I woke yesterday morning to a good dusting of snow on the ground. Far less than the accumulation my children were hoping for. Still…whatever the sky threw down during the night was enough to delay school for my two middles who attend public school. The oldest lucked out completely and got to stay home for the day.

As Wyatt made his way into the bedroom to tell me good morning he was as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as I’ve ever seen him. You’d almost think it was that boy’s birthday – and to be fair he does turn six on Friday so the anticipation is starting to build.

The excitement grew as I told him about the two hour delay and he beamed up at me with those soft, blue eyes, begging me to watch cartoons. As I handed him the iPad and sent him off with Inspector Gadget I remembered well those days of climbing back under the covers when the snow would thwart our predicted school day. Snow days brought ease…

And then out of nowhere, as if lurking in some shadow ready to pounce, thoughts of my school days began to surface. I felt unsettled as I remembered the anxiety that ran through my veins 5 days a week, 9 months out of the year.

Just to be clear, I didn’t hate school. In fact, I’ve always had a craving for knowledge. However, the anxiety stemmed from an inferiority complex that wouldn’t begin to subside until just a few years ago. Every day, I would play the piano for hours on end in order to drive away that second-fiddle feeling that continued to plague me. It was the only thing that seemed to bring solace. Me and my piano. Those tunes were able to shut everything else out.

…but as the years went by I couldn’t play every day. The baggage continued to mount and I was struggling to deal with the weight of it all.

I carried around the sorrow left inside from the boy in the powder blue suit. There was self-pity of feeling overweight, and the alcoholism engulfing the family in tears more often than ever necessary. There were parents who couldn’t seem to get along for more than a few days at a time and those dreadful middle school years of me fighting for friendship, wondering if I would spend another day at lunch all by myself.

I was empty. And I wasn’t the kind of kid who could share it with anyone to even think of being filled back up again. It was easier to shove it all down deep and use deflection to get through each day. Because that’s what people wanted, right? To find joy and laughter in everything? To never have to work through the hurt, digging down to the bottom of the haystack to find the needle that pokes us in our sleep.

It would be many years later, past more stories of growing and changing, that lead me to discover the beautiful identity in who I was. Years before I would latch on to the desire to know the One who knitted this body, mind and heart together in the first place – and that I was “fearfully and wonderfully made.”

But those anxious years weren’t wasted. Even the unsettled feeling I get in my stomach serves as a reminder to me. It nudges my spirit awake to the realization that they are a great testimony to what a redeemed life looks like. There is proof in that proverbial pudding that a crown can be set upon our heads where ash was once smeared. That our garments are not that of despair but of praises we sing to the One who rescues us from those depths. And that our roots can grow down deep in Him, becoming great oaks of righteousness, no matter how late we feel we’ve been planted.

It’s can all be a beautiful story in the end.

#beautifulstories #thissideofgrace #relinquish #isaiah63


Linking up with the following authors this week:

Holly S. Barrett for Testimony Tuesday
Holly Barrett

Kelly Ballerie for RaRa Linkup

Jennifer Dukes Lee for #TellHisStory

Holley Gerth and Coffee For Your Heart

Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday