My parents gave me a pearl necklace at the time of my graduation. I still have it, though I rarely wear it. But I see it now and then. I cherish it. But I don't clutch many pieces of my family tightly. I think it is far too painful.
On that day in 1988, I was young and fresh and vibrant. I had the whole world at my feet, and I believed I would conquer it. I knew some basics about Jesus. I was a daughter with parents still married to each other. I was a sister to Staci and Scott. I was a girlfriend to a man I reckoned I would marry because he was so good at always doing what he said. I was a friend to an eclectic group of people. I was college-bound with a bright future. I thought I knew who I was and who I would contiue to be.
I didn't know then how many of those things that seemed like promise would actually hold me away from the life I was made to live. I didn't know then that changing my mind was an option. I certainly didn't know then how to listen for the Holy Spirit to guide me to the right path. I didn't know how much of myself I would lose and how uncertain I would become about everything - even to the point of no longer knowing who I was or what I was supposed to be doing.
I thought I had it all on that day in 1988. And for the next several years it only got better. College went well. I married my sweetheart. I had my babies. I went to work with my family.
When my life feel completely apart and I was left separated from my family and my spouse and my friends and my career and my church, I was devastated and truly floundered for several years. What took the place of all those years of expectation and rejection and emptiness is truly beautiful. God has done great work in me.
I am blessed.