Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Scars I Intend To Keep: Where "When You Choose Life In the Dark It Glitters" Came From

I have scars all over my body
from falls and surgeries,
dumb decisions and accidents
but the scars I am most proud of
are the ones no one can see.

They used to be something I was ashamed of
like labels I lugged around.
"Depressed, anxious, disabled
Useless, Hopeless, Good for nothing,
Going Nowhere" And in the dark I heard the enemy scream
You were never meant to live."

And I had no idea
how to tell people what I felt
because I was scared that all of his screams
were true.

So like a warrior I went to battle
until I just couldn't fight anymore,
And I felt a different voice whisper
"I've been waiting here, to fight for you the whole time,"
But the screams were too loud
and I didn't listen.

Until I went to Mercy Ministries
Because the screams had gotten so loud
I could feel myself giving up.

And I cried in the dark and prayed
"Please, if You really do want me to live,
if You really do love me, come
Come, and meet with me.

And down He came
in all His glorious glitter.
With David Crowder's "How He Loves"
And parent sibling field trips to Build A Bear,
and the stinky paper mill smell of Monroe Louisiana,

He came and He held me
while I cried about the lost little girl
buried beneath all of the lies.
The little girl who dreamed of
He came and whispered with a grin,
"I SO want you to Choose Life."
So, slowly, hesitantly, like a little girl learning to walk for the first time I did,
I chose life.
And every day I choose life.

And in His heartbeat
I found out that
Life glitters,
in the arms of my daddy,
the truth in love of my mama,
the hugs of my brothers
and the calm of my sister.
He glitters in my sister-in-law's friendship
and my nieces joy to see me.

He glitters in my scars.
The labels that left their mark
have become His mark of redemption
"Chosen, Meant for Abundant Life
Made for something special, Held,
And most importantly
And nothing will ever separate me from Him.

He glitters in falls and crooked feet and torn shoes.
He glitters in tears and memories. He glitters because He gave me a choice.
And I chose life.
He brought more glitter than I ever dreamed possible.
But the awesome thing about glitter is that
it's better in the dark.
So my only prayer for these scars
is that they mirror His.
Because when you choose Life in the dark
He glitters
and it is everything you ever wanted
all because He lay down His life for mine,
and whispered "Choose Life."
And that day in the dark of Calvary
It glittered.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

12 Lessons I Have Learned From Ellie Kate: In Honor of Her First Birthday

My sweet second niece is 1 today. It has made me reflective all day long.  In honor of her precious life I wanted to write a blog that she can read when she is older, so she will know that she was loved and wanted from the very start-and her little life already changed mine.

1. "There is no fear in love because perfect love casts out fear." Little girl, I was so afraid that CP would mean that both of my nieces would struggle with the reality of what having a disabled aunt would look like. But, then you came along and the first time I held you I just knew that you would love no matter what - and all the sudden I wasn't afraid to give you my heart, because I knew that even though human love is flawed - Jesus would give both of us the grace to love unconditionally.

2. There is a right way and a wrong way to put on a diaper, and you were SO gracious to let me "practice" on you.

3. I am not the only "wobbly" walker in the Turner family. :)

4. Even the smallest things can be funny. You never cease to make me smile because you delight in the small things.

5. "Let no one look down on you because you are young." You may be tiny but sweet girl you already change lives just by being alive.

6. Every time you reach to me so trustingly for help I know that it doesn't matter what I "can't" do because we all have something to offer each other.

7. When you hold my hand and we wobble together I know that it really isn't about the destination, it's about the incredible people doing life with you. When we are both wobbly it's because sometimes keeping perfect balance is boring.

8. I call you EllieLight because when I prayed over you before you were born I felt like Jesus told me that you would be a light to all who knew you. I think words give life. The Bible talks of calling that which is not as though it were, and I have seen a light in you that proves this to be true. You are a light and always will be.

9.  You are one blessed little sister. When you fight with BerkleyLove (and you will) remember she loves you and no one has your back like siblings. Believe me, I am your daddy's little sister and we fought A LOT but I ALWAYS knew he loved me. And it's fun to be the little one sometimes. You get to let B get in trouble first sometimes.

10. Jesus has plans for you that you can't even imagine. I hope you dream big because His dreams are always bigger. You were a dream I didn't even know I had until I got to call you niece.

11. You make me so happy I chose life because I know that Jesus has a special plan for our relationship and choosing life means I get to watch you grow into the amazing Christ follower I know you will be.

