It is my birthday. Birthdays as you get older are strange. As I write this, I am fully aware I speak like I am much older. I am aware, just an old soul. 25 going on 45. I have a lot to reflect on from my first quarter of a century. It is hard to put into words how I feel but I am going to try.
When considering what to write about this is one of the first words that comes to mind. I am so grateful for the life that God has given me. I have the most amazing husband, an incredible group of friends, and a loving, supportive family. I could list so many things. One of the things I am most grateful for, the incredibly broken path that led me here. I have heard people say, whatever trials you go through you will grow from. I don’t think this is completely true. I think you have the choice to grow from your trials. To lean in, to feel, and to find a reason to grow. I fought to get to the point where I could lean in, feel, and grow. I am somebody who goes into fight or flight in hard times, survives on Adrenalin and then when it is all over, allows herself to start to feel again. In the moments of beginning to feel again, it can be lonely, overwhelming, and hard to accept. I have worked really hard to get to a place where, through the grace of Jesus, I feel whole again. GRATEFUL
Usually when I meet new people and they find out how old I am the comments are…”wow, you are so mature,” or “I can’t believe you are…” Maybe maturity is meant as a complement, at least I used to think so. Maybe, it means you understand more of the world and how things function at a young age, or maybe it means that you have been through so many trials, so early, you learned things, too early. These are the thoughts that ring in my head. I had no choice, but here I am, mature. Through trauma within my family, extreme bullying, my own #ME TOO story, and almost losing my brother, I have felt so broken and so lost at times.
When I first met my husband, my brother had already been in the hospital for a few months. It was the hardest time in his recovery. “Storming” the doctors called it. They explained that his brain was trying to rewire itself, but all it looked like to us was that he was seizing. It was the hardest thing I have ever watched. According to the internet, storming can last up to 72 days, he stormed for 71. We prayed for strength and eventually begged for relief. My relief came in the most unexpected way. I had come out of a horrible, volatile and abusive relationship very close to my brother getting hurt. I had been broken down so far, I didn’t feel anything. I had sworn off men, hadn’t prayed in months, numb. Once my brother got hurt, praying seemed like the only thing I could do, the only way to feel like maybe, I could find some strength or peace. I began to find myself again, to feel again. After a hard day at the hospital, I began to pray. I realized that I needed the peace and strength that only Jesus could give me. I promised him I would be single for the next 10 years if that meant I could have a God fearing man. I meant it. A week later, I met Jake.
On my husband and I’s first date, it was a glimmer of hope in the middle of my chaotic and messy personal life. I remember thinking I could marry this man, but then telling myself, no way he is going to be interested once he finds out what a mess things are. The day he asked me to be his girlfriend, I cried for hours. I felt so unworthy of his love between balancing my family crisis and kicking an abusive boyfriend to the curb only months before, how could I be deserving of such a good man? A man that took on my families situation with no hesitation, a man who treated me unlike anything I thought was possible, a man who saw my value when I couldn’t. BROKEN.
Everyday driving to the hospital the only thing I could listen to was KLOVE radio, a christian praise and worship station. Everytime, I sat down in the car, the same song would play. It would become my anthem. “Where you see broken beyond repair, God sees healing beyond belief,” the chorus rang out. I would shout it at the top of my lungs with tears pouring down my face, believing it and claiming it. This was everything to me. I felt unworthy of anything good, deserving of anything bad, and broken beyond repair. Along with that, all the doctors kept saying is my brother was so physically broken, there was no way they believed he would ever even wake up. Beyond repair they said. I leaned in. God had already began revealing himself in miracles day after day. Through providing a donated house for us to live in, extreme generosity of people around us, putting Jake in my life, and everyday healing my brother a little more. Day by day week by week Jesus healed him, defying the odds and as I watched God repair him, God started to repair me. MENDED.
If you know me, I often refer to my brothers accident. I think it is hard for people to comprehend why it was so life changing for me. It is hard to explain how much healing took place from his accident. In everything around me and in me, there was healing. As I look back at where I have been, I am so hopeful for the future. I am grateful Jesus walked right beside me, recklessly loving me no matter how broken and dark things were. Graciously revealing that he cares and walks beside us in the tough times, good times, and the times we think he doesn’t care. I know so many people who don’t believe in “religion” and to them I say. Me either. What I believe is that the creator of the universe, cares about each individual person on earth and just wants a relationship with each one. My relationship with Jesus teaches me each day how to love people better. He teaches me that nobody is perfect, and that we don’t have to be to experience his love. His love is pure, reckless and unconditional and fills that urge humans innately have to be loved on a deeper level. It isn’t about following “religious” practices or rules. It is about love. I have so much hope for the future and I cannot wait to see what happens. HOPEFUL
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. -Jeremiah 29:11
**Huge shout out to all of my loved ones who walked beside my family during the last few years. Friends and family, thank you for loving and supporting us unconditionally. I plan to spend the rest of my days paying it forward and loving people the way you have shown love to us. **