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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson

Back Story & a Miracle

There is a penciled note in the margin of my old NIV Study Bible, given to me by my husband on my twenty-fifth birthday. It’s a reference to the first two verses of Psalm 42:

As the deer pants for streams of water,

so my soul pants for you, O God.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

When can I go and meet with God?

The note says, “I want this!” And a date—October 2000.

Just over twenty-one years ago.

Twenty-one years, which for some, is a lifetime. A lifetime for my third son, who would have just turned two that October.

The penciled date was the start of a miracle of sorts. I didn’t know it then. A year later I’d see the note, and I wouldn’t remember writing it, but I would know exactly what it meant.

I want this!

What I wanted was a thirsty soul. A soul panting like a deer after God.

Oh, I did pursue God, the best I could. I guess you could say I was all about doing my best. I read my Bible, and I did all things Church, and two of my boys were enrolled in Christian school. My whole life, practically, revolved around this devotion to God. But I didn’t thirst.

And this, it turns out, wasn’t the only thing I was missing. Of course, I had no idea at the time. Totally oblivious, until the miracle happened.

The miracle didn’t come easily. It came out of a hard season of coming face to face with my own pride and perfection—a season that transpired after an honest and heartbreaking confrontation, and a bit of falling apart. A beautiful breaking, as it turns out. Pride blessedly shattered, like the mirror reflecting my own ugly sin, seeing it with some clarity, for the very first time. I cried out—

God, give me what I’ve been missing!

And He gave thirst. Like a deer panting.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

The next ten years, give or take, was nonstop miracle. A whole decade of asking (and meaning it)—

When can I go and meet with God?

I soaked up everything He gave me. I worshipped. I thought about Him day and night. I couldn’t get enough, and He just kept giving. It was a holy wonder. Even now, I wonder. What was really going on?

Nearly everything I’ve done since, began in that miracle decade. The book I’m just now finally publishing. The Covenant Story: Trusting the Love of a Faithful God.

It began as a way to explain the miracle. Some kind of language to make sense of this breathtaking story He’d been showing me in the pages of scripture. The story He invited me to enter. There are a hundred different ways to tell this story. The prophets give us more than enough threads to follow, scripture themes to trace straight through. But this COVENANT is the story thread He shared with me, back in those days of the miracle.

Twenty-one years since a penciled note. Twenty since the beautiful breaking. A decade, give or take, since he showed me the story. And now, here I am, this book on the horizon. A book that started as a miracle. And is a miracle still.

When can I go and meet with God?

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