I have spent the last fifteen years as a mom growing in my faith. Its been quite the journey; one filled with more questions than answers, more judgement than acceptance, more hatred than love and more negative labels than positive ones. I have believed by faith, not by experience or concrete knowledge. Instead, I have held onto this knowledge of faith, of relationship not religion. This has been difficult for me as I like tangible; I prefer facts, and concrete. The concept of faith seemed so abstract and foreign to me. Faith is about believing in something I cannot see, feel or touch; at least that is what I thought. This summer though, for the first time, my faith became tangible, I could see and feel all that I have believed, all that I have clung to in hard times, all that I praised when prayers were answered.
As I was leaving work one afternoon, I decided to check my Facebook account via my iPhone. I didn’t even make it my car before I was speechless and fighting back tears. The first item in my newsfeed was a post from the church that Zion was on a mission trip with. It was a picture of Zion that read “Zion 14 years old boldly giving his testimony in front of adult inmates at the Cambodian prison. God worked powerfully through this young man!”
It was here, through this small caption and the amazing picture of my son, that fifteen years of faith fell into place. It was here that He finally became tangible to me; that I saw He was faithful. I knew in this moment, that Zion was experiencing the exact same realization. For the last four years, as he and I walked through some difficult times, I continued to tell him that God would use all this, his anxiety, his being raised by a single mom, all of it for His glory; that God has a bigger purpose in it all. I explained to him, I don’t know what it is, I don’t how it will all be used, but that He will use it in such a way that there would be no denying that every moment of hardship was worth it.
As I stood in my office parking lot, outside my car, staring at my iphone, tears began to stream down my face. I opened my car door, climbed into the driver’s seat, and let the tears freely fall as I realized it was true. God did use Zion’s story; only I had no idea all those times I told him that God would work, that it would happen in a prison in Cambodia. I also didn’t know, that when Zion’s story was used, it would minister to a place deep within me that needed the last bit of reassurance. It was here in this moment, that I saw Him make beauty from my ashes. All the heartache, all the hurt, all the labels that I had worn, they were for a greater purpose. My journey of healing, my journey of judgement, of heartache, of loss, of success, of love and love lost, of raising three kids on my own, of rebuilding a life, of learning who I was all served something greater. Everything I had been learning, everything I had been clinging to over the years, came to light in that moment that I saw the picture of Zion sharing his testimony. I knew when Zion left for Cambodia, he would never be the same young man when he returned. I knew he have experiences that would carve themselves into his heart and soul. What I didn’t expect was that his trip to Cambodia would solidify my walk of faith; that through his mission trip God would prove Himself faithful to me and the kids, that He would become tangible.
Beauty for ashes… beautifully broken… these words echoed through my head that night as I laid in my bed. I have experienced hurt, loss, heartache; I have been judged, criticized, ridiculed; I have called ugly, fat, unlovable, unworthy, unforgivable. Through faith I healed the hurt, loss and heartache; I forgave those who judged, criticized and ridiculed; and I have removed the hurtful labels replacing them with truths - I am beautiful for I am His, I am beautifully and wonderfully made, I am forgiven, loved and made new. I walk by faith, not by sight. I extend grace. I love not hate. I accept not judge. I extend to others what has been given to me - I share the truths with others that my friends shared with me. I look into the face of my son, and now I see a man. A man who extends grace; who loves not hates; who accepts not judges. A man who like his mom, walks by faith not by sight.
I'm a single mom of four radiant kids who believes in relationship with Jesus over religion. I'm trying not to battle with fear anymore - instead I am choosing to follow what God has called me to do. With that you'll find me here, trying to be brave, with the goal of being authentic and honest about God, single parenting and the beauty in the mess of my joyful chaos. It's sure to be a journey... and I am blessed to share it with you!