Beyond Borders

courage. faith. action.

Bending

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A few days ago I read a post of a woman I greatly admire, of whom I have never met. At the end of her post she spoke of the SheSpeaks Conference, of connecting hearts, to each other and to the heart of God; about stepping out of comfort zones. As I read the words dancing across the screen, I felt that nudge, the one that you feel in deep in your heart. I ignored it.


I awoke this morning to an inbox bursting at the seams and a day filled with endless tasks. A day that just didn’t allow the time to face the daunting task of reading endless emails. I do not like a full Inbox, and began to check off emails that were not personal. As I went down the list the check marks were adding up, my day was definitely getting brighter! But as I started to click the delete button I stopped, an email was standing out on the screen. I did not know the contents, just that it was a blog for which I receive email updates. I paused for a moment and then… the nudge. Curious I open the email to find a post simply written about She Speaks and scholarships, about dreams and nudging. I close the email and walk away.


As the day goes by the nudge becomes a shove and I question what the nudging and shoving could possibly mean, I am not a speaker, writer or even a leader. I am simply me. I am comfortable with this me. She is simple and quiet and she loves her God with an amazing love. She finds Him in the smallest of things and He fills her heart with joy and it pours out of her. She is easily brought to tears at the mention of His name, she worships Him with her whole heart. She is forever grateful for the life He has given her; for the life He has given back to her, for who she is in Him. She has a story, one of betrayal and rebellion, of longing to be loved, of illness and mortality. A story of redemption, grace and love. But that story… it’s my story I think to myself. 


I ask my God what it is that He wants from me? My life is messy and complicated, many days are spent in bed with illness, or racing a million miles an hour to make the day perfect for my daughter. Making sure there will be food she can eat that won’t make her sick, that the sounds, the crowds, the clothing on her body will not be too much. Days spent interceding on behalf of my father, for his failing health, watching his frailty come into light. Days spent falling short of all that I believe God wants from me. I am so thankful for His grace that overflows and fills in the gaps, that gives me the strength to go on when I am depleted, wanting to run and hide from this life, when there is nothing left of me and I hear the word, “mommy.”


What now? Why this nudging? I beg and plead for an answer, but I have none other than to write; to share a piece of me, the simple me. Bending to the nudge, the shove of my glorious God, I leave you with a portion of a letter I wrote to my husband…


I used to think that somewhere in the chaos of debilitating sickness and an autism diagnosis, stepchildren and ex-wives, the realization of mortality, relationships and finances, I lost me. In reality, that me was lost a long time ago. I could say I am not sure of how or when it happened, but again, I don’t believe that lie anymore. That me, the real me, was locked away the day I walked away from God. For years I kept her hidden, though she would try to surface at times, I never let her out. With each passing year it became easier to hide her and eventually she did not want to come out. She was finally safe, deep down inside in the darkness, she was safe. 


On the surface everything seemed wonderful. Like a little girl who suddenly becomes famous, thrust into the limelight; into the world to find her way, without any direction, I was suddenly popular and had friends abounding. This was the life, so I thought. Longing and wanting to stay famous I try to please everybody, and soon begin to make wrong choices. Before long I was so far from anything I ever knew of myself; the me that had been hidden away so many years ago. 


I tried and tried to find her again. I thought going back to church would bring her back, or perhaps therapy would help me overcome the past and I would find her. She was nowhere to be found. I tried everything physically possible to find her, was it she in the hair, the clothes, or the work? Still nowhere. Soon panic set in, the reality of my decisions; what if I had gone to far? What if I had become something truly unloveable? What if I had pushed my God away too many times? What if it was too late? 


One day I had a thought, what if she was not really missing,  the me that was hidden away in the darkness, what if she was transformed into someone new? What if God had taken that scared little girl that longed to be loved and cherished; that little girl who turned from God, the One constant in her life, because she felt He had abandoned her; what if He gave her a new life, a new identity? What if she no longer needed to search, no longer needed to know who she was, because He adores her and loves her and cherishes her; because He is her audience of one, and that is all she needs… 


At that very moment, I found me.


By His grace alone,
Shelly


I will never leave you or forsake you
Hebrews 13:5 NKJV

But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Ephesians 2:13 NASB

You did not choose Me but I chose you…
John 15:16a NASB




Do you feel God nudging? Perhaps He is leading you into something new, or like me, there is no certainty of a plan, just a nudge. Maybe the SheSpeaks conference is the answer. Ann Voskamp of A Holy Experience is offering an amazing opportunity of a scholarship to attend, you can find the information here. Maybe just maybe this is what He is calling you to, God will answer. Take the chance… I just did!

Author: Shelly Richardson

A stay at home mom, married to my best friend, who loves like Jesus. Together we have four beautiful daughters. One biological, one adopted and two by way of marriage. Our 12 year old daughter was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome when she was 6 years old and our youngest was diagnosed with autism at 3 years old. I have dealt with chronic illness most of my life and at times has been debilitating. It is through this illness and the special needs of our children that drew us closer to God. Beyond Borders is the place where I write out my story of living beyond my borders. A place to share of God’s love and grace, His mercy and sovereignty, and what that looks like in my own little world of chronic illness and autism. A place where courage and faith intersect and He moves me to action. My hope in writing is that you find something that inspires you. Encourages you. Makes you smile.

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