Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Question, the Crutch and the Cross

From visiting my Aunt Mary to sitting on the bus for people with disabilities to getting what I believe to be my second stress fracture in the opposite foot this time, a question has been slapping me in the face, a question I have spent my entire life avoiding...if God is good...then why?

Why do people who love Him lose their minds? Why do I wake up sore every day? Why do parents lose their children? Why?

Over the years I have had many reasons to ask that question, and in my search I have heard many different responses,

"We live in a fallen world. TRUE. Still not comforting.  We have an enemy. TRUE. Yet brings my soul no peace." "People need God as a crutch, even if down deep they know He is not real." FALSE.

People do need God. But to accuse Him of being a crutch for the weak is to overlook what true strength is, and to accuse those of us who love Him of using Him as a crutch is to overlook something key:

I use a walker, which serves a similar function as a crutch so go with me for a minute to the question no one wants to ask.

Walkers/Crutches follow the lead of the person.
Walkers are convenient.

I am about to say something that may get me in trouble. Every once in a while (in a blue moon as they say in Texas), I wish I didn't believe He existed. Because then, there is no reason why, there is no One to question and I am in control.

But as far as I have run, as often as I have plugged my ears, as many times as I have held broken women while they wept over losses that didn't make sense, every. single. time. I know one thing...He is real, and He loves, and He is often drastically inconvenient.

If He is a crutch, He is the most inconvenient crutch ever.

I follow His lead, He doesn't follow mine. And sometimes, He takes me places I never want to go.
I never wanted to have a disability. I never wanted to struggle with depression, and dwell in the possibility of suicide, I never wanted to watch someone I love slowly lose their memory.

But here's what I know:
No answer to the why question is going to make pain okay, only heaven will do that.
The only thing that matters in the midst of pain is the Who.
And the only way to find that Who, and know
Is to remember Calvary and trust the cross.

God is not the author of evil, which begs the question, is He passive?
But I can tell you from experience, He is absolutely not.
Depression has led me to know what true joy feels like.
Disabilities have led me to the reality that I need Jesus, and I need people.
And, only in wanting to end my life did I understand what a gift it is to breathe.

If He came down today and gave me all of the reasons I have CP, it wouldn't matter because really the why doesn't matter, the who matters.

And I know Him.
And He comforts my heart.
And He may not be safe, but He's good. (Thanks again C.S. Lewis)

When I think about why, I know the Who,
and Calvary speaks for itself.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Finding Myself: The Box I was Never Meant For and the Women I Love

This post is a reflection of several different conversations I've had over the past several months with several different people. My older brother told me a few months ago, "Sarah, you're great at speaking life over other people, but you're pretty awful at speaking it over yourself." Then as I spoke to my mom last night I said the words I had been thinking for years "Why can't I be like them?" The women whose houses are spotless, who go home to their husbands and cook dinner and have full time jobs and houses and kids who absolutely adore them. What is wrong with me?

I don't put God in a box. But I absolutely put myself in one. My life looks absolutely nothing like I thought it would at 26. For starters, I am in Abilene. And as crazy as this sounds the little girl I used to be thought I would wake up one day and my feet would be straight. My hair would magically curl and putting on make up would be second nature.

Instead, my feet are more crooked than ever, my hair is a constant source of frustration for me and if I ever put lip gloss on its been a good day. This sounds like a litany of complaints but it's actually led to an epiphany. I like who I am when I embrace who He has made me to be. In the midst of getting braces for my feet, I asked myself what makes me feel the most confident? When have I looked in the mirror and been at peace with what I saw? Two things occurred to me:
1. When I embrace all of the physical realities of what I can't do and choose to enjoy short hair and crazy colors and glitter eyeshadow because I know no other person who wants to try and pull off the awkward combination of leather, glitter, and tattoos that I adore.
2. When I stop comparing myself to other women.

I am absolutely crazy about the women in my life. My sister in law is the most beautiful woman I know, she's the best mom, the sweetest encourager of my heart, and the most detail oriented person I know. And I am lucky if I don't have books all over my house randomly open to parts I meant to underline. But, when I realize I am not going to be like her because I am not meant to be, it means I can love every part of who she is, and learn from her without feeling like her successes are a mirror of my "failures."

My sister is a really great listener, she has a gentle and quiet spirit and I never feel judged when I am around her. I have a loud mouth and speak way more than I should. She's taught me the value of two ears and one mouth.

My other "sister" Jules is a quiet strong one. She doesn't need to flaunt her strength but everyone around her is blessed by her quiet presence. When she speaks, people listen because she has valuable things to say.

My mama is the best woman I know hands down. She is strong and courageous and loves Jesus. She fights for what's right and NEVER gives up on her children even when a more sane person would run.

My friends Katie, Chelsea, Mandy, Sarah and Taryn are some of the most incredible wives I know, and I am confident they are showing me how to do that even as I walk in my season of singleness.

My friends Bales and Rebecca Roberts and in the same season as I am, and we are learning from each other that we are enough. We are exactly where we are supposed to be doing exactly what we are supposed to be doing.

And I realize comparison means that love, real, true, no matter what, love, is not possible when comparison comes into play. Because Christ made us all to learn from each other, not to envy each other.
Each woman I know needs this reminder.
You are enough.
You are needed.
You are significant.

Embrace that, and get the h*ll out of that box. You were meant for more.

You were meant to change the world.