I'm here in Kosciusko for the week and realized this evening that it's been several days since an update. So, as I was frying bacon for a soup tonight, I called Jen to check in. Oh, to be able to jump through the phone and be there with her! At the sound of her voice, I instantly wanted to pack my bags and make the drive. But, as she and I were talking, Matthew walked in the kitchen and reminded me never to fry bacon naked (apparently something his dad used to say and, for the record, I was fully clothed...), and I was reminded of how good it is to be at home. Even though my heart aches to be with her when I'm at home, it still longs to be here with him when I'm away. So, during this "life divided" I'm leading, I have to make the most of the time I'm given with each of them because, no matter who I'm with, I only have a few days to spend with either one.
Since I'm in Kosciusko for this post, I thought I'd write on things of home. I usually log my days here with an asterisk by 'things that would interest Jen,' so that when I go back to her I can share my experiences and encounters. Thinking over the course of the last two months, three particular encounters kept jumping out in my mind...
Encounter 1, The Fragile: "He's got your hair numbered!"
Early on, when faced with the certainty of Jen losing her hair, a friend reminded me of a couple verses that reference I AM's concern with our hair...
"Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered..." Luke 12:7
"But not a hair of your head will perish." Luke 21:18
She was quick to point out that, yes, He does indeed know the very number of hairs on our head but there's so much more to it than that! Not one strand falls to the floor without His acute awareness of it. He cares that much about me that even things like my hair matter to Him. For as much as His majesty is unfathomable, His love for me is just as unmatchable. He knows my fragility and takes it upon Himself to keep a play by play on every little thing going on with me. Nothing happens to me, not my hair perishing and not life-threatening disease, without first passing through the hands of Abba and getting his fatherly approval.
Encounter 2, The Broken: "You live long enough, you will encounter heartbreak."
It is a very real, inescapable thing in life- given enough days here on this fallen planet and my heart will literally ache inside me from the brokeness I will cause, endure, or be subjected to. This heartbreak can be a good thing. If I will let it. To experience real-life heartbreak, the kind that leads me to the brink of despair, can be a life-changing kind of a good thing if I will not suppress it. What's 'bad' in the temporary can have 'good' eternal ramifications. Bad things, terrible things even, can become good things when placed in the right hands- the Lord's...
I have had a few experiences in life that have left me utterly broken. Broken in so many tiny pieces, that I truly thought there was nothing left to break. I was sharing this with my younger sister one afternoon and she reminded me of all the bones I've broken in my lifetime. "Remember, Lauren, when you broke a bone, it was set and healed to be stronger than it had been before the break." Lightbulb moment. I got the metaphor. God will allow my heart to be broken into so many pieces, in fact, that only He can put it back together. And when He puts it back together, it's stronger and better than it was before the break.
Encounter 3, The Blind: "Read John 9."
I was left with those words running through my mind all day until I could get home to do just that, "Read John 9."
"As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been born blind. His followers asked him, 'Teacher, whose sin caused this man to be born blind- his own sin or his parents' sin?' Jesus answered, 'It is not this man's sin or his parents' sin that made him be blind. This man was born blind so that God's power could be shown in Him.'" verses 1-3
Now, the rest of the chapter is excellent. I don't mean to shortchange it. But I had to stop after just those three verses because they are incredibly powerful. In my customary way, I have a sort of checks and balances system for nearly everything. I make sense of things based on cause and effect. I touch the hot pot; it burns me. I speed down the highway; I try to talk my way out of it. I stay up too late typing on the computer; my eye twitches the whole next day.
Jesus' followers are doing the same thing here. That man's blind; his sin or his parents' sin must be the cause of it. They got the effect right. It was the cause they had ALL wrong.
"This man was born blind so that God's power could be shown in Him."
That man was born, a precious baby, blind. Eyes, yes; sight, no. Life spent wondering what his mother's face, a sunset, or just a bowl of soup looked like. No sight for all his life. So that, in this particular moment in history when Jesus just happened to be walking along that road, Jesus could heal him and His glory and power be displayed. I don't know about you, but I highly doubt Jesus just happened to be walking down that particular road that day.
I love this story. I'd love to chat with this fella because I'd like to know- did he ever say, "Why did I have to be the one born blind? Why me?" Or, did he say, "Wow. God chose me. God picked me to heal. God used my ailment to make Himself known. God let me be the one He shined through that day on the roadside." What a high and holy blindness this man was born with.
Sometimes God allows things, crummy things from my limited viewpoint, into my life so that His power, majesty, glory, sovereignty...(the list goes on, I'll stop here for now) may be displayed. God, in all His matchless glory, wants to display Himself in my puny little life. Because He doesn't think it's puny, and He doesn't think it's little.
He knows it's fragile and broken and blind, and He doesn't give up on it. It still matters to Him. He wants to use it anyway. And He loves taking the fragile and the broken and the blind, and rebuilding something strong and mended with vision restored- something magnificent. If I will only take it and place it in His hands.
The update from Jen- Having some headaches and backaches. She said the docs felt the headaches were nothing out of the ordinary. She went for another lumbar puncture today and will go Friday to have her PICC-line put in. The chemotherapy that was to be administered this week has just been pushed back a week so she will begin, this coming Monday, on the next round of chemo. Please pray that the headaches and backaches will subside so that she may rest at home. Her chemo will be given out-patient, which is certainly a blessing. Pray that the Lord will continue to show Himself strong for her fragile body.
The Vandy Verse:
I begged the Lord three times to take this problem away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is enough for you. When you are weak, my power is made perfect in you." So I am very happy to brag about my weaknesses. Then Christ's power can live in me. For this reason I am happy when I have weaknesses, insults, hard times, sufferings, and all kinds of troubles for Christ. Because when I am weak, then I am truly strong. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10