I went searching for peace, not just any peace but silence yet a word from God. I’m learning more about myself and the uniqueness that makes me, me. Nature calms me down; whether it be looking at birds flying or a duck sticking its head under water and at times just going for a walk brings me serenity. Although I love peace as everyone else does, sometimes my view of peace is not the correct view – I at times think peace can only come about when everything looks and feels dandy and so I’m at peace. The last place I expected to find peace was in the middle of the chaos and what looked like a tornado on the street. I went to this street and the first thing I said out loud was “lawks! what a piece a mess!”, then I told myself that I need to leave quickly cuz I’ll definitely not find peace here. As I got to the middle of the mess, I felt the need to sit, not that I was tired, but I sensed I needed to sit there – so I did. I sat there, looking at the mess and I felt peace. I heard that still small voice, the voice I’ve been searching for in all the prettiness and smooth looking pavement, only to find it amongst the trash flying about and cracked holes in the ground. Similar to the messy street is my life; unmanageable, chaotic and messy but by the grace of God it’s not my identity and it’s not who I am. I asked my Lord what’s the significance of the dried up leaves in this story of my life and at first I thought of dried bones and the prophet Ezekiel but I think God wanted me to take something else from it, something that felt more positive to me – not saying dried bones coming to life isn’t positive but this was at another level for me. Those dried leaves represent the old me; the old pains and way I’d do life, everything that made up the fake me, they were falling off and being thrown away by God. “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten…” – Joel 2:25 this passage has new meaning for me now, I didn’t see how beauty or growth could come from death and pain but somehow it’s rising. That little girl who went to bed with tears in her eyes while trying to be strong for others around her, had no idea it would or could ever get better. I’d pray day after day to this God my parents told me about until I gave up hope on him and the situation getting better, what kind of a God allows abuse and sits silent as his daughter cries out to him for help? Why did he even allow it in the first place? I don’t know all the answers but I do know that the God my parents told me about heard my every cry, he might not have shown up the way I expected or thought I needed, but he showed up every single day and every moment without me even calling him. He said he’d help and he did, he’s helping right now by changing those wrongs done to me and wrongs I witnessed by giving me a voice I thought I didn’t have. What the enemy meant for evil, God has meant for good and he’s turning my pain into life and beauty. The strength I had no idea I had as a little girl has kept me alive, I hid my feelings and tears because it wasn’t safe but now I find it freeing to cry – the one thing I was scared to do, I now find such peace doing. I read in Exodus recently and for the first time I saw Moses’ birth story to be God’s story of remaking and turning things around from death to life. I realized that the source of death, the place and way Moses should’ve died by human and evil’s standards became the place where he was found, rescued, saved, drawn out of and given life. The enemy and Pharaoh wanted him dead but God had a much bigger plan for this little boy, he not only wanted Moses to be alive and to be found but he wanted to use him to set his people free from slavery and bondage. Moses being born in a race that was looked down upon by the leader of that day didn’t stop what God had planned for him, being a Hebrew boy wasn’t going to stand in the way of God’s plan, being adopted and thrown away in a basket on the River Nile didn’t disqualify him from the calling God placed on his life – God saw him and knew from day one that he would be used for great things no matter what was done to him or what he did to others. He restored what the locusts had eaten in Moses’ life as well as the Israelites who were enslaved for what looks to be over 400 years and he still does that today. I wish the younger me knew things would get better, but I guess if I did I wouldn’t have prayed and I wouldn’t have done dumb things that brought me to God, I wouldn’t have used the strength God has given to me if I knew tomorrow would be okay, I learnt to fight because I wanted to survive and that I did. Recently I’ve been thanking my younger self for being so brave, courageous and such a fighter, those qualities in me kept me going and still keeps me going, but it all started with that little girl who’d be so scared she’d bite all her nails off till they’d bleed and become sore and fall asleep with her thumb in her mouth. I thank God for using those qualities in me during that time, I see it now as another training experience that lasted longer than I’d hoped but to become a master at anything I need to fully train and that training will keep going because I’m always learning new things and climbing new mountains.