July 11th... New Life into an Old Date

A minister of mine once told me that we set our life around dates/events.

Example- "Oh, yes.  That happened before graduation..."


"I remember we talked about that after Daddy died."

We set our lives around major events.

Birthdays, weddings, funerals, graduations, baptisms, and more.  These are the events on which we create our life timeline.  They are our points of reference.

Today is July 11th.  It used to be one of those for me.

It was a biggie.  My wedding day.

I remember thinking, "7/11 - the wedding date that he's guaranteed never to forget." :)

As it turns out, it was the date that I never forgot... and I was pretty hurt every year when it would roll around.  

For years, it was a day where I'd mourn what was and what should have been.  Just not a happy day for me.  It was the Land of Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda...

I just didn't want it to be that, anymore.  I wanted to let go and just DANCE in the freedom that was mine in Christ.

I wanted to remember the beautiful, even if broken.  

I just needed new beautiful.  Beautiful for THIS day.  God and me kind of beautiful.

I asked Him to renew that day for me, and God has done what only He could do.

Today I realized that I had not thought about it ... in years.  Facebook, however, reminded me with a "You have memories with ________" kind of post.

And the memories for the last 5 years are incredible...

They are mine as a single woman, too.  All mine and God's.... and I'm just so infatuated with how God has given July 11th such beauty over the years.

July 11, 2010 -  He reminded me that my boys think I'm the best cook in the world.  We cuddled in my room and watched movies, and it was just all about us.  What a sweet day.  I remember vividly thinking, "This is what "Be still and know that I am God" must feel like."

July 11, 2011

He gave me this clarity:

"waking up... dismissing nightmares...celebrating Monday...new meaning...old dates...walking in the park...planning...swingsets...gifts...saying thank you...shutting up...coffee creamer...dialogue...grace...writing...trusting...rolled coins...laughter...sleeping babies....grateful...me...7/11/11. #AllInADay'sLove"

We started ENJOYING life to the fullest and it was just to much to even type about that day. I just remember being overwhelmed by how God loved me and knowing that He was redeeming what was broken.

July 11, 2012

My niece was baptized.  My niece asked Jesus to be her best friend!  

God allowed me to take time off to serve as my son's vacation bible school leader that week, too... and this day was the wrap up of that 3 day adventure.  Seriously, y'all.  It was like a Room Mother moment on steroids.  It's every single, working mother's dream to get to have those moments.  All evidence would tell you that I should not have been able to be there... but God.  He made sure I was there.  In the moment.  On July 11th. 

Oh, yeah... and He gave me an overachiever moment that day, too.  My little guy knocked his tooth out that week, so we were doing the dentist thing because that front tooth situation... well, it was INTENSE.  I mean, at the dentist, IN JAMMIES.  Need I say more? :)  But God perfectly arranged it where I could be off work to be in both places... and it just shouldn't have been.

But God and July 11th... they are something special.

July 11, 2013 

He made me present, yet again... for VBS with my son and my nieces.  

He taught us that Jesus is our super hero and that He was all we ever needed, but He'd give us friends to walk this journey out with.  God placed me there for the moments where my baby started mentoring other kids.... and when his gift for serving really started to emerge.

He made sure this Mama was there.  The world said that it could not happen.  God said, "Watch this."

 July 11, 2014

God swept me off my feet and redeemed what was broken by renewing our home.  He had some of His kids come into our home on July 12 and give us a home makeover.  Gone were the old memories.  God literally put a coat of paint, rearranged furniture, new drapes, and more into a home where a big ouch factor had lived for far too long... and He made ALL THINGS NEW.  On July 11th, I wrote this:

"Laying out the red ‪#‎SERVEday14‬ shirts and shutting down for the night. 6:30 a.m. will come bright and early, and I want to be ready.  Lives will change tomorrow... including the lives of the folks at my house.
Whether you are serving tomorrow or being served, I hope you just savor every moment tomorrow.

Whether you are sitting on the front porch loving on neighbors, pulling weeds in a yard, doing laundry at the local laundromat, or changing the life of a single parent or special needs family, I hope you savor it.

And if you're being served? I hope you, just like me, look at every face there and realize that YOUR heavenly Daddy is sending his most favorite gifts your way ... His KIDS! Why? Because He loves you just that much. heart emoticon

Lift up the name of the One who loves you most tomorrow, my friends. It's a GREAT day to be a kid of the King, but an even GREATER day to introduce someone to Him so that they can join the family. Walk it out and I guarantee that the world around you will want what you have! ‪#‎Jesus‬"

July 11, 2015 
He remained faithful to letting me be there.  He's such a sweet Daddy.

But He also reminded me why July 11, 1998 was still beautiful.

It happened.  And then it was over.   That was super sad.  Truly sad.

BUT .... the world's "over" allowed for God to create His new.  His mercies are new every morning, and they didn't end in my life simply because we live in a fallen world full of ouches.

Like this little piece of heaven... if life had not gone differently than my original plan, I would have never known this  love... and I can't even wrap my mind around that.  I could not have missed this stop.

And moments like this... they never would have happened if my plan had...

And a ministry and women that I would have never known any other way... and I can't imagine my life without them... Single Mom Central would not have existed...

And the expansion of our family into having lots of "adopted" brothers and sisters... because God told me I wasn't done after having my 2 boys.  He's given me kids that I would never have had otherwise.  This is just a few of them!

God now uses July 11th to remind me of growth and beauty at every turn.  Friends, He can take your pain and transform it into beauty, strength, grace, and freedom.  He can give you a new name that you never even knew to pray for... because He loves you just that much.

I still see it... even today.

Sometimes it's watching my son and his friends grow into the young men God has called them to be...

Sometimes it's reminding me of the moments I'm blessed with because July 11th many moons ago didn't work out the way I wanted... but He blessed the path, anyway, and I'm graduating with another degree in December.

A wise and wonderful woman of God gave me this verse years ago when I thought the memory of July 11th would just flat out kill me.

"I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten..." Joel 2:25

God has repaid... time and time again.  I'm grateful for every July 11th that He blesses us to breathe in... every single one of them.

I'm here.  Completely wrapped up in the beauty that God puts before me day by day.  Not the plan I made, but the plan that He used to take a heap of ashes and broken promises and create life abundant like only He can.

Don't let yesterday suck the wind out of your sails, friend.  Your tomorrow is still beautiful.  Your today still has the most beautiful hope.  Our Creator is not limited by what we can fit into our minds.

He is creative.  He is willing.  He wants to redeem the dates that hurt you.

Will you let Him?

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