Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Waiting Well This Advent

Advent is upon us once again. A time of waiting with hope and with joy as we celebrate the birth of our Savior. A time for waiting well.

I find myself once again waiting. I wait with flickering hope that seems to fade in and out. With joy that shows itself for brief shining moments and then fades away once more. Mostly, I wait with groaning. Not complaining, mind you, but deep groaning that rises up from the very depth of my great need. If you have ever had the honor of witnessing a mother give birth… it is that same groaning in which I wait. The groaning that produces something beautiful and miraculous. But groaning is still hard work.

My “migraines” have returned full force after a season of relative peace. I am left feeling anxious to simply live my everyday life. Will I make it through a full day of work today? Will I get stranded somewhere with a migraine? Will one hit while I am driving? I groan. And I feel so, so fragile right now; that at any moment, I might shatter into a million pieces and may never get put back together again.

“For God, who said, ‘Let there be light in the darkness,’ has made us understand that this light is the brightness of the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. But this precious treasure -- this light and power that now shine within us -- is held in perishable containers, that is, in our weak bodies. So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don't give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.” 2 Corinthians 4:6-9 NLT

Here’s the truth – I am supposed to feel fragile because I AM! The NIV translates this as having the treasure in “jars of clay.” Fragile, cracked, weak, earthy, functional, but perishable… these are our bodies. They are not meant to last for eternity. But, oh how it hurts when we feel our own fragility. It aches when we experience the fragility of those we love. It breaks us each time another breaks. But God holds us together.

But God…

We had a pastor once who said his favorite words in the whole Bible were “but God” because anytime you see “but God” in the text, it is surely followed by hope. By joy. By His promise that we are not alone in this fragile and painful life. That through our cracks, His light shines through to awaken others to Life.

I am fragile. I am broken. I am anxiety ridden. I am doubtful of my ability to simply make it through today. I cry. I hurt. I fear. But God…

But God is near to me. But God speaks so clearly to me and through me. But God is always good. But God is always loving. But God is breaking into this world in unexpected ways to show His love and to save those who don’t even know they need saving. But God picks me up, holds me together, and tells me to keep going. And then He walks along with me.

Like Mary, I am choosing to trust that God knows what He is doing with this crazy plan that makes no sense to me. I imagine that Mary waited with wonder, confusion, and a good deal of groaning as Jesus made His way into her arms. May the joy and peace of Christ shine through the reality of our lives intermingled with God’s curious and wondrous plans. And may His light shine brightly through my fragility.

And, just for the record, I’m never going to stop praying for full healing from these. That’s where hope lingers for me. Until then, I will continue to try to wait well.


Pam Llewellyn said...

Jo, thank you for sharing. I will be praying for you. I too have been suffering from more and more frequent migraines, and I know how completely debilitating they are. Having the responsibilities of a job and little ones to care for makes migraine suffering difficult not only on a physical level, but also on a personal level of feeling that you might not be able to fulfill all the responsibilities you have -- and that's so frustrating. I get it, my friend -- I truly do. Prayers going up for you now and until I hear of your HEALING!!!

Kristen said...

Jo, I'm so sorry your migraines are back. I admire your spirit, and your ability to search for the beauty in what I'm sure seems to be an impossibly convoluted plan. I really do think we are brain-problem soul mates as my own issues have flared recently, too. I just wanted to let you know that I am praying for you always and am here with a listening ear if you need anything. Love you, lady.