Thursday, May 27, 2010

Shelly Story 101: Basic History

**This is an edited version of this entry, which posted originally on last Thursday. It is now Monday, and over the weekend I was in Omaha, where I got my hands on some fabulous photos to share. So, I have added them. They are so worth sharing. And perhaps I have added a sentence or two to the original version. Maybe. Just a few. Read on...

After much thought about what to type next on the blog, I have decided I will do a post on myself. Perhaps I'll take a break from espousing on what I am thinking, and switch to a description more specifically about my life. As this swims in my brain, I wonder it will be "self-serving", but it occurs to me that everything I type is fairy self-serving already; it serves the purpose of getting the burning thoughts and ideas out of my already-crowded head so that something new can take its place. So, I have decided that yes, I will fill you all in on me and my life. Perhaps knowing me better will lend more meaning to my other thoughts. I highly doubt that I can tell you about myself quickly and succinctly, but, with God's leading, I hope to tell you at least some of the important stuff. (Those of you that already know me can check this for accuracy, and chastise me later.)

I was born in Ohio and moved to Denver when I was three years old. Less than one year later my biological mother walked out. She was replaced by a much better model, although two years of mother-lack and the emotional fallout from feelings of abandonment at age four did their part to shape me. Once my Dad remarried, (the snap is the two of them looking fine back in the early 80's) I was happily raised as the oldest of five children in a blended family with my biological father, my stepmother who truly is my Mom, an adopted sister, an adopted brother, a full blood sister, and a half sister...and since we came together when we were just 6,5,4,3, and a mere twinkle in God's eye, it was completely natural. We are the Brady Bunch minus Alice, and those labels do not really exist in our family.

I absolutely loved Denver, and as the place that holds my first real memories, it was truly home in my heart. We had a straight-shot view of the Rockies out our front living room picture window, my school was large but that never scared me too much, and my Jr. high youth group rocked. We had dogs, bunnies, hamsters, fish, snow forts, a nearby roller rink, and (as you may recall from an earlier post) a wood burning stove. This doozie photo is one of the first Easters with my new family...I am the oh-so-adorable girlie in the bright yellow dress, knee socks, and sweet red shoes. I am proudly standing with my Grandma, my older cousin, and two of my sisters. We are stylin'.

When I was 15, my father took a transfer with his job, and we landed in Omaha, Nebraska. Omaha. Nebraska. Seriously?? Doesn't everyone in Nebraska wear overalls and straw hats and sleep with a pig in their bed or something?? If you ever doubted that someone could experience culture shock from moving a mere ONE state away, I am living proof. I mean, there was a corn field across the street from our house, for goodness sake!! And my high school only had 2000 students, one building, one lunchroom, and two gymns! Weird.

But far and away the very worst part of moving was leaving my youth group. I praise God for that truth, and yet, for a very long time, I could not praise God, because He allowed me to be uprooted from youth group and the foundation it was laying in my life. I went from a mountain top to a valley (in a spiritual sense) pretty fast, and quite honestly, it took me years to recover. I want to make it clear, however, that no blame lies with my parents for moving me. The blame lies with me and how my pubescent 15-year-old self coped with that move, as well as with the enemy who has mastered the craft of preying on the young in faith. Regardless of how far I fell off that mountain, I am forever grateful for the influence that the leaders of my youth group at Grace had on my life. Foundations so well laid in our youth never truly crumble, and when we dig deep we find them still laying there. It was that very foundation laid in me in Jr. high that I was able to build on later, and I know that God was merely exacting His perfect plan in 1986, when my "perfect" life was uprooted and transplanted to Nebraska. He had His reasons for planting me in Corn-ville USA.

Despite the nearby cornfields, I never started wearing overalls, and we never got a pig.
I finished my last three years of high school in Omaha, discovering that I am indeed shy by nature, that I love running, and that, yes, one can lose their identity in their boyfriend. Here we all are, in age order, commemorating my graduation from Millard North HS. After graduation, I tottled off to Lincoln for college at the University of Nebraska (still clinging to my boyfriend), and after 5 1/2 years, I graduated with a degree in Early Childhood Ed. It was during those years that God never left my side, even though I certainly left His. It was during those years that I attended--and screamed like a banshee at--Husker footballs games. Go Big Red! It was during those years that I detached myself from my high school boyfriend and tried to find my own identity. It was during those years that I discovered some of who Shelly Story is and what she wants. (Some.) It was during those years that I became imprisoned by sin. My cell mates were Binge Drinking and Miss Promiscuity. (Not good. Not good at all.)
It was during those years that I learned how to pay my own bills, including car loan payments, and get a tire fixed on my car, all without my Dad's help. It was during those years that I held as many as three jobs at one time to pay the bills. It was during those years that I lived with the person who single-handedly has made the greatest impact on my faith walk, and it was by no accident that we ended up as roommates. (That story would make a good blog post someday. Someone remind me later.)

It was during those years that God was continually watching out for me and working all things for my good, despite how far from Him I ran and how many poor choices I made.

He stuns me.

It was also during those years that I met and fell in love with my husband, Dan. You can read all about that here. Although undeserving of true love, although undeserving of being treated with such honor and respect and kindness, God put smack in my path the man of my dreams (not that I knew it at the time). The man who would complete me (not till I surrendered). The man who would give my life meaning (when I finally let him). The man who would one day receive a phone call asking him if he would like the opportunity to move to his family farm. I'm sorry, what was that?? Did you say FARM? Aren't there cornfields there? You want to be a farmer? You want me to go with you?? Do I have to sleep with a pig now??

Have I mentioned that God stuns me?? Case in point: Despite what I had always proclaimed would never happen, Dan and I were married less than two weeks after I graduated college, we took a honeymoon to none other than colorful Colorado to ski, and before I could say John Deere, I was a farmer's wife. In three weeks' time, I went from being a bartender and full-time college single, to being a farmer's wife in rural Northeast Nebraska. Talk about culture shock!

A word of advice: never tell the Lord that He has gotten you as far from your own normal as He could ever take you. Never tell Him where you will never live. Never, EVER do that.

As this post is getting long, the hour is late, and the man of my dreams is on the couch having just come home from work, I think I will stop here. Digest Shelly Story 101, and in a couple of days you will get Shelly Story 102: Current Events. There is where God really shows His sense of humor. It's stunning. (His sense of humor, not my life.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You rock aunt shelly! :)