I don’t know why, but I feel this need to protect people from this side of me. I struggle to put on a smile and keep my groans to myself, not burdening anyone with my whining. It wouldn’t do any good, anyways.
So I press on … muscle through … wrestle it all from my thoughts … deep into the backseat of my mind. I smile … joke … laugh … listen … love on my patients … love on my family … love on my home, my garden.
I can fake wellness for a while, but only for so long. Then I’m reminded. My boogeyman, Lupus. The weariness … the stiffness … the queasiness. My wrists and fingers … my hips … my shoulders … my head. This ugly destruction has been here all along while I’ve been trying to appear normal … persistent, yet blessedly buried for a time.
But, in the stillness, its weight returns.
I’ve made some changes in my life recently – most notably cutting back to part-time as a bedside nurse. I struggled with this decision for a while because it felt like I was admitting defeat by doing this, but my terrible October made it exhaustingly clear that this move was a good choice. The only choice, really.
Still, though … life has only improved marginally with this decision. There is less pressure on me, for sure. And I get to spend more time with my sweet 10-month old granddaughter, Ruby Wren. For both of these, I’m so thankful.
But, guess what? I’m still sick … still have Lupus. It doesn’t matter how many days a week I work, this isn’t going anywhere. And I’ve still spent three days this week in my recliner, feeling totally useless. Those are three days I’ll never get back.
And today? This was not at all what I had planned for my precious Saturday off. Today was for gardening, not writing. Today was for playing hard in the dirt and enjoying time off with my husband.
Yet here I sit. Queasy and light-headed. Sucker-punched by the cruelty of randomness striking in the middle of the night.
And, honestly, today I’m in a very bad mood.
As I was lying there in the dark last night trying to will away both my spinning head AND my dark thoughts, I started thinking about sweet Ruby Wren – such a treasure. Growing more and more into becoming herself with every passing day.
She’s got a new ‘thing’ she’s doing where she wants you to hold her, but she keeps a stiff elbow jutted out into your chest (or trachea) while you walk around with her. You can try to move it, but she puts that elbow right back where she had it. A symbolic resistance.
It’s almost as if she’s saying, “you can hold me right now, but I’m gonna stay ready to lunge after that amazing ‘something better’ just as soon as I see it.” She wants you close, but not too close.
I think I’ve been doing this same thing with God.
I’m not content with where I am right now. My mood today certainly attests to this. I just want things to be different. Better. Easier. More fun. I want to get really dirty and sweaty like I used to, but not pay dearly for it afterwards. For weeks.
I want to feel stronger, move easier, think more clearly. I want to breathe without this heaviness and just dream up some amazing adventure to experience with all my sweet, sweet people. Something in the mountains. With waterfalls. And then I want to actually be able to GO on that adventure and not have to worry about being too sick to make it through or be a burden.
But let’s just be honest. What I really, REALLY want is not to be called to simply rest in God’s arms right now. I want to fight against this place where I’m at, jutting my pointy, little elbow out in symbolic resistance. And I want to grit my teeth really, really hard as I do it, too. Then I’ll be totally ready to lunge after that ‘something better’ that I know must be out there waiting for me.
But that’s not who He called me to be. And the reason my mood is so miserable today is because I know this.
I know this.
Yet still I pout. A giant, ugly, discontented, incredibly sin-saturated whiney pout. I hesitate to share this all because I know this rawness I’m feeling today is not pleasant. And it’s sure not a great witness to my walk in faith.
But I want to let you see all this so you’ll also see what comes next.
Jesus meets me there. Right in the middle of my ugly. He listens to my rants. He hears me. But his mercy points me to repentance. His grace washes me clean. His forgiveness pours through me. His heart of love gently reminds me. With his holiness, I’m convicted.
This is not who I am.
He called me to better than this. He called me to be thankful. No matter what. To remember his promises. To praise him for his faithfulness. To trust in his wisdom. To rest in his sovereignty.
He called me to embrace his plans for me with a heart filled with confidence. To unlock my gritted teeth, relax my pointy little elbow, and just rest in the comfort of his arms holding me … protecting me … sustaining me … forgiving me. Again and again and again and again. Praise be to our amazing God. We are truly nothing without him.
Thanks for growing with me. ❤
“I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted. I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint. You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak … Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds. Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God?” (Psalm 77:1-5, 10-13)