BOOM! That explosion? Just my life. I built the bomb. I lit the fuse and the blast radius was huge, the shrapnel penetrating everywhere. I looked around at the carnage, the wounded, the demolition and wondered, "How do I put this back together? How do I rebuild? How do I reclaim? How do I redeem?" The answer? I don't... WE do! I cannot list everyone who has traveled to Charltonville for disaster relief but here are some of the key players:
A wife who says, "I have never stopped loving you!" A wife who knows how to love, to REALLY love. A wife, who although unable to trust you at first, says, "I will trust in God and the resurrection of Jesus Christ." A wife who will risk her heart, her soul and her future again. A wife who not only understands grace and mercy but who oozes it out her pores everyday.
Friends who not only like to hang out and laugh together but who are in it for the long haul, who lay their life down in front of you and say, "Walk on me if you have to. We can take it." Friends who decide that they'd rather love you like family than acquaintances. Friends to whom I owe my life.
Looong time soul brothers (and sisters) who clear the schedule and reorder their world to clean up your crap...not only because they love you, but because they believe in you, because they act like they need you, and because they celebrate you.
Adopted parents who say, "We will carry you right now with hope and joy. We will make sure on a daily basis that you know we are thinking about you and cheering for you." People who when you think they cannot give anymore surprise you again... and again.
Parents who love you more than you know, more than they can express, who cry over you, who welcome you home and hold you as you scream out the pain, who fight for you, pray for you, never give up on you.
Sisters who believe in you, who know who you really are, who believe in who you are and not what you have done, who hope for you.
In-laws who set aside the great pain you have caused them, the pain they have seen their daughter suffer and welcome you into their house as a son. In-laws who will fight for your marriage.
A brother-in-law who sets anger aside, puts the past behind him, and offers forgiveness with this simple phrase, "Glad you are back!"
Friends who, in spite of the massive scar on your face, choose to focus their eyes on the features behind it and say, "We know who you are!"
Second chances don't come from repentance. Second chances come because a community offers it and then serves as the foundation upon which it is built. There are so many more, so many more... thank you!