Sunday, July 20, 2014


I walked into Sunday school at 8-years-old.  I was visiting a new church with my family.  There was a girl my age.  Her name was Trista.  She had pretty brown hair and green eyes.  Her grandma taught my class.  I didn't realize I would grow up with this girl.  She was pretty and popular.  I wanted to be those things.  I was skinny, awkward with long limbs and buck teeth.  My hair was frizzy and puffy.  I never felt pretty when I was younger.  I always wanted to look like Trista.

She became my best friend.  She got good grades and she was very smart.  She had a rough life that I didn't know of then.  I didn't know why she lived with her grandma or why I never saw her parents.  Trista was mischievous.  She did things that would get us both in trouble.  We sneaked out and took her grandma's car at 15.  She would smoke cigarettes and things like that.  I didn't smoke.  I knew what my boundaries were, and though Trista would break boundaries, I usually just tagged a long.  Trista had many boyfriends.  Like I said, she was pretty and popular, and I was mostly jealous of her.  She had everything I thought I wanted.  Years later, I learned that the jealousy was mutual, and that she didn't really like the boys.  She just wanted someone to love her.  She wanted a family.  She wanted a dad.  She wanted a mom.

She lost her mom when we were in junior high.  Her mother lived a rough life.  We found out when we came back from church camp.  She called me, I remember the crack in her voice.  Trista never cried.  Trista never let people know that she hurt.  But I always knew she did, even when other people didn't like her, or even hated her.  I knew she was in pain.  I knew it when I was young.  Nothing mean that Trista did would deter me, because somehow a God-given intuition told me that she needed me.  Not that I am or ever was an angel.  Not that I wasn't a selfish child either, I was.  But no matter what the fight, I always forgave her.  She forgave me too. When we were 19, and I was in college, she told me that she appreciated that from me.  She told me I was her best friend and that she had always wanted what I had.  She told me that no matter how many years went by, that she knew I would be there.

I was there.  I wish I had spoken up more...told her what she needed to hear.  Like, "Trista, you don't really need those pills.  You don't have to be 80 lbs."  Or "Trista you need to slow down."  Or "Trista quit running from the pain and tell someone.  Tell me.  Stop ignoring it."  I wish I had said the harder things.  I was there for her, but I didn't tell her to stop.  I didn't have a backbone then.  If I was who I am today, I would throw the pills in the toilet.  I would tell her what she needed to hear.  Because no one did that for her.  That was what she wanted and why she pushed people away.  She wanted to see if those people would still be there.  She wanted to see if they would push back.  I never pushed back.  I now wish that I had.  I think it would have made a difference.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Three Years

I've been married three years.  On July 30th.  I feel so much older than 25.  Oh, well.  Life is a give and take of sorts.  Being young and pretty, nice and thin...I traded that for marriage and a baby, both very wonderful things, but my body took some wear and tear along with that.  I still don't feel like myself, but I'm incredibly blessed to be with someone who sees me as I am and thinks I'm beautiful.

Marriage is pretty hard.  Having a baby is even harder.  Being unemployed for months then starting a stressful job where I take people's kids away, it's a wee bit rough.  Want to know what's weird?  I'm not all that stressed.  For once in my life, I feel like I belong.

Sometimes I look at people and I feel pity for them.  I didn't realize until the last year that pity is one of the worst things I could give someone.  People don't want pity.  They want help, but they don't want to admit it.  They will spend hours, days, and years trying to convince others that they don't need anyone and they definitely don't want pity.

I see plenty of messed up things.  It's like looking into a dirty and broken mirror.  I spend time trying not to notice how easily I could be like one of these people who beat, burn, and neglect their children.  I don't pity them that much anymore, because it doesn't matter what happened months or years ago.  They are where they are now, and there's no changing what was.  They can only go forward.  Some of them refuse to, others need some nudging or pushing.  Three years.  That and more is how long some of these kids have been away from family.  As a Christian, I am called to love the orphans and widows.  I am spending most of my time with orphans lately.  The grace of God shows up in the strangest of places.