Monday, March 5, 2012

Perseverance and the Gift of Grace

Those of us who struggle daily with some type of affliction know what it means to persevere. We walk through each day of our lives, fighting to survive. Many days, we often sit back and think how miserable our situation has become; others, we realize it's not so bad.

The truth is, we are actually blessed with a true life-learning experience. Even though it may not seem like it–while we're in the midst of trials–we learn our most valuable lessons in the darkest of times. This is where the rubber meets the road. This is when we see just how long the tank will go with the gas light on. These are the days that will define us–for better or worse.

I have decided to come out shining. I choose to be the frog who fell into the cream, only to kick long enough to make a step stool of butter, and hop out of the conundrum.
If you've read my last post, you will know that I have been dealing with late-stage Lyme Disease. It has affected every area of my physical life, as it affects the nervous system and so much more. The very things that I thought defined me these last three-and-a-half decades here on planet earth: gardening, cooking, taking walks, playing softball, playing with my kids, leading worship at church, working out, running, knitting, crocheting, hand-writing things... All of these things added up to "who" I thought I was.

But you know what? None of these things are "who" I am. I have had to learn a very hard lesson–a lesson I am still learning; a lesson I thought I already knew. What makes me, "me," is my spirit. This tent is nothing but a covering to house the spirit that God has created to be "me."

Learning to be okay with just being "me" has been the hardest lesson I've ever had to learn; harder than watching my 12-month-old get burned with boiling soup and spending 4 nights with her in the burn unit of Detroit's Children's Hospital; harder than realizing I'd almost thrown away my marriage to the most wonderful man I've ever known.

I thank God for these times, as all is grace. And I thank God for His healing in my daughter...
 and that I am still married to my husband, whom I love more and more each moment I live.
It is hard to not allow "things" or "activities" to define who I am. And it's even harder to get comfortable with having others do the things that I used to do with such ease and, dare I say it, flare. These last 18 months have been a learning experience of allowing others to serve; to serve someone who was incapable of receiving, before this disease took on a more prolific role inside this tent.

Who I am is a child of the Most High God. The One who created this ever-increasing universe. The One who set the stars in their place, gave us the sun and moon to govern the day and the night. The One who gave us every good and perfect gift. The One who sent His Son to come and live a life as one of us, being tempted as we are, but never giving in to sin. Why? So that there would be a spotless lamb who would be the substitution for us, as we all deserve Hell. This is who I am. I am His child. I am loved and cherished by God Most High. He has given me more than I can imagine with His gift of salvation, and I will be ever grateful.

Some day I hope and pray that I will be able to give back to the ones who so lovingly and selflessly gave so much to me, and to others, who gave nothing at all. For, as I said earlier, all is grace. Everything we encounter is a gift–a gift of grace.

There is so much to reflect on, to wander through, and perspectives that still need to be changed. It all takes time–the one commodity we are offered up plainly, with no extensions, substitutions, or refunds.

Do you have an obstacle in your life? How have you chosen to live with it? Are you thankful for even those dark moments? Have you given everything over to Jesus Christ? He came for all–to save us from this curse of sin. It is only through His gift of grace that we will ever hope to be truly free from our earthly afflictions. Make a serious effort to thank Him today. And if you have not yet received this glorious gift, what are you waiting for?

Peace, love, and cider mugs...