Six weeks later and we finally have a post! I’d say we’re off to a good start (sarcasm).
You know, I’m always having an internal debate when it comes to my schedule. I feel like I rarely ever have downtime and I can’t decide if that’s just how life typically is at this phase or if i need to take control of it and be more intentional about creating downtime / learning to say “no”.
….anyway, I digress.
Last time I wrote, I promised to update you guys on what has been going on in my life in each of the 6 “F’s” so today, it’s all about Faith. I would definitely say I’ve always believed in God but, over the last year or so, I feel like I’ve really been learning how much He loves me.
I know, I know. That sounds so cliché…
Especially because those who know me well know that I’ve been going to church since literally the womb. For most of my life I was one of those kids that went to sunday school, “big church” and some other form of activity on Wednesday nights. But honestly, I don’t know that I can say I had much of a relationship with Him (at least until these last few years). And I definitely feel like I didn’t fully start to grasp His love for me until this past year or so.
Growing up I would say I was a pretty good kid. I got good grades, I had a great relationship with my family, I was involved in sports. I was everything that I feel like a parent would want their kid to be. But then I hit the teenage years… and not only did the devil horns come out (am I allowed to blame hormones?), I became someone that I hardly recognized. I did things I wasn’t proud of. I hurt people that I love. I was so far from God and honestly wanted little to do with Him.
But that’s the amazing thing about Him – even when we want little to do with Him, He never stops pursuing us.
It wasn’t until I moved to Richmond that He really started to get my attention (you can read a little about that here and here). In one of my last posts, I was talking about how I had just joined a new small group (shameless plug: if you’re not in one, you should join one. do not pass go. do not collect $200. join one. like now.). When I wrote that post, I had recently joined “the Fan Fam”. As part of that group, we all committed to sharing our stories at some point throughout our time; not as a confessional, but more as a testament to the work God had been doing in our lives. As my date to share was nearing, I had so many mixed emotions. Part of me was finally getting somewhat comfortable with the fact that I would be sharing intimate details of my life, but also part of me felt kind of sad. I felt like God had been doing so many amazing things in my life… things I wanted to be able to share with my family, but i felt stuck. Because for my family to understand all of the things God had been doing, I’d have to tell them what I’d been through.
Isn’t it weird? Sometimes it’s easier to tell people you just met your deepest darkest secrets, yet we’re crippled at the thought of telling those closest to us… those who have shown and proven that no matter what you do or have done, they will always love you.
Anyway, I decided to start with my mom.
For those of you who don’t know my mama, she’s amazing. She’s loving and caring, wise and supportive. Of all the people in my immediate family, we are probably the most dissimilar. I’m often loud and boisterous, she’s typically the type that doesn’t mind playing more of a “behind the scenes” role (although don’t let that fool you, she can still talk your ear off). Yet, no matter what, when I really really need someone, she’s usually the first one I call.
So yeah, I called her and asked her to come to Richmond. I basically told her that in my (at the time) 24 years of living, I’d never had one-on-one time with her so I wanted her to come spend a weekend with me. (How can anyone say “no” to that?). We locked down a date and put a plan in place. She was going to come on a Thursday night and leave that Sunday afternoon. I scheduled the weekend with a dinner/girls night in on Friday, a gala with Dr. Ben Carson on Saturday, church on Sunday, followed by brunch at Graffiato afterwards… and I was going to share my testimony with her (that part I never told her).
It was going to be the perfect bonding weekend.
But before I knew it, the weekend had arrived… and when she got here, I couldn’t muster up the courage. Before bed each night, we would lay for hours (literally hours) watching Suits and as each episode played, I would tell myself that as soon as the episode ended, I would bring it up. As every episode neared the end, I would pray, asking God to remove the fear and to give me the courage to talk to her… yet every episode would end and I would just let it go to the next one. Finally at around 3AM each night, I would finally call it quits, go to bed and promise to do it the next night.
Except Thursday night passed. Friday night passed. Saturday night passed… nothing.
Sunday morning rolled around and we got up to go to church and anyone who knows me knows my favorite part of church is usually worship. I just love listening to the words and really meditating/reflecting on their meaning. That Sunday, for the first time ever, my church decided to play a song called You Make Me Brave and I seriously felt like God was speaking directly to me. If you don’t know the lyrics, there’s a part of the song that goes like this:
I have heard You calling my name
I have heard the song of love that You sing
So I will let You draw me out beyond the shore
Into Your grace
You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way
I. Started. Bawling.
Like ugly crying. Tears, snot, everything. And as you can imagine, this blew my cover a bit… but my mama, being the patient woman she is, just handed me a tissue and kept singing (she’s a lot like Jesus in that way. Patient. Very Patient.)… and me being the woman I am, still just tried to play it off like everything was cool.
Church ended and we went to brunch, we hung out with friends, we made dinner… I literally kept going on with the weekend like nothing had happened. After dinner, Mom wanted to keep watching Suits and since she wasn’t working on Monday, she decided that she would just stay the night and leave Monday morning (deep down, I know the real reason that she stayed). So we go to my room to watch Suits… and as the first episode is coming to an end, I say my prayer asking for courage, I pause the show and tell my mom I need to talk to her…
… Not really, I let it go to the next episode. (Didn’t I already tell you what kind of woman I am lol?). Yep, I literally chickened out AGAIN. We watched a few more episodes that night and then got ready for bed…nothing. We wake up the next morning and lay in bed talking… still nothing.
Finally, I went upstairs to make my mom breakfast while she got ready and as she comes upstairs and sits down at the bar, she looks at me and asks me if everything is okay. Naturally, i look at her dumbfounded and say, “yeah, why?”… she brings up what happened at church and I ask her if we can wait until she gets in the car to talk.
So we pack the rest of her stuff up and go sit in her car and I just burst into tears. I tell her about Needle’s Eye. and how amazing the Fan Fam is. and I tell her that God has been doing some great things in my life and how I want to be able to share those things with her but that scares the poo out of me. because for me to tell her who He’s molding me to be, I have to explain to her who I used to be… and that’s terrifying. It’s terrifying because I love my family and I love my parents and I would never want to do anything that hurts them…and then she stopped me.
and you know what she told me?
She told me that she loves me. and that my dad loves me. and that there is literally nothing, NOTHING i could ever do that would change that. She told me that she understands that there are some things in our lives that we don’t need to tell everyone, and sometimes that includes our family. and that’s okay but that if I ever want to tell her, she’s there with open ears and arms. She also encouraged me to make sure that I at least talked to someone about it because often times the Devil uses secrets to hold us captive (or as another woman that I look up to always says “Secrets make us sick”).
She told me that there were people in the bible who had done all sorts of things and that not only did God love them, He used many of them to do amazing things for His kingdom… because at the end of the day its not about what we did, do, or will do. It’s about what Jesus did on the cross.
And then she grabbed my hands and she prayed for me.
And when she finished, she looked me dead in the eyes and asked me if I knew that Jesus loved me. If i really, deep down, believed it… and when I told her that I knew it but didn’t feel like it, she told me to wake up every morning and thank Him for loving me… because she knew that the more I said it, the more I would believe it.
And she was right.
How Can it Be by Lauren Daigle.
I am guilty
Ashamed of what I’ve done, what I’ve become
These hands are dirty
I dare not lift them up to the Holy one
You plead my cause
You right my wrongs
You break my chains
You gave Your life
To give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be
How can it be
I’ve been hiding
Afraid I’ve let you down, inside I doubt
That You could love me
But in Your eyes there’s only grace now
Though I fall, You can make me new
From this death I will rise with You
Oh the grace reaching out for me
How can it be
How can it be