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The two most significant seasons of my adult life each spanned a period of three years, and changed my life in ways I never knew were possible. The first thousand-day-period began as a wasteland of emotional confusion and spiritual crisis, and ended with profoundly sweet experiences with God, right smack dab in the middle of my most destructive life choices. Never in a million years would I have expected to hear such a kind and compassionate voice speaking so tenderly to my wayward heart. It never occurred to me that I could fail so miserably and still be so completely loved.

I had planned to write a book about that Journey of a Thousand Days, but failed attempts crushed my confidence, confirming what I already believed about myself: I would never fulfill my potential or succeed at anything. There was something wrong with me, and no amount of trying harder would ever change it. I had tried. I had failed. End of story.

Buried in the shame of incompetence, financial difficulties, and continued fallout from my identity crisis, I retreated deeper and deeper into isolation, skirting challenges to hide my ineptness, and fading more and more into the shadows of my own life. It was terrifying…and traces of panic pound in my chest, even now, as I write this. I truly did not know what would become of me, or how to change the dangerous direction I was headed.

This was my story when I arrived at the ACTS House…exactly three years ago. It was a story I never would have imagined for myself, and no one else would have suspected either from outward appearances. But God knew, and He also knew exactly what I needed… so He led me into the wilderness again {literally this time…to Elizabeth, Co.} for another thousand-day-journey every bit as profound as the first. He had won my heart during the first desert experience. Now it was time to free me from the shame that shrouded my true identity and kept me from open, honest, and authentic relationships He designed me to enjoy.

The thought of being noticed and known, without the cover of life-long patterns of protection, was frightening…but I had reached the end of own devices once again, and knew there was nowhere to turn except to God…and the home He had prepared for me.

And so it happened that, over the next thousand days, my story was completely re-written as I experienced love in totally new and unexpected ways. Even though, I felt safe with the kind and merciful God I had come to know in my previous “journey of a thousand days,” the opposite was true when it came to less perfect beings who might ridicule or reject me for all the same reasons I rejected myself. Without facing this core fear and my lingering shame, I would continue to sabotage the life I truly longed for and the dreams I had long-since abandoned.

The ACTS family truly loved me back to life over the past three years. By seeing the person God created me to be, believing in the life that was possible for me, and challenging me to take intentional steps toward my potential and purpose, Stan and Cindy modeled a completely different way of living for me, with an unbridled view of God and myself. It honestly never occurred to me that my life could be so full of possibilities…or myself so full of potential and promise. I never knew…’til now.

The Nest became such a true home for me that I couldn’t imagine leaving the safety and freedom it provided…until the timing was so undeniably right that we all knew it. {And even then, it took a little nudge for me to finally take flight.} God settled me in the perfect home and family for a season, and I will miss them dearly…but I’m also thrilled to feather my own nest again. It’s been a long time, and I look forward to welcoming others into my home the way the Bullis family welcomed me into theirs.

Our stories rarely turn out the way we imagine, but a much better story usually plays in the background just waiting to be told, heard, and embraced. That’s what this next season will be for me — a time to tell stories of a good, good Father who calls captives out of their prisons and hiding places into homes filled with a love they didn’t know existed, where they experience family in unexpected ways, and learn truths that launch them into a life they never knew was possible.

For those of you who find this hard to believe, I’m here to tell you, I never knew it was possible either… until now. The whole point of my story is to share it with you so you’re as convinced as I am, because once it becomes your own story, it’s yours forever…to tell others who need to hear it.

To those who have helped me hear and embrace my true story, I love you…and am forever grateful to you and for you.