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HE is the answer to our questions.

HE is the answer to our questions-between you and me

for a lot of the years that i’ve walked with God, i’ve been preoccupied with parts of my story.
okay, okay–consumed.

many of those years i didn’t ask him any questions. i was too afraid to hear the answers. deep down i was terrified there might not be a sufficient enough answer. So, i just lived life, and life was good. really, it was. but it wasn’t great. it wasn’t abundant like he came and died for it to be.

i’m a little shocked at how many years i just lived life and had a good marriage and made sweet babies and raised toddlers and ministered to teens with Andy and cultivated new friendships and maintained old ones and did laundry and renovated homes and went on family vacations. years i existed in a really good life. just not abundant.

every year i moved forward and presumably closer to Jesus. and then we moved to orlando six years ago, and i hit a wall in my relationship with Jesus. i had tucked my questions about my story everywhere i knew to tuck them until there was nowhere else to hide them. all the sudden, they were highly visible and  stubborn…refusing to be ignored.

that move to orlando was so good. he moved me away from almost everything in my life that distracted me. family, friends, even ministry. teenagers were always at our house. always on our sofas. i loved every minute of being with them and helping them in their stories …because i loved them but also because it meant i could continue to quietly tuck my own story away.

college ministry was a little different. there were definitely a handful of girls there that sat on my sofa, but for the most part, it was the first time in our marriage and in ministry together when I wasn’t right by Andy’s side for every event. part of me felt sad over my lack of involvement, but part of me just knew that this was a season for me and God to sort things out. finally.

One of our favorite things to do in Orlando as a family was swimming in our neighborhood pool every day. sometimes twice a day. our favorite time to go was right after dinner, before dusk.

one night, we went down with our neighbors, and all  the kids swam while we  sat talking. well, not all the kids swam. lydia wasnt swimming because we weren’t swimming, and she was little and couldn’t swim yet, mainly because she was terrified of the water. we tried to force her into swimming lessons, but it’s kind of hard to learn to swim when you refuse to put your face in the water. she was 18 months old and had NEVER had her face in water…not even in the bathtub.

we were having so much fun watching the kids do cannon balls off the diving board that we didn’t really notice how dark it had gotten, until we couldn’t see lydia. in a single moment, it hit me that she wasn’t right by my side anymore. when had she walked away? she was just there with me.

I didn’t know what to do except dive into the pool. I didn’t even know where to jump. i couldn’t see her anywhere. if she was in the water, how long had she been there?  as soon as i dove in, i saw her struggling body, and i swooped her up and brought her to the side of the pool.  Andy grabbed her from me, and she coughed. She coughed! She was alive!

all those seconds seemed like days.

and when it was all over, i collapsed. my arms and legs..everything..felt heavy. my mouth was dry. my chest was in my throat. i couldn’t breathe. i laid my head on the side of the pool. i couldn’t move. i just wept.
later that night, when everyone else was asleep in the house, i wept some more.

i wept because she was alive and for a few seconds at that pool, i thought she might not be. i wept because we had only had her home for 6 months. we had waited so long for her. we had dreamed about her way before she was even born. i wept because her biological mother was somewhere needing her to be okay..to survive her story. I wept because her nanny at the orphanage  cried her eyes out when she handed her over to us, and she begged us to love her and take care of her.
i wept because God  had knit this child together in a womb a world away just for us.

i wept because that night, while she slept safely and peacefully in her bed, I realized how much i, too, need her to survive her story. i need her to do more than survive it. i need her to thrive..to live the fullest, most abundant life. i need her to know her worth..to know that God never, not once, took his eyes off of her..not in her mother’s womb, not when she swaddled her up in those blankets and pinned that note to her just before leaving her in that basket at the gate of the orphanage. i need her to know that her story is more than the hardest parts. i need her to know that God has always been with her…that he loves her unconditionally…that he died for her rescue and redemption.

and somewhere in the middle of all my weeping for her, it hit me.
all that fierce love i have for her..all those things i want for her…
God wants all those things for me. he loves me fiercely. unconditionally. fully.
he died for my rescue and redemption.

in that moment, his love swooped down and my tiny story with all it’s questions fell into his great big giant story of redemption.
i haven’t been the same. HE is the answer to all of my questions.
abundant life is found in Him.

