I checked my bags at the Phoenix airport and boarded a Delta flight bound for West Palm Beach – final destination, Faith Farm. Flying at 33,000 feet, I reflected on how my life resembled the mythical Phoenix. Raised in a good Christina home, active in my youth group, the most trouble I got into was toilet papering the pasture cows.
By 18 I married my high school sweetheart and went to college. I became an adult in that relationship, lending my attitudes and framing my values. For 22 years, I liked my whole life around my husband by a thousand threads, and suddenly I found those threads snapped into a million pieces and found myself wondering who I am.
When we place God-like expectations on our men, and we expect them to make up for what’s likely missing inside of us, we can’t help but be disappointed. I was devasted that my marriage ended. I made making a living more important than a living God. Rather than allowing God’s hands to hold mine, I sacrificed my time and energy at the altar of material gain.
At “40 something” I was suddenly single. I met a wealthy, attractive man who had it all; Atheism added. I believe the lie that it was my responsibility to change him. I entered into this relationship which quickly turned violent, bringing me to a place I thought I’d never be. The restraining order seemingly had no effect on him. For 4 years, I ran from state to state from him with a bag of disappointment, a trunk load of fear, an overnight bag of loneliness, a carry-on bag of abandonment, and a makeup case to cover my guilt and shame; only to return to my abuse of chardonnay as my closest companion.
One morning I sped away on my Vespa. Traveling at 40 miles per hour, I had a head-on collision with an SUV. Both vehicles were totaled, my Vespa and I lodged under the SUV. Miraculously, no one in the SUV was injured. I was rushed to the emergency room with serious injuries. God had spared my life once again. Shortly thereafter, I quit my job, packed, got in my truck and in the darkness, made my contingency plans in my mind. I had nowhere to go except for a shelter for battered women, and I didn’t want to do that again.
God led me to a woman named Gereda – a woman of action, not platitudes, empty prayers and condolences. Gereda took me into her home; and together we called my sister, Becky, who for the past 5 years prayed endlessly on her hands and knees for protection of my life. Together, they made it possible for me to come to Faith Farm.
Here at Faith Farm, those years int he making were so quickly destroyed. God took the ashes and made beauty out of it. I learned how to live a lifestyle of service and relentless pursuit of holiness. I learned to respond rather than react and to guard my tongue. He slowed the anger and was quick to forgive. Jesus said we shouldn’t let our hearts be afraid. He promised “a peace that passes understanding;” a peace that comes in the midst of trials. He alone is my safety and my security, and I shouldn’t put my trust in people, places, and things, as I have in the past. I began to experience peace by being still and content with whatever circumstances I incurred here at Faith Farm.
My Christianity does not alter or erase the facts of my past. It alters my perspective of the facts. Dressed with the “Armor of God,” I’m able to move forward with coverage in greater victory and wholeness. No longer a spiritual nomad or wandering Phoenix; today I’m a person of purpose and destiny. By accepting Christ, our lives and our minds change to the reality of redemption by which we are healed; no longer bound by fear, no longer chained to our past and its shame. We are free…free to capture the vision of His mercy, to catch a glimpse of His beauty; renewing us and changing us in His all-consuming fire; creating new creatures out of the ashes.