This past week I was blessed to see the movie "I Still Believe: The Russ Taff Story," playing for one night only in our local theater. In my earlier years of music/evangelism ministry I used to enjoy Russ Taff's music, especially when he was a part of the Gaithers. I knew nothing about his serious alcohol addiction; but apparently neither did anyone else, including his wife and children! In this film, Russ and his family absolutely bare their souls and become utterly vulnerable in front of the whole world as they trace his years of addiction and how it almost destroyed his marriage, his family and his career. But what touched me so deeply was the words of a fellow Gaither singer, who said of Russ Taff, "I would rather see his scars than his Grammies or his Dove awards."
Wow. Immediately in my spirit I knew that this is what Yeshua would say. "I'm more moved by your scars than your trophies." Here's how the Apostle Paul said it: "If anyone ever had reason to hope that he could save himself, it would be I. If others could be saved by what they are, certainly I could! For I went through the Jewish initiation ceremony when I was eight days old, having been born into a pure-blooded Jewish home that was a branch of the old original family of Benjamin. So I was a real Jew if ever there was one! What's more, I was a member of the Pharisees who demand the strictest obedience to every Jewish law and custom. And sincere? Yes, so much so that I greatly persecuted the Church; and I tried to obey every Jewish rule and regulation right down to the very last point. (Philippians 3:4-6 TLB)
As Max Lucado puts it, "Paul had blood on his hands and religious diplomas on his wall." Ouch! So did I, for a long time. The one sin in my life for which I still grieve in anguish, even though I know I have repented and been forgiven, is an abortion I underwent at age 17. I was born again by the Holy Spirit at age 29 but I still could not speak to anyone of this horrific sin. It was a child, my child, and that is not easy to forget. By the time I was about 40, I had the tremendous blessing of being under a true Shepherd of the Word in those early church years, and at some point I knew I needed to confess this sin to him so that I could be fully forgiven and restored. This godly pastor suggested we should have a small service in remembrance of the baby in order to help me heal. Then he told me that as part of this service we would need to name the baby. I replied, "That's not necessary. The Spirit revealed to me a long time ago that he was a boy and his name was John."
My full restoration actually came this year. The whole, thrilling revelation of this restoration takes my breath away, and even though it is difficult to be this vulnerable with all of you on this Blog, I took courage from Russ Taff and others like him, who reach people in their own brokenness, and I knew I must share this! My abortion was in the year 1968. My full restoration has come in the year 2018. It was only this morning that I realized that is a FULL FIFTY YEARS - or JUBILEE! And the meaning of Jubilee itself, as given to us in Scripture, is freedom! Freedom from all debt, with everything one has lost being fully restored!
When John was courting me, he had a prophetic dream that he shared with me and I wrote it in my journal. He said while he was sleeping he had the impression that an angel had appeared to him and told him we would have a son and we should name him John. Sorry to say, I did not learn anything from Sarah and I too laughed! But like Mary, I planted that dream deep in a chamber of my heart and pondered it over the last seven years of our marriage. Fifty means jubilee and seven means completion. Are you tracking with me, dear ones?
This year I have really begun to struggle with a second "empty nest." No one ever told me that some grandparents go through another empty nest syndrome when precious grandchildren grow up and they are no longer around. My three grandchildren who live in this same town with me have been a tremendously special, blessed part of my life and we have been exceedingly close. Now one has gone off to college, another is a senior making college plans for next year, and the last one is an active, busy 14-year-old whose life is filled with volleyball, basketball, track, music, and student council! I had been feeling a lot of sorrow over all this when God stepped in.
A very close friend of my daughter's was expecting a baby. I reached out to her to ask if she already had her day care plans in place or if I could perhaps help her with caring for the baby, even if just one or two days a week. Her voice was filled with amazement as she replied, "Are you the answer to my prayers?" She came over a couple of weeks later so we could make plans for me to help care for the baby, so when she settled herself and her big, swollen belly into a chair, I went over to "introduce myself" to the little unborn person in her womb. I laid my hands on her belly and quietly said, "Hi, I'm your new Nana Kelly. What's your name?" And his mama said, "His name is John."
Fifty years I carried guilt and sorrow. But the Lord speaks to me, "I'd rather see your scars than your trophies. Your scars have produced repentance, forgiveness and now, jubilee!" The adorable little one in my arms here is the one the angel prophesied about. His name is John.
Kelly Ferrari Mills