Monday, April 29, 2013

What I've learned

Through the magic of Facebook, I have reconnected with many people from my past. Some of those people were friends & former youth group leaders from when I was a teen.

It's been interesting reuniting with some of them. At first, I wasn't too thrilled. I mean, they represent that terrible time in my past when I was abused by my youth pastor, B. They were my church family who turned their back on me when I came forward about the abuse. However, God has been revealing the truth to me through these people.

It is not that they abandoned me. They were simply trying to protect their families. Many left the church because of what was happening. Sure, they didn't stick up for me. They're human. It's got to be hard to believe the worst about someone you've known for most of your life.

I love that God has revealed this to me. While I long ago forgave them & my youth pastor, it really has brought even MORE healing to my already mended heart.

I am in a good place. I am at peace. God is active in my life.

Many blessings,

Saturday, April 27, 2013

At peace

For my birthday, the Mayor was super sweet and sent me to Iowa for a week to visit BFF and family. Let me tell you, it was EXACTLY what my heart needed.

I'll admit, I have been floundering in the friend department since BFF and the Professor moved to Iowa a few years ago. Instead of just healthily mourning the change in the friendship, I cut myself completely off from other around me. Looking back on it, that's my M.O. I'd rather close myself off than to possibly risk being hurt again, in the process I hurt myself by lacking in meaningful friendships.

The moment I saw BFF in the airport, EVERYTHING came back. There wasn't any hesitancy in our friendship. Hundreds of miles may separate us, but we are as close as we ever were. 

The visit uneventful. Just got a lay of the land. A glimpse into her new life. Trips to Walmart, Costco, 5 different libraries, the kids' school, multiple places to eat, church & the movies. Typical of what we would have been doing had she still be in Georgia. I also had the chance to meet some of her new friends. 

Ultimately, I needed to see that she was okay. I needed to know that our friendship really hadn't changed. Even if we don't talk every day, the only distance is miles. Nothing else. She is still my best friend. The Professor & I still verbally spar. 

I look forward to my next visit - this time with my entire family.

As I returned to Georgia, I returned with a resolve that I will no longer hide from people. I will do what I can to maintain my other friendships. I will be intentional to cultivate those relationships. It's going to be tough. Definitely something outside of my comfort zone. 

Here's to friendships!!!

Many blessings,

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A glimpse into my husband's heart

Last week was Spring Break for my family. Being that the Mayor is a teacher, I had the WHOLE family home. Because I had to work, we didn't have any plans for the week. Just some shopping, movies & friends. Oh - I had work.

On the final day of Spring Break, the Mayor, Songbird & Slugger had the chance to give back and serve at a homeless ministry in Atlanta with some other high school students from our church. Somehow, the Mayor was asked to speak.

Songbird & Slugger hopped on stage & lead worship with some of the other volunteers. Songbird singing & Slugger rockin' the tambourine.

Because I had to work, I didn't get to serve with my family. But I was blessed that the Mayor shared what God placed on his heart.

And now I share it with you.

When my kids were younger, I remember holding them in my arms and just rocking them back. I would think, you are so beautiful and so amazing. I would whisper to them that I would always love them. I would say that nothing could ever stop my love for them. Then they started to grow and man they started to develop personalities all their own; they were pistols. I found myself still whispering to them that I would always love them and nothing could ever stop that. Then they grew more and I realized they made  mistakes and disappointed me. I realized that despite that, they were in need of my love and acceptance. To this day, they long to hear the words "I love you"! Do they disappoint me? Sure. Does that mean I stop loving them? No. In fact, I found that I was the same as them, looking for someone to love and accept me. But I failed and disappointed time and time again. i still do this to my family today, but the amazing and humbling things is they continue to love and accept me, despite me.

I used to wonder why I would choose to love them the way I do. As I looked and searched, I found answers to this. It took me time to understand it, but when I did, what a game changer it was. I found I loved them because there was the love of a Savior that accepted me as I am, a failure. Even more important, a love that would use me as I am. See I wondered why God would choose to use me, a failure, to do anything for Him. He saw me and still does, as a vessel for Him. What I began to realize it God does not see me as man does, instead He sees me as potential. God chooses to love me, despite me, because He sees what I can do, even when I don't see it.

As I continued to explore this idea, I realized that God chooses people to do things, that are usually opposite of who I would choose. Let's be honest, I would not have chosen Abraham to build a nation around, he was too old; or Moses to rescue my people, he couldn't even talk; or Paul, really - he killed Christians, but that spread the gospel to them. What I have come to realize is God looks at my potential, at your potential, not our past. He is less concerned about what we did then what we can do. God uses people like me and you to do great things. When we feel we are an obstacle to him, he says "Watch me leverage this person for my plan". What I began to realize is that God choose to call me his child. He adopted me knowing exactly who I am and what I had done. Through His Son Jesus, he chose to adopt me as part of his family. when we realize we are His children, we can hear him whisper to us "I love you and nothing will ever change that". His love through Jesus has allowed us to call him DADDY.

What I know is God sent his Son so we could become his child. He desires us, no matter our past. Let me tell you, my past is ugly with a capital U, and yet his grace covers that and allows me to come to him. We don't have to look at God through the lens of what we did, but rather who we are - HIS CHILD. God's redemptive story includes me, my children, my wife, you, these students. Everyday I wonder "Why God do you love me?" "I am ugly inside and yet you look past it". I realize I will never, ever be able to understand it but I am so thankful for it. God redeems and restores us everyday. Will we fail him? Yes. Will we disappoint him? Yes. Will he still call us his child? Yes. Does he still love us? Yes. The love of a daddy as great as God shows true unconditional love. God's grace changed everything! It allows God to use us no matter our past. It allows God to say "Come to me, as you are, no need to fix it now, we'll fix it as we grow our relationship together". Just when we think we can't do anything, God steps in a says "Watch me use you".

As I think back to my kids, I remember what God whispers to me; I love you and I will never stop. Despite their mistakes and disappointments God love them. Despite my failures and disappointments God calls me his child. No matter where you are at or what you believe know that there is a God who calls you his child, he wants to adopt you and he longs to use you in anyway he sees fit. When you least expect it, God uses you. When you think you are not good enough, God uses you. When you think he has stopped loving you, he looks down and whispers to you "I love you and you are my child".

Yet another wonderful reason why I love my husband so....

Many  blessings,