A Tale Of Two Faces or How God Changed Everything

I’m not sure how to begin telling this story. How do you summarize 18 months of change and the miraculous in your life? No idea but consider this my best effort.

Let me begin by describing each picture. The first one was taken in late August of 2022. I was watching the movers put all my belongings onto a truck. You may consider it an odd time to grab a selfie, but I knew it was important to capture that moment. Not because it was a wonderful, joyful moment. Quite the contrary. It was, arguably, one of the worst days of my life.

I had lived in that apartment for 13 years. And now I didn’t have a home, in more ways than one. My parents had both passed. We were selling the family house. And I wasn’t sure where I was going or what to do next.

Have you ever felt so completely adrift with no clue where to start?

That was me. I couldn’t stay in my place, but I had no idea where to go next. My original plan was to move south where I have family. But I wasn’t ready to go all that way just yet. Thankfully, I had loving family locally who put me up (and put up with me) for a few months as I began my home search.

After trying, unsuccessfully, to find a place down south, I moved out of my family’s home and into a friend’s. I can’t tell you how humbling that whole season was. I had lived on my own for about 25 years. Now I was relying on the kindness of loved ones for a roof over my head.

There were days when my greatest achievement was taking a shower and making my bed.

Have you ever been there? Where simply having energy to do the most basic, fundamental functions is monumental? I enjoyed walking and running, so I forced myself to keep that routine in place. Yet every time I was in my car driving to my favorite park, I would cry. Now, I’m not talking a sniffle or shedding a tear or two. It would wash over me like a tidal wave. Gratefully, I wasn’t sobbing to the point where I couldn’t see, but sometimes it was close.

I was holding onto my faith by a thin, thin thread.

I knew God wasn’t punishing me or anything, but I couldn’t help but wonder why He was allowing me to be in this position. Again, I had been self-sufficient for decades. I wasn’t used to relying on other people. I wasn’t used to living with other people. And I wasn’t used to not having my own things around me.

With every move, I would take smaller versions of my personal belongings. And I began to feel as if I would never be whole again. Perhaps this smaller version of me was all that was left.

I was studying this picture recently. It brought me back to that time, but not in a bad way. I wasn’t overwhelmed or depressed by it. In fact, it was almost as if I was looking at somebody else. The woman in that picture was angry, hurt, grieving, lost, confused.

After several months, I realized it wasn’t time for me to move south. I also realized I couldn’t afford to live where I was any longer. My friend who I was staying with was so gracious, but I certainly didn’t want to overstay my welcome. I needed a plan.

But I had no plan. And, quite frankly, I didn’t want to go with my own plan anymore. I wanted the Lord’s plan for me. This change in my mindset hadn’t come quickly or easily. I had planned to move south. I believed it was the plan. Then I started looking for apartments, or rather I engaged a realtor there to help me. And nothing happened. I’d be interested and put my name in, and…nothing.

Rejections came fast and frequently. I had never had this experience finding a home. In the past, it was rather effortless for me to find a place to live. As a Christian, I don’t believe it was luck or happy coincidences. I have always believed it was the favor of God.

So, was I no longer blessed? Had I used up all my favor?

I know now how silly that sounds. God’s love, grace, and mercy is infinite. He often blesses us in spite of what we do or don’t do. It’s never about us. We can’t earn His love.

As I prayed and thought more about it, I realized perhaps my plan just wasn’t aligned with what He wanted. Maybe I was supposed to be somewhere completely different. Speaking with a dear friend, my sneaking suspicion was confirmed. Without me telling her what I’d been thinking, she asked me if I was sure I was supposed to move down south. At the time I answered, “Yes. Of course.” But I wasn’t 100% certain any longer.

I tried to dismiss that conversation, but it wouldn’t leave my brain. She’s a prayerful woman of God, so when she doubted my plan, I had to take that into consideration.

I visited another dear friend who had moved out of my state some time ago. We had a wonderful visit. She lives in the country, lots of trees and rolling hills. It’s a 15-minute drive to the heart of town, and it’s surrounded by a beautiful lake.

It was here that my journey took an unexpected turn. She graciously offered me the studio apartment on her property. I had stayed there several times over the years when I would visit. It was furnished and cozy. It was a chance to have my own place again. My furniture and bulk of belongings would remain in storage, but it would be my little spot.

