Everyone has a story, but not without flaws

Everybody has a chapter they don’t read out loud. It might be the most important thing that happens to them in their life story and the most embarrassing. It could be that moment when we fall below our standard and discover who we really are.

I have had those chapters in my life, which I don’t even pretend to write about. Believe me, those were the most significant and hardest times. After I went through the experience, I said, “I needed that lesson. I don’t think I could have learned it any other way.”

In our writers’ group, we were to interview someone and ask them to tell their story. Talk to a person who we pass on the street. It might be the waitress, the grocery clerk or the UPS man.

I chose my friend, Lynne Jubilee Cumming, to interview. She is continually being challenged and questioned as to how her life looks to other Christians. They do not understand her and have been critical of her. She is a butterfly and flies over fences. No one can hang on to her, especially men who pursue her. They want to capture her and change her.

I have learned when God calls us, it never goes along with peoples’ logical line of reasoning. We must learn to live and write our own story. If not, someone else is holding the pen and they will tell us how our story should play out.

Someone called her a traveling prophetic evangelist. I asked her to explain what that meant? Being a woman, how did that fit into this kind of a ministry? Always being away from home and driving across the country when she is called to ministry. She might sleep in her car and put herself in danger. She works alone, but also has a team of men with whom she travels to Mexico and other countries.

She said, “I didn’t know what traveling prophetic evangelist meant. I hadn’t heard that expression before.”

I reminded her that is what she does. I have witnessed her over a 45-year friendship and the effectiveness she has had in others’ lives. She loves to travel. A phone call will take her across the country or to another country.

One of her biggest challenges was not smuggling 18 Bibles into China, facing a Chinese jail, but her contradictory lifestyle. People perceive her a certain way and want to change her.

I know a lot about my good friend, but I wanted to know more. I told her God has called both of us to a new place. We understand the next chapter of our book, but others can’t. It takes courage to live our lives the way they were meant to be lived.

Cumming is the oldest heir to the Backus family on her mother’s side. Her great grandfather, a magnate, was one of two of the richest men in the United States at the turn of the century. His family’s business, Backus Lumber Company, produced the lumber for the whole country. They owned three islands on the Minnesota side across from Canada.

Her father was a poor boy who fell in love with Mr. Backus’ daughter. He supported his way through college to become a doctor. Cumming’s principles came from her father, not her mother, thus her dad was the biggest influence in her life.

It was never about money for Cumming. She pays her own way to help other people. She has never charged for her services. She said she made a vow to God that she wanted to be a gift to the Body of Christ. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been changed by a simple touch or word from her.

She came to the Lord at the age of 12 and felt the call upon her life. She sold out to God. After Bible College, she joined Campus Crusade for Christ and was part of the team who opened up Europe to the gospel. Europe, in 1965, was known as the darkest continent in the world. Not Africa, but Europe. The condition of Europe made it the mission field of her generation. She had an overwhelming desire and passion to go and show them the light.

Traveling to over 36 countries, she was involved with taking 2,500 Bibles to Moscow. It was just after the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. She said, “I walked up to each guard who stood at Lenin’s Tomb in Red Square and handed each a Bible. They took them. They were hungry to know the truth.”

She has gone to Mexico for over 25 years. With her team, she has started churches and given the people the gospel. She has seen people walk and delivered from demons. She would have missed God’s miracles if she had lived a different life.

I asked her to explain her life in a nutshell. She said, “To me, it is all about the heart and we speak to people about their hearts. I was a girl with a vision who had a rebellious heart to become a woman with a greater vision who has a submissive heart.”

I believe I could use her words to describe my own life. When I’ve doubted God’s call, thinking I was foolish, I forged ahead anyway. I’ve stayed true to my calling. It was not always the popular thing to do, but it was God’s truth in me.

Final brushstroke: Everyone has a story. Cumming’s story makes sense to me. It has helped me discover me among the pages of my life. “Sometimes God redeems your story by surrounding you with people who need to hear your past so it doesn’t become their future.” Jon Acuff

Readers’ comments

Send your comments to betty@bettyslade.com.

This story was posted on August 17, 2017.