Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Painful Memory--The Story of Grace.

I can still remember how it felt. Walking from the gym into that bathroom stall, I felt like my world was crashing down. 

Only four months into my seventeenth year, no place to call home and a baby on the way. I can still remember my thoughts. 

I had just walked out of the Gym. I knew that was where I could find him, doing what he loved most, playing the game. 

It was getting close, my stomach would soon show. Having taking vows to never speak to each other again, I felt I needed to share just one last thing. Finding him alone in there, I pleaded--

"You have to tell her." 

His mom. 

I don't know what I really expected in that moment. Two scared kids, thinking we had all the answers. Perhaps I thought he'd turn to me and say, "It's all going to be alright." 

He replies, "I don't have to do anything."

Remembering my reaction, I can still feel that empty feeling; I felt like I would die. 

Walking away, head hung in shame, world spinning. I found the nearest shelter, a place to hide.

It was the nearest place. 

It was empty, nobody around. Falling faintly against the new green wall, sliding down with my hands pressing against my face, tears falling heavily against my cheeks. It was there, in that shameful place, between two walls with a door that latched, the question that haunted me: "Who do you think you are?" 

I can remember the pain I felt that day.

"You have no home."
"You are a young girl whose future is gone."
"You are a joke."
"You are hated."
"You are unwanted."

"Look what you've done." 

I remember shouting, "I know, I know!" "What am I thinking?!" "Who do I think I am?!" "I cannot do this, I just need to die." 

It was there that I found grace. 

I can remember it, even this day. I can remember what that broken, humbling moment felt like. I can still feel the scars. Me, just a young girl, alone. No comfort of a home to go to, no family to walk with through the hardest thing I had ever come to. No known hope, no known future, only grace.

I can still remember my sweet, sweet Jesus, "Yes. Yes, you can do this, you are not alone and I will help you."

Grace was there and I was unaware. Unaware of who He even was, who he 
really was.

This thought I cannot escape--Grace is everywhere. 

We still cross the bridge. The same bridge we passed two or three times per year, usually on holidays traveling home to visit family out of obligation. Now we pass it each week, sometimes more than once, but always on Thursdays. We cross it at the end of a long list of names, delivering sweet meals to lonely people in the town I grew up in. 

Passing over that bridge, it all comes back to me--my heart song for so many years, "Please God, never send us here." Crossing that bridge during those years of visits home, I would ask Daniel, "Where is the one place you hope God never sends you?"

He would always reply: "Home."

Now, I cross that bridge just outside of our little town and think, "I can't beleive He brought me home." Then the thought comes again, Grace is everywhere.

Looking around I ponder. Where is this grace?

There is nothing like being in your hometown. NOTHING. There is nothing like seeing people you shared your life with, throwing it all away. Seeing people you loved, some you gave your heart to, some you thought you'd love forever, dying inside, missing grace. It's there, they are just unaware. 

There is nothing like something as simple as going to the restroom at a basketball game and walking into a place where you once wept and wanted to die. A place you thought you would never come back to.

It makes me look around and ask myself, what grace am I unaware of now

I look over at the kitchen table at two teenage boys and ask myself-- Is grace the boy who comes to dinner every chance he can just to sit and be a part of a family? A boy who would never sit here, pray here, share the highs and lows of his day here, if we had not said yes to take in someone from another country? Besides, if it weren't for Angus, we wouldn't even know that boy.

Or what about the girl, the one at the high-school who shared her love for the people of Africa with Angus? Who, when hearing her excitement came home to share with us what she said and now I am able to talk with her about Katie and her amazing work in Uganda.  Or was it her parents, who thanked me tonight. Is that grace? Grace that a stranger encouraged their daughter?

Perhaps grace is sitting up into late hours of the night, listening to the terrible, frightening things someone from Taiwan has endured for the sake of pleasing "other gods" A conversation that makes me very afraid of the reality of hell. A conversation that makes my heart break even more for the ones who have never heard of the goodness of our sweet Jesus. 

Then, of course, there is grace in his excitement as he starts to see a glimpse of what grace really is. 

Could it be in the little old lady hugging me saying, "Thank you for making time for me." Is all the cost, all the time, all the preparation that goes into that one meal? Is that grace?

Is grace my girls going to visit with the grandparents who nobody wants to visit? Sitting and learning how to crochet? Listening closely to all the stories from the past wondering why their real grandchildren can't find the time to stop by, is that grace?

What about a bunch of home-school  families gathering together for a field trip, some on their very first one, even after several years of homeschooling? Could it be grace? Just knowing it's because you finally said, "OK,  I'll do it.

Is grace taking tonight's meal to a bunch of high-school basketball boys in the town you hoped you'd never return to, watching your husband, the grace filled love of your life, who once said, "I don't have to do anything" coach one of your little graces on the court of his favorite game, during half time, remembering a time when a conversation in that same gym sent you away ready to die? (yes, read it again... s.l.o.w and insert your graces)

Oh friends--

Loves Always,