Tone Series with Jim Vinyard
Documented by Lisa Larson
what do the words ‘so worth loving’ mean to you?
They mean that you are LOVED, and I am LOVED, period. I have been blessed to travel the globe many times over and I have seen some of the most dark conditions on our planet- slums, trafficking, homelessness, the broken, abused, starved, sick, unreached. When you do something as simple as “just show up” in the midst of that darkness, they can feel the love. When you remind them that God loves them no matter what, they smile and they cry for they feel that they are so worth loving.
when you hear the words dark and light, what comes to mind?
Colorado mountain roads. I have driven through the Rocky Mountains for decades and I see God’s beauty all around me in grand scale, then I drive through an occasional long dark underground tunnel that puts me back in that empty and lonely space….but I know that there will always be God’s beauty again at the end of that mountain tunnel. I have been through many personal dark seasons in my life- my parents divorce at a young age (which was a huge blow to me), an accident that almost ended my life and put me in a body cast my entire 6th grade year, and then as an adult through a divorce myself, and a bad career change and investment that derailed my life for a bit. I went through a lot of dark, empty and lonely seasons. But looking back there was always a light side to all of that. After my parents divorce, we moved from the Midwest to a beautiful island off the east coast. I LOVED that island throughout childhood. After my accident even though I was in pain and discomfort in that body cast my 6th grade year, I was home schooled and had a LOT of friends and family around me. And after my own divorce and bad career change, all I learned from that season brought me so much closer than ever to God, closer to my kids and led me on a path to eventually meet the LOVE of my life (we just celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary)! Life is a winding Colorado mountain road. It’s full of ups and downs, light and dark…but it is all SO worth the drive!
did you find God in the middle of the dark season?
I have been through many dark seasons of my life, in which God showed up. However it wasn’t until I was far into my adulthood that I truly found God. I had to travel to the ends of the earth to find Him. I had to be away from all the noise and busyness, all the influences and distractions of the fast paced and self-centered USA life I was living. I had to get totally quiet, to seek His face, to listen for His voice, to accept my brokenness and imperfections, to surrender to Him and to fully let Him in. When I did allow Him in it was truly amazing! I have been to church and small groups and retreats all my life and thought I was close to God, but I was wrong in many ways. The way the northwestern desert people of Kenya in the poverty and famine stricken Turkana region pray/prayed to God, the way they talk about Jesus and their knowledge of the Bible blew me away, they do so with every fiber of their being. I want that and seek that relationship with God that they have. I have learned that when you put God first in all that you do, things are most of the time not as hard as they are when we try to push things through as humans and our own will. God is always there and always shows up, not in our timing but in his timing, and his timing is always perfect looking back at all I have lived through thus far. I am SO excited about the road ahead and the opportunity to continue grow my relationship with Him.
what did you learn about His love for you at that time?
From my childhood into my adulthood, I prayed to God to help my siblings and parents through the breakup of my family, divorce of my parents and to give my mother strength she needed to raise four kids on her own in a new small town a thousand miles away from all we knew. I prayed to God for healing and strength during the many months of recovery from my childhood accident. I prayed to God through my own divorce and for my own children. I prayed and still pray a lot. I learned God was ALWAYS there for me, even when I could not feel His presence. Through my global travels I learned that my problems, no matter how bad I think that they are, are no where as bad as what millions more people are going through every day in this big world we live in. But I know God loves them too and just as much as He loves me.
what would you tell the next generation about God?
No matter what season you are in throughout your life, up or down, light or dark… seek God and keep Him in your life first. God will always be there with you and will never leave you! No bad relationship, bad decision, bad career choice, bad investment… will ever scare Him away. You are worth loving and He loves you!