Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Chapter Three: The Good Girl

A small town country girl who was quiet and classy and a creative, smart, funny young man who was moved around by the military his whole life met in high school and married as soon as she graduated. Only seventeen, she moved from the only home she'd ever known, to Boston, Massachusetts, where he was stationed with the navy. Then on to Florida where I was born to an almost nineteen year old wife and her twenty-one year old husband....When I was three, my dad's stint with the navy was over and we moved back to Tennessee to the same street where several aunts, uncles, cousins and my grandparents lived. Always surrounded by family, there was never a time I didn't feel loved.

When I was five, we moved with my new baby sister in tow, to a small town closer to Nashville where my dad worked. I have never known anyone with such strong moral sense, diligent work ethic and integrity as my parents. Active in the church and community, they were never afraid to get their hands dirty helping someone else. Never legalistic, they inspired me to do good and be good. I always wanted to please them, wanted to be trustworthy and moral; I wanted to be pure in the eyes of God and of my parents.

Growing up, I was the "good girl." I certainly was never without sin, but the moral code I learned from my parents protected me from all kinds of trouble. Yet, I didn't realize I was depending on myself - my doing good to save me. I was blind to my sin, and blind to what my Savior had done for me. I thought there was a perfect formula, a checklist, to follow to enter the door of heaven.

Morality = check...Doctrine = check, check...What else was there?

Marrying and having a baby young, before having a stable career, I was following in the footsteps my parents surely wanted me to avoid... Now, here I was, barely twenty-three years old with a precious baby girl and I was thinking of myself. I was imagining what my life would look like if I violated my moral code, gave up on my marriage, disappointed my family, cut my losses and tried again. Shane and I had made it through a long tumultuous engagement and the death of his mother, but I could not see how we could rise above depression and financial despair.

The night I told my husband to talk to someone because I was "having thoughts I didn't need to be having," he left and I didn't know if he was coming back. By God's grace, he did come back and he had talked to someone. Shane had gone to our church and spoken with our pastor. He came home and assured me we would get through this unimaginably difficult time. Pride kept us from sharing that struggle with the family we loved so dearly - pride kept ME from sharing it. My moral code had failed me and left me in a land of famine. I was ashamed and continued to pretend all was well.

The following week, the church surrounded us, counseled us and comforted us, not just with pretty words, but with helping hands. They held Shane accountable for finding work to provide for our family and helped us financially.

Shane was hired to play guitar for a promising country singer and delivered pizzas again; our situation seemed to improve. All the while, we had been attending a parenting class with other Christian parents in the community and had shared our prayer request for me to be able to come home full-time. Selfishly, I hoped Shane's gig would be steady and lucrative and imagined him finally getting a big hit on country radio, one that would set us up for a while and let me be the mom I wanted to be. I was depending on my husband and myself to provide a way out. One night in desperation, I prayed, asking God to either fulfill my desire to be home full-time despite our impossible situation or to completely take the desire away.

The next evening, exhausted from work and sad for missing most of my baby girl's days, I broke down. As Shane was holding me, trying to offer words of comfort, the phone rang and my prayer was answered.......

"Hear my prayer, O Lord;
listen to my cry for mercy.
In the day of my trouble I will call to you,
for you will answer me."
Psalm 86:6

Stay tuned as I fill in the gaps and connect the dots for His perfect story of my life....

1 comment:

  1. Oh Andrea, I know you have been sick but I have to be honest... I am selfishly wanting you to get fully you can...Continue writing! I am on edge and addicted to reading your blog. Thank you for sharing. I can't wait for chapter 4 and 5 and 6 and 7... don't stop!