Finding God in Garbage Bags

Well, I bet that title caught your attention!  Good.

We all have a story of some sort.  It becomes the background music for who we presently are and who we are to be.  Hopefully, we acknowledge God’s presence in our story and see how He has woven Himself into the intricate plot-line.

It’s a chart topping blockbuster of a story-line too!

My story is different than yours.  Yours is different than mine.  That’s the beauty of God’s great and awesome plan.  What is seemingly a big mess of jumbled dissonance is actually a beautiful song filled with harmony to God’s ears.

I was talking with some WONDERFUL sisters today after our bible study at church.  Garbage bags and suitcases became a topic of discussion.  ((Hey, I didn’t say we weren’t having a random conversation!))

 God… You are amazing!  You’ve gotta know that!  

My heart became burdened to tell this part of my past, which is all really HIStory if you really think about it.  I’m an open book about my past.  It’s shaped me into who I am and has brought me ridiculously close to the Creator of the universe.  So, here it goes…

Without divulging all the details in this post (because I’m not writing a book… yet!  Ask me in person – happy to share!), growing up with my biological mom was rough.  Hello understatement!  I lived mainly with her, but occasionally with my grandparents, friends, or whoever would take me in.  Her illness dictated her ability (or inability) to care for me.

Okay, so at the age of 15, enough things had happened in regard to mom’s illness for me to leave.  This has happened before and honestly things were relatively calmer at this point than at others in my life – though that was just evidence of my skewed image of normality and stability at the time.

However, this time had a different outcome.  My boyfriend at the time (who became more like a brother, which is really weird) of course knew about my mom (and stayed!) and all of the challenges living with her brought for me.  I went to church with him and his parents, who were AMAZING people.

They saw it fit to get a lawyer and were actually going to seek custody of me.  Instead, another couple that went to church with us volunteered as tribute (ha!) and stepped up to the (big!) challenge of taking me in.  I knew Cathy from being the most awesome lunch lady at school and her husband Phil from church, who sang and has an amazing voice.

They also lived (literally) right across the road from my boyfriend and his parents, so it was a win win.  HA!

But how in the world was I going to leave my mom?  I mean, yes – I WANTED to, but how could I safely leave?  She was in the middle of a psychotic episode, for lack of better term, and I had to be careful.

So… one evening – my boyfriend came over and was talking with my mom in the living room while I went to my room.

I just got a little nervous even just recalling that evening.

I had some black kitchen garbage bags and started bagging everything up.  Most all of my belongings fit into 5 or 6 garbage bags.  I loaded everything up and handed it out my window to my former guardian’s daughter, my sister Leslie, and she took them to her car.

When we finished, we broke the news to mom.  I feel horrible, but I can’t remember what was said or how she reacted.  I just knew I was done and I was gone.

So, that was that.

I moved in with Cathy and Phil at 15 years old and started over, almost quite literally.

It was difficult and intimidating and insanely risky.  I didn’t do it on my own though; that’s for sure.  God was with me EVERY. STEP. OF. THE. WAY.  (Isaiah 41:10)  God was with me this night and so many others when harm could have VERY easily overtaken me.  He was with me when mom left me in a diaper and took me outside during a snowstorm, when she left me in the car during a severe thunderstorm/tornado weather and wouldn’t let anyone bring me in, when she overdosed (and I found her) when I was 5, when she intentionally gave me food poisoning, throughout all of the abuse – both emotional and definitely physical, and through the insanely embarrassing things that would happen with mom’s behavior during a psychotic episode.  He was with me when mom’s boyfriend attempted awful things (but never succeeded in physically harming me).  He was there when mom stabbed a butcher’s knife into my door yelling at me to get up.  He’s been there through all the pain of feeling alone and unloved and unwanted.  He was there through SO. MUCH. HURT.  He was there through SO. MUCH.

That’s just the “mom stuff”.  That’s just SOME of the big stuff that’s happened in 29 (30 next month!) years of my life.

But what I PRAY that people understand is that God isn’t just there through the big stuff.  He’s there in the quiet.  In the stillness.  He is always there, looking out for us.  He’s in the seemingly meaningless garbage bags that we fill with our life and our belongings and He wants to be there.  He CARES people.  He cares.  He WANTS to be involved.  Nothing is unimportant to Him.  He lives in each one of us.  Are we wiling to WELCOME Him there and care for and about Him?

2 thoughts on “Finding God in Garbage Bags

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