“Remember these things, Jacob, for you, Israel, are my servant. I have made you, you are my servant; Israel, I will not forget you." Isaiah 44:21
“ What would you want to hear your parents say to you if you could talk to them about this?” Without hesitation came the reply, “ I would like to hear them say, “ I’m sorry ’.” Those particular parents had been addicts, and that addiction had greatly impacted the lives of their two children-me, and my sister.
Seven years later, I was invited on a retreat. Eager to be spiritually fed, I accepted the invitation that eventually led to my commitment of conversion. On that retreat, someone shared how they were a recovering alcoholic and their regret of the effect it had on their children. I briefly shared my own experience during a private conversation, commending this person for living a life of sobriety. “ You know, your parents were probably so messed up that they did not even realize what they were doing, so from a father to a daughter, I’m sorry.” As he hugged me, I thought to myself, “Huh, I was not expecting that.” And yet, ‘that’ was nothing compared to what was to come. A woman who had been sitting at my table shared her story of drug use and recovery, tearfully recounting how the demon of addiction had torn her family apart. Wanting to give her hope, I shared how I believed God had protected me throughout my life, and that I felt like I was ok and did not hold a grudge against my parents. As we embraced, she sobbed, “ From a mother to a daughter, I’m sorry.” I whispered, “ From a daughter, to a mother, I forgive you.” Only then did I grasp the miracle that had just happened. Those words that I had uttered in a passing conversation some seven years earlier turned out to be a healing desire straight from my heart-a desire that the Lord had just gifted to me. I had long forgotten about those words, but the Lord did not. Instead, He planned for all of time for this precise moment. He waited until I was ready to seek Him with all my heart, until I would recognize Him in those people, and until I was ready to extend His love and forgiveness as a daughter to both of them. He didn’t do that for His sake, He did it for mine so that I could hear what He had been saying to me for so long- ”Audra, I love you. I know your suffering. I will never leave you nor forsake you. I hear you, I see you, I have called you by name, and you are mine.” Truly that was the moment I knew I could trust our God, our Father, with my whole heart.
Ironically, a public position of leadership can be quite lonely. Leaders are called to set the example and make the hard decisions. We can be in a room full of people yet feel unseen, unheard, and under-appreciated. We can begin to wonder if God really hears us, or express long forgotten desires knowing that God ‘can’ but not fully expecting that He WILL. The truth is that God knows, sees, hears, and loves YOU. He thinks of you, he delights in you, and He wants His ultimate good for you. Remember that. He also desires to equip you for the calling he has placed on your life. Prayerfully consider how God may be responding to your needs on this journey through connection with Five Stone. As an ED, I received Ashley’s emails for about a year before I took that next step. I mean, who has time for some-‘thing’ else? I was also hesitant to ask the board, and couldn’t believe how easily they agreed to invest in this resource for me. Over time, it became clear that mentorship was the answer to more than a few questions and prayers. Now I am privileged to walk alongside others. Click below to learn more about our team, book your free session, and let God speak to you through that conversation. We have dedicated our lives to serving the Lord and His leaders. YOU are worth that investment.
Though I sometimes forget, I know that I can trust Him with my hopes and dreams, my plans, and my hurts-and you can too.