Her home life growing up was a place of sadness and hurt. She would hide her Bible when her dad would walk by because he told her, “I would rather you were addicted to drugs than be a Christian.” When her dad kicked her out of the house because she didn’t want to stop going to church, Meg learned the real power in watching those around her be transformed by the faith she was clinging to.
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Meg Glesener: The transformation that has happened in my life is when I see bumps now, I don’t see them apart from what God’s doing. God can still do a perfect, amazing work in each one of our kids and each one of our grandkids. And I’m a woman who is believing him for that.
Narrator: We’ve all experienced it. You run into a friend from the past, but there’s something different. They are changed. Maybe there is a calm where there once was a storm. Maybe there is gentleness instead of harshness. There’s a new passion, a new life. What changed? Welcome to Brought Back To Life, a podcast where we explore stories of ordinary transformation.
Meg Glesener: I’m Meg Glesener and above all I’m a grateful child of God. I’m also a mother of eight, grandmother to five, and the podcast host of Letters From Home. A happily, but imperfectly, married mom. So, you know, my story is one of salvation, persecution, and a deep transformation that God unexpectedly brought in my life.
Our kids love hearing my story of how the Lord saved me, because it’s so different from the Christian upbringing that they had. When I was a kid, I don’t know if you’ve heard of the term ACEs, adverse childhood experiences, but there’s this whole list of all the most horrible things that can happen in your childhood. And I have like seven out of 10. So, my parents started off marriage cause my mom was pregnant with my brother. And so, their marriage was loveless from the beginning. They were both raised Catholic but felt super rejected. And so, we were raised in this volatile situation. Really, I only have one memory of my parents together and I was sitting, my parents were yelling at each other, and they shoved all four of us in a room with a closed door, and I remember sitting on the bed and I could hear loudly that song, Oh Tannenbaum, oh Tannenbaum, and I was sitting there trying to comfort my siblings while my parents were yelling.
So, there really does a number on a kid. My dad was also violent with my mother then turned into this whole decade of living with one parent, living with the other. This one got divorced. This one was an abuser too. Oh, that’s great. So, there’s alcoholism, there’s, you know, all, all the yucky things that can happen in a childhood were in various places in my home.
And you know, you can imagine that does a number on a girl. I was very insecure. I sought to be loved like anyone and looking for approval. And so, for me, I kind of poured myself into sports a bit. And when I was in high school, I was really good at sports, but super lonely. And you know, people don’t know as a teenager, you’re struggling with all these things, and you don’t quite verbalize them.
One time I was coming home from a dance, and I didn’t want to tell anyone I didn’t have a ride home. My dad was an alcoholic at the time I just waited, and I was just going to walk home all by myself, 40 minutes in the dark. And a friend of mine said, let me give you a ride. It turns out she was a Christian from Campus Life, which is a lot like Young Life.
And it was in California and Sonya said, Hey, how are you doing? How are you really doing? And I, I just spilled my guts to her, and I was sure I was going to be so rejected. Instead, she said, why don’t you hang out with me and my friends. So, I started hanging out with Sonia and her friends and they were so different and so nice.
And I didn’t really know what it was because I had only ever been to church once and I didn’t really know what was happening. And then one day we all went to a dance, and I want to spend the night at her friend’s house after, and this guy, Lance, dear Lance, open the Bible, turn to John 3:16 in high school at a party and shares the gospel.
I’m sitting here in my friend’s big bedroom, in this circle of teenagers and he opens the word of God, John three 16 and he says reads it, for God so loved the world. And he said, does anyone want to give their life to Christ? And I remember in my heart thinking I do; I want to get saved. And, and I said, I do.
And he says, well, you could repeat a prayer after me, you know? And I thought, I don’t want to pray out loud. And so, I prayed in my heart, and I gave my life to Christ. And when I woke up, I felt like the clouds were lifted. And this is coming from someone who had no spiritual reference, no idea, but I felt the Lord changed my heart.
I woke up with hope. I remember he gave me his Bible, and one of the people at Campus Life gave me a little dove pin. I started working at McDonald’s. I had this little dove pin. I’d open up the Bible in my work room and I thought, you know, I should tell my dad, I live with my dad, single dad at the time that I’m a Christian.
And so, I came home and I’m like, Hey dad, can I talk to you about God? And he said, I’m the one who puts the food on the table. I pay the rent. There is no room for God in my house. And I thought, I don’t think I’ll tell him I’m a Christian. So, I kind of kept it to myself. I’m actually pretty good at sports.
I got a full ride scholarship to Azusa Pacific University for volleyball. And my dad said I couldn’t go because it was a Christian college. So, I ended up going to Cal State Fullerton, putting myself through school, but it was there that God began to do a great work in my life. I signed up for a Bible study and I started going and I was so excited. Somebody invited me to church, and I asked my dad, I was only 17. I was a minor, my birthday is late November and my dad said, Christianity is I told, I told him I was a Christian, so I finally got the courage to tell my dad, I was a Christian in high school. I mean, in college. And I had been hiding my Bible when he walked by. I was afraid of my dad.
He yelled all the time. And I remember hiding my Bible under the covers, but I thought I just, I was so excited growing in my faith. I thought I’ll tell him. So, he, he kind of gives me a two-hour lecture on propaganda and he said, Meg, I’d rather, you told me you were on drugs, then that you were a Christian, and just seeing the disappointment on his face. But I knew that that’s what I was to do. So, I asked him if I go to church, he said, you can go once but if you ask me to go again, you are not welcome to stay in my home. So, I went to church, and I think of that now as a Christian, because you know, kids are like, ah, I have to go to church. Some kids, you know you know, and I was so grateful when I went to church.
