I’ve been talking with Jesus about why He’s allowed this season of waiting, separation, and challenge in my life and the lives of my family. What is His purpose? I think sometimes I make it too complicated; I have to make this situation make sense and of course make it very spiritual! My mind takes over and decides for Him.
My first inclination is to think: It’s to teach me a lesson. Somewhere in my walk with God, perhaps I sorely lacked in faith, so he needed to give me something really hard to make me grow. First, losing two babies to miscarriage. Then, having a challenging pregnancy that brought almost weekly the appearance of miscarriage. Finally, the pregnancy getting so severe that I had to move into the hospital and be separated from my family for months. Surely, He just wanted me to get more faith. And truthfully, the Lord is teaching me to lean on Him, more than I think I’ve ever had to. But is that his most important purpose during this time?
Another thought that comes to my mind: It’s so God can be glorified and other people will see His work in this situation and come to know Him. Of course this is true. God’s work is about people, so His fingerprints are most evidently seen in the lives of the individuals He is working in and through. Already I’ve had people tell me of their connection to Elliot’s and my story, and their seeing God at work has brought Him glory. So then I conclude that is God’s purpose for this in my life. Well, it may be part of the story. But I think He’s telling me it’s not the whole story.
There is something, an echo of intimacy with Jesus from long ago, long before marriage or kids or so many things that distracted me, that I think He wants to tell me. I’m having a hard time hearing it. I feel so disconnected from my home, my life, my very identity, that some days I can’t quiet all the loud heaviness in my heart. But finally, I think I am hearing Jesus come through the noise. I think He’s whispering His purpose for this trial deep within my heart.
It’s because he loves me.
What if all of this, all this challenge and waiting and separation is some part of His marvelous love? To draw me nearer to Him?
I, like many of us, find much satisfaction in being productive. I like to look around at the end of the day, and pat myself on the back for what I have accomplished (even if that only amounts to one load of laundry and baking a frozen pizza).
So, in this situation, I struggle daily with the guilt of being away from my family. Of not being the one to take care of my girls. Of not being able to help my husband bear the heavy load of parenting and work and home. I even feel guilty for missing out on the last quarter of my part-time teaching job. I know this guilt is irrational, that I MUST do the best thing for my sweet baby. But I feel like I’m letting others down.
But what if for Jesus, time away, alone with me, is exactly what He wanted? What if more important than any lesson I could learn or any glory I could bring Him or good work I could perform for him, He just wants ME?
What if I am more important to Him than all the things I could do for Him?
What if He wanted me to separate for a time from all that has defined me in this season of life: mom, wife, teacher, homemaker, grocery-getter, meal planner, mission trip leader, church member….?
God has given me those roles to serve Him and do good work in this life. But they are not who I am. Even the role of mom, which is so all-consuming with small children, is not ultimately who I am.
I am the prized possession of Jesus before I am anything.
I don’t feel like I can do normal life, let alone this painfully hard season of life, without being totally assured that He just loves me for me. I am going to fail in all my areas of doing things for Him. But if what He says is true, and all He really wants is me, then I am free to simply love Him in return. And anything I am supposed to do will grow out of that love.
I don’t want to miss what Jesus has for me in this season. If He’s allowed this to happen, then there is a reason, and not simply for me to wish these days away. I’m looking to find Him in these long, hard waiting days. Wow. This reality makes these days rich with meaning, even if the only thing I “accomplish” is to crochet a few more rows on Elliot’s baby blanket.
When all these crazy months are behind us, and our family is reunited, and life turns into routine again, what will Jesus have wanted me to taken from this journey?
I think it’s this: that to be loved by Him and love Him in return is the purpose. Of everything. To live life daily in His love gives meaning to any kind of day: mundane to overwhelming, joyful to tragic.
I’ve been very distracted from His love, but I want to reconnect with Him there. I want to find my identity all wrapped up in that love again. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. The only result I desire for tomorrow’s events is that I will be drawn more deeply into the love of Christ.
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”