first songs you ever knew were “Jesus Loves Me” and “I Am Jesus’ Little Lamb.” You went to Sunday school and church every Sunday, attended confirmation classes religiously (rimshot), and attended a Christian grade school for eleven years. It’s been a reality for your whole life that Jesus died for your sins and loves you and has a place for you in heaven in Jesus’ name we pray amen.

Because of this, your personal testimony will not, by the world’s standards, be flashy and impressive and full of ups and downs and drama and GLORY BE’s with extra helpings of HALLELUJAH AMEN on the side.

But that does not mean it’s not special. And it doesn’t mean God hasn’t been at work in your life.

You will go to camps and chapels and classes and church services and everywhere in between and listen to amazing, incredible stories. Stories of how the Lord brought people out of rebellion, drug abuse, promiscuity, and everything in between. Our God is indeed a God of redemption, and those mighty works He has done in the lives of His children are definitely to be praised!

But Valerie. Val. V. Please hear me on this. Just because you did not go through a time of rebellion or hellion child years or even any wild teenage years (because let’s face it, you are content with a decidedly un-wild evening watching Saturday Night Live with your friends) does not make your story invalid. And it does not make your story boring by comparison. Because the same God who made the heavens and the earth lives in YOU! And has redeemed you. And has set a path for you within His will. And will use you for His purposes.

Don’t let anyone look down on you or belittle you because of your testimony. When people call upon the other, flashier stories as examples of the amazing things God can do, don’t let yourself believe that it means your testimony is less worthy. Just because the places God has pulled other people out of may seem deeper and dirtier and more dramatic by the world’s standards does not mean that what He has done in their lives is somehow more wonderful or praiseworthy than what He has done in YOUR life!

The Bible says that we are ALL sinners (and yes that’s including you, Miss VBS) and ALL sin separates us from Him. So the fact that Christ has redeemed you from sins like picking on your little brother and cheating on your homework and being rude to your friends is no less magnificent than if the sins you needed to be redeemed from were adultery or murder! The fact that our Lord would come to this earth and die for each and every one of us most disgusting creatures is an absolute miracle! And the fact that He has done that for YOU makes your testimony the most flashy and firework-y and whiz-bang HALLELUJAH THANK YOU LORD celebration of a story that this earth ever did see!

Remember what is important: that He has redeemed you! That He loves YOU and cares for YOU and wants to use YOU to glorify Him!

I think that about covers it.

Oh! But! Also! Slightly off topic and significantly less important, but still deserves a mention: PLEASE TO STOP BUYING THE OLD NAVY FLIP FLOPS. I know they are crazy cheap but VALERIE. They are terrible shoes and they are uncomfortable and they break and it is just a FAD to buy so many in so many different colors, so please: just stop. You will only have to get rid of them later in life, so please: stop now.

Love you like a me,

It’s because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God. 1 Peter 1:21

Bio: Valerie Morby is a professional Facebook-er and web mistress for a camp ministry in Texas. She loves movies and funny things and peanut butter. She is one of the few and the proud to be able to call Ginger “sister,” and hopes said sister will not hold it against this writer that the preceding blog post was turned in mere hours before the deadline. Said blog writer just likes to rock a deadline like that. She blogs at Saltwater Coke whenever she can remember that it’s time to write again.

  • Shannonmichaelis

    It’s hard to write a serious comment after you end with Old Navy flipflops and procrastination!  And, when you call yourself a professional Facebook-er!  Ha!  Great story – amen to not having to endure a crazy testimony.

  • Kamille

    Valerie–thank you for sharing part of your story.  I think what’s interesting is how people who have gone through so much or more “amazing” testimonies simply long for more wholeness, which is found in yours.  It’s that saving grace we all end up finding, no matter the story to get us there. 

    P.S. I’m glad you added in the flip flop thing:)

  • loved this. totally relate.
    thanks for writing it :-)

  • Allyplummer

    great post.  so true.  love that you used a pic taken at my parent’s house!  brought back memories.  I totally agree about the flip flops.

  • great letter! and i definitely had those flip-flop’s in every color, too. what else was i going to wear with my peach shirt but peach flip flops!?

  • As a fellow lifelong church kid, I totally agree. Great post, Val! (And amen to the Old Navy flip-flop caution.)