There are some moments that are forever etched in my brain like when I was seven and found out I was having another brother, when my unbiological baby sister was born, or when I graduated high school and college. Some of them are good but many of them are tied to some not so great memories: I remember the sucker punch that came when Caroline told me I had been released from sorority recruitment. I can tell you many things about the night my brother went to rehab for the first time or the second or the third. Those moments, the big, hairy, scary moments are when I can see the Lord the most. I can tell you about sitting in the study room and talking to Kels until 1 am on bid night or getting asked to spring rush and having a totally different attitude about it. I can tell you all about how the Lord has worked for good in my brother’s life. But this post is not about any of those moments, it’s about the craziness that has been my life the last two years…
My life looks drastically different than it did two years ago. My parents are divorced which means when I go home I have to make sure that I see both my mama and my daddy. My mom is remarried to an incredible godly man who loves her, our house is now constantly filled with music. My dad is dating a kind woman who is very welcoming. My brother lives in a halfway house and the Lord is continuing to work mightily in his life.
All of this means, I’m learning how to forgive–I mean, truly forgive. This quote by Max Lucado sums up very well where I am: “Forgiveness vacillates like this. It has fits and starts, good days and bad. Anger intermingled with love. Irregular mercy. We make progress only to make a wrong turn. Step forward and fall back. But this is okay. When it comes to forgiveness, all of us are beginners. No one owns a secret formula. As long as you are trying to forgive, you are forgiving. It’s when you no longer try that bitterness sets in.” (You’ll Get Through This)
Forgiveness is a process and every day I have to forgive again. We live in a world filled with sin and to survive it takes a lot of prayer. Thankfully, God is the business of changing lives and everyone who believes in Him is a new creation, able to fight off the sin nature.
Life looks drastically different but there are some bright spots in all the darkness. One of them is how well my brother is doing. The Lord is doing a mighty work in him and I can’t wait to see the mark he makes on the kingdom. God is taking the mess Joshua has got into and is turning it into his message. He is a totally different person than the one I was around last Christmas. We had our first real conversation when I went to see him in October, I could not be more proud to call him my brother.
The other bright spot is the biggest unexpected blessing, my stepdad, Jim. Those moments we were talking about earlier? I can remember every detail of the night my mom told me she had asked my dad to move out but I can also remember when she told me had her first date with Jim. Jim is a blessing from the Lord and they see each other as a gift from God which is an incredible thing. They ooze love and have the kind of relationship I want to have with my future husband. My mom is now a grandma, “Georgie”, and all seven of the grandkids love her to pieces. We are now kinda sorta officially family with my mom’s best friend. I’m so incredibly thankful to be able to call Jim my stepdad and blend our family with his.
My life looks drastically different and I finally feel at home in North Carolina. I have made many awesome friends up here but this past semester I have really found my home. Bay Leaf Baptist Church is a special place, the more I get plugged in, the more thankful I am for it. The seventh grade girls I teach are crazy but I wouldn’t have any other way. Bobby and Leslee, Tyler and Bonnie, James and Shannon, and Elise have made small group these last few months a total joy, I love that they are the definition of community. I love my job and that it’s like a family, the people I work with and work for are awesome. They take good care of me. I have moved out of the apartment that I called home for years, Mary Beth is getting married and I now live with Tiffany. It’s hard to believe I only have a year left here.
So much has changed, so much of it is hard and will continue to be as we adjust to a new stage in life with new members of our family. God still has some healing that He needs to do, and I will continue to pray for my dad. God is still writing my story, I just hope there are some happier chapters headed my way.