The Old Steel Bridge

I saw a post from Tricia Goyer on Facebook today about a giveaway that she was doing. She said to write a blog post on one of two topics:

  1. What’s the most beautiful bridge you’ve ever seen?
    (or)
  2. Share a special kiss (grandma, child, friend, etc.—it doesn’t have to be romantic).

This started me thinking about my favorite bridge. It may not be beautiful to some. In fact, it’s quite old and rusty. But to me, it was beautiful. It was called “The Old Steel Bridge” and it has sentimental value to me.

oldsteelbridge

Located in an out-of-the-way spot in the Flathead Valley (Kalispell, MT), the Old Steel Bridge has much history. It was built in 1894 and allowed people to cross the Flathead River much more easily. No more cables and boats!

For me though, it’s not the way it looked and wasn’t the age or even the history that made it beautiful. What made it beautiful to me is because it is was a constant reminder of my relationship with God. You see, this is where I was baptized. It is kind of a different baptism story than most, and if you will bear with me, I will tell it to you. :)

In 1988 I was 16-years old, and I was pregnant. Needless to say, it was an incredibly scary time for me. Thankfully, I had amazing parents who helped me through it and they didn’t toss me out on my rear when they found out. Even so, it was a very hard time in my life. I felt frightened and I felt alone.

It was during this time that I started going back to a church that I went to before. I rededicated my life to Christ, and even though I was pregnant, I felt like God was telling me that I needed to be baptized.

The Pastor was having a baptism down at the Old Steel Bridge one Sunday and even though I was petrified, I knew God was telling me that now was the time. So, there I stood … up to my waist in the freezing cold water of the Flathead River, pregnant, and I heard myself saying, “I honestly can’t explain why I am getting baptized right now, except that I feel like it is the right thing to do, and I feel like God has told me to.”

Not exactly an expert testimony of faith, or even a coherent reason. I just knew.

I wish I could say that I have led an idyllic life since then. Unfortunately, I can’t. For a good 10 years of my life after my baptism, I really struggled. Being a teen mom was incredibly hard. I dated the wrong boys. I had a marriage that failed. I’ve said and done things I shouldn’t have. So many things that I would change and so many that I would take back, if I could.

It was nobody’s fault but my own. I didn’t keep my focus on the Lord like I should have. I didn’t truly understand at that time what it meant to put 100% of my life into God’s hands and I don’t think I understood what trusting Him to guide my life really meant. I was under the “I know I love God, so I am going to try to do the right thing” mentality, when in all truth, I wasn’t actively seeking His wisdom in my day-to-day life. That was where I failed. I tried to figure things out on my own, then would wonder why it seemed my life would fall apart at random intervals.

Luckily, God never gave up on me. His grace and His mercy truly are new every morning and with each day that I strive to know Him more, I can feel my relationship with Him grow deeper. No, life isn’t always easy, but I know now that my God is bigger than any problem. Even when times get tough, He is here with me. His love knows no bounds and His forgiveness is always there.

So, that’s my story. :)

Sadly, “my” bridge was replaced by a new bridge in 2009. While it may no longer be a precious landmark here, it will forever be a precious landmark in my heart. Thankfully, the river is still there so I can go down and sit on the grassy bank beside it whenever I would like to, and reflect on the day I was baptized.  God is good!

mysig

 

 

For a little more history of the Old Steel Bridge, see this article in the Flathead Beacon.
Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Wanda Tumlin
    April 10, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    Lovely. It’s been quite a journey, but I am so proud of the woman you have become. You make me feel like I did at least one thing right. A very special, “one thing”. I had you.

    • Reply
      Tori
      April 10, 2014 at 11:51 pm

      Thanks, Mama! ♥

  • Reply
    Tricia Goyer
    April 11, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Tori!!

    I love this! We lived in Kalispell for 15 years, and I drove over the old bridge many, many times! I’m so thankful that it means to much to you!!

    As a teen mom I totally understand. I rededicated my life to God as a pregnant teen. I love what God is doing with your life!

    Tricia

    • Reply
      Tori
      April 11, 2014 at 12:03 pm

      Thank you, Tricia! :)

      It was kind of a funny little “bunny trail” that I hopped down yesterday. Here’s how it went:

      1) You put up the giveaway regarding the bridges.
      2) That led me to want to do my post on the Old Steel Bridge and my baptism.
      3) While I was working on my blog, my son calls from college in Missoula and says he is leading worship, and if I would like, I could watch it online. So, I log into the Zootown Church feed.
      4) Lo & behold, they are doing a baptism ceremony, so I got to sit and watch a whole slew of young people give their testimonies before they were baptized.

      It was awesome! LOL!

  • Reply
    Dianna
    April 11, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Oh Tori, what a beautiful bridge and an even more beautiful memory to go with it. It touched my heart.

    • Reply
      Tori
      April 11, 2014 at 3:28 pm

      Thank you, Dianna!

  • Reply
    pauline osborne
    April 11, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    Tori, I loved reading about your testimony and the old steel bridge, very nice blog and happy I stopped by. I am a fan of Tricia books too.

    • Reply
      Tori
      April 11, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      Thank you for stopping by, Pauline! Always nice to see a new face. I hope you will come by again soon. :)

  • Reply
    Shellie
    April 11, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    I loved that story. Also I believe that is the bridge your ex took me over when I first came to visit you.

    • Reply
      Tori
      April 11, 2014 at 5:01 pm

      Actually, that was a different bridge. LOL! Glad you stopped by the blog though, and I think we need to get you out here for another visit soon. ♥

  • Reply
    Jennifer Smith
    April 12, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful story–and the picture of the bridge! Your story is an inspiration. :)

    • Reply
      Tori
      April 12, 2014 at 6:28 pm

      Thank you, Jennifer! I appreciate that! :)

  • Reply
    Amy Bateman
    April 15, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    What a beautiful story and memories associated with your bridge. I’m stopping by from Tricia’s linkup.

    • Reply
      Tori
      April 15, 2014 at 3:16 pm

      Thank you, Amy! Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

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