Tuesday, January 24, 2006

And then I found grace

A couple of years ago my world did a 180 in just one weekend. I went from having a job and a family to being unemployed and childless. You see, I had a crappy job. They didn't care that they pushed me past the point of being stressed out. They kept demanding more and more from me and when I couldn't keep up and play nice with everyone they fired me. And if that wasn't enough I made a very bad choice. Reacted in a way that I never should have and slapped my child on the face. I'm not proud of what I did but I won't make excuses for it either. Because what happened next changed my life forever. I found grace. Or maybe grace found me.

For a month I jumped through every hoop the State put me through. I took anger management classes in the City two hours away. We took family counseling. I was going through individual counseling. That was the longest, I mean THE LONGEST month in my whole life! I remember coming home with my husband one night after visiting Peanut and I decided right then and there that my daughter needed to come home, no matter what, even if it meant that I was no longer here. If it meant killing myself so she could come home then that was what I was going to do. I was alone. I didn't know if my husband would file for divorce because of the crap we were going through because of me. I didn't know anything. The world around me was shutting down and I didn't know what to do. Everywhere I turned I saw evil and I was scared.

I remember sitting in my dining room, on the floor, against the wall, in the dark, crying. I had called my mom but she couldn't give me the comfort that I needed, not that she didn't try. When friends and loved ones offered their comfort it was nice, but they couldn't do anything to change my situation.

But then came grace. You see, even though these people couldn't change my situation they knew someone that could help me through it. And even though at that moment I couldn't pray words much less a single thought I cried out to God, and He heard my cries. I was on that ledge, so to speak, looking at all the evil around me when grace wrapped around me like a giant bear hug from head to toe. I couldn't see God, but I could feel Him. And that made the difference.

Soon after that day a friend called me on her way to work to give me a word. She told me about how she was praying for me when she was reminded of the story of the three Hebrew boys; Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. And she told me that God didn't rescue them from the fire. They had to go into the fire, but once there they were protected and everyone saw that the Lord was with them. And they came OUT of that fire and they didn't even smell like smoke!!!! She told me that I too had to go through the fire, but I had God on MY side and I was not going to smell like smoke!

We did make it through the court battles. Peanut, as you can tell, is back home with us and thriving. I no longer even come close to even thinking of slapping her even when she's being a total brat and I'm loosing patience. I'm a better parent. I'm a better wife. And best of all I'm closer to God. And this is the story of how I found grace... or grace found me.

10 comments:

tommi said...

Leslee , your joe or jennifer don't
get much , and sometimes it's good to be just thankful

Radical One said...

what a great testimony! but omg'ness what pain you must have went thru during this time.

thanks for sharing your story and i'm so glad that "grace found you".

blessings!
lisa

ps...surfed over from berrymom

Lauren said...

Hi Leslee, love your honesty. So often, we have to go through these trials to see the reality of who we are, to let God change us and grow us. It's always seemed silly to me when so many pretend their lives are perfect. God bless.

Leslee said...

Tommi, thanks for stopping in and commenting. Yes, it is good to be just thankful.

Radical One, thank you too for stopping in. Yes, pain was great but grace flowed free!

Lauren, I think we all want to live perfect lives. To pretend that the bad stuff isn't really bad. But God can use the bad stuff to do exactly what you said, change and grow! Thanks for stopping in.

Girl said...

Thank you for sharing this, Leslee. I'd leave a stone (0), but after the controversy over at songbird's I'm not sure how appropriate that is anymore ;)

--girl

Leslee said...

I'll have to go check out songbird to see what's going on. In any case, thank you for your kind heart!

Cindy said...

What a trial you went through! But what an Awesome God we have that He would walk through it with you and you don't even smell like smoke!

Thanks for sharing such an intimate glimpse into your life!

jo(e) said...

(o)

Aunt Jo said...

What a great testimony! I am glad you can see and acknowledge God's presence and hand in your life. I thank God on your behalf that everything turned out well....

~Jennifer said...

I can imagine how painful that must have been. It was very brave of you to let us in to see that God can take a mess and turn it around. We're all messes, really, but when God is done with us,... (will he ever be "done"?) just imagine.