Eight years ago, I was faced with a decision. I needed a new hairbrush, so I went to the store and searched for a style similar to the one I was retiring. Finding a suitable successor, I reached out to make my selection. Then, as I held it in my hand, I had a hairbrush epiphany.
I could go ahead and buy the one I had selected, or . . . I could choose a completely different brush. I could choose one that did more than brush my hair. My new hairbrush could be the first tangible evidence of a decision I had recently made to create a new life.
Energized by this new-found realization, I looked upon the array of merchandise with fresh eyes. No ordinary hairbrush would do now. I had to find one that meant something. Regular and plain and usual were now completely out of the question.
When a purple beauty caught my eye, I was intrigued. It was a different shape than my usual brushes. It was bigger than my usual brushes. And it was more colorful than any hairbrush that had ever graced my bathroom shelf. This was a hairbrush capable of ushering in regeneration and renewal!
I did not decide to divorce my husband of 21 years in the hairbrush aisle of Bi-Mart. No, that decision had been made earlier. Being a faithful, committed and insanely hopeful person, I had prayed for the past two decades for a better outcome.
I suppose I was hoping for a miracle. Eventually, I came to realize that although I had married my husband, he had never really married me. When I saw either I was going to die, or my marriage was going to die, I reluctantly chose the death of the marriage.
My children understood, for they were suffering, too. My closest friends understood, for they had journeyed with me through the trials of life and knew my heart. Then, there were those I expected to support me, but who surprisingly and painfully did not.
When I was saying goodbye to my elderly neighbor before I moved away, she told me something profound. She said, “Honey, sometimes we go through things only Jesus and our mama will understand.”
I think of her words often and am sure now Jesus did understand. Not only that, he championed my cause. The life I had only fantasized about — the life filled with love, peace, kindness and goodness, where I could freely be myself and freely pursue my dreams — I got that life!
It was as if God himself reached down from heaven and picked me up out of an angry, ugly place and plopped me down into a peaceful, beautiful place in the blink of an eye. What really blew my socks off was how I was given the house of my dreams.
It was not a mansion in the foothills by any means. No, the house of my dreams was a tiny little place completely lacking curb appeal. Yet, it was absolutely perfect for me!
After entering through the gate, the quaint little Japanese garden was an oasis of beauty and tranquility. Dogwood and wisteria joined bamboo, miniature maples, and a variety of flowering plants. The low maintenance yard meant my spare time could be spent not on chores, but on healing.
The day we moved in, my daughter named it Peacitopia. To me, it felt like a genuine miracle. It was not the miracle I had been praying for all those years, but that’s okay. God still intervened on my behalf and he intervened grandly!
At first, I felt guilty for being so happy. But then I was reminded if I allow guilt to rob me of joy, the gift I was given would be wasted. So I lifted up my chin, gave deep, heartfelt thanks for my new circumstances, and began to create the life I always dreamed of living.
There have been many ups and downs since then. It hasn’t been an easy journey, but God has been faithful. He always provides what I need, and it is always beyond my expectations.
I no longer live in that tiny house, but I am still surrounded by beauty that feeds my soul. Now, eight years later, I am reminded all journeys begin with a single step. And sometimes, that single step begins with a hairbrush.
Note: the image above is my quaint little Japanese garden that came with the tiny house. I miss it sometimes, but the kitchen didn’t even have an oven!