Monday, November 8, 2010

Gratitude 12: Transforming Grace

Scene 1, ca. 1976 - Mother brings Girl to Mother's Day Out.  Girl sees unfamiliar grown-up in classroom.  Grown-up wears white coat and stethoscope and carries sphygmomanometer.  Convinced something painful is about to happen, Girl panics, cries, digs in her heels, and refuses to walk through the door.

Scene 2, ca. 1977 - Overworked pediatric nurse chases overwrought Girl through the office.  Girl needs a blood test but must be caught and restrained first.

Scene 3, 2001 - Girl has learned that running away from medical staff generates more embarrassment than success.  Girl endures multiple lab technicians' painful attempts to convince Girl's veins of the same thing.  Girl and Patient Husband nearly faint in the process.

Scene 4, 2003 - Girl learns successfully to administer self-injected lupus medication every week.

Scene 5, 2007 - Girl smiles at lab techs, greets them by name, and inquires about their families while studiously looking out window at sky during medical tests every 8 to 12 weeks.

Scene 6, 2010 - Girl leaves family support behind in waiting room, walks willingly toward waiting IV and CT scanner, and actually seeks and finds grace to relax as instructed during test.  Girl squirms and fidgets but does not faint during the subsequent half hour of sitting in waiting room with port in arm.

Lupus has changed my family's life in many ways, some good and some bad.  One surprising, practical, helpful area of growth has been in my attitude towards needles and being stuck with them.  I never thought to ask God to heal my phobia of needles and certainly never expected it or perhaps even wanted it, but God knew I needed it and gave it anyway.

We all have areas, visible or invisible, where we feel stuck in old patterns and despair of seeing real change.  In recent months I have felt discouraged in the amount of ground apparently lost in my battle for trust and against anxiety.

This medical example may seem a minor issue and not very spiritually significant, but the transformation is real, substantial, and only attributable to God's grace.  He is just as willing and able to change me in the "big" ways, too, but sometimes I need to take the long view to recognize that the desires of my heart are coming to pass.  Even then, some growth may be too slow for anyone but my Father to perceive yet.

If any of you, kind readers, is in that frustrated, discouraged, Romans 7 place today, please know I am praying for you.  I pray that the Lord will enlarge your perspective and encourage you with a glimpse of the slow but real work He is doing in your life.  If He is yours and you are His, He will not leave you as you are; He will not rest until you look like Jesus.  May you find grace to trust Him, His processes, and His timing, and to obey today in the next thing before you.

Today, I return thanks to God for His many and varied gifts:
~His transforming work in my life in so many ways
~hope for the rest
~"I AM the LORD who sanctifies"
~His patience with me and wisdom in how to accomplish His ends
~the Lord's ability to use my mistakes and weaknesses for good
~gentle, friendly nurses and lab technicians
~test results ruling out all lung issues except the already known asthma
~"feet for the path I'm on"
~the strongest, most comfortable days this week since June
~two young friends bringing us supper and sharing their time and laughter
~autumn rain
~autumn sunshine
~a view of scarlet leaves through my window
~getting out the winter clothes
~steaming Italian food on a chilly night
~good bread
~breakfast for supper
~pumpkin scone on a Saturday morning
~quiet Sabbath rest
(Gratitude list #1721-1739)




holy experience

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