13 October 2008

It's Been Eight Years

Since I found out I was pregnant with my oldest son. I remember the day well. It was Friday the 13th. I took that as a bad omen.

I was 17. I had just graduated high school 4 months prior. I was not doing anything productive with my life. I was working, but I hadn't started college yet. I had put it off because I didn't want to be so far away from said boyfriend. By this time though, our relationship was very uncertain. An unplanned and unexpected pregnancy did nothing to help the situation.

The year and a half that followed was one of the hardest and darkest times of my life. I was scarred and caused some scars during that time.

My parents had just recently seperated. Alex's dad and I broke up twice during that time, the last time within two weeks of my due date. We debated on whether to parent Alex ourselves or give him up for adoption. My mother remarried. My dad died. I went into premature labor right after my dad died due to conflicts I was having with my older brother. I made it through that okay to have a baby who was eight days late. Go figure. =) My grandma was diagnosed with breast cancer and received chemo that year. Alex spent four days in the hospital with RSV. I got mold poisoning. An ex-boyfriend died in a freak accident after trying to get me to move back to Mississippi with him. I moved seven times, four of which were with a very new baby.

There were bright spots as well. I was blessed with a sweet baby boy. Throughout the whole ordeal, my grandma was my rock. I went on the best date ever. This whole sitcom (sounds like one, right?) taught me a lot about myself, life, and God's provision. I am reminded of an email I recieved recently.

And thank God for scars!

Some years ago, on a hot summer day in South Florida, a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went. He flew into the water,
not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore. His father, working in the yard, saw the two as they got closer and closer together.

In utter fear, he ran toward the water, yelling to his son as loudly as he could. Hearing his voice,
the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his father. It was too late. Just as he reached his father, the alligator reached him. From the dock, the father grabbed his little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs.

That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the father, but the father was much too passionate to let go. A farmer happened to drive by, heard his screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator. Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal. And, on his arms, were deep scratches where his father's fingernails dug into his flesh in his effort to hang on to the son he loved.

The newspaper reporter who interviewed the boy after the trauma, asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter,
'But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my Dad wouldn't let go.'

You and I can identify with that little boy. We have scars, too. No, not from an alligator, but the scars of a painful past. Some of those scars are unsightly and have caused us deep regret. But, some wounds, my friend, are because God has refused to let go. In the midst of your struggle, He's been there holding on to you.

The Scripture teaches that God loves you. You are a child of God. He wants to protect you and
provide for you in every way. But sometimes we foolishly wade into dangerous situations, not knowing what lies ahead. The swimming hole of life is filled with peril - and we forget that the enemy is waiting to attack.

That's when the tug-of-war begins - and if you have the scars of His love on your arms, be very, very grateful. He did not and will not ever let you go.

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