Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Above and Beyond

I recently entered into a Christian writing contest in which I was supposed to write about something amazing that God has done in my life. I thought to myself "this will be easy". God has done so much for me that I could never run out of things to write about. Then I found out that it had to be between 700-750 words...hmmmm...not so easy.
My entire life has been an outright showmanship of who He is. Anyone who knows my past knows that I am not the person that I should be based on statistics alone. I can look back at anytime in my life and see an outpouring of His amazing grace.
Just within the last two months, God has done above and beyond anything that I could have ever asked for or imagined and I knew that I couldn't condense that down to 750 words but I call myself a writer, so I had to try.
It didn't take me long to narrow it down to the miracle that I wanted to write about. God has given me a great job and a home but the greatest thing He has given to me, or back to me, is my daddy.
For those who don't know, let me give you a little background:
When I was about 18 months old, my mother left our dad and ushered us straight into the hands of an abuser. By the age of 5, I knew and had experienced every type of abuse (physical, emotional, sexual, mental, emotional, and spiritual) and yet, at that same time, I came face to face with my need for a Savior. We were being raised in church and I don't remember a time when I didn't know OF Jesus. I do remember the moment when I realized my need to know Him personally. From that moment on, my faith in Him was strong and He became my only security in a very unstable world. I felt unloved by my parents, unnoticed by the world, and unworthy of anything better than the life I was given. I grew up believing that my father didn't love me and that he was a mean and angry man. Those thoughts, I have found, will tear a little girl to pieces and lead her to try and find love and acceptance anywhere she can and most times, it is found in the worst places and she will end up with some of the worst people.
I went from abusive relationship to abusive relationship. I struggled to break free from the bondage that I felt in my soul, only to be dragged down again and again. After divorcing yet another abusive man, I felt led to go to Los Angeles, CA for music school and found myself in a church internship program. During the program, my leader insisted that I try out Celebrate Recovery..and when I say insist...I mean she made it a part of my mandatory hours. She knew I needed it and God knew that I would follow authority. For the first 6 months or so, I fought God every step of the way; insisting that I didn't need recovery; that I had gotten over the pains of my past. One night, however, I realized that I had just been running from it and yet holding onto it at the same time. I repented and surrendered it that night and thus began some of the most painful years of my life (healing hurts y'all!!). I made it through and three years later, I found myself joyful and content despite the fact that life actually kind of sucked. I graduated from school and couldn't find a job in Los Angeles. My children, my mother and I were all living in a studio apt...actually...we were surviving. I put my resume out to so many places and no one would hire me.
On the Monday after the July 4th weekend, my brother mentioned that he felt that I should move back to Texas, not really something I wanted to do. I'll be honest, Texas may be home, but its also the place where I associate a lot of pain. It was where a lot of abuse took place. It was the place where I felt a lot of rejection. It was the place where my father lives.
So I didn't want to go back but I felt a peace in my spirit so I made an ultimatum with God: "If that's where You want me, I need a job and a home."
Did I tell you that I had been searching for 2 years for a job in LA? Well let me tell you what God did. Thursday, (yes, three days after I spoke to my brother and gave God the ultimatum), I received a call for a job interview in Texas. I hopped on a Greyhound the very next day and had the job by Tuesday of the next week. A month later, I signed the paperwork for a place for me and my kids. I gave God an ultimatum and He answered.
All of this is amazing, right?! But it's not the best part. The BEST part is that God gave me my daddy back. I said before that I thought he hated me; that he wanted nothing to do with me; that he was an angry and mean man...but when I met him, I found out those things just weren't true. I found out that my daddy is just like me. His humor, his love for Jesus, the way he thinks, the way he loves...I got it all from him.
Just in the past two months, I have found that how I viewed my dad was a lot like how many people view God from afar. They think He's mad at them; that He doesn't love them; that He's mean and angry. But when they meet Him, they find out that those things are the furthest from the truth.
I have seen many sides of God: I have seen Him as Creator as I watch the sunrise in the early morning. I have seen Him as Healer as I let Him heal the deep wounds in my heart. I have seen Him as Comforter as I walked through the abuse. I have seen Him as Savior as I became aware of my sin. I have seen Him as Friend when He was the only friend I had. I have seen Him as Redeemer as He redeemed my life from hell, depression, suicide, poverty, war, and abuse. But in the past two months I have gotten to see Him as Abba as He gave to me and provided in overflow. I have seen Him as restorer as He restored my relationship with my Dad. He has done Above and Beyond anything I could have ever imagined or asked for.