12. B showed me that I wanted to a mama one day. You showed me that I am capable of being one. I am so blessed by the way that you are so patient when I don't always know what to do. You were my first solo bottle feeding experience, my first diaper change, my first "get out of the crib because mama is gone win," and my first solo "baby" sitting experience. You always smile at me and it's like Jesus is saying "This is a battle you can win Sarah." You are everything I never knew I always wanted.

You and B have all my loves. You are my special light.

I love you!

Aunt Sarah

Sunday, October 26, 2014

What Sarah Must Have Felt- The Laying Down of Isaac

"So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” Gen. 18:12

The older I get the more identify with my Biblical namesake. She had given up on ever being truly happy. The one thing she longed for, the one thing that in Biblical times would have deemed her a "blessed woman" had eluded her. And now, years after giving up hope Jesus began to promise her Isaac. 

At Mercy I felt that same cynical laughter rising up in me. After 19 years of feeling guilty about CP, and being convinced that I was meant to be depressed and anxious my whole life, hearing Jesus whisper His promises, it felt like He was making a joke at my expense. When I left, I was terrified that the promises He had given me would go up like smoke. 

After 9 more months of waiting she finally held that sweet, crying baby in her arms. She got to watch him grow up. And, like any mama, she probably made plans. He would be a leader like his daddy. That little laugh he had was just like hers. And he had a destiny, she just knew it. 

Fast-forward 4 years post-Mercy and this "Happy Isaac planning" phase is exactly where I have been.  I love my life. I love it to the point that I have literally cried happy tears, I didn't even know that was possible. I love that Berkley comes knocking on my door and asks me to play. I love that I can go to school confident that I am smart enough to be there. I love that I am proud of who I am, and have no fear in letting my big brother and daddy take care of me. I love that when my little brother tells me he loves me I have no problem believing it. I love that I have a community of women in my life. I love that my sister-in-law has taught me that being a wife and mom does not mean sacrificing your role in the kingdom. I love that Ellie Kate has been nothing but joy for me from the start, and the quiet fears I had when I first became an aunt are nearly silenced. I love being alive, when for so long I felt like I was just existing. 

Then God asked Abraham to lay Isaac down. Sarah was not naive, she had to have suspicions that God meant for Isaac to be the sacrifice, and she was not promised His release from that responsibility. She knew, and she let Abraham go, taking her heart with him. She may have begged God for a sacrifice to take his place, but she let him go, knowing that might not happen. Abraham and Isaac took a journey. The time between God asking Abraham and Sarah to lay Isaac down, and actually making it to the altar was not overnight. She had to keep a willing heart over a period of time. 

This year has been incredible, which is why when I felt Jesus begin to nudge me to lay some things down, I didn't know if I was strong enough. I feel Him calling me out of Abilene at some point in the near future. Here's the ironic part - that is all I have ever wanted, and now, I don't know if I am strong enough to leave this little slice of peace I have found. 

Here's the even more vulnerable part, I want a family of my own, and it is all my brother and sister-in law's fault, (and maybe a little bit God's...). A year ago I started to pray that God would make me want the things He wanted for me. He did. He took away my love of singleness and made me fall in love with my nieces, and the beautiful marriage my brother and his wife have. It frustrated me to no end. And now, I feel Jesus is asking me to lay that down as well. He was asking me the other day, "If you were single forever, what then?" And I thought, "Then it's just You and me, and the women I feel so called to minister to. I have this one place Lord. that I would love to minister in." "And, what if that is not what I have for you?" "Well then, God, I guess You'll have to change my heart all over again, and help me to let that dream go." 

Sarah didn't know the end of the story, she didn't know Jesus was going to provide the ram so she didn't have to lay down that which she felt promised. She had to have a heart that loved Jesus enough to give up her dreams for His. 

And that's where I am. I don't know the end of the story. But I know this, if it is just me and Jesus forever, I am going to be okay. And even though I am on the verge of tears thinking that now, now, that I finally love it here, Jesus is calling me away, I am strong enough to leave no matter what the timeline is. 

And more than anything else I'm thinking, Jesus has my heart. Every part of it. He has been so good to me throughout the entire journey and He knows where we are going. He knows the end of my story. 

Sarah lived a blessed life because she let Isaac go with Abraham. 

And I let my Isaac go with Jesus. Jesus is walking away with my heart. But somehow, I know I can trust Him with it. 

Here's to the end of my story, whatever it may be.