I've experienced the fragile-ness of life in this particular season, witnessing my moms illness try to threaten her from the way-of-life she once knew. But here, in this illness which has plagued her blood, she's developing a new normal- an internal Godly-strength beyond all human capability while experiencing first hand Psalm 90:12 "Teach me to realize the brevity of life, so that I may grow in wisdom."
But, what if I chose to boast about my weaknesses? My inadequacies? My flaws?
What if I shared unashamedly "Yes, I can be paralyzed in fear. Yes, I freaked out on my children this morning. Yes, I'm struggling in this relationship. Yes, I am jealous, or bitter, or wrestling with unforgiveness. Yes, I am grieving. Yes, I'm not strong enough for this task at hand. Yes, the weight of this cross feels too heavy to carry most days. Yes..."
What if we chose to not cover up our weakness so that Gods power, Gods strength can be perfected in us? Can be revealed? Can be evident? Can be shown in all its beauty & power? For ALL to see. Not me, but Him.
So that when -not if- He heals, comforts, supplies, strengthens, empowers, glorifies, redeems, restores, releases, renews, rebuilds (as He has done, is doing & will do in my mom)-- the evidence of my confident Hope & renewed Joy can only be because of Him. Not me- for my inadequacies, my flaws, my weaknesses, my failures are too great for such a strength, for such a transformation, for such an abundance of love and joy to be because of my own limited strength and power.
Twice this week I've heard the saying "An unexamined life is not worth living." And both times it inheritantly pressed the pause button on my sprit as I camped out on these simple, convicting few words. It's easier to stuff, I thought, to gloss-over, to deny, to dress-up, to mask, to ignore, to repress, to cover-up that which is broken spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically, relationally-- particular to myself, but also in front of others. When in truth, my spirit is parched for undisturbed hours with Jesus, the examinor of the corners of my heart.
So, in an effort to refuse a life-style of an unexamined life, I climbed in my car this last week and drove two hours up-north. Alone. Leaving the kids, the house, my husband, the bills, the dirty dishes, the piling laundry, the un-read emails-- left it all for 24 hours to rest in my Fathers arms. To grow in the knowing of His word. To hear His voice of direction. To experience His comfort. To understand His plan for my life. To taste His undeserved love. To listen to His words of truth. To offer up my messy honesty and to enable Him the opportunity to do that which He desires most to do-- fill me with His presence.
"Retreating to Gods arms isn't selfish, but selfless"-- I repeated over and over and over... as a way of convincing myself that what I was doing was okay as I drove north bound on I-75. So much more often than not, the enemy is relentless in his guilt attacks, continually pulling-out his deceitful clever and crafty forms of lies in order to prevent God's children from spending time with Him. Yet, when I choose to listen with the spiritual ears of my heart, I can often differentiate my Fathers kind voice from that of the condemning, guilt-ridden voice of the enemy. And this time was no exception as He poured a familiar instruction I had recently heard just months before on an airplane-- "I must first place the oxygen mask on my own face before assisting those around me."
"Those around me" include my babies, my home, my family, my friends, my community, my church, my neighbors. I can't be of any lasting, penetrating, meaningful help if I'm dying on the inside from a lack of oxygen. I'm in desperate need of His life-giving air so that I can than assist others with their oxygen mask-- a mask of His life-giving, rest-supplying, love-consuming, perfect air that reaches the soul and floods the Spirit-- transforming my messy honesty into that which is incomprehensibly beautiful.
The greatest lesson I've learned through this current trial my precious mom is facing, is that messy honesty is no longer to be bound in secret, avoided and silenced-- but to be embraced, to be shared, to be released into the arms of the Only One who can smile, confidently, in the face of the mess. Knowing it's in this messy honesty where we can taste, indulge and experience His never-be-the-same-again kind of love. Where my inadequacies are to be celebrated so that His strength can be activated.