I sat at the table today and we all went around and said what we were thankful for. And we spoke of new babies, and health, and how our family has miraculously made it through an entire year without major drama. No one died, no one got sick, no one got divorced, no one even got a bad haircut.
It was the first year in a long while where our family experienced more times of joy than pain. I was grateful for that.
And when it was my turn to say what I was thankful for, all I could think of was that I was thankful to see the other side. My brother in law asked me to expound upon that, and all I could think was “God keeps His promises”. He does.
It has been a long, daunting, heartbreaking road these past few years. And the whole time, through the whole journey, I just knew that God was working, He was making all things new, He would restore the years that were stolen. He would redeem, He would bring joy.
I knew it.
And so I sat there today, and I saw the other side.
I saw the goodness and redemption and gifts that have been given to me this year.
And it has been good. Because He is good. And He keeps His promises.
I moved into this yellow house 5 months after my husband left. I was still married, but the hope of reconciliation was waning. He was in Boston, I was in Denton. We had had one email exchange and a random “Merry Christmas” text when I moved to Denton. I had been living at my parents, making less than stellar money working at a non-profit, and completely in limbo regarding what to do next. It’s hard to plan for your future when you aren’t sure if you’re still married.
My sister and her husband approached me about moving in February. They were moving because their current living situation wasn’t going to be around much longer. They knew they could afford a larger place if I was with them. They knew I would be willing to help with the boys. They knew I needed to move but I was at a loss. They knew I needed a place to heal.
I don’t think they knew that the house we would all move into would be that place. I didn’t.
In the months before I moved in with Kyle and Joey, the Lord had begun moving in my relationship with my sister. We always liked each other, but we were never really “friends”. In God’s divine wisdom, the weekend that my ex-husband left, my mom happened to be out of town. She is the one who I would always run to in the past, but I couldn’t this time. She was at a retreat. She couldn’t even answer her phone. I left a message consisting of me in complete hysterics as I drove home to try and salvage my marriage.
My sister was home. And when I called her the next day, when I knew for sure he was gone, she became a safe place to me. I left my counselor’s office, having just heard my husband tell me over the phone that he was moving to Boston for sure. He would not reconsider like I had asked him to, and I drove in tears to Denton. I pulled up to their apartment, went inside, and was hugged and held and loved. And I knew at that moment that even if my mom couldn’t hug me, sisters will and can.
I moved in with them in March, I went to Boston in May to find my husband, he filed for divorce in June, and it was final in September. And during that time, every night I went home to the same little yellow house, with my huge garage turned bedroom, and God slowly put my heart back together. That house was full of laughter, dance parties, giggles, tickles, and hope. That home, the people there, they calmed my anxious soul, they reminded me that I am worth something. I am not discarded trash.
Those 18+ months were some of my favorite in my life, and when I moved out in October, it was really sad. It was such a bittersweet day for me. I was leaving a home where the pieces of my heart had been put together, I was living on my own ( i mean, I have a roommate, but we’re not related, so it’s different). My belongings were unpacked with a heart full of pain and abandon, and I packed them up with a heart full of hope and joy.
I miss that little yellow house. I miss my sister. I miss Joey. I miss hearing “BYE!!!!!!!” coming from those two little boogers each morning as I drove to work. I miss it. I do.
I will never forget what God did in that house. He healed me. He restored my hope. He held me, and placed my life back together in a way that was unpredictable. That house saw my marriage end, my tears as I recovered, and my heart fill with joy with new love.
God is so unpredictable. I never saw any of this coming, and it was painful, but I wouldn’t trade what He did in that non-air conditioned room for anything.
I met Collin on August 20th. I knew he was interested in me August 21st.
I knew I had to make a choice on August 21st.
I had to choose to be brave.
You would think being brave would be an easy thing for me. After all, my name means “Brave”.
Risking your heart is scary. It’s a struggle to daily trust that someone can see my heart and care for it. To me, being brave means showing up, mess and fears and struggles and all. Being brave means seeing something you are utterly terrified to desire, seeing the risks, the potential failures, and decided to run after it in spite of fears, because it’ s worth it.
Being brave is a hard fight for me. Every day, I hear the same familiar lies. The same voice that whispers “He is going to leave. He will figure out what a mess you are, and he will decide you are not worth his time. He will not love you once he sees who you really are. He will break your heart. He will crush you just like the other one did. It’s too scary and you cannot do it”.
And he might. Those things might happen. But the beautiful thing is that they may not happen. And I would hate to miss out on Collin and how wonderful he is, because I choose not to be brave.
I’m scared. It’s true. But I know that ultimately God holds me, and if I choose to risk my heart and be brave so I can be a part of Collin’s life, God will be there. Even if it all falls apart, I know that choosing to trust God and be brave, choosing to fight those lies and take captive every thought so I can experience the joy and beauty of a relationship, is worth it.
Choosing to be brave is so worth it. Even if our worst nightmare comes true and it all falls apart, there is a beautiful lesson in that. Choosing to be brave is such a struggle.
Choosing to be brave is beautiful. It is so worth it. Because when being brave proves a worthwhile effort, it’s sweet to know that God was there. It is a splendid thing to rest in the promise from the Lord that He does restore the things the locusts have stolen. And being brave enough to fight to see that happen is so worth it.
I choose bravery. I will continue to battle lies, choose truth, and be courageous and confident in the Lord.
It is so worth it. No matter the outcome, choosing to be unabashed in my pursuit of life and truth and the things of Christ is worthwhile.
And I praise God that Collin has furthered my heart to trust Christ. That knowing Collin forces me to choose to be brave and trust that God is good and I can show up and love and be loved. Because Collin is worth that fight. Being known, loved, and cared for is worth it. It is.