The truth: it sounds so definite, a circumscribed object, like a tin can on your pantry shelf that you can pick up and look at and set on your counter and say, “Yep, that’s the truth.” More often, we treat the truth like clay. You drop this gray lump on your counter, look it over, and say, “This truth is ugly. Let me mold it a bit, create a more pleasing shape, make it something more palatable than a gray lump.” Some of you know, but many do not, that my marriage has ended. I feel like for many years, I was taking the truth and trying to shape it into a form that I could tolerate, even feel pleased about; however, as if water was constantly rushing over it, my clay would not hold its form. My pleasing figure constantly returned to the formless gray lump of the truth. No amount of kneading or pressing or holding that my hands could do would preserve the appearance. Two months ago, I released my hands, because I saw, at last, that my attempt to hold it together was putting Avery, Lily, and I at the mercy of a dangerous person. Now, we are safe and surrounded by strong, loving people who have closed ranks around us during a time of great vulnerability. The exact image of our future is yet unclear, but I know that my daughters and I will live a life filled with joy.
My girls have born up tremendously well during this turmoil. They can tell that something has changed, but they are surrounded by so much love and stability that they accept their new life. One night, Avery crawled into bed with me. I could tell she was trying to think things through. I asked her if she knew what a shepherd is. She shook her head. Laying in the dark with her in my arms, I told her that a shepherd looks after the sheep. He cares for them, keeps them safe from harm, feeds them good food, and gives them a place to rest. Then I told her that God is our shepherd, and we are His sheep. He is always guarding us and providing for us. Avery thought for a moment and said, “But Mama, you’re my shepherd.” My bright little girl, I told her that she’s like a baby sheep, and I’m her mama sheep, and God is the shepherd of us all. I’ll always be with her, taking care of her, but God watches over us all. She accepted this answer and nestled in for the rest of the night.
I began teaching Avery and Lily the verse Psalms 23:1, “The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want.” Avery says it with great care and articulates each word. Lily boldly declares, “My Lord, My Shepherd, Not Want!” I love how she gets right to the point. It’s very fun to see how the Bible lessons she gets at church each Sunday impact her. One Sunday evening, when we were saying our prayers, Lily said, “Thank you for Chwist.” Not wanting to lead her, I asked Lily to repeat what she’d just said, when Avery loudly proclaims, “She said, CHRIST.” Lily replied, “Yeah, yeah, Thank you for Christ.” Her new favorite word is Behold! Lily loves to enter a room, throw her arms wide, and declare, “Behold!”
Monday evening, we had the treat of dinner with all of my brothers and my dad. Avery and Lily got to eat loads of chips, salsa, Meximole (their word for guacamole), and ice cream. It was a great event for them, surrounded by all of their uncles and grandpa and to get all that good food. We got in the car to drive home right as one of our Texas thunderstorms had passed. As we were driving, we had the blessing of seeing a beautiful rainbow. Avery and Lily were amazed. My dad told them, “God put that rainbow in the sky.” Avery thought for a moment and said, “He has power.” I couldn’t agree more. He has power to save. He has power to deliver us when we don’t even know we need deliverance. He has power to provide a path to safety for all of His sheep. He has power. Yes, He does.