Friday, August 7, 2020

A Decade of Crumbs

Ten years ago today, I hit "Publish" on the first blog post here. It still doesn't feel routine. Every time I open a window for a new post, a window into my heart of hearts, the resistance and insecurity rise up. Am I doing this right? Who am I to think I have a story worth telling? Is anyone even seeing this? Is this the best way to steward my limited concentration and time? 

In the last week or so, 2 different, completely unrelated people have said or written the same thing in similar words, which I took as a reminder from the Lord in response to those unspoken questions:

"My nightmare is someone else's survival guide," said stroke survivor Kathryn Wolf in the Desperate for Jesus retreat livestream.

"Tell the story of the mountain you climbed. Your words could become a page in someone else's survival guide," wrote Morgan Harper Nichols on her Instagram feed.

Paul touches on the same thing in 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (CSB): "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.  He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows."

This blog, then, bears witness to the comfort of Christ overflowing in the overflowing afflictions of the last decade. I'm not at the top of the mountain yet, but by God's grace I'm still climbing, and if the Lord wills I'll keep leaving notes for other climbers telling where this pilgrim found bread and shelter and companionship along the steep and treacherous path toward Home.

If I had to choose a verse to write on the trail marker to sum up the last 10 years, the hardest 10-year period of my life, I suppose the most apt would be 2 Corinthians 12:9 (CSB), "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.' Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me."

For I have been weak, and His grace has been sufficient.

Through months homebound and mostly bedridden due to chronic chest pain, His grace is sufficient.

Through 7 surgeries and countless procedures, His grace is sufficient.

Through at least a dozen new doctors and so much imaging I should probably glow in the dark by now, His grace is sufficient.

Through 2 rounds of cancer, most recently this last November through January, His grace is sufficient.

Through multiplied joint pain and disability, His grace is sufficient.

Through multiple changes of the church we call home, His grace is sufficient.

Through traumatic changes of pastors, His grace is sufficient.

Through job changes and a move, His grace is sufficient.

Through devastating new diagnoses for loved ones, His grace is sufficient.

Through many days and nights apart when Amore's help was needed elsewhere, His grace is sufficient.

Through too many funerals...grandmothers, aunt, uncle, cousin, sister-in-law, father-in-law, and my Velcro dog who stayed by my side through all of the above...His grace is sufficient.

Through the other Big Scary Things I haven't been free to discuss here because others share those stories, His grace is sufficient.

Through this global pandemic, His grace is sufficient.

Through intensifying racial strife, His grace is sufficient.

Through an economic recession, His grace is sufficient.

Through months homebound, this time with Amore and Moose Tracks and the rest of the world in their respective homes, His grace is sufficient.

But that only tells part of the story.

In a larger, nicer home with a pool closer to my parents, His grace is sufficient.

In my dad's retirement from his computer career to enjoy more time with my mom and the rest of the family, His grace is sufficient.

In both my sisters moving closer, His grace is sufficient.

In a good new home for my mother-in-law, His grace is sufficient.

In more opportunities for time and laughter with the 3 youngest nephews, His grace is sufficient.

In the gift of new friends, both locally at church and scattered abroad through this blog, His grace is sufficient.

In growth and joy in practicing photography, His grace is sufficient.

In learning better management of my disability, His grace is sufficient.

In the years spent learning Ephesians and Isaiah 40 by heart, His grace is sufficient.

In the trip of a lifetime to Alaska with parents, His grace is sufficient.

In sustaining Amore's job and giving him freedom to work from home, His grace is sufficient.

In last year's travel to Virginia to witness the wedding of a young lady I've loved since her infancy, and in seeing so many answered prayers in her life, His grace is sufficient.

In so very many circumstances which pushed me beyond my strength, Christ has shown Himself strong and His grace sufficient. He will do no less for you. Whatever Big Scary Thing predominates our landscape today, His grace is sufficient. We can trust Him with this.

And it is just possible that this sufficient grace comes, not despite afflictions, but because of them. As Scottish pastor Samuel Rutherford wrote,
Grace grows best in winter. Crosses are a part of our communion with Christ. There is no sweeter fellowship than to bring our wounds to Him. A heavy heart is welcome with Christ. The Lord has fully repaid my sadness with His joy and presence.... Troubles come through His fingers, and He casts sugar among them.... The heaviest end of the cross is laid upon our strong Saviour.... Glorify the Lord in your suffering and spread His banner of love over you. Others will follow you, if they see you strong in the Lord (The Loveliness of Christ).

You Crumbles have been a good part of the sugar He has sifted through His fingers with the troubles of the last decade. Thank you for your companionship, prayers, and encouragement along the way. May you know His communion in your crosses, His fellowship in your wounds. As Tolkien wrote, "The hands of the King are the hands of a healer." May His wounds heal yours, by His sufficient grace.

{Deep breath. "Publish."}

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for sharing your day with me! Your presence here is a gift. *You* are a gift. Right now I am unable to reply to every comment, but please know I read and pray for each and every commenter. Grace and peace to you in Christ.