Sarah Goodrich walked into our church almost nine years ago and I basically made her be my friend. We have boys less than a month apart, so parenting was our first bond, but we’ve covered every other topic of life in real-life conversations around tables, on my porch, and in almost-daily text messages, even since she’s moved a few hours away.
I’m honored she’s sharing a piece of her story here with you because she’s one of my favorite storytellers.
I’ve been married for a little more than ten years, and sometimes I take off my engagement and wedding rings, and look at my left ring finger. Snugly lined up next to its finger companions, the ring finger looks different in the spot where those rings usually reside. I’m pale all over, so it can’t be attributed to a tan line. My rings swivel loosely, so it’s not an indentation caused by rings that fit too tightly. The fact is, however, that when my rings are off, that finger clearly shows a shadow of their presence.
I like to think if I were ever found wandering somewhere, with amnesia, and with no identification or jewelry, a police officer would look at my finger and know there was a husband out there to whom I belong, who needed to be notified. I like to think while Nathan entered my life and made an immediate impact on my heart, my soul, my circumstances, and my future, his rings have also made a slow and steady alteration in my actual flesh. While the presence of the rings announce I’m committed as a wife, I like to think I could take them off, and my body would STILL tell that story.
Lately, I’ve wondered how that analogy might be applied to my spiritual life.
I was raised in a Christian home and baptized at age five. Jesus, the knowledge of Him, has been there from my earliest moments. Clasped hand prayers at bedtime, the faith of parents who were and are truly committed, and a charmed life surrounded by Godly influences. Not that there haven’t been trials, there have been.
One of the longest lasting deserts of my life spanned YEARS, and was characterized by paralyzing anxiety and spiritual dryness. Anxiety gave way to depression as I wrestled with my fear of God, my futile attempts to overcome those feelings through my own efforts, sorrow over moving away from a town and friends I loved, and heartbreak over the death of a friend.
God is doing a new thing now.
When I look back on what God used to bring me back, to renew my spiritual life, and to help me to rest in Him, I’m filled with awe.
He used circumstances surrounding that move and the death of that dear friend. He used a book someone gave me twenty years ago, that I’d read many times before. He used a piece of my love story I’d heard, told, and reflected on over and over that hit me in a new way. He used a new friend and a painful chapter in her life that resonated with me. That connection moved me to deep and intense prayers, which changed the way I saw God.
Jesus entered my life and made an immediate impact on my heart, my soul, my circumstances and my future. I believe that was true in that baptismal pool when I was five years old. But I also hope His life, death and resurrection, and the fact that I cling to them, have made a slow and steady alteration in my actual flesh, the flesh of the old creature.
I hope and pray if all the other identifying roles in my life were gone – if I wasn’t David and Laurie’s daughter; Nathan’s wife; David, Atticus, Louisa, and Susannah’s mom; Chris, Julie, and Abby’s sister; and on and on – that the person who found me wandering around with amnesia would see fruit that revealed I belonged to Someone.
And that Someone was ultimately the most important relationship in my life.
Sarah Goodrich lives in Frankfort, Kentucky with her husband and four children.
I also wanted to share a fabulous free resource from #PorchStories friend Becky Hastings at My Ink Dance. DWELL is a five-day email course that helps women connect with God in their everyday lives. It includes scriptures, devotional messages, encouragement for next steps, and resources. I reviewed the series and shared a Q & A with Becky in a post yesterday, so be sure to check that out if you’re looking for some encouragement to dwell with the One whose spirit dwells in us.