God is good. The End. That’s the final sentence of this piece. Everything else that I share is an exposure of my scar, but it is also a testimony to the truth that God is good. I am also going to invite you to cover me with prayer, support, and money. Seriously. I don’t want to, but I would be foolish to pretend that I am thriving.
When lightning strikes a tree, it leaves a mark. When lightning strikes a life, the scar is just as evident. I am exposing my scar here on behalf of all the people who have shared their scars with me. Let me share with you about people that I know with some hidden scars. They are people who, like me, can go through their day with a pretty good cover, but when the weight falls too heavily on them it feels as if they might break. As I share, remember that God is good.
I know someone who is just out of jail after eight months and has no consistent bed, food, or income. He cannot travel out of the county to see his family because of the terms of his probation. He has been sleeping where he can, even if it’s outside.
I know someone who texted me to apologize for what they were about to do in order to have some money. They work full-time and have only $1.53 in their account until next Thursday. All that they have ever wanted for Christmas is to be surrounded by people who love them, but that’s never really happened.
I know someone who received an eviction notice while battling chronic health problems. They are a single parent and their health has placed them in a very helpless situation.
I know someone who was fired from their job one week ago and is trying to provide for their children in any way they can.
I know someone who needs reliable transportation to bring their child back and forth to school. At the same time as this need, their hours have been cut at work.
I know someone who found out that their check had an error – an error that will not be corrected until after Christmas, putting their hopes for Christmas for their children in jeopardy.
I know a couple who just had their first child. Both of them lack consistent family support and they are doing their best just to keep their footing.
I know someone who lost their mother and their unborn child around the very same time this year.
I know someone who just had their home burglarized yesterday, and is now wondering what type of Christmas they will provide for their children.
Listen, I know Christmas isn’t about the gifts. I get it. And I am not writing any of this to evoke guilt or with any particular expectation. I have purchased zero gifts. My car is on a flat tire that is stuck on the rim, and I could pay one bill and look at all zeroes in my bank account. Even still, God is good.
In 2017 alone, I have seen God’s goodness in ways I never would have imagined. I was diagnosed with dysthymia (chronic depression) and ADD, was given one day of notice before being laid off, I have had every utility turned off at least once, my house was 15 hours from a sheriff’s auction, attended three funerals within a month (my aunt, my father-in-law, and one of my best friends), my room or my couch has been a place to sleep for someone else for nearly seven months now, I have been ordered to pay child support even though the boys have lived nowhere else but here for the past two years, and I have not a clue where my next source of income will come from. And you know what? God is good.
I’m kind of hoping for a Wonderful Life type of Christmas, but I think that only happens in movies. I don’t want gifts for myself and my sons are fine. They are without need. One of the reasons I have not purchased any gifts is because I have found myself in a truly humbling position of being able to hear other people’s scars. I don’t know what I ever did to be entrusted with such precious information. All I know is that I would rather make sure my friend has a place to sleep, food to eat, and a way to work more than I want my son to have a new hoodie.
This year has been…crazy. Unscripted. And altogether wonderful. I have found myself operating almost-exclusively as a single parent, and at the same time we have been able to provide a place to stay for four different adults, several children, and presently, a fourth high schooler. Throughout this craziness of not knowing who will walk through the door on any given day, I have told my sons that they can play their trump card at any point in time. If all of this becomes too much, all they have to do is tell me. They haven’t said it, not once. In fact, it was my son who noticed the need for his cousin now staying with us. My son asked me if he could stay here and has surrendered space in his room to make it happen. When I was talking to my son about it, he said, “I got it from you.”
Cue the watery eyes, God is good.
When lightning strikes a tree, it can remain standing, but it will forever be changed. I think that I can best illustrate my testimony to God’s goodness in a few photos.
I’ve nearly deleted the picture on the top left any number of times. I looked miserable in spite of Joshua’s celebration. I looked miserable because I was. The top right is this spring, at Jonathan’s celebration. That’s a genuine smile in spite of being two months into a new season of single parenting. I had been taking antidepressants and my emotional floor was much stronger than it was without them. The bottom photo is the most recent. That’s a fairly normal weekend here, and that’s my sweet spot. God’s goodness cannot be placed in a box and cannot fit under a tree. God’s goodness is His love and faithfulness to us when we are most dependent on Him.
All that I really wanted to do is to get this off my chest so that I can write the next piece. God has allowed me to hear of some significant needs, and I’m learning from those people in my life that when lightning strikes, I should seek cover. You can be our cover. Please cover us in prayer. Please cover us in support of this live ministry taking shape in God’s time and in God’s hands. And, if you can give to our need or anyone else’s, we receive that.
Cash app: $DouglasRoede or 6162092446
If you think that I really just need a glass of wine and a hug, I’ll give you my address. And that reminds me, there is an open invitation to be here on Christmas, especially if you don’t know who you will spend it with. If you come, I want you to know two things:
2. God IS good.