Today I share the story of two people whose lives were seemingly set out on different paths thousands of years apart yet were brought to a moment in time where time and eternity collided in a majestic show of God’s infinite mercy and grace.
The true story of Christmas is that of how an eternal God brought salvation to mankind by coming in the form of an innocent babe. A babe who would grow to know no sin, but who would take the ultimate penalty for sin so that we each might know salvation. Two thousand years later the stories of our lives are still colliding with the story of our savior.
Luke 2:10, NKJV
Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
In the true spirit of Christmas, today I share the story of a good friend of mine, whose life was brought to a moment in time where the story of Christ birth crashed into her present world, forever changing her story from that moment forward.
I first met Patricia Duncan in 2009 shortly after I moved to DFW. We attended the same church and were in the same singles class together. She is a single mom to a wonderful young man named Kalen. Over the years our friendship has grown and I now consider her one of my closest friends. We have gone on trips together, run races together, I introduced her to tamarindo and mangonadas (my favorite).
We have laughed, cried, experienced mighty moves of God together, I have seen her go from mountain tops to valley lows. Despite every twist and turn life has brought her, she has maintained a steadfast faith and hope in God. She is a prayer warrior who knows how to fight on her knees. She is the real deal, not a fake knock of Christian. This past week she celebrated a birthday and in commemoration of her birthday and the Christmas season, I thought it would be neat to share her story and she agreed to it, so here we are.
Patricia was born and raised in Wichita Falls, Texas in a military home. Her dad retired after a 25 year career with the Airforce, then worked in a plant as an electrician foreman. Her mom was a house wife, taking care of Patricia and her sisters. At the age of 12 Patricia encountered some medical problems in which she had to have brain surgery, which would ultimately cause her to have to deal with issues for the rest of her life. In 1991 she graduated from high school. In 1992 she got married to her husband who was in the Air Force and they moved to California. They divorced years later and Patricia found herself moving back to Texas as a single mom with her son, Kalen, who was just a baby at the time. Kalen is now a young man, 22 years old, and who is her primary purpose in her life.
Between the years of 1993 – 2005 her life was spinning out of control with no relief in sight. Anxiety and stress plagued her, a deep depression had settled on her and thoughts of suicide often went through her mind. She often thought, Who could love me? Who would come to my funeral if anything happened to me? Who would care for my son? She had never been able to hold a job or learn to drive as a result of her seizures and other health complications and felt constrained to a live a life dependent on others with physical and mental handicaps.
Twelve years ago she found her self in a state of desperation, needing a way out of her current situation. She knew from her upbringing that there was a God who loves unconditionally, forgives, who has mercy and grace, but where could she go to encounter Him? She had a friend take her to a local church, but they wanted her to recite prayers, memorize their beliefs and make an appointment to be saved. She left feeling frustrated and empty-handed, not wanting a ritual but an experience. She went home and prayed and made a vow to God that if He provided a church who could take her to church she would go. The next week the bus ministry from Calvary Pentecostal Church in Euless, Texas showed up at her apartment complex. She went to church with them and on October 17, 2005 God answered her prayer. She found herself at an altar, repented of her sins, He filled her with the Holy Ghost, and she was baptized in Jesus name , a true book of Acts experience, which is still very alive today.
It was on that day the story of our Savior collided with the recipient of His intended eternal gift to mankind. Because of her willingness to surrender to God and His plan, Patricia today leads a hope filled life, daily encountering God and growing in His wisdom.
This to me is what Christmas is all about.
Here are a few pictures of Patricia sharing some beautiful words at my wedding reception. Thank you Patricia for sharing some of your story with us today, may you be blessed because of it.
Isaiah 9: 6-7, NKJV
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever.