Inside of my mind all things are colorful. There aren't boxes that constrain my thinking and by nature, my heart is split wide open.
Since I was a little girl, bare feet bopping and wild red hair blowing behind me, I have very clearly envisioned God. I can see Him working in situations around me, through people in my life, and in specific circumstances. I can vividly hear Him speaking, a voice so clear through my Spirit that it is as if I am never fully alone in my thinking.
Even as a small child when I would play alone, I knew I was never truly alone.
It's much different than just 'seeing the good' in a situation or being optimistic.
In fact, by true description, I'm actually much more of a realist than an optimist.
When I think of my life with Jesus, I can literally picture me walking-step by step through life in the palm of His hand. And when I get to the edge of the palm of that hand I can feel very effortlessly, the palm of His other hand swiftly take the place of the first. And the Lord repeats this pattern, never letting go of me. I have never in my life been afraid to take the next step because I was uncertain if He would reach out and catch me. With total confidence, I have always been able to walk confidently toward the future, knowing that He was guiding my path. Knowing that not only was He guiding it, but leading me on it, protecting me through it and upholding me so that I have never had to walk alone.
That doesn't mean I haven't been afraid. In fact, almost every step of the way life has been peppered with one fear or another. How could it not be? We are human and anything that we do not know with total certainty can be frightening. But at the end of it all, the thing that has carried me through the darkest of days has been my ability to recklessly and fully abandon myself to God, trusting that He is already sitting in whatever outcome awaits me.
Some simply call this faith.
He is always in control when my world feels like it is not.
He is always safe when everything around me feels unkempt and scattered.
He is always nurturing when everyone else leaves me abandoned.
He is always good when everything else feels anything but.
He is God.
Dear little girl, you are about 12 years old right now and I am about to introduce you to another little girl who will become your best friend. You don't know it yet but the first conversation that the two of you ever share (the one about addiction) will be the center of your friendship. You also don't know it yet but in a couple of years the two of you will experience your first loss together (the first of many, sadly). Ashley's brother will die tragically in a single car accident and your lives will change forever. You are going to be afraid but I am asking you to lean into me now and always.
I hope you hear me...
Dear young girl...that boy that you married...he's going to go away to war soon. A war that you don't even fully understand. Will you move away from your family (even at their total displeasure) and have a baby 15 hours from them and do this very hard thing, all while trusting me?
And young girl, while you're far away from the people that you love and are tired from growing and having a new baby, will you please reach out to this one young man by the name of Jimmy and make sure that He knows me? It's going to be important, young girl, because though you don't know it yet...that young man is also going to meet me soon. He will die tragically in a single car accident and it will be traumatizing to your heart. But when he does, I want you to rest in me, knowing that your purpose in moving far from your family was lived out in his life.
So you're listening to me, right young girl? You can hear me?
Sweet, young mama...
You're doing so great! And now that your husband came back from war and is yet leaving again, will you trust me once more when I give you another baby to call yours? I know your Nora, sweet 'light' is only 4 months old, but will you...just trust me?
Did you hear me when you walked into that big white house? I thought I spoke clearly enough that it couldn't be mistaken. I hope you heard me. I said to you,
"This house will be a safe place for many."
You did it. That baby boy finally stopped crying after 9 whole months. You trusted me.
What a gift you've been given.
Two healthy children.....
You have trusted me with everything. At every twist and turn, you say yes to my call.
Will you say yes when you come to know that this child that is growing inside of you now is only yours to love for a season before returning home to me? Oh, I hope you'll say yes to that. She will touch so many lives as she lives hers out on earth! I cannot wait to see how you love her.
Your new baby CAN hear. I know you are afraid. Something isn't quite right, that's true. But she can hear you when you pray over her and sing to her. Keep talking. She can hear you. Even if only in her heart, she can hear you...
Oh sweet mama,
Fly your friend here! Her heart is breaking and she has a baby that needs you too. You won't ever regret it. There is more here for them. I will provide. I will make a way!
Can you hear me through the cries and the noise? I sense that you are afraid. I am still here in the mess of it. I am in the fear, too. 'They' will tell you that I am not but if 'they' say that then 'they' are not me.
I am in it all.
Strong, brave, ferocious, fighting, advocating mama...don't do it alone. Do not turn away from me.
Talk to me. I am here. Will you trust me with her surgery? And her therapies? And her life?
Will you trust me without a diagnosis? Will you trust me if you get one?
...one who has lost all control.
Will you trust me with a broken marriage?
You did it. You found THE doctor. You felt me there and you knew he was the one. He's going to give you the diagnosis. Are you ready to trust me knowing I will hold your daughter far longer than you will?
Are you ready to let me do that?
Hey sweet girl. It's just God again...
Do you feel that peace?
I thought so.
Do you trust me with disease?
Do you trust me with divorce?
Do you trust me when I tell you to love again?
Do you trust me in the middle of a seizure?
Do you trust me in the thrashing of toddlers in broken homes?
Do you trust me in total destruction of lives?
Do you trust me when people walk away?
Do you trust me in the choking? In the puking?
Do you trust me when it feels really, far too heavy to bear?
I know you are weary and yet said 'yes' to all of that anyway.
Do you think that maybe, though, you could also trust me when I ask you to leave your home? You know, the one I initially told you would be a safe place for many? Now there is this other home that I know will be much safer. It's right across town and I need you to just trust me in this.
Can you trust me when you have no money? No earthly things of value?
Can you trust me when I assure you that I am also with you if you buy groceries with food stamps. Can you just know I am there and that it is ok. Humble yourself and know that it is all going to be ok as long as you know I am with you.
Just checking in again.
Wondering if you noticed that she's gotten sicker? I sense that you have and that you are afraid. I also sense that you feel peace. I am right here. Can you trust me with her death as you did in her life?
This is hard, I know...
Can you move your family one more time? There's this perfect house just right across town. It has a room made just right for her. She will both live and die there and you will all feel peaceful and whole. It will be a home where as a family, you will feel me.
Can you trust me?
I know it's hot outside and I know you're sick. I know you're very afraid. I know that you are tired and angry and very, very nauseous. I have not left you and I am not afraid of YOUR fear. I am in death too. I created it all. She will be ok and you will be ok. I have not left your side and I will not. I will not take her until it is time for her to die.
Can you trust that it is time for her to die?
Can you trust me to come for your baby?
Can you trust me in the quiet and the aching and the sobs?
Can you trust me in the breath and in the nothing-in-between?
You trusted me so much that you begged me to come for her. And I came. And you felt me. And you have told the world of your daughter's entrance into my arms. You trusted me with everything.
Time and time and time again with everything.
Can you trust me, though, with a new baby in your sister's womb?
One that may not be quite, completely well?
Maybe not very sick...but maybe not totally healthy?
I can't quite say for certain...I'm just wondering...can you trust me with that?
After losing her, do you think you can trust your heart to grow again and love some more and maybe hurt a little and....
I know it's very hard.
Will you just take my hand and trust me?
Hi there, auntie.
I see you loving him. And trusting me. Just please know I've got it all worked out. None of it is a massive surprise. And yes they locked eyes before his met yours. He saw her and she assured him of your love. Just know, he will be ok regardless. I have him in the palm of my hand, just like I do you.
I see you sitting there now in that house that last held her body on earth; where you all were together as a family for the last time. And I'm asking you again to trust me.
I know it doesn't get easier and in a way, I'm sure that you feel many, many things about the extent of all of my plans for your life. But you continue to say yes and I hope that you see the abundance of joy that I pour out over you because of it. You are doing the hard things, and I am with you.
I am always with you.
If I ask you to leave that house and go, will you do it?
Will you trust me with a new plan...
one that moves your family forward in the direction that I would have you to go? One in which you will continue to touch and change lives for me and for the Kingdom?
Oh....I know you'll trust me.
I am thankful that you do.
That you have learned to let it be what it is and to let me have the reigns. Though your spirit is free, it has found freedom in me and that, my sweet young girl, is true wonder...