Saturday afternoon I took my shaking legs, sweaty palms, and pounding heart to the front of the room. I set up my laptop and projector. I placed my notes next to the computer and then put my water bottle and packet of kleenex on the chair behind me. A drink for a throat that could get dry while talking, a tissue for the tears that might fall while sharing. There I was, as prepared as I would ever be. There was nothing left to do but start.
The room got quiet and faces were looking at me expectantly. I was scared so I told them. With a bit of nervous laughter I jumped into my story. As the words came one after the other I got a little more comfortable. Until I got to that part of the story. I had to pause. I had to tell myself to breathe. And then out loud I had to say the words… the words I had heard so many years ago, “the doctor told me my baby had died.” They barely squeaked out through my constricted throat and the tears flooding down my face.
So many years later and I still can’t remember that moment without waves of hurt overwhelming my heart. It’s painful, so very painful, to remember that moment. But to remember it in front a room full of women who are looking to me for some guidance and encouragement? Excruciating. I stood there for a moment unable to go on. Just breathing in and out… in and out. With strength that wasn’t my own I plunged forward and continued to tell my story. How God took me through months of grief. How I almost lost my hope and my faith with our second little one leaving us. How the Lord used sorrow and suffering to restore to me the joy of my salvation. How I found redemption through two metal gates on a red brick floor.
I told them everything and when it came time for the moment of restoration to show up on the screen I couldn’t stop the tears from once again flowing. I clicked the next slide and once again squeaked, “that’s my boy… that’s the moment we met and I know… I KNOW the angels rejoiced that day.” Tears fell… but these didn’t come with hurt. These tears came with relief. I know how my story goes. I know how much pain it holds — but I know the joy that came in the morning. Click. Next slide. Her and me. Heaven cheering.
To be able to share the unimaginable work of God in my life to a room of women who might still be hurting? An honor. A gift. A blessing. I don’t know what they heard, but I know what I felt. I don’t know what they saw when they watched me journey through the full range of emotions throughout my story, but I know that even now God is working on my heart and healing pieces that still need healing.
So to you who sat in those seats on Saturday — thank you. Thank you for listening. Thank you for crying with me. Thank you for hearing my story. I hope it encouraged you I truly do. But most of all — I hope you saw the goodness of God. For he is so very good.
I had a moment a few hours later. Sitting alone at my gate just waiting to board my plane I tried to process all that had happened in the previous two days. Then I realized. God had done what I asked of him. Back when it hurt so fresh and didn’t make sense. Back when I couldn’t see even the tiniest hint of dawn. Back then I asked him to use it. I just didn’t know that would mean flying to another state, letting down my guard, opening up my heart, and sharing the journey while standing in front of you.
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