Just a raw, messy story of my life and the love that rescued me. And if you're lost on a journey of your own, may you find rescue too.
It happens just after a month. I lean down to pick at the overgrown bush in the front yard of my childhood home, leaf in one hand, phone in the other. I straighten my back and I look out and it’s a beautiful day. A beautiful day for such serious news, but necessary news nonetheless.
I dial his number, leaf scrunched firm in my fist as if to pacify the blow. My mind was made up about him. The desire wasn’t there, and I tried to make my heart work but it wouldn’t.
I tell him that this ministry thing just isn’t for me. And the possibility of foreign missions, well…that’s not what I want to do with my life. So, this isn’t going to work.
Silence fell, clenching close to my tattered leaf I waited for his response. His confusion met my ears, Krissy, are you sure? Closing my eyes, I hated this question. I wasn’t just sure, I was positive. If this is the path you’ve chosen then yes, I am sure, I replied. This is not the direction I’m headed. I’m sorry.
I didn’t like that weight on me. You know, the weight of responsibility. Leading people, or sheep as Jesus calls them, because sheep bite and I really don’t want that weight. I really don’t want the fish bowl and I really do not want this future.
And who am I to lead His sheep anyway? It’s almost comical, really. A girl like me, dragging behind the load of a shameful past, the stench of old cigarettes intact, the smell still nestled in the fabric of my car. Two arrests for alcohol consumption and the recollection of that jail cell floor, cold on my back, knees pulled tight against my musty orange jumpsuit. The drugs and the boys, and now I’m just damaged goods. And I sweat to scrub my sins away, but no amount of soap can wash me clean. No amount of right-doing can negate my wrong.
With a courteous goodbye, we parted ways, and as I hung up the phone, I breathed a sigh of relief. I felt as if I could live again. There are some things you just know, and this I knew. He and I were worlds apart. And I was glad to be done with it. Because why prolong the inevitable when you're certain the future is sure to dismantle?
Days would pass and I would see him in our usual place, sitting in our usual pew. I’d look over and our eyes would meet and I, afraid of what I'd find in them, afraid he'd despise the sight of me just like all the boys before him. But rather, he'd smile genuine like the way he always did when we still sat close, hands interlocked, feet entwined together. He smiled in the face of my rejection, he smiled though I had lost interest in him.
Information leaked and soon everyone began to learn of our split. Friends and family grew frustrated with my decision and they let me know it. I’d heard I was a fool, how I’d never marry and how there would never be another like him.
And like the people pleaser that I am, it was enough to drive me to my knees. So I prayed into the night, atop the thick, hunter green carpet covering the floor of my bedroom and I asked God to change my heart. I asked Him to open my eyes, to make me see.
A simple prayer prayed once, but once was all it would take. 2 weeks later is all it would take for me to finally see him. Wiping the metaphorical mud from my eyes, with haste they became open. I'd see him for the man he was, who he had been all along.
What once seemed right was now wrong. I had been wrong.
I saw this boy. The one who visited the sick and gave his money to the poor, this gentleman who opened car doors and hugged little old ladies. This boy who was intent on living simply, studying scripture and changing the world, one smile at a time, one hug and small act of kindness at a time.
And suddenly, I understood what I needed in a man. A man who would not be moved by the damaging past of a girl who didn't know love. A man who embracing it all, would lead the way in truth, knee-deep within the muck and mire despite my utter mess. Someone I knew I could trust with my greatest shame and humiliation and he'd adore me anyway. A man who'd be faithful to the end. A man who would teach our kids about the only things that really matter in this world.
This boy saw me. Me, an unlikely candidate, chosen by a man, a young and promised pastor, who carried with him the love of the Father. I carry with me my past. Clinging to my brokenness, heaving from the chains, I run from his love. But he pursues. The love of the Father always pursues and the love of the Father is in him. It is his mission to love, gently restoring my shame, seeing me as a prize, worthy to behold, proud to call me his.
Who is this King and His upside-down Kingdom? I will never understand why He chose a girl like me. But I do not have to. His ways are not my ways. Do you see it? I am Moses, insecure, standing before the burning bush…resistant…pushing down this new identity that He so freely gives. But He does not rule and reign as we do. No. He calls the bottom-dwellers and crowns them kingdom-dwellers. He calls the broken blessed and the weak strong. He gathers up the disillusioned pieces of our lives because, I will use this, He promises. And it will not go to waste.
I am not fit for a King but the King chose me. Grant chose me. And now I am in a place to lead the Father's sheep. Not because I can do anything for Him, but because He longs to do things through me.
We would marry a year later and there I would give birth to my new life and this new culture I knew nothing of. My journey would begin. But brokenness doesn't stop at salvation. And the past I clung to tightly, He would want.