A few years back as I was scrolling through Facebook, I came across a video of my grandpa. His church, my childhood church, did a series of interviews from some of their members. They were all focused on connecting their stories with Jesus’ story. My grandpa spoke a lot about my grandma and the life they built together. He mentioned a verse they relied on throughout their life together. “And we know that all things work together for the good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). His eyes were tear-filled as he recalled their past and his pain of her death. It was powerful. I never imagined though, the twist his story would take after that interview.
He met someone in a bible study and remarried. His new wife is a very kind lady and they seem to balance each other. It is weird and yet it makes me happy at the same time. He has a new life, a different life. Last summer he showed up to a cookout wearing a shirt I would’ve never seen him in before. I know it is just a shirt, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. After my grandma’s death watching his pain was almost unbearable. I thought he had completely given up. Now, he is living again and even sporting a new style of shirt.
When I think of my story and all the plot twists that have brought me to where I am right now, I see how He is and has always been working to bring me closer to Him. I see how struggles and weaknesses that pull me to draw from His strength and not my own often tend to bring out my authentic self. I know who I am and whose I am now. When I was a teenager I searched inside myself only to find happiness is fleeting. It took pain and heartache to realize I’ll never find contentment in myself or this world. I needed those years of nullity because without them I wouldn’t have the dependence on God that I do today. I wouldn’t have the ability to lean into His presence in my darkest hours like I do today.
When I was a child, I thought praying should yield some sort of magical Jesus dust to instantly fall upon me and take my troubles away. When that didn’t occur, I assumed I was just doing something wrong. I wasn’t trying hard enough. I wasn’t worthy enough. No one taught me to think this way…it was my own misunderstanding. I do not even wish someone would have told me otherwise. Without that misunderstanding, my moment of revelation wouldn’t have been so powerful.
Today, I see Jesus and His story through my kids and their struggles and weaknesses. Through homeschooling Luke and helping him through all that has been happened, I see his true personality beginning to shine through once again. I see how his weaknesses are helping to shape him into the man he will someday be. Homeschooling has also pulled me into a natural rhythm I never thought possible.
With Luke doing better and being calmer, Oliver has been able to relax into his own self better as well. I’ve had more time and energy to hang with Oliver. Last night we worked on some Algebra problems and he lit up with joy. Oliver loves math. He just may reach his goal of learning Calculus by third grade…as long as his momma can brush up on her math skills in the next couple of years!
Matt and I have created this life together (with God’s help). The more we grow as one, the more our faith deepens, and the more we recognize His hand in everything we see and appreciate the beauty in our simple life. So much has changed from our younger days and I never imagined the struggles we would face and yet I wouldn’t change a thing.
Stories don’t need to be perfect or big and profound to matter. We don’t need to wait until things become smoother to share what Jesus has done or is doing for us. Even in the midst of our mess, He is working. We need to remember during hard times that He has an eternity mindset. Eternity, not today. He really is working for the good of those who love Him. Thank you, Lord.