{thankful for}
857. our move to orlando.
858. hitting that wall and not being able to avoid my questions.
859. friends in orlando who weren’t afraid to enter my story with me.
860. Rick, our counselor in Orlando, who led us and loved us well.
861. God’s gentleness with me…he’s so patient and loving and gracious. He waits for us to trudge through our stories and “get” that everything we need is found in him.
862. his grace that finds me over and over and over and over and over.

Amy Avery - This testimony is so beautiful Tara and such a powerful example of God’s love for all of us. Tara you are such a gift to this world! I know I tell you often that I am grateful to you for the ways in which you allow God to use your gifts and talents, but I sincerely think that you are a bright light to shine hope and love from our Maker to others. This story that you shared has touched my heart and soul.

paige - oh my goodness friend, i did NOT know that story.
i can only imagine your terrified heart…
my goodness

beautiful powerful post
love you

Libby Larson - I absolutely love your blog, I’ve been following you for quite some time it started because I LOVE LOVE your signs and then I have fallen in love with your heart and relate to you on so many levels. My husband is also a college pastor in Paradise CA he was a youth pastor and we moved here from South Dakota 5 years ago we left EVERYONE all our family. Elijah was 3, Brynn, was not even a year and a year after we moved here I was prego with TWins!! LOL I love how God takes us away from comforts to deal with our “stuff”. Anyhow, love you, your heart, your signs (I have the LOVE Jesus, work hard, have fun forgive and recover Be Generous, honest, etc it’s saved on my phone and I have strongly hinted to my hubby ;) LOL God’s best, Libby

Lori H - I read your post this morning, but did not have words to comment. I have been thinking about it during the day. Your words are straight-forward and elegant in their simplicity. I wish I could express myself the way you do, but at least I can read your posts! Lots of head-nodding going on…

Joni Loyd - Tara, thank you so much for sharing! I love following your blog….I am sad that I wasn’t able to get to know you when you lived in Orlando!

Birgitte - Tara,
Thank you for your post. I am in the exact same place as you — from your post on Rely to now. Thank you so much for sharing. It helps to know that you are on the same journey.
Additionally, am learning to replace all fear with trust.
Reflecting too….

Melissa shepard - How can such a tragic thing be so beautifully written? GOD is definitely using you, Tara to talk to the hearts of Sooo many people. We all have stories..tragedies…things in life that happen… but you make the whole picture understandable when you write. Thanks for sharing. And I’m so thankful He had His hand on her… she is gonna be a mighty woman of God one day… yep… He’s got some big stuff planned for her. I just know it.

LLH Designs - You captured my heart in so many ways with this post. But this…this is me: “i had tucked my questions about my story everywhere i knew to tuck them until there was nowhere else to hide them. all the sudden, they were highly visible and stubborn…refusing to be ignored.” Thank GOD that He doesn’t let us ignore those places that need healing. But girl, it’s the hardest work I’ve ever done! xo

Rhiannon Goodbread - Thank you for sharing….I needed to read that TODAY!

Janice Smith - Such a beautiful story!

lissa - I feel myself letting out my breath as I read this and kept thinking that God prompted you that she wasn’t around so that you would jump into the pool!! As far as trying to walk into that abundant thriving life; we’re right there with you guys.

jami - so good.
loved this.
xoxo

Becky - It’s such a silent killer. I almost drown when I was a little girl. It was at a friend’s house. Someone jumped in and saved me. I was almost electrocuted…someone pulled me off that charge. Then there was the car that I pulled out in front of in high school. I swear it drove straight through mine. Angels. Guardian angels. Oh how He loves us. How He has a plan for us. Our timing for every season is in His hands!

Lemonade Makin' Mama - Holy cow girlfriend. I feel that teary choking thing in my eyes and throat. That is enough to stop a heart right there. It’s so crazy how it can take ONE moment where we truly realize that God is alive and real and we GET it in that moment and are forever changed. I love that…. glad this story had a happy ending. Whew.

Cathy M. - Beautiful. Huge lump in my throat and weepy eyes. Beautiful. hugs, cathy

K - I’ve never posted a comment on a blog until now. So many years of reading different blogs and enjoying all the wonderful stories, diys, recipes, etc. anonymously, until now, until this post. Oh this post! This truly is the most amazing, loving, trusting post I have ever read. God is so great, he knows our every need, and knows just how and what to give it to us. I am constantly in awe of his greatness through the little things he puts in my life. You have a beautiful family. May He continue to bless y’all. I’m sure I will be reading this post over and over again. And again.

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