As I've been praying for God's direction and His revealing of my purpose, I've also done some serious soul searching. Through this process, He has shown me some areas that I need to really work on and done a lot of revealing weaknesses, flaws in character and in general, revealed areas that I need to turn over to Him. I know I can't accomplish all of them overnight, but fortunately I know He is moving me in the right direction. EVEN IF it is going to be a painful journey, I'm positive it will be a good one.
Also along this recent journey, He has also helped me to see some of the things that shaped me into who I am. Two conversations I've had recently have "collided" in my head and have put me in a pensive mood....one of reflection and FINALLY it has led to some understanding. The first conversation was about how at the time that God allows us to go through dark times, we may not have ANY understanding of WHY, but that we have to believe that HE does have a purpose for EACH and EVERY single thing. The other conversation was rather short, but yet it went DIRECTLY along with what I had been thinking about. It was about how God can really do some odd things to get our attention.
In college, as part of our social work program we spent an entire semester working on a project that dug deep into our hearts of why we wanted to pursue that profession. Miss Haynes gave us no reprieve when it got tough. We dug so deep that sometimes it felt like every nerve was exposed. The purpose was too make sure that we understood that in order to TRULY be effective in professionally helping someone else, we had to FULLY understand who we were and what things had shaped us. (Just thinking of those times REALLY makes me miss Kim. I think of her so often & I know in heaven that we have some MAJOR conversations to catch up on! Any Lipscomb readers....remember the mouse falling from the ceiling during Interview & Recording Skills and her TOTALLY being the 1st one out the door leaving us girls in that tiny room to deal with it? Can't help but smile!)
Having decided to finally act on God's leading me to work with pre-teen/teen girls, I've thoroughly thought about WHAT in my own life has shaped me to have that desire. In other words, WHY is he leading ME? I'm not completely sure because I don't feel fully equipped at this point. However, I know some of the reasons why my heart is heavy for them. It goes back to those colliding conversations.
He has finally allowed me to see why I've been through some of the things I have had to face in my life. With time, we DO eventually understand why He allowed us to go through things that made ZERO sense to us. Sometimes there TRULY is PURPOSE in pain. I normally want the answers IMMEDIATELY when I'm going through something that makes no sense, but very seldom do answers come that quickly. I finally have an answer to a VERY dark time in my life. It only took me 17 years to get an answer. That's practically half my life!
God allowed me to go through that time so that I could use that experience to change someone else's life someday. I'm coming up on the 17th "anniversary" of THAT night. To say that it was a night that changed my life forever is no exaggeration. For so long, I thought it was only a night that resulted in loss. Loss of innocence on MANY different levels, loss of faith, loss of confidence in myself, and the list could go on indefinitely. What I realize now is that I also gained more than I ever lost, it just was a long process to get here. It did change who I was, but now I see it as a good thing. I never would have dreamed it possible to say that and TRULY believe it, but I can. Genesis 50:20 continuously comes to mind. "You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good." Out of that very painful situation that changed the VERY core of me, good has prevailed.
My heart now really breaks for young girls. I so want to see them grow up with a deep rooted faith in God that can withstand EVERY heartache that the years ahead will bring. I want to see their self-esteem based on God's love for them instead of finding it wrapped up in what others around them think. I want to see them feel so confident in standing their ground when issues of right and wrong come up. I don't want to see them suffer from making bad decisions or from walking a line too close to "wrong" that they get sucked in. Because of my situation, I can fully empathize with some of the issues they face. I know what it's like to have everything ripped out from under you, but yet have the victory of being able to say that hearts do heal and what REAL forgiveness feels like. Had I not gone through that situation and ALL of the aftermath (even for MANY MANY years to come), I don't believe my heart would be as tender for young girls.
I don't necessarily want to tell "my story" and have purposely left it vague, but yet in the right time and place, I will tell it when necessary to make a difference for someone else. However, it's not the telling of the story that is what is important. What is important is the lessons that I learned. AND that those lessons can be taught from experience. I also had some AMAZING women help me pick up the pieces and keep me from spiraling downward beyond reach. Four specific ladies helped me hang on when I didn't think it possible. (Thank you: Betty Jo, Lisa, Gina and Vicki). I pray that prayer for my daughter on a regular basis. I pray that when she is faced with hard situations, especially those that she doesn't feel comfortable coming to me about, that she will have Christian women mentors in place that can keep her on track. I've prayed specifically for God to begin to build relationships in her life NOW that can see her through the next phase of her life and for years to come. Women that she can FULLY trust and that I can trust to lead her in the right direction and to love her through each and every thing JUST as much as I would! EVERY single young girl needs a mentor in her life! The relationships that sustained me were originally built when I was about her age and without them I have ZERO doubt that they are the NUMBER one reason that I am who I am today. I'm seeing the beginings of a couple of relationships that I hope continue to grow into that for her.
The conversation about God doing whatever it takes to get your attention is ABSOLUTELY true. My situation got my attention without a doubt! Had I not gone through what I did, my life would be dramatically different. For starters, I wouldn't have met Kevin and I wouldn't be blessed with the amazing marriage I have & the precious children that we have. Looking back (hindsight ALWAYS makes a difference!), I can see MANY times that He gave me gentle direction about making different decisions. I either chose not to listen or didn't feel strong enough. It took a REAL wake-up call. Granted, I at times REALLY wish perhaps He had chosen a different way to get through my stubbornness. No one EVER wants to go through hurt. BUT hurt sometimes is the only way that God can truly get us to see what He needs for us to see. That road isn't always easy and for me it wasn't a short path. It made for a rough road back to trust, forgiveness, and even made the first several years of marriage tough. However, with time, it did eventually strengthen my marriage and my personal relationship with Christ. At some point when the time is right, I believe it will also strengthen my relationship with my children, most especially with Adriana. It won't be an easy conversation to have, but I do believe it will open the door to MANY MANY more.
So, I guess what I'm saying is that it's important to not give up when times are hard. When you don't understand why God is allowing things to happen or when things don't make sense, just hold on. It can be so very hard to understand His reasoning at times. Don't let it cause your heart to harden or it to put a wedge between Him and you. It's easy to do. I've been guilty of it more times than I want to admit and struggle with it on a daily basis. The truth is, HE sees the FULL picture. He knows EVERY day of our future when we can't see beyond the pain of the moment. HE knows how our lives fit into his master plan. Today, with ALL of it's joys or pain, is just one single thread that He is weaving into a complete, beautiful tapestry. Some day, and it may not be until we are in Heaven, we will be able to see how that thread made the tapestry complete. Without that thread, the tapestry will always be missing something. God, sometimes I don't know what you are doing with this thread, but I'm learning to trust you more every day.