Never Already Happened

Listening to David Crowder Band’s Never Let Go can be an emotional experience. At my church, Springhouse Worship and Arts Center, I’ve seen an accompanying performance dance to the song that enhances the emotive power of the song that declares that God really won’t ever let us go. What I realized recently was that I’ve always thought of that phrase, and that truth, as a promise for the future and that it is really, when you get right down to it, only half the story.

My story starts like a lot of Gen-Xer stories: an underage mom gets knocked up, a hasty marriage ends when reality sets in, rinse and repeat. When all was said and done I ended up having several sets of parents and six brothers and sisters. Like so many of my lost generation, I lived through abuse, custody battles and most significantly a lack of security so profound that it would reduce my childhood years to dust and rubble. The one thing I knew when I cried myself to sleep too frequently was that I was hurting and it seemed that there was nothing that could be done about it.

So I retreated. I went inside and the world outside me passed like a TV show I couldn’t turn off but I did my best to tune out. Long before Adam Sandler’s movie, I remember dreaming that if I could have one super power it would be to fast forward my life. In so many ways I realize now that I did have that power… and I used it.

I don’t remember much detail of my life starting from the horrific custody fights of my preschool years until sixth grade. The reason I remember sixth grade is because that’s when I started waking up. Several things changed during that school year and right after.

First, my Mom who had been living for much of the previous years hundreds of miles away was now nearby and visited often. No more airplane trips to see her and my brother and sister from her second marriage. She was now married to a Christian man she had met at a Bible study (another reason to study!) and for the first time in a long time she seemed happy and shared that happiness with me.

Second, it was towards the end of that school year that my father, who I lived with, took me to a book store and offered to buy me any book I wanted. I don’t recall this being an abnormal occurance – not that I recall much – but I never took advantage of his offer on prior trips. That day I bought a book with a sword wielding female warrior on the front. It was Darkness and Light, a Dragonlance fantasy novel. It changed my life that summer when after devouring that novel I would go on to read at least a dozen more books before the start of seventh grade.

Then my father generously and lovingly allowed me to move in with my mom that summer when I asked for permission. I have no idea why he let me since legally he didn’t have to, but it was one of the landmark moments of my life. Not because my dad sucked or anything – he did the best he could being in the tough situation he found himself in – but because my mom made me go to church through high school.

In so many ways I’ve lived under the specter of my lost youth my whole life. It’s almost as if by fast forwarding it I’d somehow become doomed to relive it indefinitely – the past hurt simmering just under the surface negatively impacting relationships and decisions.

For a long time I blamed my mom. (Curiously, I never blamed my dad, who I think may also have had a fast forward power of a sort; he seems to me to have been a bystander in so many of my rare memories.) My mom, though, here was some I could blame. She made bad choice after bad choice. What I failed to see while blinded by my need for an outlet for my pain was that she was a 16 year old pregnant kid, scared to death, disowned by her family and looking for love in all the wrong places.

16 is four years older than my eldest daughter.

Empathy is the seed of love. For so long I lacked empathy for my mom. When I thought of my lost childhood I thought of my lost childhood. Never her lost decades, supposedly her best years. Never my father’s lost years. Certainly not my full-blood brother who seemed to have everything going for him. All I could think about was my hurt and my loneliness.

I don’t think I ever thought about it like this, but I realize now that I never considered that God was there either. Maybe it’s easier to remove God from the equation instead of trying to account for why he didn’t intervene.

After David Crowder came Michael Gungor’s Beautiful Things where he sings to God, “You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of the dust.” The dust.

And I realized He had.

As I worshiped, I was overwhelmed with the revelation that God was there all the time; He never let go of me. For the first time I realized that “never” applied to the past as well as the future. God never let me go and he made a beautiful thing out of the dust of my life (to reference Gungor, another amazing band).

He’s taken a child who missed full years of school (sitting in a desk in the hallway or in a principal’s office) and blessed him with enough intellectual gifts to help him overcome his lack of knowledge and a father who gave him a love of reading. Combined, those two things – untapped intellect and voracious reading – got him into college. This same kid with less than a 2.9 GPA in High School was the first in his family to get a degree.

