Tuesday, August 7, 2012

counting my blessings in the middle of the night

The post I've been writing for the last day or so seems to fit with Emily's synchroblog on what it means to be blessed.

At one-thirty in the morning Sunday, or rather it was Monday, I tired of crying. The evening had been spent shedding tears about the present and the past. The conversations had taken me down memory lane, recalling events of my adolescence and early adulthood, some that only one or two people know about and probably ever will. I pushed my head off of the pillow, and said to my husband, "How did I get through my teenage years without an eating disorder or becoming promiscuous?" For a moment there was silence, and then I answered my own question, "Only by the grace of God."

During my teenage years I saw one parent attempt to fool everyone with church attendance. I saw the other parent reject the church completely. I remember at some point, probably around age thirteen, looking up at my ceiling which displayed a Keanu Reeves poster. I remember telling God I hated Him. Or Her. I remember thinking the whole church thing was a joke because the Church didn't seem to care who still entered its doors on Sunday morning. Accountability was not important when a mega church was being built. Just numbers. And I flat out refused to go every third Sunday, when someone felt like being a spiritual leader for ninety minutes.

Another hour passed in the wee hours between night and morning. I shifted my thoughts to the graces of God. What shaped me. What saved me. What blessed me.

I remember asking a pastor's kid in my high school English class if I could go to youth group with her. I don't know what possessed me to do it, since I wasn't a very outgoing person. I went by myself on Monday nights. Often her mom or dad would give me a ride home. I don't know if I ever thanked them for pouring into me like they did, loving a girl who had nothing to offer. I kept going to that church, by myself on Sunday mornings. Other teens were forced to go, but I chose to be there. I needed this Jesus. I couldn't get enough of Him.

I remember spending a lot of time at my best friend's house. I remember their small house near the library better than their other homes. I was shaped by the dinners at their house where her dad made Swedish pancakes and the Friday nights smooshed in their living room before going out to cruise the avenue with our friends.

I remember Mimi and Papa slipping me some money to be able to go grab ice cream with my friends. I remember a very specific evening one summer, after a phone call where I was completely ignored. I remember sitting in their bathroom, not to use the facilities, but to cry. Both of them came in. They laid their hands on me and prayed over me. It was not requested, nor did such impromptu prayer happen again. Though I don't remember the exact words, I will never forget that moment.

I remember eating tacos on Sunday nights with Neersy for years. I remember, "Love ya, Man!" and the hug every time we were dropped off. I remember helping grade math papers, and being allowed to come volunteer to work with his fifth graders whenever I wanted.

I remember altar times in college, and a professor who met me for coffee. I remember her saying "That sucks," about something that was going on in my life, and I couldn't believe a pastor could say "sucks." It made me like her even more because she understood. It did suck.

I remember my roommate and floormates hearing me on the phone, crying and begging for the tuition money that the courts had decreed I was owed. They let me vent, and they made me laugh, even on my nineteenth birthday.

I remember a college friend's mom came for a visit one weekend, and she prayed over me. I remember a speaker on the stage of chapel who spoke in front of me my exact situation even though he had never met me.

I remember living in Arizona, alone and away from everyone. I remember dating someone who was absolutely wrong for me, and I remember spending a weekend with long-time family friends, the ones who have actually known me from the day I was born. I remember being at their house that October with a broken heart, and just being with them reminded me of Truth and Love.

I remember wanting a do-over, wanting to leave when things got tough in marriage. But I remembered vows and promises and commitments and my precious little ones. And I remember eventually thinking, "Well I'm glad we stuck it out. We're going to make it."

The statistics say I should have been a drop-out or a slut or a druggie. The lack of control I had of the events occurring in my life made me a prime target for anorexia or cutting or alcoholism. But somehow I graduated from college with honors. And my virginity. Somehow I have made it to thirty-one without ever smoking or getting drunk or high. Somehow I know how to love my husband, not perfectly, but decidedly. Somehow I know how to love my kids with my entire heart. Somehow I cling to the One Who saves me, everyday, from the sadness and statistics, and Who holds on to me through storms or celebrations.

I don't understand these blessings, these divine appointments in every high and low in my life. I only know that He is good and He is faithful. And His grace continues to shape me and save me and bless me, even this week, when I struggle to make sense of it all.


  1. oh girl. this post so clearly tracks the hand of God on your life, showing how very present he was with you from day one. this, the greatest blessing of all. what a beautiful tribute to our father. thank you.

  2. Amanda, this is beautiful. Just beautiful. I could have been and have been many of those things but redeemed in the end by His grace. Beautiful, girl! Praise Him for saving us from sadness and statistics. I always say the things I didn't fall into (sins)were the ones that would have ensnared me beyond. Yes, he kept me. ANd you. Visiting from Emily's!


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with me.