I always order lime with my water. I’m sure that I am not a favorite patron of wait staff across this great city, I have to be “that girl”…I can’t just be easy and get lemons like the rest of the table. That however, is precisely how I prefer to drink my water; I find it unique, glamorous, and altogether more refreshing. It’s part of who I am, it’s on the great list of quirks, oddities and particulars that make up Sarah Belle, or if you’re my mother: Sarah Elizabeth Ruth Adele Stonier. Yeah, had to be “that girl” with 5 names too…. There’s other things on the list that compile the portrait of who I am; I love socks fresh out of the dryer, I enjoy breathing in the scent of old books, I could eat avocadoes for days, I hate salads because I personally feel they are too cumbersome to be eaten gracefully, I am notorious for forgetting to RSVP, I over think just about everything, and so on and so forth. Each of us has those lists and it’s what makes us such a brilliant tapestry of creation that could only have been designed and woven together. With our lists, come our stories, and with our stories come our pasts, and the years that have already slipped between the slender turn of the hourglass. The compilation of those years is different for everyone, yet none are without a purpose, and each story is written and given to who was intended to bear it. In college I was able to share my story over and over again to groups of young people, I was thankful to see God work in their hearts and continue to draw beauty from ashes. But it was always easy to bare your soul to a group of strangers you would never see again, I would cast the seeds from my satchel and bid the field farewell. However, being in the business that I am today ( ie: “public figure” Miss Walking Tall) it was only a matter of time before God moved to shine a spotlight though I had already left the stage. My dear friend and pageant sister Miss Nashville, Chelsea Jensen felt called to use my testimony for the subject matter in her journalism project. We both agreed that the purpose behind this joint venture was to glorify Jesus Christ and how the hand of God had moved within my life. She did a wonderful job, and I look forward to her career and how she will one day take the ranks of our personal favorites; Diane Sawyer and Anderson Cooper! But, the moment she posted the link my heart began to race and I quickly realized how large the fear of man was in my heart. These were not strangers whose faces I would never know listening, these were people who were an every day part of my life, people I worked with, laughed with and worshipped with. Not only that but people who might see it knew my mom, was it my place to share the details of her story though there is hardly a way to unclasp hers from my own?
I’ve never liked the limelight…I know that’s a strange statement from a girl who thrives on performance, the theater, beauty pageants and singing in front of large audiences but it’s so entirely different. On stage I can’t see peoples faces, there’s variants of shadows and I’m looking into the lights, the applause is more like leaves rustling in the wind and the stage is more a place of solitude for me than it is of celebratory status. Off the stage, it’s intimate, it’s raw, it’s real life. And if you know me well or spent any amount of time with me you’ve observed that I’m quiet and reserved and get an uncomfortable feeling when Chad Ridner calls on me to talk at Care Group. (Which is precisely why he does it…) It took me 4 years to muster up the courage to even write this blog! I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m painfully shy, but I am definitely not an effervescent, sparkling, outspoken lass either. So you realize why my nerves kicked in when the off stage, intimate details of my life became public domain. Yet scripture says, be anxious of nothing, let the peace of God guard my heart. Then people started responding, and reposting, and rejoicing not in my strength, but in Gods! The very reason why I’d agreed to do it in the first place! The reason is this, ultimately the spotlight is not shining on me, I am merely holding it and shining it back on to the Father. My Abba. His faithfulness is more assured than the sunrise, His friendship is more intimate than a brothers, His freedom is the greatest peace you could ever know.
To those of you who have seen it, or who will watch the video link below. I’d like to speak more in depth on my mother, especially because today is Mothers Day, and she deserves to be honored, because at the end of the day, she’s still my mom. I forgave her, I love her with all my heart. She never told me I couldn’t be anything I dreamed to be, and always told me she was my biggest fan. The abuse I speak of was not premeditated, but moments of rage and weakness from an exhausted woman battling the trials of her own story and the effects of a then undiagnosed illness outside her control. I won’t dilute the facts of my childhood, I won’t trivialize the pain of watching the horrors of a mental illness but it has no power over me. It is only by Gods grace that I’ve been given the clarity to see that, the desire to pray for her, and the strength to forgive her. Happy Mothers Day Mom, I love you!
In the title of this blog it states “the love of my mothers”, and that’s precisely because I’m lucky enough to have two. When I had nowhere to go, Robin Gorki opened up her heart and home to me, the entire Gorki family has adopted me as one of their own. My childhood photo hangs in their house, where before it would have laid in a box or found its way to the trash, I have a bedroom in their home, I have a seat at their table. Their love for me has only more beautifully displayed the adoptive love of my Heavenly Father. In Robin, He’s given me someone to call home to about boys, about work, about friends, about my greatest fears and my biggest hopes. Happy Mothers Day Mom, I love you!
And Happy Mothers Day to all the moms out there, not just the many women in my life who bless my heart and invest in my soul but every single woman out there who tirelessly loves their children, and day in and day out give of themselves for their families. Enjoy today; the breakfasts made for you in bed, the goofy cards, the delicately wrapped boxes. Enjoy today; the blessings of your family, the Sunday afternoon brunch, enjoy being treasured, and while you’re at it, go ahead, order your water with lime.
"This is my anthem, this is my songThe theme of the stories I've heard for so long
God has been faithful, He will be again
His loving compassion, it knows no end"