It's been a long couple months, ya'll.

I've been going back and forth on starting up blogging again, and after my last post, a mental health hiatus seemed especially necessary.  I had to give myself permission to take a break, from a ton of areas of my life that used to take priority.  I didn't write, I didn't take photos, and most days, any outfit beyond a 'nice' top and jeans was a little too much effort.

And, yet, it's been a time of growth, and rebuilding some habits, both old and new.  It's been hard, and good, and sometimes fulfilling and often exhausting.  But that break made room in my life for some really great things as well.  I've gotten to refocus my energy on new creative endeavors, found time on the weekends to pour into my kids, and had a literal ton of soul-searching to strengthen my faith.

And in all of that?  God has been faithful, and pushing me into roles I might not have considered before.  I volunteered to meet with our church's teaching team, a bleary-eyed early morning meeting of the minds that stumble into a coffeehouse once a week before the sun is up, to pour their informed opinions and knowledge into each week's message.  Everyone is from a different walk of life, spanning a range of male and female, scientist and marketing manager, missions and motherhood.  In that volunteer role, I recently got asked to share a bit of testimony in church (*gasp* in front of people. With. A. Microphone.  Not a role I would have willingly picked!), partly based on my last post, and partly from the testimony I shared, years ago on another now-defunct blog.

If you'd like to watch the video, feel free HERE.  My part starts at the 30-minute mark, but I'd recommend watching the whole thing.  It's good for the heart, and so SO encouraging.

In this little interview, my testimony gets brought up, and in re-reading that old post, I decided that parts may need to be re-written.  Not changed, because it's God's story and that is unchangeable, but some of my opinions have become more informed the older I get.  So, I'll offer a revised version, since my life has changed quite a bit from when I wrote this and took 'edgy' photos like this in all my pre-kid free time:

There is this song, by Switchfoot, called "Dare You to Move," which has this amazing line that I love.  The line goes "maybe redemption has stories to tell."  Here's the thing about those stories, though: sometimes there's dark spots before the redemption. Because it's not really MY story that's getting told, is it?  I mean, I'm a main character in my own narrative, sure, but the fact is, God's in charge of the plot, the character development, the climax, and the resolution.  And that means, that even when there's parts of my story that I'd prefer to ignore, they're necessary to show His goodness and love.  And the best part of all that?  His goodness and love are available to anyone that accepts him as well.  Even those people that find themselves in the same positions I found myself in when He found me:

From my journal, 9 years ago: "When I came to God, I was tripping on acid. It was a dose that I hadn’t even wanted, one or two hits that had been slipped into a brownie. I had never made it a habit to take hallucinogens, especially not on nights before I had to work at 10:30 the next day. I had only done acid once before, and it had been a terrifyingly uncomfortable experience. I did not want to trip on that particular night, but I also knew that if I didn’t start thinking positively about it, I would have a ‘bad trip’ and end up having a nightmarish time. So, my roommate at the time walked me to our duplex, all the while talking to me like I was a crazy 5 year old, since she wasn’t feeling anything. She just thought I was really stoned and didn’t know how to handle it, but I definitely knew the difference. I went straight to my room and locked the door. I wasn’t visualizing anything in particular, but the walls looked funny, and the wind outside sounded funny, and I knew that something wasn’t right. I also knew that you are never supposed to sleep when tripping, since the dreams and or nightmares will be worse than the conscious hallucinations. I curled up in my big scary bed anyways, and hid under my big scary comforter, in hopes that laying there would keep anything outside my room, anything bigger and scarier than what was already inside, outside the door. And then, I lay there, and I think I heard something. I say ‘think,’ because I’m still not really sure if I heard something or felt something, but I knew that I had hit bottom in that moment, and I felt God’s sorrow for my situation. I knew that he was asking me what I was doing, and why I was doing it, and I couldn’t answer to him. I knew that I was lost.And so, I cried out to him. I told him I was tired of running, I was tired of breaking the rules on purpose, and I wanted peace. And then, I turned off my light, lay down in bed, and began humming “Amazing Grace” until I fell asleep. And then, I had the most restful, dreamless sleep I had ever experienced. All the running I had done had brought me back into his arms. "

Ya'll, I'd love to say that this was the first time I'd taken an illegal substance.  I'd love to say that I had no idea what I was doing, and that I was just some lost lonely little girl that the big bad world had taken advantage of.

And parts of that are true.  I did have some awful, traumatic things happen to me as a kid.  I held on to the view that I was too broken to be loved, and got married way too young to a man that claimed to love me, and treated me like property instead.  I turned to years of substance abuse and irresponsibility as a way to escape all that trauma, and was angry, SO ANGRY, at God in the process.  I didn't want Him, and believed in my heart he couldn't want me.

And yet.

And yet.  He refused to let me go.  He chased me down with an overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love ( <= those are more song lyrics there).  And that is the part of this little story of mine that I will repeat over and over, to anyone that wants to take the time to listen.  There are no prequalifications, there's no fee, it's not contingent on age, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic status, country of origin, political leaning, past or future actions.  All of that is just noise, getting in the way of the simplest, most beautiful truth:

I am loved, and so are you.

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)

1 comment:

  1. That was wonderful and inspiring in so many ways.I am so encouraged by your courage and insight.-Andrea


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