Untangling the Past

Updated: Feb 1

We come to understand our pasts through intentional efforts. Patti Garibay shares how she came to understand - and tell - her story through untangling her past.


Untangling the Past

By Patti Garibay

"When are you going to write your book?" so many have asked over the years.

"Someday," was my typical response.

Honestly, I never really thought I would. I recall Ernest Hemingway's advice to writers. "Write hard and clear about what hurts." I feared unraveling the threads of my past and exposing myself to the pain and heartache I'd spent much of my life working to overcome.

As I have looked back at the experiences in my life, I have realized in the midst of the tangles, God's plan for my life was similar to the creation of a tapestry. In Colossians 2:2, Paul says, "I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God."

Looking back, I realized that as young parents, my husband and I did not understand the nature of God and his desire for us to be in relationship with him. We were masters of rationalization who refused to acknowledge that faith was integral to a joy-filled life. However, the Master Weaver knew our needs before we did. He artfully crafted events to occur that led us to an understanding of the depth and breadth of the love our Father has for his children.

One of those events was a literal life and death experience which the Lord used to bring us into relationship with him. Our first born had a tragic accident which led to the development of an inoperable cerebral hematoma which caused her to have seizures and affected her cognitive ability. Before my eyes, in a matter of minutes, I saw my daughter's bright future and dreams dashed to a future of hospitalizations and a life that consisted of months rather than years. It was there, in a sterile room at Children's Hospital, my sweet tiny four-year-old sleeping in an oversized bed, surrounded by the hiss of breathing machines and clicking monitors, that I gave my life to Christ fully and without reservation. In that season, God showed our family that he is, indeed, in control. He miraculously healed our sweet girl. The doctors could give us no medical explanation, but her inoperable cerebral hematoma disappeared. What a mighty God we serve!

I have since dedicated my life to the spiritual formation of girls everywhere so that they see the relevance and the importance of faith and a relationship with Jesus at a young age - something that was missing in my own experience. My daughter deserved a momma who loved the Lord and knew her identity was with him - and so do all girls.

The tapestry of love God has woven for each of us is unique, and each an incredible work from a creative Maker. As humans, we often see only the back side of our tapestry - a jumbled mess of threads and knots that make no sense whatsoever. It is by faith that we know that in God's perfect timing, he will allow us to see the beautiful work of art that is our life, and the reasons for certain threads to color its fabric.

By writing my memoir and "writing clear and hard about what hurts," I have untangled the layers of my story. I have realized that redemption has made a life that was simply ashes into something beautiful. And I encourage you to do the same. Tell your story. Glorify God through it.

Patti Garibay is the Founder and Executive Director of the national character development organization, American Heritage Girls. She is also the author of the newly released book,Why Curse the Darkness, When You Can Light A Candle? Patti and her four siblings were raised by a disabled father who lived with MS for forty years before his death in 2004. His encouraging attitude of "why curse the darkness when you can light a candle" inspired Patti as she founded the faith-based interdenominational alternative to the Girl Scouts in 1995. She served American Heritage Girls as its first President and Executive Director. Patti and her husband, Pat, are blessed with four grown children, three girls and a boy, six grandsons and three granddaughters. 

© Elisa Morgan 2020

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