So today on this little blog of mine, I’m going to share with you a story that has framed my life. One that’s told often, but has been missing details for the past twenty years of my life. Isn’t it always true that there is always more to the story.
This story starts before I even came into existence, or even thought of by good ole Tom & Patti (my parents, also the stunning 90s couple you see in the picture). Everyone loves a good story about how a couple got together. Exhibit A: the hit show How I Met Your Mother. But, this one is a little less glamorous, more human, and a lot messy.
My parents met at Harvey Lumber Company in Columbus. But before they met, they both already had their own set of baggage and wounds that could fill up a book. They had pretty rough lives before they became man and wife. Lives that were still stained with regret, hurt, abuse, and loss. But to cope, they both ran far from God who seemed to be the one that caused all of this.
So this good looking couple met, dated, and got married, while still carrying the weight of years of hurt and running from God. They started a family, and that’s where I come in. Four kids later, they were living in a trailer in Cusseta, GA with an unhealthy marriage. They were two hurt people, without God, that ended up hurting each other. I was about two when they divorced, so naturally I don’t remember the days before the papers were signed, but all I know is that they were bad.
So by the age of almost two, my parents were divorced. My oldest sister and I moved in with my mom in Columbus, while my other sister and brother stayed with my dad. We all still got to see each other, just now it was scheduled out and not everyday like normal. I remember living on this schedule for a while.
After starting the routine of bouncing between parent to parent is where my memory gets hazy, and I just know what was told to me.
Not long after the divorce, my dad felt the urgent need to turn his life around and started going to church. And not long after that, he gave up running away from God and started running towards Him. As he carried me down the aisle with him when he gave his life to Jesus, everything began to change for me and our family.
My dad began taking us to church as the divorced years went on. As we began to love it and became heavily involved, my dad asked my mom to start picking us up from church. She did, and God met her there. She started picking us up, and shortly after she started attending herself. She gave her life to Jesus, and our divorced little family found some form of home and consistency at church. As my mom stayed in church, she began to hear more from the Lord. One night, He told her to get back together with my dad. And so after being divorced for four years, they got remarried to each other.
Now here is where the blurry house in the background comes into play.
I always thought my dad built our house when they decided to get back together, because I remember my mom spending the night in our rooms the week before they got remarried. But for all of these years, I thought wrong. A couple of weeks ago, my mom corrected me and told me that he built it before. That she had visited the house at a party he had after it was finished, and they were no where near getting back together.
So on the night of my 21st birthday, I asked my dad why he built our house.
And his answer changed the way I looked at him, and how I now look at God.
He said, “I knew she hated the trailer and always wanted a house. I was giving my life for my kids and never stopped loving her, even though I had lost hope that someday it would workout again.”
So if you’re still with me by now, I told this long story to land here.
If you haven’t heard the song “Reckless Love” by Cory Asbury, you should go listen now or right after. This song declares, “When I was your foe, still your love fought for me.” The blurry house in the picture was how the Lord and my dad fought for us. My dad built this house for us before the option of remarrying my mom was on the table. Each brick in the background was my dad fighting for my mom and us. Each brick was God fighting for my family to be restored and my heart to be His.
That’s the promise of the Gospel. The Good News that Jesus fights for us. He leaves the ninety-nine to run after the one, because He loves us. He so recklessly loves us that He will build a house for a little girl, like me, to have a loving home that would one day show her who Jesus is. Whatever obstacle you have in your life, He will recklessly knock it down. And when I say reckless, I mean there will be a mess and it may not look pretty for a while. But it will be cleaned up in the midst of the mess.
My parents’ story was one big mess! And it wasn’t perfect after they got remarried either. There was still a mess. But it’s in that mess that His love meets us there and makes room for a miracle.
Remember that the next time you’re sitting in your mess feeling alone and unseen. Remember that the next time you’re wanting a love story like The Notebook. Remember that His reckless love always comes through at the right moment, and maybe even in the messy moments. Trust me, He’s really good at taking what looks dead and breathing new life into it again, just like my parents’ marriage and my life after meeting Him.
(Also, shoutout to Tom for being the real life Noah from The Notebook before the movie was thought of!! He built my mom and us a house!!! Nicholas Sparks, you’re welcome)