Awakening to love

Long ago, something happened to me that I haven't talked about much since. I suffered child sexual abuse, like 3 out of every 5 American women, and 2 of every 5 men. Ill equipped at seven to understand the depth of the injury to my heart, I was a quick forgiver and a stuffer. I just took a stick and rammed all that ugliness, fear, pain, confusion, and desolation deep down, hiding it down in the dark depths of my soul. 

For a long time, no one broke through that shell. Again in college, someone took the knife of their own evil and pierced me through again. I was kidnapped and raped and - perhaps worse - participated in the prosecution of these men, undergoing a grueling 19 hour interrogation on the stand, forced to repeat details of the events in front of my parents and strangers. I was broken by this experience. Crushed.

I read Ruth. During long night shifts as an ICU nurse, the wheezing of the ventilator filling the room, a small lamp next to my computer lighting the pages of the Bible I enigmatically decided to carry with me every night. I spent as much of my free time on those long, dark nights in hospital isolation rooms poring over God's word and trying to understand how it fit with my life.

Ruth lays at the feet of Boaz, and begs him to be her kinsman-redeemer. I lay at God's feet, and begged the same. He sent me a mountain man in a time when I was totally unready to receive love from a man. He sent me friends (even my mama - my very best friend!) to push me, urge me, to the feet of my Boaz. 

Years later, married, four kids dancing chaos around our feet, I am still learning to take that risk, to lay down at his feet and tell him what it is I need and desire. And my Redeemer is still sending me little love notes, in the heart that swirls through the cream in my cup of tea, in the crumble of coffee cake representing an hour of sacrifice to love on my kids at 8 a.m., in the tulips from my parents brought on a dark day. The crocuses growing by inches every morning in four little pots on my counter, my birthday gift from my children planted with the hands of the aunt who loves, loves, loves me, the uncle watching over, loving me, too. Then on a Sunday night the perfect sermon for a difficult day, giving Aaron and I permission to be in this time of healing and also exhorting us don't abandon your gifts. Share your gifts. (I Corinthians 12)

Spring is coming.

I feel it in my bones, on this blizzardy March day.

Excerpts from my gratitude journal, #190-200:
191. Al's Breakfast
192. Choice. Personal choice.
193. Crying in my husband's arms.
194. Being misunderstood - but having a Father who knows every secret & the intentions of my heart
195. Amelia's wild hair in the morning
197. Little boys and train love
198. Standing in a clearing where my baby is buried.
200. A Mama. A Papa. A best old friend. My "other Mama".