If you have attended our church for any length of time, there is a good chance that you have probably met, or at least seen, Lynn. She faithfully greets people every week as they are coming into CCS, always asking for hugs, and forgetting names. As you observe Lynn, she is so vibrant in her love for her Savior, Jesus, and in turn, wants to share that love with as many around her as she possibly can. She can admittedly be stubborn, or impatient, but, as she would say, “At 84, I’ve only got a little time left!”
When Lynn was born, her mother didn’t want her. She had wanted a boy, and because of this refused to name the baby. One of the nurses that was there that day had recently lost a daughter, and so she gave her daughter’s name, Marilynne, to the baby. Through childhood, Lynn’s mother was an alcoholic, blaming Lynn because she hadn’t been a ‘legitimate’ baby. Because of this, she would take her anger out on young Lynn. Lynn shares that, “When you get beat up like that, it’s not your body that hurts, but your heart. You think ‘why do I have to get beat up like this?’” At that point in time, she would take walks along the beach, talking to the ocean. She thought that maybe there was a lady always listening and comforting her. Later in life, she realized that God had been the one listening and comforting her through the difficulties she faced. During that time, she remembers her mom would always send her and her brother to church each week, but does not recall anything that she learned. The only reason they actually went was for the movie they got to attend afterwards.
When she got a little older, Lynn decided to marry a man to escape from home. “That didn’t work,” she says. Her first husband beat her and she ended up right back where she started.
Later in life, Lynn worked in a variety of jobs from airports, restaurants, bars, and schools. During that time, she tried to find her happiness in men. She would go out with guys and stay the night with them, always looking for love. She says, “You can meet someone and they look so nice. But then you move in with them and it’s a disaster. You don’t get to know someone by sleeping with them.” During that time, she didn’t know much about God. She knew there was one, but she had only ever heard His name used in vain. Other than that, she didn’t know (or remember) much.
Then one Saturday night, she was working a graveyard shift at a restaurant and her oldest son, Rick came and invited her to church. The next morning, she got off work and went to church. She fell asleep during the service that morning, and several successive Sundays as well (those darn graveyard shifts!). One day Rick told her, “Mom, we like that you come to church, but it’s really embarrassing when you start to snore! They have night classes you can go to.” So she started attending the evening classes and signed up for every serving opportunity she could. One day a pastor approached her and told her, “We appreciate you doing all this stuff, but other people need some room to decide to help too.” To this Lynn replied with a smirk, “I try to solve everything.” She started to step back and watch other people step up more.
Eventually, she started hosting a single parents class in her home, with a guy from the church teaching. It was during this class she realized that God was in her life. She realized she was loved by God. That’s when she learned to love the Lord, Lynn says. “It’s nice when you know He loves you – you can love Him back!” God started transforming her heart and she began to realize she was loved no matter what. After that, she never needed another man because she had God. She shares, “I didn’t try to please everyone anymore, but I was only wanting to please the Lord. Believe me, I fall on my face a lot, and I have to say, ‘oops!’ But I didn’t have to go looking for love anymore, because I already had it. I didn’t need someone else to say I am Ok. God already did. I was amazed to find that He’s been there my whole life, and I never knew it.”
She says, “No matter what you have done in your life, if you ask God for forgiveness, He will forgive you. You don’t have to ask God to love you, because He already does. That is why Jesus hung on that cross.”
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understand; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6