memories of a rusted clothesline

For awhile, I mulled over what to do while away in Africa. Wi-fi is possible - but not a guarantee. And honestly? I really don't want to worry about publishing posts and tweeting and updating statuses. I will write - but most of it will be my hand to a sheet of paper. Once I decided this, I knew I needed to ask some friends to take over my space for a little while. These are women I trust, admire, love and respect. I can't wait for you guys to meet. Over the next two weeks, women from all across the U.S. will share their perspective on story. Today you will hear from Eleana, a childhood friend. Many days in our history are filled with laughing at teachers (remember Mr. Vasquez, Eleana?) and terrorizing the boys in our class. In fact, if there is one word I can think of to describe my memories of Eleana it would be vibrant. But despite the fact that I consider her one of my closest friends during those tumultuous elementary and middle school years, it wasn't until a couple years ago when we reconnected that I realized the depth of her struggle and the incredible process of restoration. She is proof (and a humbling reminder) that so many times what we see is only a small picture of what really goes on in someone's life.  I'm honored to call Eleana a friend - and I'm certain you will as well.

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Luke 7:47 ...Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.

I think back on my life, and I see an old rusted clothes line, with Polaroid pictures hanging from wooden clips on the wire. I can see my grandmother, holding me as an infant as she takes me to live with her. I can see myself as a mischievous toddler hiding behind her old wooden rocker. I can see myself screaming out for her when my father drove me away in his old rusted car. I can see my parents fighting and screaming at each other, because of me. I can see my mom's indifference when I just wanted her to play with me, to just be with me. I can see myself trying to gain my father's approval unsuccessfully time and time again. I can see myself in a navy school uniform in a classroom, in the corner all by myself, rejected by my peers. I can see my anger and pride rise as I reach middle school, and I decide to never allow anyone to hurt me again. I can see my teachers' faces, as they gave up hope on me. I can see my grandmothers tears as the police forced me out of our home. I can see the pictures of all the parties, and all the highs that turned to lows. I can see a mirage of faces of the people who I hurt, and the faces of those who hurt me. I can see myself passed out on the front steps of a small church. I can see the doctors and nurses racing to pump my stomach to save my life. I can see myself looking up at the them, hoping they don’t revive me, hoping that this pain will end, hoping that endless slumber would begin.

I look back and I can see the pain, hurt, and abandonment I felt most of my life. Then I can see the picture, where my heart is broken, crushed, and is no more.  I am on my knees, and for the first time, I can see Jesus. I can see his love for me. I can see hope, I can see forgiveness, I can see His amazing power transform my life. I can see my heart, my mind, and soul come back to life.

Everything I am, is because of Him. Everything I do is because of Him. Everything I have I joyfully hand over to Him. He is the air I breathe, and I am desperate for Him.

I cannot see the future pictures on the clothes line, but I do not need to, because my life is in His hands.

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Eleana, thank you so much for sharing a piece of your brokenness - and restoration. To read more of what she has to say, especially this post, check out eleanagarza.wordpress.com :)

Africa Prayer Requests:

- Today is our first day in Kibera. Please pray for the students and leaders as we make our way to one of the largest slums in the world. Pray for protection, strength, and that God's love and justice would be our theme (Psalm 101).

- We start our sports camp today as well. Pray for laughter and flexibility as we work out the logistics of hanging out with 200+ students.

Posted on June 15, 2010 and filed under story.