One year ago today, I posted this. That post came the day after I nearly committed suicide--a day when I literally heard God telling me "Stop! You do not have to do this. You do not have to live this life. There are other options."
It's the only time God has ever said anything to me directly.
One year ago today, I made the decision to leave my marriage. It is the hardest, most agonizing decision I've ever made. It has hurt my ex and my children, and I will have to live with the knowledge that I have caused such great pain for the rest of my life. I shoulder that knowledge as the penance I must pay for what I have done.
But I will LIVE with it. Today, as I look out and see the beauty of another North Carolina spring all about me (pollen notwithstanding), I find it hard to believe that, 12 short months ago, I found the thought of death preferable to the life I had.
When I wrote about Lazarus, I was wrestling with whether I had the courage to come out of my old life. Despite the hopeful ending of that piece, the warm darkness of the tomb seemed the place to stay until that moment when God called to me and stayed my hand. I could not imagine walking out into the sunshine. I feared the pain I could cause, the disapproval I would face, and an uncertain future.
We all know that sunlight can be both blessing and curse. In truth, the sun is not always kind to me---a strawberry blonde who can get a sunburn if she stands next to a light bulb for too long...nor to my children, who are always the palest people on the beach. (I should have bought stock in Coppertone years ago...)
But my life is lived in the sun now. I will always bear the responsibility for my part in the pain---but I have learned to feel joy again, and this helps to balance the weight of the sadness I've caused. My future, like everyone else's, is uncertain---but I have one, because I am still here to build it.
I had planned to write a treatise on the Atonement, but that topic seems to have overwhelmed the blogosphere this week, so I won't.
But the hope I have found in Jesus--in a Redeemer who hangs on the cross and forgives the unforgiveable without even being asked--is the story of my life this Holy Week.
Whatever Jesus did on the Cross--however salvation works--the words "Father, forgive them" are the anchor of my faith. One year later, I am grateful to be here to feel the grace of those words pouring into my life.
My messy, screwed-up, sin-filled, joyous, beautiful LIFE.