What can I say to fully encapsulate how special this past Sunday in Austin, Texas was for me? I love this city. It’s been 9 years since the last time I was invited to sing here-and with a long history of relationships with pastors in the region-it has also been a source of some of my deepest church hurts following my very public and painful divorce.
At the same time it is the city that brought my sweet Allen Rigg to me and the place where we found the courage to pursue our dreams of love, hope, and ministry together. The place where we met more than 18 years ago in the lobby of the church he’d planted. The city where my parents and I sought refuge after years of trauma slogging through the criminal justice system over crimes committed against my young daughter. The place where one man welcomed us with open arms-while others blogged scornfully about my daughter and I. It’s a mix of emotions that I probably needed 9 long years of personal strength building in order to feel safe enough to publicly tell my story…in this city.
As I stepped on the stage yesterday at one of the largest churches in Austin-I felt some nerves, but also intense gratefulness. With every “welcome back” there is healing for me. Literally stepping on the ground where I can see in a physical manifestation the grace of God to restore what has been lost. Looking out at the eclectic group of Austinites all there to worship as one body-tattoos and all-seeing familiar faces and sensing their desire for us to succeed. Oh what that does for a weary soul to be reminded that “God loves you and so do we!”
It was also amazing to see my dear husband, whom I believe loves this city and it’s inhabitants more than any other Texan in the history of time, tell HIS story of great loss, struggle, and restoration. He lives every day heroically and yesterday was no exception. I’m so proud of him 🙂
So thank you Austin. Thank you for being a reminder of God’s grace, mercy, and healing in my life. I hope you always stay ‘weird’ because this life is one big beautiful weird mess, but it’s OUR mess.
Thank you Dr. Kie Bowman, Hyde Park Baptist Church, and Fox7 ‘Good Day Austin’, for giving Allen Rigg and I a voice. It means the world.