My brother, Addison (my Bubba), turned 30 years old today. He is celebrating his first birthday heaven-side, with our father, grandfather, and the best - our Heavenly Father. I cannot imagine what this celebration is like, but it comforts the ache in my heart that longs to embrace them. Good grief, I miss my Bubba.
HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, BUBBA!!! I LOVE YOU!!
One day I'll dance for you again, but please know that today we are dancing to the best of the Wiggles songs to honor you!
Although I am deeply grateful for the precious, loving people that have served our family for years and years within the walls of multiple hospitals, it is also safe to say I am particularly tired of stepping into hospitals at this point in life.
Lined with a bright display of blooming flowers and lush greenery, the entrance to these buildings greet you like you've booked a vacation to stay there. Yet, the truth is we only go to the hospital when we are in dire need of expert care. When the state of our health has surpassed our own capability to care for ourselves, this is when we must enter through those glass doors and trust someone else with our care.
Over the years I’ve reflected on the many different layers hospitals possess and discovered parallels in my own personal life journey.
There are times in life our heart is in desperate need of a spiritual Intensive Care Unit. We need around the clock care from a specialized team of angels and a continual medicinal drip. When life circumstances have stolen the oxygen from our lungs, we require assistance from a power greater than ourselves to keep breathing. And, we must remain as still as possible for the plan of care to have the best chance of working. Rest, inhale, exhale, and repeat. This is all we have the capacity for.
Once we are strong enough to breathe on our own, we graduate to a step-down unit and are weaned from the 24/7 angelic care and receive less invasive treatment. From there we move to a smaller room on a general floor, we eat normal food in tiny bites, and this instills hope we are closer to enjoying the great outdoors once again.
Often times, our hospital discharge comes with a referral to a rehabilitation center. In order to function on our own, we must regain the strength that the fight to save our soul took out of us. Rehab therapy is uncomfortable, stretching, and painful moving those limbs that were dormant for so long. Relearning how to talk, walk, move, and complete ordinary tasks, like brushing our teeth, can be frustrating at first.
New normals take time, but by continuing to show up and try again the strength being built within us is stronger and more reliable than before.
This is true in our relationship with Jesus. We can trust Him when our heart is in need of critical care. The presence of pain doesn’t mean He isn’t there. He is near to us, grieving with us, and if we give Him access He has the power to heal our brokenness. He leads us from critical care all the way to rehabilitation and beyond. He has a trustworthy and faithful process that revives our hearts and grants us a fresh start.
“My child, the troubles and temptations of your life are beginning, and may be many; but you can overcome and outlive them all if you learn to feel the strength and tenderness of your Heavenly Father as you do that of your earthly one. The more you love and trust Him, the nearer you will feel to Him, and the less you will depend on human power and wisdom. His love and care never tire or change, can never be taken from you, but may become the source of lifelong peace, happiness, and strength. Believe this heartily, and go to God with all your little cares, and hopes, and sins, and sorrows, as freely and confidingly as you come to your mother.”
― Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
We may all be at a different point in our personal spiritual formation journey with Jesus, but I am sure of a few things:
1) The choice is ours to enter through what seems like intimidating glass doors to receive spiritual care. We can exhaust ourselves by trying to heal ourselves, or we can release and let Him mend.
2) Once we are checked-in, we must release control of the process and outcome to the Expert Physician.
3) It is uncomfortable at first, but if we choose to trust God we will discover His quiet pastures and still waters at each step. We will discover His living well that never runs dry. We will learn that nothing and no one else can heal, fulfill, and restore our souls other than Jesus. We will find the Source of true joy.
Trusting in God's sovereign plan is our glorious hope. He is good, trustworthy, and loving.
And now, a prayer for souls who have sorrow to sow, and need hope to hold...
"May we sow our suffering into the sanctifying soil seated under the Cross. For it's there our tears marry with the tears of Christ, saturating that Holy Space created by grace. Emptying our sorrow as a priceless offering, may we perceive what is hidden from the seen, yet sprouting through the dark: an unexpected new beginning, welcoming us with a fresh start. May we surrender our hearts again and again, so He can complete His mending work within. For it's within the cracks and crevices of the weathered wood that we discover buried treasures from a promised eternity. May we always remember that our wounds will heal and scars will fade because Jesus’ scars stayed. All we need is Him. Amen and amen."
Much love to you, my friend.