As I prepare to wrap my 91 Little Things with a big bow very soon, I will be recapping our story with intention for post 91. Last time, I told you who we are on the outside (click for Part 1). Now, I’ll tell you about the inside.
A very big part of my story is how I was shaped. I’m not a fan of remaining stuck or repeating the past. And I’ve never been one to tell the whole ugly to expose anyone else’s junk. My story is my story, however, and rarely is what we go through about us, and so many of you have responded with your stories and journeys and pain as we relate.
Besides, it’s not about the beginnings or even the throughs. It’s about what God creates from fertilizer.
I’ve told the tales of my parents. This will give you a glimpse into my mother. (click here to read more). God did the most amazing emotional healing work in me and absolutely removed not only all of my rotten feelings, but He healed my broken heart, released my grief, and took away even the lingering sadness. Coming soon is the story of our most important meeting He arranged to heal my heart.
My dad was a well-functioning alcoholic for most of my life. Things got as ugly as they could get as time went on and eventually, he couldn’t keep the lid on the secrets anymore. A daughter’s story with her daddy is pivotal to her emotional health. This post (click) that I wrote in 2011 was the first that took off on my blog. Apparently, a lot of us relate. When God gave me the words to write it, He also healed my heart for my Dad. Not an easy journey by any stretch of the imagination, but what God heals, He heals (click) it just may not look the way you expect it to. I’m so grateful for my heavenly Daddy who saw me stuck there and lifted me up.
When he was 18 and asked for my hand, my sweet man promised my Dad that he would protect me from anything that came against me. Sadly, much of this protecting was from the family I grew up with. But through that, God forged a family for me that helped me redefine what love looks like in this world. We learned together that the lessons of what NOT to do are powerful, and we purposed to create a marriage, a home, and a family unlike what we had seen. We chose respect, humility, kindness, honesty, and integrity. We chose affection, laughter, communication, time together, and grace upon grace upon grace.
God honors those things. We have seen the evidence. At this point in the game, we see clearly where we missed the mark many times as we raised our little flock. But more than the mistakes, we can see that God takes the honest efforts to honor Him with all we were given and He grew a garden. If the beginning was fertilizer, we sowed new seeds in that field that was full, stinking, and ripe with old crap.
But now, having worked, tilled, planted, and weeded — we reap. Thank You, Jesus. We reap when our children join us in our lives and choose and ask for time with us. It is not their duty because we are their parents; it is entirely our responsibility to create an atmosphere that invites them rather than demands. We are so thankful for this harvest. And if the story of a family that moved far away together and is thriving and growing and all know their God as they create beautiful families FULL of love and joy from the ashes that started the whole thing doesn’t testify of God’s lovingkindness, I honestly don’t know what does.
This is my only piece of abstract art in my home. It is called Beauty for Ashes. It’s from lindsayletters.co. The minute I saw it, I felt the emotion behind it. These verses from Isaiah say it all.
The mighty Spirit of Lord Yahweh[a] is wrapped around[b]me because Yahweh has anointed me,[c] as a messenger to preach good news to the poor.[d] He sent me to heal the wounds of the brokenhearted, to tell captives, “You are free,”[e] and to tell prisoners, “Be free from your darkness.”[f] 2 I am sent to announce a new season[g] of Yahweh’s grace[h] and a time of God’s recompense on his enemies,[i] to comfort all who are in sorrow, 3 to strengthen those crushed by despair who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful bouquet[j] in the place of ashes, the oil of bliss[k] instead of tears,[l] and the mantle of joyous praise[m] instead of the spirit of heaviness.[n] Because of this, they will be known as Mighty Oaks[o] of Righteousness, planted[p] by Yahweh as a living display of his glory. 4 They will restore ruins from long ago and rebuild what was long devastated.[q] They will renew ruined cities and desolations of past generations.
Thankful for new seasons, beautiful bouquets, joyous praise, the oil of bliss, restored ruins, and mighty oaks!!