Expect the Impossible: Speak Up Round 2 Finalist Kim Lengling
It can be incredibly disheartening to see a loved one who seems lost and far from God. But if that’s what you’re facing, hold onto these three words today: Don’t stop believing. No matter how far away that person seems to have gotten, remember that God is a master at turning things around. He can reach into the darkest depths and offer redemption and hope. It may not happen overnight, but with time and patience, you can see God work in your loved one’s life.
In this episode of Publishing Secrets, guest host Kim Lengling shares a personal story and, within it, a reminder never to give up on your loved one, no matter how lost they might seem. Pray for them, believe in them, and never give up hope. God is always at work, even when we can’t see it. So trust that God is working behind the scenes to bring your loved one back into His fold. Everything is possible with God.
In this episode, you’ll also hear:
- Kim’s story of attending a church that didn’t feel like “hers”
- How her relationship with that church changed in a surprising way
- Why Kim still holds onto a seemingly ordinary brick
- Why you should “expect the impossible” from God, even when someone seems too lost to ever be found
This episode is part of the Christian Authors Network global speaking competition, Speak Up. Click here to learn more and stay up-to-date on the competition!
Kim Lengling: Just a Brick
“God? There is no God. Who does this guy up there think he is, talking about a God who provides peace, mercy and miracles?”
Yes, those words sound harsh, but that’s where I was personally until I reached my mid-30s. I had a place in my heart that I guarded so tightly. But something that you see as a protective refuge can become a prison.
The Stained Glass Windows
Years ago, I had found myself sporadically attending a church. I didn’t see myself as a Christian; in fact, I found it impossible to consider myself a person who would attend church with the weight of the trauma and angst that I carried with me each day. I knew I was seeking something, but I had no idea what it was.
As a result, I didn’t understand much of what I heard when I did attend church. The sermons and the stories were confusing to me, and I would leave feeling frustrated and angry. Now, I know this is no one’s fault but my own, because my heart was closed. But I would ask myself why I was wasting my time on Sunday mornings.
There was one thing that I did like about that church, though: the windows. Not the pastor, the people, or the sermons, but those stained glass windows. The sun would stream through, dust-filled rays would dance across the pews, and I could feel something. I often wondered if anybody else could feel it. Was I the only one who noticed and was comforted by this?
Not My Church
One morning, I received a call, and the first words spoken to me were, “Our church burned down.”
Confused, I thought, “What church?” I attended a small church on occasion, but it wasn’t my church. But later that day, I felt a strong urge to go see the remains of this church that I didn’t consider my own.
Once I arrived, what remained of that church had bright yellow caution tape wrapped around the smoking rubble. I got out of my car and slowly walked towards the remains, and something stirred within me as I stood staring at that smoking pile of bricks. A hint of sadness began to seep through.
I didn’t understand why I was sad. This wasn’t my church. It was just a building that had always been there. I hadn’t really taken much notice of it over the years. I remember riding my bicycle past it as a child, and later walking by it hundreds of times. I remember attending the occasional service, and attending Girl Scout meetings there when I was younger, but I wasn’t there often enough to consider it my church.
And as I stood looking at that smoking mess, my thoughts became still. Without thinking, I crawled under that caution tape and walked through the rubble to get a closer look at the bricks. My eyes landed on one that was lying at an angle and partially buried underneath soot and grime. I reached down, picked it up, and held it in my hand. It was still warm to the touch. I tucked that brick under my arm, crawled back under the caution tape, and returned to my car and drove home.
Once home, I laid that brick beside the bottom step of my back porch. I had planned to leave it out just for a day or two so I wasn’t bringing all that smoky smell into the house. Then, some days later, a friend visited and asked, “Hey, what’s up with that brick by your back step?”
I replied, “Oh, that’s just a brick from my church that burned down a few weeks ago.” It wasn’t until later that I realized I had said “my church.”
Just a Brick?
Now, years later, that brick still sits by my bottom step, and it has weathered each season that has come and gone. During winter, the brick becomes buried in snow, and I’ll run into it with my shovel and have to move it back in place. Spring arrives, and I’ll tuck it back in place yet again after each rain. In the summertime, I’ll run into it with my weed eater or my push mower. Fall will come, and it’s covered in leaves.
Why take such care? After all, it’s just a brick from a small-town church that burned down years ago. But isn’t it funny how your mindset changes when you let God into your life?
For several years, that one brick was, in fact, just a brick from a small-town church that had burned down. Now, there’s a new church, built by those who loved the old one. And I began attending this new church each Sunday. I was baptized and became a member of this new church. The people of that church have become a part of my family, and me of theirs. I’ve become one who sings out loud with my hands in the air. I’ve laughed and I’ve cried in my church. I felt lost and afraid in my church, and ultimately I was found and filled with joy in my church. And I finally get what that guy up front is talking about.
Now, that brick may be just a brick to some who see it sitting near the bottom step that leads into my house. But if you were to ask me about that brick today, I’d share the story of a small-town church with beautiful stained glass windows, and how the sun’s rays would filter through them to create a unique visual and emotional experience.
Some may see just a brick. But I know that brick is a stepping stone to finding my faith and becoming part of a family, to finding peace, and knowing I have received grace and am loved by God. And, above all, I found hope.
We all seek something at different points in our lives. What I once thought was impossible became more than possible. It became a way of life, and it can for you, too. Expect the impossible, dear ones. God is a master at turning things around.
About the Author…
Sharing her faith, nature, love of rescue animals, and as a veteran living with PTSD, Kim Lengling has been writing since 2004. She has been featured as a co-author in seven anthologies, is the lead author and coordinator of a collaborative 3-book faith-based series titled When Grace Found Me, the host of the podcast Let Fear Bounce, host of The Write Stuff, The Author’s Voice TV Show with the Believe In Your Dreams TV Network and a co-host of a weekly radio show, Voices4Vets. Visit Kim’s website here. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
The Christian Authors Network Speak Up Competition
The Speak Up Competition, sponsored by the Christian Authors Network, is a powerful source of hope and light for people all over the world. This year’s theme, “Expect the Impossible,” is a reminder that no matter how dark our situations may look, we always have hope because we know that all things are possible with God! The inspirational messages featured in this series are from the round two finalists. Stay tuned for updates as the competition progresses, and please pray with us that God will use this competition to bless and encourage His people. We know that the speak up community has the power to make a difference in this world, and we can’t wait to see what God does through us!