Thursday, April 22, 2021

I am His

"Do not fear for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name: you are mine." Isaiah 43:1

I remember watching The Chosen for the first time last spring.  At the end of the first episode, I was hooked.  Or, maybe I should say moved to tears.  I don't often cry when watching things like movies or a TV series.  But, the scene in which Jesus calls Mary Magdalene by name (and tells her that He has redeemed her and she is His) will forever be etched in my mind.  So much so that at that moment I knew Agnes' middle name would be Mary Madeleine (the French version of Mary Magdalene).

But, why?

Why was that connection to that particular moment in a brand new TV series so powerful for me?

It was redemptive.  I had been struggling with my worth, with a then recent encounter with someone I trusted and with the weight of a burden I had carried far too long.  It was in that viewing that I finally gave credence to what I had known always...that my worth was tied up in trying to perfect myself in order to be worthy of the immense love and sacrifice given to me.

It was in that moment it finally made sense that I would never get there.

I would never be worthy of His love and death.

Regardless, He would always want me.  He would always seek to embrace me and hold me through the difficult, just as he did Mary Magdalene in that scene.


Because I am His.

And, that's enough.

I'm 39.  I've known about God's love since I was tiny.  My parents are two of the most amazing, faithful people alive.  Still, it has taken me this long, many mistakes, and many trials to finally, truly know it.  Maybe it's just taken me this long to open my arms enough to receive His embrace and assurance.

"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you..."  He has compensated for all that is lacking in me.  He became everything lacking in my life.

Which brings me to today.

A year ago I was in the comfort of my living room, surrounded by seven of the sweetest, beautiful children while another was kicking inside of me and my personal Saint Joseph was sitting beside me.  But, I was broken.  Instead of resting in the gifts and beauty surrounding me, I was battling with the voices inside that reminded me of past hurts, of a relationship that haunted me, of the broken trust of someone I had put on a pedestal.  I was her.  I was Mary Magdalene, and I so desperately needed to feel His embrace.

The tears came, and with them, slowly the redemption.

I needed these pains in order to walk through what was coming.  I needed the burden to be too heavy to "handle" alone.  I needed to finally let it all go in order that I would know how in the coming months.

People have asked how I (or we as a family) have handled the past months, and I often don't exactly know what to say.

We have handled it by not handling it.  We have handled it by giving it to Him.  We have handled it by getting to a place where we realize we cannot.

Now, do we have to put one foot in front of the other every day?  Of course.  We carry this cross because we have no other choice.  But, honestly, I can carry it today because of where I was a year ago at this time.

Like I've mentioned before, I didn't want a child with special needs.  I didn't want to have cancer.  I don't want to live in fear that I'll leave this life "too soon."  

But, I also don't want to forever live like I've got this handled...or like with just one more step toward an idealized version of myself, I can finally welcome His embrace.

And, what keeps me from that?  The cross.

His cross.  Agnes' special needs.  My cancer.  The collective small disappointments, burdens, and hardships of daily life.  They're too heavy.  They remind me over and over that I need Him.

I couldn't carry the weight of anything else last year at this time.  But, in finally letting Jesus be my Simon, He prepared me for what we are facing now...He showed me that there is room enough for my burdens on His shoulders...I only have to walk alongside Him.  I only have to open my arms to His embrace.  I only have to answer when He calls me by name.

He has called.  And so, I answer, because I am already His.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Saturday Ramblings


Just less than four months ago, we were standing before this plane, anxiously awaiting the baby sister and daddy we had been apart from for too long.  Almost a month spent separated, I think each one of us realized the value of family and the strength and peace that comes from being together, as one unit, in the comfort of our home...even when that closeness can bring its own little hiccups.

Tomorrow, we do it again.  Not for as long, but equally steeped in emotion.

I will undergo surgery next week to remove both breasts and the lymph nodes under my arms.  Many have asked if I'm anxious.  And, while I'd like to say, "no" and that I have complete trust in God, I wouldn't be telling the entire truth.

I am anxious.  But right now, that anxiety stems from more than the surgery...mostly it comes from the eyes I look into as I say goodbye...those eyes that well up with tears and beg me not to leave again.  The eyes that are trying to fight back the "drips" while each one asks why I have to be gone again.  I'm worried about being apart.  I'm worried about little ones with health problems of their own.  I'm worried about the anxiety manifesting in their little hearts after the last few months.

Tuesday morning, I'll worry about my surgery.

In an ideal situation, I would tell you that the last almost six months, I've re-prioritized my life and now don't get irritated when the inconsequential things don't get done or the kids don't listen or the house doesn't stay clean for more than five minutes.  But, the situation isn't ideal, and I've been less than I should be when it comes to letting things go, in spite of my diagnosis.

I'm hoping the Lord is still chipping away at the silliness of my reactions and the lack of being who I need to be, because I don't want Him to give up...I just take a lot of molding ;)

I attended a virtual healing service last night.  That was a first for me - well, a first for a healing service of any kind.  And, while I'm so glad I did it, I went back and forth for awhile about truly what I wanted to ask God for.  I mean, I want to be well.  I want that "guarantee" that I'll see my kids have kids and share much more life with them (don't we all), but I wrestled with (and still do) what God's plan is for me.

I'm not saying that I think He wants me to die.  I just wonder how He wants to use me to reach others, and I pray daily for grace to allow that to happen.  Does He want to refine me via this cross?  I believe so.  And, it is teaching me so much about how much I lack in turning my life completely over to Him.  Can He use me as an example for others when they face their own unique crosses?  I pray so.  Does He want to use the power of a miraculous healing to bring others closer to Him?  Maybe.  I just don't know.  So, what I ask for is His will.  Be that a cure, a remission, or a constant cross...His will and the grace to accept it.

Again, Tuesday morning...I think I will worry more about the surgery.  Vainly, I'm anxious about getting lymphedema.  With my desire for control, I'm a bit worried about being helpless for awhile.  I'm also somewhat concerned about looking like Frankenstein and awaiting the pathology results.  I'm concerned about being away from home, from the ones I love most and from the familiar in the vulnerable.

Maybe in all of that, I should say those are my "thoughts" rather than my anxieties.  I know I cannot be in two places at once.  I know I have to do this in order that I may be as healthy as I can.  I know that my kids are in the hands of people who love them dearly.  And, above all, I know that God has this and is wrapping His arms around me as I go into surgery alone (cancer in COVID times;)).  I truly am not afraid.  I am ready for this, and I'm ready to be on the other side of it.

But, what I'm most ready for...these little ones waiting for me as I arrive home, much like Jesus is waiting for me to drop my arms and the weight of these thoughts and come into His.  Because if there is anything I'm learning (and trying to put into practice), it's this...little else matters besides Him.  And, we can rest in the promise that His will will be done regardless of our "help."

Come, Lord Jesus.