What A Stranger Gave & Taught Me

It was last Fall when I was about to set out to attend a wellness retreat with my mother and sister.  Except for the very first time, I felt what I now know was God’s initial invitation to me.  Instead of joining them, I made an unfamiliar sacrifice to defy expectation.  I hadn’t left my husband and children for an entire weekend before.  I felt an urgent need to shed pieces of myself without understanding the need, purpose or outcome at the time.

Our first conversation was over the phone.  Our exchange was filled with expected pleasantries about the location of her home, how to get in, the neighbors and price.  Before our exchange concluded, we shared that she is a mother to four adult children while I am a mother to three young children.  She shared being a Speech Therapist while I shared being a Social Worker before becoming a stay at home mother.

That was the beginning.

I’ll never forget the first time I made my way up the stairs to what I now identify as my sacred space.  I was giddy, in disbelief and even slightly uncomfortable that this blessed home was reserved for just me.  It was the first weekend I sat in the discomfort of what it used to feel like being me.  The woman who existed before motherhood pushed her off to the side.  That weekend taught me a valuable lesson about why mothers not only deserve to take respite, but need it.  Not a coffee date.  Not a date with a good ‘ol book upstairs to our bedroom, but a place away from everything that nudges us and demands that we put ourselves last.

The next time I would return to her home was to unite with a part of myself that had been laid to rest for quite some time.  In that time, I developed my website, blog and the Resurrected Together initiative entirely on my own.  I spent every waking moment trying to figure out what widgets meant, how to clear caches and how to develop something I had hoped would ignite necessary conversation that brought me to this very place.  It was also a time that marked the 10 year anniversary of my father’s passing.  Reuniting with writing was an unforeseen parallel to the few memories I have to hold onto him.  He loved to write and recorded everything.  He did it through joy and in pain.  He was with me that weekend and his spirit connected in a literary way.

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Then winter came and life had dragged me through a fog of uncertainty, grief and an unbearable series of losses.  I was trying to do what most of us do and just keep gasping for air we don’t have.  That never lasts too long and for me, it’s always just a matter of time before the fog lifts and I’m left lying down.  I wasn’t sure if I could return to my sacred space because it was off season and in the dead of winter.  I reached out and she graciously welcomed my stay anyway.  This time, what not even I realized was that God had deliberately reserved that very space where He knew I could be reached.

No interruptions ( I could even finish a meal uninterrupted).  How ’bout that!?
No children.
No excuses
and
No expectations.

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It was a profound experience that I will never forget.  It completely resurrected my faith.  I was able to make peace with the young girl who had a sacred belief in God, but buried her connection to Him out of pain.  I am convinced there is no other place I could have received that invitation that has been life-changing for me ever since.

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Before I went to return home that weekend, I had left her a note.  I knew she didn’t really know me and I wasn’t even sure it mattered.  I had to let her know what that space provided to me.  What that space not only gave, but paid witness to without anyone else present except God and me.  That home delivered me from grief, pain, uncertainty and loss to bring me clarity, forgiveness, rest and most of all a re-connection to what I was missing all along.

We made a connection from that point on, even if minimally.  We have never met.  I know she is a woman, wife and mother to three adult children.  She knows I am a woman, wife and mother to three young children.  What I believe is that sometimes God intersects people in our path to provide something in the flesh He may not be able to.  I believe that without really knowing me, she identified with the need to seek refuge in those tiresome, thankless and sometimes questionable moments as a woman, wife and mother.

My birthday was a few weeks ago and she reached out to me.  I was invited to her home for a weekend entirely free.

FREE.

To most people that level of generosity seems entirely out of reach and impossible.  From a single-income home, it simply wouldn’t have been possible for us.  I was humbled that she would extend her sacred sanctuary in what I believe she knew I likely couldn’t afford.  Little did she know the timing of her offering just as I don’t know that she’ll ever realize what this space means to me?

This home has provided me with more than I could have ever anticipated since my very first visit here.  It’s taught me about myself, life, faith and the cycles we go through that often demand our full attention to fully absorb.  She taught me that there are connections between people we don’t expect, foresee or even understand.  I share the space in her home looking at the pictures of her beautiful family and three adult children.  I envision the time I will get to sit back and find joy in the challenging moments I doubted every decision as a wife and mother.  It brings peace and comfort that the difficult cycles of life may produce everything it’s meant to.  It provides hope that women can provide necessary sensitivity and compassion void of judgment and expectation for one another.

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Most importantly this experience has taught me the divine purpose of timing, connections you would never expect and the immeasurable power one can give and receive from a stranger.

To the woman, wife and mother who has modeled what generosity can truly offer someone else, even when we least expect it or when we don’t quite understand it.  You know who you are and I am forever indebted to what you provided to me this past year.

From one woman, wife and mother to another, I thank you.

Oh and in light of truth, I was so excited to unite with my sacred space again that it only took me ten minutes upon entering the door before I put on my running sneakers and took a run alongside the Lake where all I heard was the crashing waves and birds.  God is good.

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In Love & Truth,
Grace

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