Today was the first time in a decade I haven’t spent Mother’s Day, feeling like an abandoned aircraft hangar, with rickety falling off doors, loose tin and rats in the corners. It’s a victory to instead feel like a busy, well-lit clearing house, processing little boxes of love and sending them right back out the door.
The difference is, lately I’ve been telling the truth – a lot – to people who are also knee-deep in the messy and glorious body of Christ. And I think it is totally remarkable how the Lord moves his followers to drift and sway together like seaweed does in the tide. Especially, when life is painful.
The reason I walked away, ten years ago, from a faith I didn’t understand, was a bad story with a faulty premise.
A failed attempted at motherhood weakened my superstructure of tepid Christianity, belligerent politics, pride, loneliness, judgment and fear. After it all fell down, I sat for years at the bar nursing one bitter cocktail after another and barfing that story all over everybody.
Today, I don’t even recognize that girl, because I straight up repented – in the most literal sense of the word – I turned and walked the opposite direction; away from the bitterness that was poisoning my life and into the arms of Jesus and his people.
Crazy. Wise. Choice.
That choice forced me to look hard at the stories I’d always told myself. The sanctimony. The loneliness. The fear. Then I had to admit it, so people could help me replace those stories with new ones about who I am and what I’m doing in the world God so desperately wants to redeem.
And in that process, God made me a mom. A spiritual mom. A mentor mom. All day today I’ve received calls, cards and texts from women who said I’ve mattered to them in some way.
Living as a follower of Jesus has brought me people who cry in my office, my car, my living room about a thousand topics, including the children that they, like me, cannot have. It has brought me mentors who tell me to read Isaiah 54. It has brought me daughters who tell me they do something now because they watched me do it.
Unimaginable. Couldn’t have written that story alone. Impossible.
And the only difference between now and my bitter barfly days is Jesus.
It takes courage to stare down the stories we have told ourselves for years, to dismantle them and begin to write new ones. Mostly because without Jesus as the first and last word, we’re still trying to save ourselves.
And that’s just not the whole story.