Friday, November 15, 2013

what a difference a year can make (pt. 2)

At dinner tonight a friend of mine said that tomorrow is the sixteenth of November.
I looked across the table at her and uttered, The sixteenth? Already?
I may never forget this date.
Two years ago tomorrow {it was 2011} I was seventeen, standing in a cemetery across from a guy I loved. 
We were both crying because I had written him a letter telling him that I needed to find myself before I could love him anymore. I hadn't even known what the word meant at the time, anyways. 

But what was so much more was the gravity of my reasoning. 
He asked me why else: Why are you really doing this, Madison? Who's making you do this?

I have memorized the moment inside and out.
My feet grazed across uneven gravel as I stepped forwards and backwards--
my movements in-sync with the raising of our voices.
He threw my letter to the ground and told me that every wall of his was up.
He raised his arms and his voice grew deeper and harsh.

I remember falling to my knees. I squatted down and took the dirt in my hands.
I could feel nothing so I searched for some type of feeling--I wanted to trigger any nerve ending to see if I was still there. With every tear and yell and plea, I walked away to my car. It turned five o'clock as I drove away. It was on that drive home that I told God he'd better have a better plan for me.

So I drove away from an unhealthy phase in my life but it would take over one year until I finally found closure. I can remember saying to the young man, "I need to be alone right now. God is taking me away for a while to be alone and I don't know why." 

I remember knowing that there was something more--something bigger.
I was becoming more and more intoxicated on the notion that a life lived obediently was a life lived abundantly. 

God soon took me to Oregon where I had enough alone time. It was there that he allowed me to then move onto Romania and Moldova--two countries that changed me entirely. I was accepted to go on a serve trip at five o'clock on November 16th 2012. {you can read about that here}

Two days prior to my trip I opened an email draft and began to write to GFU'S campus pastor (she was also one of the leaders of the trip). I told her that I was having doubts. I told her that I really didn't consider myself a Christian because I didn't really act like one, and I felt that this immediately disqualified me from the trip. The message was soaked in doubt and fear and lies about myself. I knew that sending it was a mistake, and that going on the trip would give me the healing I was searching for. 

One week later I found myself in Chisinau, Moldova--it was my last day before heading back for Galati, Romania. I still didn't like the girl in the mirror. And my mind was still bombarded by ugly memories and heavy feelings--yet, I had fallen completely in love with the simplicity around me. But most of all, a young girl had captivated my heart and it was through her that my life was blooming again.

Two weeks later I sat on the floor of the chapel in Galati. It was my turn to tell a group of people my life's testimony. Tears stained my face as I spoke. I would finish a sentence and the translator would gaze at me before he spoke to the teenagers. I would gesture for him to go on, though my honesty weighed down heavily in the small room. The kids just stared at me. There I was--an American girl--wealthy in comparison to the rest of the world, and feeling as though I had no reason to be broken in such an impoverished atmosphere. But I was broken--hell, I felt so humbled facing the kids. There I was crying about something difficult in my life, and yet I will never be able to comprehend the pain and trials that the kids face daily. 

Suddenly my life was no longer something I wanted to be about me. Suddenly I found myself breathing again--slow breaths, but at a pace with perspective. My slate was washed clean because if God was there in the rundown streets of Galati carrying those children, then there was no doubt that he had already carried me and that it was time for me to stand up again and learn to carry others.

My story finished as I met this startling realization.

I recall this moment because it has everything to do with November 16th 2011 & 2012.
The same date of two entirely different years makes a world of difference.
It was in Galati that I found purpose for all of the pain I once felt,
it was in Galati that I forgave several people--including myself. 
I promised God that I would follow wherever he led because I learned the 
beauty of following the only thing that knows creation inside and out. 

Life was beautiful again. After a year and a half of heartache,
and after several years of other dark things, he had finally brought me full circle. 
I landed in America days after releasing my past, and life was easy and good.

I landed back home on a Saturday. I thought that life had thrown me enough curve balls for the time being, and yet three weeks later another would come my way. It was three Saturdays later at the Garlic Festival that I met someone who would become the period to a blessed year.

Tomorrow is November 16th 2013.
-I am nineteen years young.
-I have grown to love someone far more that
the person I once loved in high school. He teaches me how to love
unconditionally and how to respect other people.
-I have returned from Romania and Moldova. Both countries gave me a servant's heart
and a yearning for adventure and discomfort. I have faces and names smeared all over my heart
and I am daily overwhelmed by the evidence of God's unfailing love that I can now see more vividly than before my trip.
-I have learned the importance of forgiveness and I have learned that I, too, am forgiven.
-I have no need to hold on to the past anymore because the future, though uncertain, will come and go as these past two years have.
-I am no longer a missions major but an English major..eeeek!
-I live in Irvine. Holy hell, who would have thought?!
-I am desperately aware of the state of my heart which frightens me entirely! But that's what the world will do to you if you begin to see more of it.

Life is good, and God is good, and His abundant love has filled my days with lessons and gifts that I am unworthy of.
My mind cannot wrap around the transformation of my life these past two years.
I have watched life alter and take--but now it is becoming more rooted, and I realize I have been given so much.

Dear November 16, you will forever be the day that changed my entire course of life. 

With all of the sincerity and love,


*all Romania/Moldova posts can be viewed
here, here, here, here, here, here, here, AND here.

phew, my blog has seen a lot of these countries!

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes a lifechanging moment stays forever in our heart and minds.xx

    dreaming is believing