8/29/08

Of Life and Loss and A Bring It On Kind Of Hope

Today was my 5K. I was going to run it pregnant. They say it's fine to run these things pregnant as long as you don't get out of breath. The night before the rupture I ran the race in its entirety in a hefty 45 min. I was barely jogging, but I wanted to protect our little one. I felt strong and healthy and amazing.

Twenty eight hours later, my feet couldn't hold me. I reeled from pain, head spinning, eyes unable to focus. The doctors first diagnosed me with food poisoning, then gas. I was sure hoping for monstrous gas, as that would mean that I hadn't food poisoned our family (or Aunt Suzy) or lost a baby.

When we heard the latter, our hearts sank. I couldn't stop wiping away tears. As they wheeled me into surgery (which was sort of fun- they rammed me into a door) I remember praying for Jesus to hold my hand. I'm sure this was anesthesia driven, but I thought he laughed and said that my hand wasn't good enough. He was going to hold me. Weird stuff.

When I woke, I felt somewhat hopeless. At the same time, I felt the God of all hope carry me through something that I didn't think I was strong enough to handle. Maybe it was the morphine or maybe it was some crazy infusion of the Hulk, but the first tangible words I remember thinking were, "Bring it on."

Me? Bring it on? Who did I think I was? I'm a wimp about all things. But all of a sudden it was like I knew Who God was. He felt stronger to me than ever, more real, more there, more present, more good. I felt like with God I could tackle the world. He gave me grit and hope to fight stuff bigger than me. Not me alone. But, God with me. Together. Bring it on wasn't taunting more pain to come my way. But it was my way of saying, "Hurt just blasted you. But you're going to make it. And you don't have to do it alone." Bring it on.

Remember the first diagnosis as food poisoning? It wasn't out of the question as I've food poisoned people before. Okay, maybe just one. My roommate Andrea when we lived in Korea. But it was just an innocent mishap with frozen pizza. Anyway, I thought my lack of culinary skills had struck again.

The afternoon before the rupture, I had made Paul's great aunt a bunch of mini chicken pot pies. While I was chopping carrots, I couldn't get these words out of my head. Assuming they were for Aunt Suzy, I wrote them down in a little card and sent it with the meal. What I didn't realize was that those words were also for me.

If God is for us, who can be against us?
Who (or what) shall separate us from the love of Christ?

In the book of Romans, Paul says that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Not trouble, hard times, persecution, famine, nakedness, violence...not death nor life, not now or later, not anything.

So I began to think. If no pain in this world can separate us from His love, then every pain in this world can cement us to His love. Not so much the pain in and of itself, but what He does with the pain. How He heals it. How He loves us through it. How He holds out hope if we are willing to open our hands and accept it.

And come on now, though this ordeal was bad in my eyes, it's nothing in comparison to the hurts around me. There are widows and orphans and displaced people groups and single moms working their tales off and HIV ravaging a continent. There are slaves and children in a messed up foster care system and teenagers trying to find their way. There are homeless families and dads burying sons too early and marriages falling apart and thousands of children dying today cause of the food crisis. And then there's my neighbor and I've heard her crying next door.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

My Jesus' love is the only thing that can heal any of my scars. All of the physical ones outside of my ability to control. And all of the self-inflicted ones from past failures, fears, and forgetting a very real God who wanted me to know Him. Not simply as Savior, but more completely as Lord. He has made me whole. But it would be a travesty to hoard this healing for myself.

He has come that we might have life and have it to the full. But when you're scarred by the brokenness of this world, sometimes you can't see beyond your own pain. That's why we need to meet people where they're at, where their scars are. John Perkins says that we need to be sensitive to people's needs as they define them. "Their needs as they feel them. And we love them around their needs." This takes more listening than talking, more seeking to understand than striving to be understood, more getting dirty in the trenches than appearing clean in the pews.

It's ladling soup at the homeless shelter and searching for lice in unclean hair. It's buying new clothes for children at the trailer park so that they can look nice when they go back to school. It's giving money to organizations that help fight child trafficking, because children deserve the right to be children. It's hearing the same old story from your grandfather, because he doesn't have anyone else who will listen. It's seeing with your own eyes what is going on in Africa. It's adopting a child from India or rescuing one from the foster care system. It's loving the children you've got like crazy, even when you don't feel like it.

It's messy and inconvenient and sacrificial and more than you want to know and tiresome. This is love. This is what Jesus came for. He consistently met people where they were and sometimes just offered water. Then He shared with them their real need for Himself -for the author of life to heal deep, brutal scars, hidden in their hearts. By His wounds we are healed.

I'm not sure how you're scarred today. But every hurt matters to a God of love. I'm not sure who around you is crying. But if you have been healed by Jesus, there is no greater honor than to give your Hope away. Maybe physically first, then spiritually. No matter what kind of hideous pain is standing in front of us, we can say, "Bring it on," cause we don't go it alone. We hold a God sized strength inside us, a God sized hope, a God sized love that can heal any wound.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This is my beautiful Savior.

7 comments:

brandy said...

You amaze me. And all I can say through my tears is "Bring it on". I am so proud to call you my sister in Christ Jesus.

I love you.

EEEEMommy said...

God's grace is shining through you so beautifully in this post! May He continue to strengthen you! You inspire all of us to rest in His loving embrace and shout, "Bring it on!"

You are in my prayers!

Grace and Peace,
Angel

Eowyn said...

Came here from Eeemommy. Thank you for that post. I needed to read it today.

Angela; said...

I, too, came from Angel's blog. Your post is just what I needed this very day. Thank you.

Emily said...

I'm visiting from Angels blog...your post brought tears to my eyes. beautiful stuff. Beautiful Savior indeed.

jillian4 said...

Yes I too came from Angel's post. Girl you have such faith and such soul. God is using you to "wake us up" It is amazing that God would speak to you in that way for you to type those words when you yourself are suffering. God knows us, He knows each of our needs and wants. Your post is so true. While at this time God used you to speak to me as well. I am having a terrible time with some issues, but God has used people, blogs, etc to show me He has it under control. I want to fix my situation but I can't only God can. I feel that through your blog He is speaking to me. "Are you ready, hold on, know that I can move mountains, know that you are not alone in this struggle, know that you aren't the only one struggling, and love. Love with all your heart. Love that man that so badly, he needs my love, show him my love by loving him and constantly praying. Love is enough. Can we believe that, our God is a big God. Thank you for being so open and bearing your soul for others to know that we are not alone in this world when all hope is gone. Thank you for reminding me that He loves me. Thank you for your boldness. I am praying that God will continue to sustain you and give you such peace.......................

Marsha Marsha Marsha said...

Angel sent me your way from her blog. And I'm glad she did.

Thank you for sharing your heart. You have really encouraged me tonight-- tremendously! Especially your comment about Jesus saying your hand is not good enough, that He will hold all of you up! Because let me tell you, He has done SO much for me these past 6 weeks since my little Christian died. It has been so very hard but God has been there for me-- holding me close, holding me up!

Thank you, thank you for writing this.

Love,
Marsha
www.homeschoolblogger.com/drewsfamilytx

 

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