I’m like, wow, I’m in a room where everyone’s wanting to sing and hear God’s Word being preached. It was so great. I wanted to go again. And so, I came, I told my dad, dad, I went to church, and I really want to go again. And he said, well, you know what that means, don’t you? And I said, yes. And he said, when are you leaving?
And I said, it was a Monday granted, I was a really good kid. I was a first one and went to college. I wasn’t rude about my faith. I kind of kept it quiet to myself. And my dad said, then you need to leave. I left two days later, he didn’t let me say goodbye to my sister or my stepsisters, which two of them got saved shortly after that.
I moved in with my mom and, you know, just facing the ultimate rejection, but now I was free living with my mom. I could go to church; I could read my Bible. I could do all of these things. And I just really grew in my faith. My brother got saved. My mother got saved at a good old fashioned tent meeting in California, Fullerton, California.
I got to see God work in my life and many others. I got to disciple so many women and I just figured that was my testimony. Like that’s, I went through such hard things as a kid. That’s my testimony. I also met my husband, Mike in college. We served the Lord together. And my last year of college, we got married.
We got actually sent up from California to Seattle to plant a church and our family started growing. And so, for us, that place our home, which for me as a child, was a place of hurt. God was turning our home into a place of blessing. I so love serving the Lord. I’m not the person who had this dip where I didn’t believe in God or anything like that because my childhood was so hard.
I was so grateful just growing in my faith, loving the Lord. Teaching my kid, our kids, the Word. We had, house church. We had ministry together, all these things. Our kids are teenagers and they’re involved with Bible city at church. We’ve never had to make them go to church. They love youth group. They’re helping out in the public schools, co-leading Bible study.
And so, the next part of my story that I want to tell you is a story of unexpected transformation. I didn’t realize that I was just assuming that God was going to save every one of my kids. Like, can I tell you how many times, hundreds of times, I prayed thousands of times for our kids to love him and walk with them.
And Mike and I are a good example. Like we, we genuinely love each other. We are who we are behind closed doors as we are out in public. You know, like we have family devotions every day, our kids like going in there participate. So, I just kind of assumed that all the kids would walk with the Lord. Maybe they’d, you know, marry somebody, you know, at a different church.
And we just don’t realize that you have this idea in your mind of what you think God’s blessing on your life looks like. We had easy teenagers, then they start hitting the twenties. And there was a time eight years ago when we had three or four kids having big bumps and struggles in their life.
And some of those are not my story to share, but you can imagine hard things that happen to your kids, that’s out of their control. That’s out of your control. You can imagine other things where kids maybe put a pause on their faith to see what, what is their life about? There’ve been bumps. And there was this one time when we had three or four things within the same week period.
And we were at a movie theater watching Les Mis with Anne Hathaway, and we were sitting in the back with the theater department. We were in the last row, just weeping. There’s a grief that can’t be spoken. There’s a pain goes on and on. Like, you know, when you read the Psalms and you just think the Psalms are like encouraging and happy. No. There’s so many Psalms, you know, David is going about with his tongue cleaving to the roof of his mouth and just eating tears for food. And, and I, I didn’t understand what that was until we hit this place in our life, where kids are going through all these bumps, and we couldn’t sleep. And we’re very at peace people usually, and we could not sleep. And we’re moaning and just God, what is happened? What is going on? And I realized that I was maybe just thinking I was living for this perfect little family here on earth. That that’s the goal. That’s what God was going to do. That that’s how he was going to answer the prayers of our kids in my life. But we got on our face before God. As we got on our knees and just didn’t even have words some days the Lord began to do a transforming work in my heart.
“Meg, I still care about you. I still love every one of your children, way more than you could ever love them. And I am working. I am working.” And the prayer that I pray for our kids, it just encourages me every time. Jude 24, Now unto him, who is able to keep you from falling and present you faultless before the presence of his glory with great joy.
When I think of that, God can do we beyond anything that I can imagine for my kids. And if it looks like they have a bump, you know, there’s a pregnancy in college. You know, one of our daughters just visited our grandkid, Shiloh which means blessing from God. She’s six. Now, can I tell you what a blessing that girl is?
And we took her to church when we were visiting, and she calls me, says, Grammy tell me what you, what did you teach my mommy about Jesus? And, and so God can do way beyond what we can think, and the transformation that has happened in my life as when I see bumps now, I don’t see them apart from what God’s doing. God can still do a perfect, amazing work in each one of our kids, and each one of our grandkids.
And I am a woman who’s believing him for that. And I also, you know, think of the kid who maybe like me when I see kids that are struggling in the corner, I help out with youth, and I see that one that everyone’s like ignoring. That could be the preacher someday. So how has God transformed my life? Instead of being discouraged and hopeless and without hope, I think I have so much hope for that kid in the corner. I have so much hope for my kids and for our grandkids. And every day I feel a little bit closer to heaven, and I can’t wait. John 14 says, I go to prepare a place for you. And I, when I say that I’ll come, I’ll bring you to myself. And that encourages me every single day.
I am living for heaven for the Lord. He has been so good to me. I’m a grateful child of God.
Narrator: We’re telling these stories of transformation so you can know and understand the power of Jesus in your own life. If you’d like to learn more about Jesus and how he can bring you back to life, visit us at onpurposely.com/whoisJesus. And if you like Brought Back To Life, please give us a five-star rating and a review. You can follow Brought Back To Life podcasts on iHeart radio or wherever you’re listening right now. You can also just tell your smart speaker, play Brought Back To Life podcast. I’m Sam Kelly. Rebecca Beckett produced this episode. Our audio editor is Scott Karow. And thanks for listening to Brought Back To Life from Purposely.