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Thursday, February 25, 2016
Seven years ago today we saw your sweet face for the first time. Bruised and swollen from your passage into this world, but beloved by your dad and me.
You climbed into bed with me this morning. Big head on my shoulder, and cold feet reaching my ankles. How much longer till you outgrow your mother’s cuddles? I grieve six years that have come and gone, but I can’t wait to see the man you will become. God blessed me when he gave me you, Knox, and I love being your mom.
You’ve given us 7 years of love and laughter. We love your good-natured, affectionate character. You are a gentle big brother and a supportive little brother. Our encourager. Right in the middle, but not lost. With your contagious enthusiasm and Humfrey-loud-voice you hold your own at the dinner table.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
I put effort into eating healthy these days. I find my quality of life improves when I eat well. But I know that nutrition is not enough to cure every illness. Even if I could get down six green juices a day (you know those thick green ones with ten pounds of kale in them), it still would not address the root cause of my problem.
The problem is bigger than nutrition and it’s bigger than me. All of creation has fallen under the dominion of sin since the first man and woman ate the forbidden fruit. The wages of sin is death, and we cannot be surprised when it rubs up against us.
I know that God has a plan for humanity's redemption. It involves his own son and a guaranteed outcome. Jesus accomplished what I could not. He was butchered on a tree to “reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Col. 1)
I can’t fix the the problem of sin or even my own illness. The problem is bigger than me and so is the remedy. I take steps toward health and healing, but I know that each step is like one drop of water in an ocean of God’s power and providence. He created all things, he holds all things together, and he is making peace by the blood of his cross.
Monday, November 30, 2015
I’ve tried to find a cure for what ails me, but I’ve never found the proverbial magic bullet. Not many of us do. I think of the young woman I was chatting with in the doctor’s office who was fighting tooth and nail against her illness. “Have you tried BodyTalk?” she asked me.
“No, I don’t know what that is,” I told her.
“It’s kind of hard to explain...the person kind of taps your body in different places. It’s an energy thing.”
I couldn’t quite think of how to respond. But she continued and spared me the need, “My practitioner is very good. She told me how I died in a previous life.”
I will spare you all the gory details about how she died, suffice it to say, it was more than I wanted to know. But her story did make me think. Don’t we all want someone to tell us deep, life-changing secrets about ourselves?
God sees all things clearly, but we see only partially, and sometimes I long to see what God sees. For instance, how and why does autoimmunity happen? There are clues, but no answers. I don’t know. My doctor doesn’t know. The specialists don’t know.
So I look to God’s word and find that Jesus has unlimited knowledge. Not only was he involved in the creation of all things, he now holds all things together.
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible...And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together…(Col. 1)
He was before disease. He was before human intelligence. He was there at the beginning of the world when everything was good. He created the forests, the oceans and the sun’s warm rays. He created love, and the angels, and every invisible process of life. And God saw that it was good. He created all things and in him they hold together. Not one antibody in my system rebels without his permission.
Read more about how God’s Word changed my perspective on illness here and here.
Monday, November 23, 2015
Last month I sat down to write 4 short meditations on illness and spirituality. (Ok, the truth was I was lying down most of the day, because of an exhausting lupus flare, so it wasn’t much of a stretch to place the laptop on my lap and start typing.) The flare stirred up questions that I didn’t want to answer, and while I’m feeling a little better now, I thought I would share what God taught me in those hard days. Here’s part 1.
It’s been 2 years and 4 months since she gave me the diagnosis I didn’t want to hear. I sat on the paper-clad table in my doctor’s office, sweaty palms clenched in my lap, waiting to hear my fate. The open-ended uncertainty of my disease unnerved me then, and it still unnerves me today. On the bad days, like today, aching joints and deep fatigue cling to me. I feel weak and slow, like I’m moving through water.
And it is in these low moments that the questions plague me. Questions not so different than the one that Jesus’ disciples asked him about the blind man,
“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
Is this illness a spiritual battle? Is it my fault? One author I read believes we cause our own illness. Another believes we can heal ourselves. Opinions blow in from every direction. I look to God’s word for clarity and I find Jesus’ words:
“It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (Jn. 9)
Most days I can’t see past the end of my nose, but Jesus’ words remind me that It’s not about me. Or at least it’s not only about me. I am not an autonomous creature looking to find my best life now. I live my life under God’s authority and in close connection with other people. God may have purposes for my life that extend beyond me.
Friday, October 30, 2015
Two years ago I experienced some health trouble that awakened me to the fact that I don’t have superpowers. It turns out that you can’t live however you want without paying the consequences. This may seem obvious to you, but I was genuinely surprised. Stress, sleeplessness and trying to live up to everyone else’s expectations had depleted my health and energy. Naively, I thought that to be selfless and godly, I needed to be busy. But in the end, it was just pride talking.
Keep reading here.