Today has been a really good day. We have a plan, a direction, and we have time to be together as a family for a few days before we leave two of our children and head west to Memphis. I allowed myself to indulge in The Office last night and laugh at Michael Scott’s ridiculous comments. I played in the snow this morning with Finn and Johnnie and shrieked at every incoming snowball. If I’d had the time, I guarantee I would’ve weaved or embroidered-therapy to a crafty soul.
I often wondered, as I watched other people go through difficult seasons of suffering, how I would respond
if when my “winter” season would come. Would I shut down? Would I hole myself up in a ball of tears and refuse any solace or comfort? I always kind of thought so. Just a few weeks ago I was following the story of a beautiful blonde-headed toddler, Kylie, and her fight with Neuroblastoma and I remember saying out loud to Steven “I don’t think my heart could take it.” He then replied “you’d have to take it.”
We’ve shed lots of tears so far in these few short days, but last night, Steven and I drank good wine and laughed and lived joy despite our circumstances. A friend posted this yesterday:
Happiness and joy are not interchangeable. Happiness is dependent upon our circumstances. Joy gives our circumstances no consideration. Joy is a choice…a choice to put God first and let Him handle the details, the struggles, the unknowns. To trust Him, to seek His face and will, and to stay within it….to praise Him on the mountain AND in the valley. Joy is knowing that this earth is not our home. Will you choose joy today?
But. Satan loves to scheme and he deviantly prowls around, pouncing at every chance to knock us off course. Today, on a good day, a great day, when I am not allowing fear to steal my joy, Satan slipped new thoughts into my head: “If you’re still able to laugh and enjoy, you must not love your daughter.” “Your life didn’t come to a complete stop-you must not care if you lose your daughter.” “Stop feeling joy! and prove to me how much she matters to you!” “You did this to her.” “You shouldn’t have eaten so much microwave popcorn and coke while you were pregnant.” “Remember those prenatal vitamins you didn’t take because they made you nauseous?” “It’s probably because your first prenatal visit wasn’t until 16 weeks gestation that she’s sick right now!” “Stop living into meaningless grace and pay penance for what you did to your baby.” “It’s your fault” “You can’t be happy.”
I warned y’all at the start of all of this that it was about to get real vulnerable real fast. I write all of this down tonight for exactly this…..
CONFESSION DISARMS THE DEVIL (thank you forever, Lindsay Fooshee).
And I confess that disgusting thoughts like these are swarming around in my mind. The more of you that read these words, the more I truly believe Satan tucks his tail and runs. I know that these thoughts are lies. I know that Willa’s diagnosis does not mean that we should mourn life. Mourn, yes, mourn her innocent little body and the exhausting days ahead. Mourn the loss of her right eye. Mourn the heartache of all the parents and their sweet babies we will meet that fill the rooms of St. Jude’s hospital. But do not mourn life. Do not mourn Willa’s life.
If your heart breaks, let it be broken in order to be filled up with the love of Christ. Let all of the mud hole meaningless things you try to fill your heart with spill out over its’ broken pieces and allow it to be filled with an ocean of grace.
….don’t you see, Satan? Can you not recognize that we will see joy and feel its’ warmth more so in the midst of heartache? You have nothing on this. Nothing.
The prince of darkness grim
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! his doom is sure;
One little word will fell him.
Martin Luther (1529)
Suffering…..If it’s going to happen, if it is happening, then use it, Lord. Open my hands and use it. We have to take it.