He took the son, conceived in youthful fornication, and gave him to a virgin woman as a virgin man.

He took a child who was hurt so terribly by divorce and instability and made him into a husband to a single woman for 15 years and counting.

He took a lonely boy and gave him loving brothers and sisters, two loving sets of parents, and most importantly four loving children who have never known life that wasn’t filled with joy, friends and love.

The list could go on and on. But what is clear is that my life has been redeemed! Once I looked backward for the evidence of His intervention instead of looking forward for the hope of intervention it became clear. I can see the steps of my life being ordered in such a way as to overcome the poor decisions and terrible situations. I stopped wondering why I wasn’t saved from things and started seeing what I had been delivered to.

He never let me go. He makes beautiful things from the dust.

Thank you Jesus.

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12 thoughts on “Never Already Happened

  1. Don’t forget your grandmother who had your back even in the dark days and still do to this day. I love you my precious grandson and I will always be there for you. Sorry you had to go through those terrible days, but everything worked out fine in God’s time – not our time.

  2. As tears stream down my reddened face, I sit here trying to find words to reply to your open revelations of your perception of not only your younger life but my young life as well.

    I feel God is gently reminding me to ‘take it as a whole’ story and not to pick it to pieces. If I were I would have more then a few conflicts or differences of “perception” of facts or memories. Your perception vrs mine. But when I allow these deep sobs to settle, and ‘take it as a whole’ message, I can only relese my breath and ease back down into this chair. “Relax Carrie *I* am still here with you, both” (my message from my Lord)

    Although their is no call for my response; you pointed an arrow here so knowing I would read this, how can I deny you one?

    Yes, I made bad decision after bad, still suffer the same thing today. Its called not listening to my Lord=sin. Gets me everytime! Once I accepted Christ as my Savior (Nov 3, 1978) my heart forever was changed. I still continued to make stupid and painful choices that effected all six of my chidren. But my prayer over your lives never stopped, daily..asking God to protect you while you were giving in my care. I always knew you all were gifts to me. I prayed I could teach you good things & asked Him to hold you close where I failed you. To bring salvation to all of you…To bring you each the Godly spouse you were to have. Even as you asked Christ into your young life, I began to lift your future chidren before the Lord. And I still do, and for your grandchildren now too! That the generational sins have been broken forver with my generation..I am the first in my family to accept Christ as my Savior, by the Grace of God, I did that right.

    Scott I love you. I grew up with you. I am deeply sorry for the pain I caused you, for those things I know about as well as those things that I don’t even know I did that inflicted any type of pain on you. All I can do is ask you today, will you please forgive me?

    I feel that this might not be the response you expected as you and I have spoken on this matter before. However since you put this in print, I can’t help but to put my heart out their for you and ALL your siblings! I am sorry I failed you all in areas as your mother. I deeply love each of you and would lay my life down for all of you, any of you. If knowning all I do now, I could go back and be different..make it better, I would, but cant we all say that?

    I am blessed you’re seeing where our Lord was during those years and why you went through all you have. You are a very blessed man to come out the other end and see it all worked out as part of His divine plan for you. I pray your witness inspires others to be real with what they percieve as their past, face it head on, look & reconize God’s hand on your pathway & face your furture with a heart of thanksgiving. Most importantly, live life to the fullest with those lovely four -prayed over chidren- God gifted you with, because it’s only for a too-short of a time when they will look back on their own lives with their own perception of a refreshing reality.

    One of the most important decision’s I ever made with reguard to you was fighting with everything (& everyone) both physically and emotionally against many, was to give you life!…before even knowing our Father in Heaven! THAT was my first lesson in listening to HIM! I did and here you are!

    He never let me go. He makes beautiful things from the dust.

    Thank you Jesus indeed!

  3. Carrie, while reading I couldn’t help but see the lives of ppl I’ve known while on my own journey. Jesus is changing all of us from day to day. Praise God Jesus paid for the past, present and future sins of the believers life. Santifucation happened at salvation and continues throughout our lifetime. Praise Him, He doesn’t leave us to stay the same. I love you.

  4. Excellent, all. Imagine how far we have all come and then realize that this is just the beginning. He will not stop until He makes us into the perfect image of Christ.

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