In June of 2018, our oldest son and our entire family fell hard and fast into deep pain, fear, and sadness. A beautiful young life was lost, and so many lives changed forever. If I could create a picture, I was Humpty Dumpty scattered into millions of fragments. I wanted my old life, my old self back. I wanted this for my entire family, especially for our oldest son. How could I go on with this brokenness and why couldn’t God hear me crying out to him to fix this situation for him and my family?
Every morning I walk around my town’s perimeter. I’ve walked this path for so many years rarely missing a day. On September 18th, 2018 it was a beautiful sunrise, early fall temps and my music was playing in my ears. However, I couldn’t see or feel any of this. I was lost in my thoughts about how I wanted my old life back. Why was God putting this in my path? What had we done so wrong that my family must suffer so? As I walked along the far side of town, I happened to look over, and I saw something I hadn’t seen before. A cross, tucked back behind the Cowboy Church, nestled into some evergreen trees. I was drawn over to the cross and as I came straight on to the cross, I saw the most spectacular sunrise and painted sky. In that moment, I truly felt Jesus Christ was there telling me, I am with you, I have never left you. I heard Jeremiah 29:11 in my head “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” and I cried. Not the tears of despair I had cried so many other times but the tears of relief that I finally understood that Jesus was my restoration and the light out of this darkness. That life would be restored, was being restored, and that I needed to let go of my version of restoration and let my life be led by Christ because it would be better than it was before. I began to pray differently. His will, His way, His timing, not mine became part of my daily walk and talk at the cross.
So unlike Humpty Dumpty, I started to come back together that day piece by piece. Slowly but surely but in a new way. Letting Christ lead me down a new path as he did in September 2018 helping me to pick up pieces of myself along the journey. One of the ways in which I have been restored is through attending the Saturate Group and connecting with members of a newly formed small group my husband and I attend on Sunday evenings. I’ve been able to tell my story, as authentic as I have ever been, sharing that l still have cracks and wounds as we all do, and I have support in putting the pieces back together. Through our small group’s acceptance, prayer and sharing of their own personal stories of faith, I recently acknowledge for the first time in a social media forum that I have a child in prison. It was on the second anniversary of his incarceration, and it was important for me to share how much he is loved and missed by his family and what great hopes we have for his return home. It has also given me the strength to connect with others who are navigating the challenges of incarceration and reentry by sharing how Jesus has impacted this journey for me and my family. I have also felt called to reach out to a non-profit organization focused on helping inmates reenter society after incarceration called Inside Out Reentry of Johnson County.
I’ve always loved the saying “we are all broken, that’s how the light gets in.” I think in my case the light of God gets in and part of my personal restoration is to make sure that the light also shines out to others from those cracks and holes that make me real. That is what small group does for me as well as my daily trip and stop at this cross where I know Jesus is always waiting to restore me.
Part of the Cedar Hills Community Church Family