“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
I remember a time when I was a young boy and there was a lot of turmoil at home. Turmoil was very common throughout my childhood. This particular time a man had come in the middle of the night to gather my mother and me, along with two suitcases filled with a few hastily packed belongings. We left town and started driving through the night. I was in the back seat and told to go to sleep, but I couldn’t. I was a little boy at the mercy of whoever was bigger than me. My whole world had just exploded, and we were running off in the night with some strange man. I was scared and had no idea what was going to happen or if I would be ok.
Country music was playing loudly, intended to shield my ears from the adult conversation upfront, but it failed miserably. I discovered during that drive that I was just baggage, an annoying piece of lint stuck to their lives, and most of the talk was about what they were going to do with me. My mother had hastily packed two suitcases because mine, I learned, would be going in one direction and hers would be going in another. It wasn’t the first time, and it wouldn’t be the last. My stomach hurt, it was hard to breathe and I knew no one cared so I just sat there quiet.
I remember feeling like I wanted to die and as we drove I thought about how I could make that happen. And somewhere lost in a pit of despair, the sun began to rise. The sky filled with overwhelmingly beautiful blues and oranges and yellows. All alone in the backseat of that car, and the world for that matter, I was suddenly filled with a sense of awe. I didn’t know about God then but there was something wonderful beyond the inside of that car. Something so great it could make the whole world beautiful, and for a time, I felt like I was going to be ok.
I know now that God created that sunrise, and he gave it to me at the very moment I needed it most. One of my darkest hours.
I have no words to describe how I felt then, but I have seen it in the eyes of the children God brought to our foster home for us to love, care for and protect. God allowing what happened when I was growing up helped me understand what our foster kids felt and needed when they came to our home. I know first hand what feeling loved, safe, cared for and valued can do in a child’s life. Without having those experiences I would never be able to give to my children what I can now and knowing that gives meaning and purpose to all the bad things that happened. I would do it all again just so I could be there for the kids and people that need understanding and someone that cares.
A couple weeks ago, I had to leave Ana and our children and dogs and go back to Las Vegas to take care of some business. I flew there then drove my truck back along with all of our Blessed Bodywear inventory. It wasn’t a pleasant trip, but it was necessary. I missed Ana horribly. I missed my kids, and it hurt knowing they needed me at home to feel secure. I missed our puppies as they are always upset when Ana or I am gone. I was reminded of the last day we saw Kwamane and the sad circumstances around his leaving and I felt so sad for him and missed him so much it hurt. I couldn’t get out of there and back home fast enough.
I left Las Vegas shortly after three am loaded with our things, a handful of worries, and a lot of sadness, and started for home. Alone.
A man can get a lot of thinking done on a drive like that. As I took stock of my life and processed everything, I was thankful for the time alone. Life has been ugly at times. But God has brought peace, meaning, and purpose to everything. Most of all I felt grateful for the precious souls I love and that love me and how good it would be to hold them.
Somewhere in the Arizona desert the sun began to rise and it filled the sky with breath-taking blues and oranges and yellows. For a second I was that kid again, filled with awe. And I realized God has always been there, with me, even through the worst times.
I smiled, and thanked Him. And I knew I was going to be ok.