I was standing on the edge of the road looking down at the water. As I strolled the path, I felt the wind gusting through my hair. The sound of the ocean was roaring through my ears. As I sat down to look out and just embrace the moment, I had this thought; ”I just have to put my feet in.” That thought and feeling wouldn’t leave my body until almost instinctively I started heading for the shore. I’m not sure what made those thoughts come into me, maybe it was the wanting to wash away the last season of my life. The last season that broke me and rebuilt me all in one. I felt like I was a phoenix who rose from the ashes.
Before I started the journey I was a broken woman, just barely surviving. You see, I was in this journey to motherhood through unconventional means. In January of 2018 I became a foster mom. In February I got placed with the best little baby girl the world has ever known. For awhile I felt on top of the world. I was leading three ministries through transition, I was a mom for the first time and I honestly felt like I was rocking it all. Of course we know that things never stay that way. My church had decided that I was not the person they were looking for to continue to lead the ministries, so they started to look for someone else. They found that person and unfortunately, I felt a tension in that relationship. It wasn’t his fault and it wasn’t my fault, it was just the result of a bad situation overall. Shortly after that I got a call for a little toddler, in which that yes turned my next season into one of the hardest I have ever experienced. All of a sudden I was bearing the weight of disappointment and the feeling of being overwhelmed in a constant state.
Realizing I needed help, I heard about this Women In Leadership Cohort. I had no idea how I was going to do it, but I realized I needed something. The trajectory I was going was not good for me or for the children I was caring for. So I signed up. That single moment changed everything for me.
I remember going into the first retreat just so broken. I wasn’t even sure the ladies would like me, heck I didn’t even like me at this point. I was stressed and overwhelmed and that was a baseline for my life. I remember people always saying “I’m not sure how you do it.” Meaning be a single parent and work full time. Truthfully, I’m not sure how I made it through those first months either. It was clearly Jesus and coffee, because there is no other way. Parenting is hard enough but parenting trauma is harder. Then factor in the fact that I was in a position at a church that I loved so much but just wasn’t happy anymore. It was a tough season. As April asked the hard questions, gave us room to search our souls, I began my wrestling stage. When I finally felt like I was just ready to give up, life shifted. A job opened that seemed like a dream and I began my crawl out of the space I was in. Parenting was getting easier and routine started.
By the time we got to the second retreat I was in a completely different place. Noticeably different. Even the other ladies could see the actual physical changes in me. Hope. I had hope. But I wasn’t done yet. I needed one more thing; forgiveness.
As my feet touched the water, I breathed in and out, thinking of the people, the hopes, the promises broken, that I needed to forgive. I felt the tinge of cold surge through my whole body, I felt alive. It was time to let go. Let go of it all. The journey was long and hard but it brought me to this place, this moment. The moment where I could look back and see the faithfulness of God. The point where I could let go of those hurts and decide to wash it away in the salty cold water. That in that moment, it was like I was letting Jesus Himself wash my feet and Him saying I am here, I love you, well done my faithful servant. Then as fast as it startedI, the moment was gone and I was on a plane back. But I will forever remember that moment. The moment I felt free.