In the fall of 2020, I was approached by a member of my church to write Matt and Ellen’s story.
At the time, I was sorting through donated fruit, knee deep—like everyone else—in absolute uncertainty, as the chaos of COVID-19 continued to ravage the world. We were both wearing masks and gloves, standing the recommended six feet apart. We were part of a small group of other church goers, preparing food packs for those in need.
My immediate reaction to his question was no.
It sounded terrifying. It sounded hard. It sounded like something I couldn’t do.
But he asked me to consider it. Not only because he believed there was an important story to tell, but that I was the person to help tell it.
Matt and I had gone to the same church since we were kids. He is a few years younger than me, so we didn’t know each other well, but we always said hello. In the previous year, I’d heard minor details of his story. I knew he moved to China. I knew he got married. I knew his wife had twins during COVID.
There was definitely a story there, I agreed, but I wasn’t sure where I came in, and I wasn’t sure if the story was long enough for a book.
A few weeks later, I sat down with Matt, Ellen, and Scott to talk about it. We were all nervous and not sure where to start. I still felt all too unqualified. But amongst my doubts and nerves, something else sparked inside me.
Sitting across from them, I could feel a sense of impossibility in their story. They were born 7,000 miles apart. They came from entirely different worlds. Their twins were born in China, days before the WHO declared COVID-19 a global emergency. I kept running into the same question over and over again: HOW?
The more I asked it, the more I realized that I’d been asking it. That this question had haunted me for years.
I’d struggled with my faith, wondering what purpose God had for my life. Wondering how he’d give purpose to the hard parts of my life.
Jeremiah 29:11 says: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Okay, I would think as I read it, HOW?
Proverbs 3:5-6 say, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Over the next six months, I met with Matt and Ellen on Zoom to listen to their story. And little by little, each how fell into place. Like puzzle pieces. Showcasing God’s hand on their lives from the very beginning.
By the end it wasn’t only obvious to me that it was a story needing to be told, but it was a story I needed to hear.
It changed my life. It strengthened my faith. And it taught me that while I might not always know the how in my own life (or the why or where or when) I can be confident that God does. That He has a plan.
And part of that plan, was a book!