Right now, I am celebrating blessings abounding.
Our oldest little is thriving and healthy for the first time in 4 years (she's only 4).
Our two youngest littles are growing stronger and staying healthy.
All of our littles are showing signs of intelligence beyond their years - impressing us at every turn.
Our ministry is thriving and God is sending many sheep our way to disciple.
We see growth all around us - through students who walk through the doors of our church and also in others we've known for years - who have suddenly come to life in Christ.
It is a beautiful "season". One where I could dance in the street if it wouldn't be so embarrassing.
Today, I am linking up with the voice bloggers over at JoAnnFore.com, focusing on the book When A Woman Finds Her Voice, where we are sharing out stories in an attempt to bring others to the foot of the cross.
I have shared pieces of my story over the past few months. You can read about those here and here - oh and here. ;)
In marriage and motherhood, I have made one solid discovery that I can count on being true all of the time.
I can do nothing in my own strength.
I cannot even enjoy this 'season' in my own strength without acknowledging the ONE who gave it to me - the One who gives and takes away, because after all, blessed be HIS name.
I haven't always felt like dancing in the street. I have raged in the unimaginable and weathered too many storms in my short 31 years. I spent many of these years running from my creator.
I convinced myself that God would never want me or could never love me. Why? Fear. I Feared becoming someone who was weak or reliant. I didn't need anyone helping me get through hard spots - especially the Almighty who I perceived had allowed all of the terror to ravage my heart in the first place.
I remember hearing Christians say, "In the good book, God says everything happens for a reason," and I would wonder if something so feeling-less was really in the bible. To be completely honest, I was afraid to open a book that would confirm that the nightmarish events of my childhood happened because some great OZ was sitting on the clouds orchestrating events that wrapped icy cold fingers around my heart. From this very statement, I could not fathom serving a God who would create devastation in my life for a reason only He could know.
How in the world could I surrender my life to someone - an additional someone - who would leave me breathlessly searching for a love I still hadn't found?
How could I give love to one more person, to only wait in the wings for the trick - the lesson?
I don't remember the exact moment where grace flooded my heart. I wish I could recall a time where the realization that noone was on a cloud in the sky, putting things in my path frogger style.
A woman who I admire greatly spoke into my life once and said that things happen because we live in a broken world. It is up to you to let God use those terrible things for good. A more accurate description of everything happens for a reason, is God weaves good together from even the worst of circumstances. Everything that happens - even the really terrifying stuff - God can use to His glory. That's why He is God. That is why He is so cool.
Selfishly, I want the ability to take my bad and make good, but all I can do with my serving of bad is make it worse. God can take all the nightmares and hurt and pain and weave it for the good of those who love Him.
The realization that God could take the ashes and the wreckage and make it beautiful and use it for good gave me hope. It gives me daily doses of hope. When the world crashes in around me and threatens to take everything I have gained, I give it over to God. Giving my pain and inability to create anything worthwhile from the bad doesn't make me weak, but somehow gives me the realization that I am much stronger than I could have ever realized - even when I'm all wrapped up in the storm clouds.
You see, a thick fog means the road is gone as much as a rainy day means the sun won't ever shine again. My anger at the things that had happened to the little girl who lived a not-so-charmed life never meant God was responsible for all of the pain. Sometimes bad things happen. The coolest thing about God is that He takes the force of the pain for us - He did on that cross and still does in our lives.
Sharing my story is all part of the path to allowing God to weave good from the ashes. When we can share what God did in our hearts, we get to see a glimpse of just how awesome God is.
Who do you know that will humble themselves to the point of humiliation to right your wrongs?
Are you ready to dance in the street and enjoy your blessings, even when life doesn't feel so blessed?
Head on over to JoAnnFore.com and check out the new book study that is happening. You won't want to miss it.