By: Tonya Stevenson
We saw a sign along the remote highway, “Hay for sale.” Needing hay we stopped to get the number. Ultimately, we would haul many loads of hay off their ranch that year, getting to know the people.
One trip as we were loading the hay out in the field, Otie introduced me to the son of the owner. We talked a minute. He was an attractive, brown haired, baby faced young man, just out of high school. He was friendly, smiled easily. I detected an anxiousness to please, a lack of confidence. As he walked back to the skid steer to load our trailer, my husband asked me, “So what do you think?”
“I think he wants a place to belong. We should hire him.” I replied.
He was working for his Dad for the summer haying, but that was now done. His visiting Grandfather had confided in Otie that he needed a job for the winter. He also said, “Taylor’s had a tough life.” No details.
So Taylor and Gus, his red heeler moved to our farm. Going to work welding in our shop with our niece, who also worked for us. In short order he was hanging out at our house, or when we were working horses. We invited him to Bible study; he gladly joined us there also. From the minute we broke the ice, Taylor was hungry, full of questions about the Word of God. We showed Taylor 2 Cor.5:17-18 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” We explained how Christ had justified him, and clothed him in His righteousness. How God loved him just as He loved Jesus. Taylor took the Word like the football player he had been and ran with it.
We began to pick up pieces of his story. His Mom and Dad had never married. In fact, he didn’t know his Dad until he was older. He had basically grown up on his own. He’d gotten into the wrong crowd early and was doing and selling drugs in high school. He tried to live with his Dad, but didn’t get along with his Dad’s girlfriend, so he was simply dumped off to work for a woman at another ranch for the summer. You could still hear the pain, rejection and loneliness of that time in his telling. Obviously, God who is a Father to the fatherless heard it first. This woman took him to church once, where he became friends with a young man, (Zane) and his father, (Ed). At supper one night, Taylor was down and worried about life. Ed began to tell him about the Lord, and Taylor gladly accepted Christ as his Savior.
He returned to Utah, falling back into the drug scene. One night he overdosed on heroine. A friend found him lying over the bathtub with no perceivable breathing and a very weak pulse. He carried Taylor to his car and rushed him to the hospital. Taylor came to in the parking lot, refusing to go in because, he would get in trouble. While unconscious, Taylor felt God told him plainly, “Taylor either live for me or die.” At that point he knew he had to get out. So he called Ed who encouraged him to come to his place. Taylor got in his car alone and drove hundreds of miles to this family. There he went through agonizing cold turkey withdrawal. He was nineteen. That summer, he went to work for his Dad. If he hadn’t found work with us, he would have had to return to his old stomping grounds.
He began to date our niece, Tennie.
We prayed with him when two of his childhood friends shot themselves. He had such a burden for them; he flew home to witness to the one who survived and others. We watched and marveled at his sincerity and growth in the Lord.
That next fall Tennie and Taylor married. They call themselves TNT for the Lord. They both worked for us until Tennie found out she was expecting and needed to quit welding. We were blessed to keep Taylor for several more months. Currently they work with Taylor’s Dad and Uncle on their ranches. They now have two really cute lively little kids, that we are occasionally blessed to watch. Taylor and Tennie remain strong and active in their church and Bible studies. Taylor has proven a faithful loyal husband, and son in-law; a blessing to our families. He says, “God is good, always working.”
Surely… “The Lords ways are higher than our ways…”