Janie Cheaney: Ornament exchange

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Wednesday, December 12th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from member-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Janie B. Cheaney now on what can happen when God takes center stage in our lives.

JANIE B. CHEANEY, COMMENTATOR: Several years ago I met with some friends for a Christmas ornament exchange. As part of the evening, we shared our testimonies—as I now share with you, with names changed for privacy.

Debbie’s life was chaos, owing to a dysfunctional family and no system or order in the house. Her father made plenty of money, but she sometimes walked to school in clothes so old her teachers thought she was a charity case. She professed faith in Christ through high school friends who sought her out so sweetly she didn’t realize until later that they were evangelizing her.

Brenda’s life was disruption. As a small child she was evacuated from London because of the blitz, and after the war her mother worked overtime to make ends meet. Her life had no unifying thread until her husband brought home a gospel tract. It struck like an arrow, filling her heart with joy, and eagerly she knelt to profess Christ.

Linda felt unloved. Her father died before she could know him and her stepfather never took her to his heart. When a chain of circumstances brought her stepdad’s mother to live nearby, that godly woman took Linda to church. Though hostile to faith, her stepdad welcomed the Sunday-morning time he could spend with his “real” kids. Meanwhile Linda learned that her heavenly Father loved her.

Melissa’s life was darkness. Drug abuse, alcohol, and violence ruled her home, but somehow she got through high school and scraped up enough ambition to go to college. There, Christian friends started inviting her to church. Her conversion was quick and complete. No backsliding; she changed like that (snap). Her language cleaned up, her partying stopped, she was delivered from darkness into light.

Tabitha’s life was marked by fear. She feared everything: danger, death, hell—even at 5 years old! Her parents had taught her about God, but somehow she missed the part about grace. One night she lay in bed, unable to sleep after a heinous (to her mind) misdeed. She had to get up and confess to her parents, who, in the middle of the night, shared the good news with her. From that night, she walked in confidence.

As for me, I was complacent. I was always in church. I memorized all the Bible verses, sang all the standard hymns by heart. Being a Christian was easy for me: here’s what God wants, just follow these rules. But meandering along that path, not paying much attention, I tripped right into sin. And self-justifying, which is even worse. Until He brought me face to face with my own desperate need, and I couldn’t pretend any longer.

Six stories, six journeys that aren’t over yet. And at this minute, and the next, He’s calling others to Himself. For every soul saved He makes His own ornament exchange, from lives of shame to lives of glory, each with its own beauty, who will someday adorn heaven.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Janie B. Cheaney.

(Photo/Eva Holm, Flickr)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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