God Rescues Messy People
by Irene Garcia
Every story has a hero. Without a hero, there really isn’t a story.
A true hero—in a story and in real life—is somebody who steps out bravely into a very difficult or frightening situation. They do something that makes the rest of us look on with awe. A hero performs amazing acts—that are not truly required of them—yet they do it anyway out of their strong moral character. This is the person the story is really about. In our story, God is the hero. Without him there would be no story.
Our story is messy. We are simple people. We didn’t go to college. We didn’t learn how to do everything right. As a matter of fact, we did just about everything wrong and out of order. If I hadn’t gotten pregnant at age sixteen, I never would have married Domingo. And if God hadn’t sent a woman name Mary Barshaw into my life, I wouldn’t have stayed married. Back then, Domingo was my best friend—until he drank. And when he drank, he was someone else. He was mean, quick tempered, and physically abusive.
Domingo was a young boy who couldn’t control his drinking or his anger. I was a strong-willed girl who would lose control of her tongue. Domingo would get violent and I would get mouthy. Many nights he came home late from drinking and hurt me physically and emotionally. I learned early on I couldn’t match him physically, so my words became my weapon. The next morning when he was sober I made sure to hurt him by spewing the most wicked and vile words I could think of. It gave me an odd sense of satisfaction to be able to pierce his heart. He broke my nose. I broke his heart.
Now we are nothing like those young, confused kids who married at sixteen and stumbled a lot on our way through life. We have changed drastically. But someone told me that the darker the darkness, the greater the miracle of change. And because it was nothing short of a miracle that changed us, I am willing to write about the deep darkness because that draws attention to the real hero of our story—God.
Not only is our story messy, but the stories of our children are a muddled mess. I said we are simple people. But we know one thing—God resurrects the broken things; that which was dead: a heart, a marriage, a family. He resurrects these children out of the ashes. Out of the horrors from which they grew up. Domingo and I are just the fortunate ones who get to stand and watch in awe the work of our God.
Trouble and difficulty often surround us. We are tired and worn out. We fall on our knees in a dark closet to plead with God for wisdom, for help in caring for so many broken children. And yet, we are rich in love. I don’t know why, but God chose to bring us these little ones to love and cherish. And how can you say no to God? God’s gifts don’t always come in ways we expect. But saying yes and accepting his gifts are the only ways for God to be the hero of the story.
~ Excerpt from Rich In Love by Irene Garcia with Lissa Halls Johnson