“I am fearfully and wonderfully made!” This portion of scripture has become the mantra of my heart. I repeat it over and over. There are moments when I know these simple but true words get me through some very dark days.
When I was diagnosed with an incurable disease and told I was at the end of stage three of a four stage death sentence, I could not get my brain to accept the veracity of the situation. Yes, I heard the words, understood what the disease was doing to my body and knew without doubt what would follow. But I had it? It was in me and destroying me from the inside? Nah, not so much in my ability to comprehend and accept. I had already survived more than my share of serious health issues. I had laughed to cover pain my entire life. I had experienced many miracles, and although pain is my every-moment-companion, I had survived. I was cruising through life with joy. Everything was finally coming up roses, after many years of health crisis, emotional destruction, physical wreckage and financial roadblocks. God had inclined HIS ear, heard the cries of my heart, and rewarded all the years of suffering with everything my heart ever longed for in the secret places of my soul. Yet now, those lovely roses were being drowned in manure?
It just could not be. God would not do this to me! And even if HE did, surely HE would not do this to my husband and my children. To my baby grands. To think of all they would see and go through on this journey. No. HE would flip this. It wasn’t real. It wasn’t happening. HE was bringing to fulfillment every dream I ever had only to snatch me from this beautiful life? No. No! NO!
I knew my mind was in a state of shock. Total disbelief. This lasted for several weeks with intense moments of heart-shattering sorrow. It would start to feel real, true, and I would break right down the middle of my very being. In the middle of the night, I would sob until I became physically ill. And then at dawn, I jumped right back on the ‘Surely, They Have It Wrong’ train. I’m not sure at what point I decided to shut everybody out, but it came with a swiftness that took everything in a cyclone of emotions. I closed every social group of which I was the creator and admin. I removed everyone from my social networks except those in my family I was truly close with in blood and heart. I knew I was shutting down and putting up bigger walls, but was unable to stop. No one was going to see this happen, if it turned out to be true.
My energy was being spent faster than I could refresh. Every breath was becoming a struggle. And then I began to feel overwhelming guilt. If this diagnosis was true, I did this to myself. It was my fault that I was ill. I had done something to bring this on myself. I had done this to me! I had inherited, inhaled, and excused the very behavior that was going to snatch my heartbeat right out of my body. Me. I had pronounced this death sentence on myself. Nobody else, especially not God. Just stupid me. I felt the weight of guilt like I had never felt. This was not a ‘caught with your hand in the cookie jar’ moment. This was a ‘you are single-handedly destroying everything good’ moment.
It was during this period, that we found a church home. My husband and I had been “churched-out” and wandering in the “wilderness” for years with our only spiritual encouragement coming from the hand of God and our own sharing with one another. But we knew from the very first sermon, the drought had passed. The dry, thirsty land was receiving rain. I was being ministered to in ways I had no words to describe. And then came that Sunday morning. The one that would change me in a way I would never have believed. One of the church sisters performed an interpretive dance for “Take Me To The King”. These are the lyrics to the song written by Kirk Franklin.
“Take me to the King. I don’t have much to bring. My heart is torn in pieces, it’s my offering. Take me to the King.
Truth is I’m tired, options are few, I’m trying to pray. But where are You? I’m all churched out, hurt and abused. I can’t fake. What’s left to do?
Truth is I’m weak, no strength to fight. No tears to cry, even if I tried. But still my soul refuses to die. One touch-will change-my life.
Take me to the King. I don’t have much to bring. My heart’s torn into pieces. It’s my offering. Lay me at the throne. Leave me there alone. To gaze upon Your glory and sing to You this song. Please, take me to the King.
Truth is it’s time to stop playing these games. We need a Word for the people’s pain. So Lord, speak right now. Let it fall like rain. We’re desperate, we’re chasing after You.
No rules, no religion. I’ve made my decision. To run to You, the Healer that I need.
Take me to the King. I don’t have much to bring. My heart’s torn to pieces, it’s my offering. Lay me at the Throne. Leave me there alone. To gaze upon Your glory and to sing to You this song.
Take me to the…
Lord, we’re in the way. We keep making mistakes. Glory is not for us. Its all for you!
Take me to the King. I don’t have much to bring. My heart’s torn to pieces, it’s my offering. Lay me at the Throne. Leave me there alone. To gaze upon Your glory and sing to You this song.
Take me to the King! Take me to the King! Take me to the King!”
I had heard this song many times, but this time the words time pierced through the walls I was steadily fortifying. I was completely broken by the hand of the Potter so HE could create something new. I knew this path was ordained by God. I knew HIS plan for me was unfolding and I could clearly see HIS hand as I looked back over the years of my life. That morning would begin changes that I am still going through. I have begun to dismantle the walls I have built higher and thicker over the many years of my life. It will be okay to let folks in because if I can be used to enrich, bless, or accompany one person as they traverse the path they are on, then use me, Lord. All I need to get through is to remain in HIS presence. I am now entering another phase of this adventure. The professionals tell me I am experiencing the stages of grief for the loss of my own life and that it is completely normal and even needed. I do not know how much time God will grant me on this earth but I will thank HIM for every moment, every breath. What I have is quite aggressive because it has been untreated through the first three stages. I experience more limitation on a regular basis.
I am sharing this with you as my granddaughters take a morning nap and my grandson is working on a task list of things I can no longer do while expecting to breathe at the same time. He is always so willing to do anything his grandpa and his uncle did not have time to get to over the weekend. He always gives me a hug when he finishes and lets me know if I need anything else, I only need to ask. His love overwhelms me. As I look at these precious little ones who are such a huge part of my life, I thank God for HIS blessings. I wouldn’t have a life at all had HE not sent the love of my life to me, and then blessed us with three amazing children and 7 awesome baby grands. HE has used them to spare my life and enrich it daily. HIS blessings are visual sometimes. My heart is filled with gratitude every day.
So, while I am semi-sure of what my future probably holds, I know that I know who holds my future. I know my Creator has my best interests at heart. I know HE can heal me along the way if HE sees fit, and if not, I will walk it out in faith anyway and be healed and whole when I arrive in Heaven. Fear may overwhelm me some days, but my love for HIM and HIS love for me will sustain me through it all. And that load of manure? The roses that were coming up so beautifully are just being fertilized so their color will be more brilliant and their blooms will blossom as never before seen in my life. While I don’t need spectators, if you want to be a part of my life, my journey? Welcome!
Jesus loves me. This? I know that I know. HE loves you, too.
“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Psalm 139:14