Prepared... for what?
In the past week, we have had friends...
feed our kids
keep our dog
bring me food and sit with me at the hospital
take our kids to/from school and do homework with them
take care of our sick kid, who coughed all over the place
rake our leaves
put up our Christmas tree
decorate our home
This, my friends, is how community works. But it wouldn't work at all if Chris and I refused the help. And that's the lesson that stood out to us this week. It's still hard to accept help when you feel like trying to control any small detail you can get your arms around. As if, a little control in a small area will somehow make the things that are out of our control in the big areas come back into control. It's a fool's errand but still, we tried. This time, we came back to the lesson we learned last time: accepting help is part of being in community. It's part of how we will be able to endure the ups and downs for who knows how long. It's our job. For now. For this season.
So, friends, Thank you.
There have been a few emotional moments in our house. Meltdowns. Both kids and adults. This is not where we wanted to be just 9 months past the last crisis. But under it all, I feel peace.
My anesthesiologist, Dr. Lerner, was also with me for the thoracotomy in February. Just before he gave me Happy Juice, he touched me on the shoulder and said, "You seem less anxious this time." It's true. I was. I am.
I feel prepared. Like, I knew this would happen. I just knew. In my gut, it wasn't "if" it happens again, but "when" it happens again. And so, I was less anxious.
There's more to come. Not if, but when. So, this recurrence is another preparation. For the next time. I'm crawling my way back to health and strength again. To be strong is to be prepared. It's so hard. I just finished doing this. (Was I even finished?!) But it's my job. Again. I need to be prepared for what's coming next.
I've been thinking a LOT about that. Prepared, FOR WHAT? Just to be less anxious on the table next time? Maybe. That would certainly be wonderful. But that feels too small. No, I'm being prepared for more than that.
I was thinking about Paul. How he listed the traumas he survived.
Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
2 Corinthians 11:24-27 (ESV)
And why? It's a ridiculous amount of suffering. Why did Paul have to go through all of that? To go through near death, time and time again. And how long did it take him to recover? You know, I don't think I've every read about that. If it takes me 2 weeks to recover from an IR procedure, how long did it take him to recover from being beaten with rods? To claw his way back to health just to be beaten again. And what did he do while he recovered. I think he ministered. He probably continued to teach, from his bed. And he probably ministered to those who were ministering to him.
I think all the suffering that Paul endured was simply preparation. It was preparing him to go to Rome to die. There is no way, NO WAY, he did not know that his Roman imprisonment would not end in his death. Did he hope for a different outcome? Yes! Did he pray for mercy? I'm sure! But did he not also, accept what was coming with a steady peace... a peace that allowed him to continue his ministry despite his circumstance. Yes, I think he did.
That's my goal. To consider all this suffering (or my whole life) as preparation to endure the rest that is to come, with peace. With an ability to continue to serve my friend, Jesus, to the very end.
The beauty is, that in my suffering, in my weakness, God is glorified. There is a purpose in all things: that God will be glorified. I believe this to my very core. Somehow, in all this craziness, in all this trauma, in all this disappointment, God is glorified. My weakness does not ruin His plan. It proves it. Because I AM weak. And He is NOT. That's how Paul finished his point.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (ESV)
BSF taught me that we live in a season of preparation for a lifetime of ministry. I've been prepared. Now I live to serve. For as long as He gives me, I will serve Him with all that I have.
Soli Deo Gloria