I take the bread, cupping my fingers over it and guarding it with my life. I glance down the pew at God’s sweet provision. With my head bowed, I take a long look inside …
Life can be excruciating. It can.
My grandfather answers the phone. “Yellow” … (his version of “hello”)
With excruciating fear, I say, “Pa-Paw, we’re thinking about adopting a baby …” I hadn’t been able to sleep. My gut churned. All the “what ifs” …
“I kindly adopted you, didn’t I.” My grandfather’s words wrap peace around me, like an old familiar song. If I could love this man like I do, who took me as his very own, maybe just maybe a child could love me, too.
I play and replay that scene over in my mind when life is hard. I remember all the ways God came through for me, through fear, how my two daughters resemble me in the seen and unseen. From the perfectly placed freckles to the seemingly imperfectly placed …
Because I go to my knees with fear these days. I tell my doctor that I’m not handling things well. Is this coping? She assures me that she’s there to help me, should I need it. Medication, she surely means.
The unease in my heart has kept me up many a night. My insides are doing abnormal things. “Or is this my new normal?” I ask myself. When my pulse races away, I count to ten over and over throughout the night. I pray continually. I chastise myself constantly. The Lord offers the light and steady yoke, and time after time, it seems I take on the weight of the heavy yoke and allow it to run away with me, spinning me around and solidifying my impending disaster, allowing the weight of it to press me to my knees.
And the guilt drives me deeper into the mud and mire.
Why? Where is the peace?
And just this morning, I beg God for answers. God, why? Why can’t I have peace in the midst of the storm? The storms that pummel me, one after another. Why can’t I sleep?
“I kindly adopted you, didn’t I.” That’s what I hear spoken over my heart. And I think of that night after the Passover, in the garden, before Jesus went to the cross, the excruciating pain.
An angel from heaven appeared to him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” Luke 22: 43-46
“Do you really think you are so different from me?” I hear spoken over me. “You love. Your heart is soft, not hard. You’re in pain, Shelli. You’re scared. You’re sweatin’ it out. But you keep kneeling and praying … kneeling and praying …. You are not crippled. You keep getting out of bed each morning, you keep taking step after step, you keep going a little further … with me.”
And as I sit in the midst of the flood, the guilt of how I should be handling things rolls in waves away from me, back out to the ocean.
And relief, full of peace, splashes over me like new rain. Like Heaven sent.
“This is my body given for you …” I swallow hard and take the cup, wrapping my fingers securely around it, guarding the lifeblood with my life.
“Do this in remembrance of me …”
Do you ever feel like you are handling things all wrong? Does Jesus’ example comfort you, too?
Much love and Happy Easter, y’all.