I haven’t written many personal posts here on the blog lately, but perhaps it’s because we are in a new season. That’s just fine with me, honestly. God tore up quite a bit in 2015, tilling away at our hearts and lives, especially mine. I think it’s taken this year to really process the loss and heartache and joy that mingled together the last 5 years. That’s not to say we haven’t had days of joy, even lengthy months when we were truly in an easier season. If you looked at my Instagram feed, you’d assume we had a pretty smooth five and a half years, and though our marriage has been strong, the loss of my nursing career, followed by numerous health problems took it’s toll on me personally. Drew and I had to fight health problems since we got married and three months after, I was rushed into emergency eye surgery after going blind while at work. My pregnancy with Emmersyn was a nightmare, then Ensley followed with an even more difficult labor and delivery. I alway say I’d give my life for my girls, but in reality, I almost did. Then a miscarriage of our third baby, followed by an even harder six months of health problems. I’m not sure anyone even realized how hard those years were, even me. Only this year, free from surgery and health problems, have I realized how difficult in comparison those times were. This year has been a year of redemption, physical healing, and renewed joy.
It’s been two years since I last took my NCLEX exam, and the sting of hurt is faded. I never thought I’d say that; at the time, it was the most painful, haunting loss I’d ever faced. I still don’t understand that bit of my story, and am not sure that I ever will. I also have realized it’s okay if I don’t ever understand why God both opened, closed, and orchestrated that event. There aren’t easy answers, and I have learned that God is big enough for the hard questions. God has been shaking up my whole heart and life the past few years, challenging all I ever thought I knew, and showing me that it’s okay if faith doesn’t look like what you always thought it would. Part of that has happened through my work with Love Stripped, a local organization that works with women who work in the sex industry. I’ve always felt pulled to women who have been through abuse/trafficking (let me be clear, not every woman in the sex industry has been through trauma or abuse, so it is not to be aligned DIRECTLY with trafficking, even though some of the women have been abused). I always thought that God would use my nursing degree to accomplish this, but turns out, He can use me in other ways I never imagined. I had my first outreach this last month, where our team heads into the strip club and simply reaches out to the women there. It wrecked me, and I mean that in the best way possible. Meeting, talking with, and being among women who are just like me…it turns upside down every bit of “church walls” you can imagine. If I believe Jesus is in the walls of my church, then I must believe that He is also in the walls of the strip club, nudging the hearts of the women. I know that probably sounds a bit sacrilegious, and as someone who has grown up in the church, it sounds a bit odd, even to my own ears. But, I will tell you if you were there, in a building there the air truly feels thick with evil, you’d see the light flooding in. I met women, priceless women, some barely out of their teens, some moms, some older. Each with a hollow sadness in their eyes. One had a daughter who wants to be a ballerina. My daughter also wants to be a ballerina. We are not that different after all, see. And when you start seeing “them” as “us” and “her” as “ME”, you can no longer put up the sterile walls of your home and your church. You can’t. You are wrecked. And your heart understands that there is SO MUCH MORE going on in the world than just you. And that is beautiful, because when your walls begin to crack, the light begins to flood in.