When we deal with painful things, do we pull away from our Lord or lean into Him?
“You’re feeling yucky today, aren’t you?” My husband asks, seating himself next to my quivering body. He reaches out and pulls me in to a warm, close embrace. I cry out in pain.
Some years ago, I read a parable of three women that became my guide for how I wanted to live Christian womanhood--but, unknown to me, that story poisoned my vision of womanhood.
This was the parable, as I remember it.
"What can I get you?" Paul asked as he stooped over me.
"New tonsils," I replied. It was week two of mono--a virus like the worst, longest, and most painful flu you can imagine--and I felt like a disgusting ball of misery.
Paul laughed softly and seated himself next to me on the couch, careful not to bump me or to move suddenly. After hours--weeks, really--of caring for my every little need, he knew that my best therapy was simply having him near.
Some time ago, I walked upon a beach, breathed upon by soft darkness, draped in the glimmer of an infinity of stars, touched by the wet sand beneath my feet, and in the company of a young lady whose compassion and friendship has blessed me immensely.
I felt the Lord's presence as I have only rarely felt it before.
And for half a moment, I felt a twinge of alarm.
I started this post with a totally different title. I wanted to write about energy and how variable it is for me, with the usual mix of honesty about a rough situation and optimism for the future. And I started to write, "I can handle any situation so long as I have the energy to do what I want."
But that made me think. What do I want?
My Bargain With God
When I realized that my singleness was going to last years longer than I anticipated, I made a bargain with God.
“For as long as I am single, I desire only this: Let my singleness be more productive and glorifying to You than if I were married. Only let me marry when my marriage will serve You better.”
It sounded spiritual, but it was really a cry of desperation. If I can’t be married and fulfill my greatest desire, I want to know that my singleness is worth something. I’m so terrified of wasting my life.
Today I thank God for my eyes,
Whose sight is at each dawn renewed,
Who lift their gaze toward the skies
To well with tears of gratitude.
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.