On the Other Side of This

Sometimes, I wonder what I was thinking when I submitted to the desire to share my stories.

The servant part of my heart thought that maybe I could help someone. The nurturing part of my heart wanted others to know they are not alone and that there is hope. The brave part of my heart wanted to achieve a lifelong dream of using my words to inspire. I felt that I’d been given a gift because I am not afraid to speak in front of large crowds. Life experience gave me the message. Well, rather the messages.

Last week, I was telling a close friend that I was changing up my talk to share on Saturday at “Finding Joy in the Journey”, a conference to benefit the Texas Boys Ranch. I often tell the story behind my book’s title, “It’s ALL about LOVE – One Groovy Chick’s Journey to Grace.” The story is hard to tell and I felt that it was time to tell some of my other stories. I mean, all of the stories made me who I am today and they deserve equal time, right?

She said something like, “Oh, but that’s such a powerful part of your story. Others are where you were and they need to hear it.”

Her husband was standing there and said something like, “I know it’s hard. It has to be, for all of you, but you all do it anyway because it’s best.”

I didn’t realize how badly I needed to hear that and to acknowledge it. It is hard. Doing the right thing is rarely the easy thing, but oh, it is ever worth the effort!

So, I reworked my talk for Saturday to include that part of my journey.

I often say that it took me being knocked to my knees to realize how arrogant and judgmental I had been. I was all for my receiving grace by the bucket full, but I was stingy when it came time to offer grace to others.

My story started with my having been a child bride. I went on to tell about the rough years when we had a houseful of teenagers. I shared the results of a failed business and the enormous debt it left behind. I regaled the crowd with the lessons I learned while living in a 32’ travel trailer. Then, I revealed what happens when you choose to love.

I chose to trust God. I chose to trust that love was the answer. I chose to believe that hate wouldn’t get me where I wanted to go.

Isaiah 11:6 ends with “and a little child will lead them” That’s what happened in my story. We all made choices for the love of a child and Jesus had the answer for us – love one another.

Every time I finish telling the story, someone comes up to me and shares their similar story, but seldom with a beautiful ending as ours has. It is heartbreaking to hear the stories of brokenness, despair, and anxiety.

I am forever in awe of the kind of love that can truly move mountains of doubt and fear.

All this may seem cryptic, but those who have been following along our family’s path (or who have read the book) know the journey. It really has been one that went up the mountains and down into the valleys as our faith kept the wheels on our bus. We’re enjoying the view from the other side of the valley with the windows down and some groovy music blaring from the radio.

By the way, it doesn’t look like I thought it would on the other side of the valley, but it’s still good and I’m thankful. It is said that the fertile soil is in the valley, not the mountaintop. It’s in the valleys that I seek God and find comfort in His Word.

For those who have shared their painful stories with me, please know that I heard, I care and I’m praying for you to show His love to your grandchild and to his/her parents. It won’t be easy, but please find a way to forgive and to love. God can help. He’s the only one that can. On the other side of this, you’ll have a story to tell and it will help others.

God bless you!