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Pretty Boxes

I love pretty boxes with pretty bows and paper. I love the misery and suspense of taking off the bow, slowly opening the top, listening to the sound of the paper unwrap, and peering inside. Oh! It makes me giddy!

I used to like the idea of another type of box, too. The ones that I thought created safety in my life. I compartmentalized everything nice and neat in their perspective boxes. My marriage. My children. My family. My friends. My beliefs. All fit into their own pretty, little boxes. Until they didn’t.

In 2017, I found my life wouldn't fit in a pretty, little box with a big, red bow. This lesson came in the form of my child.

We were having a hard season in life. We had just moved … again. My husband was often traveling out of the country. Collectively we were “not great.” Everyday was a challenge - mentally, physically, and emotionally. All of us had some physical or mental-health issue.

The holidays were around the corner and my family was coming to visit. I was trying to be excited but was nervous. Honestly, I was fearful of what they would think about the unconventional health treatment we had chosen for one of our kids.

One night we were having a discussion. My son said, “It seems to me you are more concerned about what others will think than what is best for our family or me!” Boom....my box exploded!

He was right. I was so consumed by how I looked to EVERYONE ELSE. What they would think and what their opinions might be was forefront in my mind. I had shoved to the side the decision we made about what was best for our family. He felt hurt, angry, and alone in that moment. And as his mama … I was crushed.

We talked. I apologize. And I prayed a lot.

We walked into that holiday season together. Having open conversations about decisions we made and why they were best for us.

Y’all, it was healing for me. It gave me the confidence and courage to speak the things I believed even if others didn’t. It gave me the confidence and courage to say my life is messy. And it doesn't always fit nice and neat into pretty, little boxes. And that’s okay. I continually have to be mindful of what God has called me to do above all else... to be obedient to His call on my life. He is the compass that does not fail.

Our boxes don’t have to be shiny and bright and delightful to the outsider. Sometimes they are weathered, torn and dilapidated. Inside you find strength, courage, and bravery waiting to emerge.

Written by Darnette Hoag

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