The older I get the more identify with my Biblical namesake. She had given up on ever being truly happy. The one thing she longed for, the one thing that in Biblical times would have deemed her a "blessed woman" had eluded her. And now, years after giving up hope Jesus began to promise her Isaac.
At Mercy I felt that same cynical laughter rising up in me. After 19 years of feeling guilty about CP, and being convinced that I was meant to be depressed and anxious my whole life, hearing Jesus whisper His promises, it felt like He was making a joke at my expense. When I left, I was terrified that the promises He had given me would go up like smoke.
After 9 more months of waiting she finally held that sweet, crying baby in her arms. She got to watch him grow up. And, like any mama, she probably made plans. He would be a leader like his daddy. That little laugh he had was just like hers. And he had a destiny, she just knew it.
Fast-forward 4 years post-Mercy and this "Happy Isaac planning" phase is exactly where I have been. I love my life. I love it to the point that I have literally cried happy tears, I didn't even know that was possible. I love that Berkley comes knocking on my door and asks me to play. I love that I can go to school confident that I am smart enough to be there. I love that I am proud of who I am, and have no fear in letting my big brother and daddy take care of me. I love that when my little brother tells me he loves me I have no problem believing it. I love that I have a community of women in my life. I love that my sister-in-law has taught me that being a wife and mom does not mean sacrificing your role in the kingdom. I love that Ellie Kate has been nothing but joy for me from the start, and the quiet fears I had when I first became an aunt are nearly silenced. I love being alive, when for so long I felt like I was just existing.
Then God asked Abraham to lay Isaac down. Sarah was not naive, she had to have suspicions that God meant for Isaac to be the sacrifice, and she was not promised His release from that responsibility. She knew, and she let Abraham go, taking her heart with him. She may have begged God for a sacrifice to take his place, but she let him go, knowing that might not happen. Abraham and Isaac took a journey. The time between God asking Abraham and Sarah to lay Isaac down, and actually making it to the altar was not overnight. She had to keep a willing heart over a period of time.
This year has been incredible, which is why when I felt Jesus begin to nudge me to lay some things down, I didn't know if I was strong enough. I feel Him calling me out of Abilene at some point in the near future. Here's the ironic part - that is all I have ever wanted, and now, I don't know if I am strong enough to leave this little slice of peace I have found.
Here's the even more vulnerable part, I want a family of my own, and it is all my brother and sister-in law's fault, (and maybe a little bit God's...). A year ago I started to pray that God would make me want the things He wanted for me. He did. He took away my love of singleness and made me fall in love with my nieces, and the beautiful marriage my brother and his wife have. It frustrated me to no end. And now, I feel Jesus is asking me to lay that down as well. He was asking me the other day, "If you were single forever, what then?" And I thought, "Then it's just You and me, and the women I feel so called to minister to. I have this one place Lord. that I would love to minister in." "And, what if that is not what I have for you?" "Well then, God, I guess You'll have to change my heart all over again, and help me to let that dream go."
Sarah didn't know the end of the story, she didn't know Jesus was going to provide the ram so she didn't have to lay down that which she felt promised. She had to have a heart that loved Jesus enough to give up her dreams for His.
And that's where I am. I don't know the end of the story. But I know this, if it is just me and Jesus forever, I am going to be okay. And even though I am on the verge of tears thinking that now, now, that I finally love it here, Jesus is calling me away, I am strong enough to leave no matter what the timeline is.
And more than anything else I'm thinking, Jesus has my heart. Every part of it. He has been so good to me throughout the entire journey and He knows where we are going. He knows the end of my story.
Sarah lived a blessed life because she let Isaac go with Abraham.
And I let my Isaac go with Jesus. Jesus is walking away with my heart. But somehow, I know I can trust Him with it.
Here's to the end of my story, whatever it may be.