Three years ago, I started a space called Life Beyond the Picket Fence. I was in my second year of grad school studying Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I had stepped out of the teaching profession, of which I loved, because I needed a change. I needed space to breathe, to be more available for my family, and to have options for work that didn’t require me to grade 180 papers for each assignment. The last year I taught I had 180 students. Twenty five were special education students needing modified assignments, and five of them had emotional disabilities. After working with teenagers all day, I came home to a teenager who needed a mom who was mentally and emotionally available. But I was not that mom.
While I only share my full-testimony in speaking engagements or in person, I’m sharing the thumbnail version of it today at Unchained Faith. If any part of this testimony encourages you, then I’m thankful to share it. It’s not easy sharing the ugliest parts of your soul. If you would like to learn more about hearing my full ugly-mom-story of Hope Beyond the Picket Fence for your church, women’s or mothers event, it would be an honor for me to share it with you. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
But if you need hope that God changes the messy things in our lives if we give up the rights we cling to, then just read Hope Beyond the Picket Fence . If it encourages you, I’d love to hear from you. No matter how much I’ve blogged in three years, it never makes sharing your “stuff” easy. But I’ve seen tears in mother’s eyes who have felt so relieved when they know they are not alone in their struggle. I’ve seen relief on a client’s face when I’ve told them their identity is not based on choices their child makes. I’ve heard sobbing as I’ve reassured someone they are not the only one who struggles with anger. And I’ve seen joy and lives transformed when I share our story, because I – we – are transformed by Christ.
That is my message here. No matter what your struggle, no matter how ugly, dirty, or messed up it is, there is hope. His name is Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, and He grows good things from dirt and manure. Life isn’t perfect. Somewhere in the Christian journey, the unwritten rules say if your image isn’t perfect, then something’s wrong with you. You’re. Doing. Something. Wrong.
A friend told me recently being vulnerable is a gift to those you share with. If that is true, then my story at Unchained Faith is my gift to you.
A gift of Hope, and a gift of praise for His Honor and Glory.