Okay, be honest, who out there reading this has already had a pity party (or two) this week?? Guilty here.
You know how it goes - wake up (I mean fall out of bed), step on Legos, stumble to the kitchen, nothing to eat but cereal and there's no milk, baby's nose is running, phone rings, you missed another dental appointment, a child bursts into the house bleeding and screaming uncontrollably because the wind is blowing so hard it blew him off of his bike (that is no lie!), husband calls to let you know that the next three days will be spent traveling for work, a neighbor just ran over the cat, and you haven't had coffee yet.
Can't go back to bed.
Too early for wine.
Phone it in, girl. Phone that friend, a friend with patience, a friend with wine.
Haven't we been there?? Many, many, many times?? I hate irritations, annoying difficulties, the little sufferings placed on my path, tripping me up when I've got things to do, places to go, people to see. As the difficulties pile up, I sometimes run and hide inside of myself, the inner voice rambling on in a monotonous tone of self-pity, "Why do I...." or "why can't I...." or "How does she...." or "Your dad doesn't have to deal with this...."
I know deep down that all of these minor inconveniences are not without purpose or merit. They are there to raise my eyes up to a Greater Strength. They are meant to draw me into Christ, to loosen my grip on life, to push me into an ocean of trust, to set my heart on what is most important in life and to give up my endless list of wants for the sake of counting my blessings.
Even more, suffering is an undeniable part of life for those who COOSE TO LOVE. I chose to get married, to have children, and to take on all of the things that come with the vocation of marriage and motherhood. With the choices, with the LOVE, comes struggle, comes brokenness, comes heartbreak and headache. All of the intensity of self-sacrifice, self-donation, risk and reward reminds me of a quote from C.S. Lewis:
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
We are vulnerable - to both the extraordinary (saying "I do", giving birth to little miracles) and to the ordinary (the unavoidable illness, poverty, messy homes, our children's less than perfect behavior) when we say we will LOVE at all.
When I live within the days where it truly does feel as though my heart is "being wrung" my senses are overwhelmed, and I retreat within, shutting down my ears, my eyes and my heart. Anything to avoid the hurt. It takes something like lightening to break it all back open. And that's what the Father does, He sends the bolts thundering in, piercing through the dark, a mass of light, His voice electric.
Does that ever happen to you?? Just when you feel as though your life can't be any more pitiful there comes a story, a very special story of someone who is really truly suffering? But, suffering in a courageous way? In a beautiful, obedient, sacrificial, joyful way?
A couple of weeks ago, this was my situation: After sending the boys outside to play, I plopped down in front of the computer with a handful of chocolate chips and an enormous cup of coffee, and scrolling through Facebook's latest, found a remarkable, encouraging story that a friend had posted about a very courageous woman who chose life for her unborn baby, knowing that she might not survive outside of the womb.
You must read the story for yourself. I will not even attempt to recount it here on this page. Just so you know, I shed buckets of tears, so get yourself some kleenex before you read it. This link will take you to their story (when you scroll to the bottom, there is an unforgettable reel of photos that you will not want to miss.):
Also, be prepared after reading their witness to be possessed by an overwhelming desire to smother your children in squishy hugs and countless kisses! I found Nora Rose's birth story to be so captivating, that I decided to pray for her daily and to follow her life story on their blog, I Will Carry You, which you can find on this link:
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
~ Romans 8:18