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.

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