I’ve been quiet this past week. Part of that is because I wasn’t feeling well and didn’t want to think any more than absolutely necessary. Part of that was because I felt I needed to write this post, and I honestly didn’t want to. I kept waiting for other words to come, so I could say something else. But nothing did. So, this is my story. It involves other people. I can’t tell their story and wouldn’t presume to try, but I felt compelled to tell mine.
when I was a boy, five or six, and saw my first snow globe. I’m sure I tried to process how they managed to shrink the north pole and put it inside a tiny jar of glass, or how Frosty retained his form of ice when surrounded by liquid. I know I thought it was pretty. Odd, for a young boy to recognize a snow globe as aesthetically pleasing. Then someone, probably my mom or my grandmother, picked it up and shook it really hard so I could see the snow flurrying in the water. An unimaginable sight for a boy growing up in Dallas.
when I was twelve, coming home from my first summer camp wondering why my dad picked me up instead of mom. Wondering where she and my brothers were when I got home. Wondering why she left.
a month later, what felt like an eternity, seeing my mom walk toward me down that country road that leads to my grandparents’ home. I felt like my world was finally whole again. Then a few days after that beautiful day, sitting somewhere with tears flowing down my face because I just heard the word “divorce” come from my mom’s lips.
life as a teenager, desperately wanting to know the answers. Wanting to know why this happened. Wanting to know how I was supposed to make it through the next day. Somehow, the well-intentioned words Just have faith fell to the ground before they reached my ears. Faith in who? The God who could have stopped this, but didn’t? The God who loved me, but allowed my world to be turned upside down? I tried, and I tried. I did everything I could, but still felt so weighed down by lack of understanding and the weight of circumstances.
when I was eighteen. I just graduated high school and was on a plane to San Diego headed toward Marine recruit training. Then on another plane headed back just a few months later, only without a Marine’s uniform. My plan for life after high school, the plan that I formed my freshman year, was over before it started because I didn’t push myself hard enough. Continuing the trend I felt of being just under “good enough.”
when I was twenty. I just did the strangest thing ever: I walked out of the charismatic, non-denominational church background in which I was raised and walked through the doors of a nearby First Baptist church. My confidence in my understanding of God collided with the reality others set before me. In particular the discipleship pastor, Matt Bradley, who would lovingly kick my legs out from under me any time I said something about God that he knew I couldn’t back up with Scripture. So I returned to my search for answers.
when I was twenty-two, when all of the studying and wrestling with Scripture finally landed with me embracing Reformed theology, embracing Calvinism. Finally embracing the gospel, realizing that the whole point was that I wasn’t good enough, and that because of Jesus I didn’t have to be. Seeing God as sovereign and good, but still trying to put the pieces together. Knowing that I didn’t have to have all the answers, but still trying to figure out how my life made sense in light of this truth God finally awakened me to see.
when I was twenty-seven. I just lost the best job I’d ever had at the time, because I felt so far from God and I cried out to Him asking Him to bring me back. I literally felt Him say “Ok, but it will cost you your job.” I didn’t even hesitate to say “Ok.” I couldn’t go on another day like feeling so far from Him. Three days after that much needed conversation, I lost my job. I moved back in with my parents, as they suggested, which was a miracle in and of itself.
a few months later. Talking with my mom, I finally broke down and asked the question plaguing my heart for 15 years, Why did you leave me? Why couldn’t you wait for me? It was in that moment of brokenness that healing took place. It was in the middle of my world seeming to shatter that restoration began.
when I finally realized that I was the snow globe. I was created in God’s image, designed to reflect and display His glory. I came to the realization that all of these times I felt my world collapsing where when God was most shaping me to do what I was created to do. Sometimes He sends us through the fire and sometimes He lets us cool. And sometimes He shakes us. Because just like the snow globe wasn’t meant to sit on the shelf but to provide joy, surprise, and delight when it’s shaken, He loved me enough to not let me stay on the shelf.
He loved His glory enough to not let me stay on the shelf.