I have been through things in my life that have so greatly changed me. One of which changed my outlook on this life profoundly. When I became pregnant with my first child, Grace, I was not married. I was living one way and proclaiming another life. I wanted both. I've always loved The Lord in a way that seems weird to many people, but hey, I'm not exactly not weird. I have always needed hope. I've craved a peace about my life, maybe from all of the chaos growing up with 3 brothers who were willing to fight me or each other to the brink of death and suddenly stop and laugh uncontrollably about it. And for some reason it was funny. We brought each other to a painful place of uncertainty. I miss my brothers. I miss looking up to them. Fighting with them. Laughing with them. They bring me joy and they've brought me pain.
Here I am, wrestling with pain and joy again.
Every week I meet with a group of women who are just plain awesome and our topic today was fear. What is holding you back? It's personal. Everyone thinks they have been through something more than the next person and quite frankly, many of the women in my group have. I have lost sight of many things, but I've never lost a child. I've been wrecked by the pain of my consequences, but I played a part in my demise. Some women can't say that, and yet they live. They hold on tight to the good in this life. To the glory that every human being so desperately seeks.
I love people. We are the same. We are hurting and laughing in the same breath. We are seeking truth and doubting His holy name in the same thought. We pray for peace and ask for vengeance in the same cry. We are all flesh and bone. Fighting the bad and sometimes losing, but most of us desperately wanting change. We want growth and hope.
My kids and I love talking to homeless people. We love it because you can never guess why or how they arrived at a place where they get up each day and ask for money at the busiest intersections in Austin. Many people don't like to give money, and sometimes we give other things, but we usually give money and hope. This man we see weekly at William Cannon and Mopac had polio 62 years ago. He can walk, but his legs are so thin it seems painful. They bow out all the way from the ankle to the thigh and it hurts. As he was talking to us about his life, I thought of my grandmother. She also had polio, but survived almost completely unscathed. Her life is so different. I love her too.
My greatest fear is going back. Going back to who I was. Not growing, not hoping, not spreading the love of a God who has blessed me beyond these black words on a white page can describe. He's blessed me with hope. With perfect peace.
I remember the moment I saw the positive on that pregnancy test. I remember losing my breath and crying so hard that with every hurtful aching flow of tears I was relieved of the pain of the cry before. I remember telling The Lord that I did not want a baby. I did not want Grace. I wanted my life back. "Please take this child back." I lay on the bathroom floor of my dad's office at the church in Glendale where he was the pastor and I cried. But I also believed in a good God. Even alone in the darkness I was willing to trust Him. The Bible says in Psalms 34:18, "He is close to the brokenhearted. He rescues those whose spirits are crushed." He did that for me. I was crushed. He rescued and restored me over the next few years that followed. He didn't restore me to where I had been, but made me new. He brought back the luster to my finish, but also filled my soul with living water.
Whatever sludge you are traipsing through, however dark, ask Him to meet you there. I don't care if you have no sense of hope in The Lord. I don't care if you have no faith. He will meet you where you are and bring you to a place of healing and it will never cease. I am still healing, and He continues to walk me through it.
I love people. I just do. That love is one of those perfect gifts that The Lord has given me, and I am thankful to the core.