I accepted. Once again, I loaded up my car with my traveling circus of stuff and headed to my new place. I was very grateful for the upgrade. Little pieces of myself started coming back slowly. It was an interesting time, because I was independent again, but not truly settled.

There were growing pains adjusting to my country mouse life. I struggled with periodic bouts of loneliness and boredom. I see now it had less to do with where I was and more about how I was.

I had spent so much time moving around that when I finally stopped and stood still, I sort of fell apart.

This was the strangest thing of all. Here I was in a peaceful, new place. Why was I sometimes feeling almost as terrible as when I first moved out of my home? The Lord had blessed me. Why wasn’t I happier?

I see now it was because there was so much I hadn’t processed from the past several years. Now that I was in a safe, secure place, all that I had repressed or pushed aside was coming to the surface.

I wondered why the Lord would bring me somewhere beautiful to let me feel awful.

I see now it was necessary for me to deal with a lot of pain before I could move forward with purpose. God wasn’t trying to hurt me. He was helping me heal. He knew I couldn’t hold on to past hurts or keep reliving painful experiences. He needed to, like a surgeon, go in and cut out the cancer in my spirit. It may sound hyperbolic, but I know it’s true. I couldn’t avoid the past. I needed to get past the past, if you will.

We can move on while we’re healing, but it’s extremely hard to move on without healing.

Don’t get me wrong, there were still tear-stained pillow nights. There were still days spent lying in bed because I just couldn’t get myself out of it. But, over time, there were less. It was a process. There were good days and bad days. And sometimes there were worse days. As I began to lean closer to Him, spending more time in prayer, reading the Bible, and worshipping, the tide began to turn. More of His presence helped me forgive and unburden myself of the heavy load He never asked me to carry.

This brings me to the second picture. It was taken recently after I had just settled into my new, three-bedroom apartment! I will never forget the day the movers brought my furniture and belongings into my new home. I flashed back to the day when everything was taken away. But now here I was standing in awe at the miracle of God’s ability to turn it all around in my favor. I have felt such joy and peace as my friend and I decorate the space. I’m playing a lot more praise and worship music, singing and dancing like I haven’t in far too long.

For a while I had been glad my stuff wasn’t near me. The memories were too painful. Now, I’m excited to see the end tables that were my aunt’s, or the dining room set that was my parents’. The memories are now sweet without a trace of bitter.

The best part is that God orchestrated the whole thing!

I had been in the studio for about a year when this opportunity presented itself. Once again, I didn’t have to strive or seek it out. It was effortless. The Lord simply blessed me with it. So, what else can I do but dedicate it back to Him and pledge to use it for His glory. It’s an upstairs apartment I’ve lovingly nicknamed “The Upper Room.”

As I look at the second picture, I recognize her. She’s the me I’ve become. She’s content in a way like never before. See, she always believed and trusted in the Lord. But the last 18 months stretched that faith and took trusting to a whole other level. I couldn’t fix it myself. Believe me, I tried. Yet when I surrendered to Him, that’s when things began to change.

I’m sharing my story to give you hope. God is not a respecter of persons. What He’s done for me He can do for you. I didn’t make it happen. I’m no better than anyone. He’s just greater than everyone.

I won’t be so prideful to say I’ll never struggle again. That’s hubris and foolishness. What I know is He. Is. Faithful.

If you’re in a low place, feeling lost or confused, I understand. I mean it. I know what’s it like to just want to give up. I know what it’s like to want to numb yourself. I know what it’s like to shut down. I know what it’s like to feel angry, frustrated, discouraged. I know what it’s like to feel like it’s unfair and you don’t deserve what’s happening to you.

I get it.

More importantly, God understands.

So, let my story encourage you. For a time, in the natural it seemed like I lost everything, including my smile. But. God. It didn’t happen for me overnight. It took time, starting, stopping, standing, falling, crawling.

But it did happen.

Restoration is possible.

Healing is possible.

Peace is possible.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

Believe in God and in His Only Son Jesus today. That’s the first step.

Until next time, stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know.

Look forward to hearing from you.



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