I realized when I got up this morning that I have never shared on this blog what this day is and why it is important to me and my family. So, today, you are going to read a story, a story full of pain, but a story that ends with God’s redemption of my life.
Five years ago today, we had only been in our new town for a few weeks. We knew next to no one, and we were making adjustments to being in a new town. I never dreamed the day would end with one of the most devastating events I had ever experienced in my life. The day started with what I thought was normal woman’s monthly pain. Nothing unusual there. My sons and I got started on our school day, and everything proceeded as it usually did. By the middle of the day, however, my pain got worse, much worse, and I was in the bed. My husband, who was working from home that day, looked up my symptoms on the Internet, and we both determined that I was, more than likely, experiencing a miscarriage. A miscarriage? I hadn’t even known I was pregnant. We decided to wait it out, and a short while later, it was confirmed. I had a miscarriage. We were devastated; I was devastated. It had been so long since our younger son’s birth that I thought it was no longer possible. But, I lost a baby on that day, and it hurt more than I could possibly imagine.
The following days and weeks brought physical recovery, but the mental recovery took longer, much longer. It was a dark and black time. God was not present in my life back then as He is now, and I felt like I was alone. Oh, my husband and sons tried to help, and they were a great help with all the physical tasks that needed to be done, but I had to wade through the devastation and pain and loss on my own. I will always be grateful to my husband’s boss who allowed him to work from home in the first few days afterwards and to the one homeschool mom I had met who took my kids out so I could rest and recover. They both showed the love of Jesus to me in those weeks following my miscarriage.
I didn’t know it then, but I know now that God was preparing my heart for what would happen the next year. In January of that following year, my older son decided he wanted to play baseball. He was homeschooling and in high school so we weren’t sure if there was any place for him to play. But, we found a recreational league for his age and signed him up. It was one of the things that proved to be my salvation. I still felt dark, quiet, and depressed, but as he practiced and the months moved into February and March, I went out with the rest of the family to his practices and games. Being outside helped and seeing different parts of our new city helped too. I tell people now that we learned our way around our new city by going to the baseball fields.
It ended up not being that great of a season for the team. If I’m remembering correctly, we only won one game. But, my son learned lessons he has carried with him, we made friends, and we started to believe that this new city might possibly be the home that we wanted and needed.
A couple of weeks later, I was out with my older son, and he asked a question that would change all of our lives. I don’t know where the question came from because it had been a long time since we had been involved in any organized church. It might very well have come from God. He asked, “Mom, can we find a church please? I think it would help me to feel more at home here.” I was surprised and told him I would look into it. I called my homeschool mom friend and she told me, “You need to bring him to Crossbridge. Mackenzie says it’s the most welcoming youth group she’s ever known.” Her daughter was my son’s age so I paid attention. Teenagers don’t generally make those kind of statements unless they’re true.
The following week, he and I made our first visit to this church. I immediately noticed things were different. We were warmly welcomed, and no pressure was put on us at all. This was unlike the churches we had most recently been to in the early 2000s. I was intrigued, and we came back, me and him on Sunday mornings, and me taking him on Wednesday evenings for youth group. I would go to the bookstore to write on those days, and putting words on paper lifted my spirits. Meeting new people did too. I remember many conversations in the hallway that first summer because the youth group was never finished when I came back to get him. My spirit started to feel lighter, and I started poking my head around the door of my heart where Jesus had been knocking the whole time.
My husband and other son noticed and were curious about this place. I told them they needed to come, and two months after the first time we started going, they came with us. It changed our lives. When my husband and I had left organized church all those years before, we had told each other we would keep our faith, and I don’t think we ever lost it. What we had lost and what I don’t think we had ever truly known together was the sense of true community in the Christian church. Crossbridge had it. I don’t know why or how, but God had steered us to a place that represented true community in His Kingdom. It was a miracle, in and of itself, and sometimes, we still struggle to believe that people will walk with us because of what happened to us in those previous churches.
We have not avoided pain in the five years since the event that changed our lives. In fact, we are going through one of those painful times now. But, the difference is that God is present in our hearts and in our home, and I know He will never leave us.
I am so thankful that God redeemed my life through the pain and the darkness. He can redeem your life too; all you need to do is ask Jesus to come into your heart.
God’s blessings on all of you today!