The end from the beginning.
The other day a Facebook memory popped up. It was an old post that I had written and while they are usually embarrassing, this one was embarrassing and sad. The post said something like “I think I’ve f**ked my life up too much at this point to have a regular happy life.” The crazy thing about it was I believed it. I am only 28 now and this was years ago so I can imagine I may have been 22 or 23. So, at 22 or 23 I was in such a desperate place I thought it was hopeless.
I can remember being alone with my son and being so depressed that I only had the energy to get him to preschool. Afterwards I would come home and crawl in bed until it was time to pick him up. I don’t remember the exact circumstances of that post, but I do remember having a drink from the moment I woke up until I went to sleep. I don’t know exactly why I wrote that, at that time, but I do remember speaking to the college therapist right before dropping out.
I became a mother for the first time at 18. I got pregnant at 17. I dropped out of college for the first time by 21. Although I pulled it together, I was a single mother of two by the time I was 24. I would say that I had reason to write the post what I wrote, but I PROMISE YOU I wish I could speak to that Eboni and tell her where we’d get to. I wish I could tell my younger self to just press in because its gonna be okay. God has given me a greater grace than I could ever deserve and that is just one of the reasons why it is easy, its enjoyable, for me to go so hard about my faith.
The problem that we have is that we often can’t see our end from our beginning. I looked at my situation. I looked at my food stamp card and my kids and my choices and I thought there was no way. I probably figured that even if there was a God, he had moved on to people who were more willing to help themselves because I didn’t have the will. There were times I didn’t even have the will to live much less make something out of myself. One time I was laying in bed and decided that enough was enough. I was a terrible mom to my son (because these are the lies we tell ourself) and he would be better without me so I was going to end it. If not for the intervention of God himself I would not be here typing this to you. What a mistake that would have been. How terrible for me to cut my destiny short. I would have never made my beautiful ren or my handsome justice. I wouldn’t have met the amazing people I’ve met. I wouldn’t have met my husband. That’s crazy in itself.
If you would have told me in my early twenties self that I would be married and have a “traditional” family there’s no way I could have believed you. If you would have told me not only would I have my first degree, but I would pursue a second, AND that the degree would be in religion I would have called you a liar and a false prophet. When you’re in the mess you can’t see what’s going on. You can’t see that you’re being set up for your future. Before I moved to Seoul Korea I was in the house I grew up in! When things change they move fast. Not only do I have life now, I have it abundantly. Growing up I was discounted. Too tall, too skinny, too black, too white, too talkative. ALL THAT. All of it. I don’t know why I felt moved to write this, but I guess that if there’s someone who chooses to read this, and they have any point in they’re life where they want to give up I want to encourage them to wait a while. I graduated from college on educational probation! HA! Educational probation from dropping out and receiving “F’s” when I was younger. God’s funny like that. All I had to do was choose to not give up. I had plenty reason to, but I get tearful when I think of the beautiful life I would have missed out on. There is no place so deep that you cannot be lifted out of. God has restored the years I lost. If not for me being so open about my life no one would look at my family and just assume that I entered the marriage with two kids, or that my first boyfriend is in prison, or that I have a history of drunkenness. I can look back at situations and laugh. TRULY. I can look at men I wanted, friendships I wanted desperately, RECOGNITION I wanted and thank God that he kept me from all of that. I don’t know about any other negative seasons I may go through in my life. Life is not easy and God willing I have much more to live. I can say that if I can remember where I came from I can rest confidently in what God can do .
Ezekiel 37 New English Translation (NET Bible)
The Valley of Dry Bones
37 The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and placed me in the midst of the valley, and it was full of bones. 2 He made me walk all around among them. I realized there were a great many bones in the valley and they were very dry. 3 He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said to him, “Sovereign Lord, you know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and tell them: ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5 This is what the sovereign Lord says to these bones: Look, I am about to infuse breath into you and you will live. 6 I will put tendons on you and muscles over you and will cover you with skin; I will put breath in you and you will live. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”