For 2020, I resolve to be here. The last four or five years (yikes, too long!) I’ve been sidetracked with everything from repeat infections, mold remediation in our house, to repeat surgeries, on and on. It seemed like every time I was ready to stand up and “get things done, and get back to my writing,” I was hit with something new, or an old thing with another face. It was like the stories my mother enjoyed telling. Crawling out back in the grass with our goat Minerva, I’d raise my little diapered derrière, trying to stand up and walk. However, Minerva couldn’t resist that big white target. She’d come running and butt me flat on my face, while my parents laughed from the porch.
Being blindsided and flattened is far too achingly familiar.
After working with various doctors and a nutritionist, lots of testing, tons of supplements, a thousand diet changes and increasing sensitives and allergies, I’m improving, but still measuring out my energy with a teaspoon.
2019 was a year for me to go deeper. I read a study from California about how Adverse Childhood Experiences set people up for chronic and life-shortening illnesses. By quick count, I had at least eight major Adverse Childhood Events by the time I was five, a statistic that says I should have died a few decades ago. That depressed me until I realized it means I have fought. I have grown stronger. I persevered, in spite of it all. And, most importantly, I realized I have never been alone.
I allowed myself to look with compassion at the pain within and found the silent infant alone in her crib while her mother tried to woo her wayward husband back, the toddler still crying, unconsoled in the grass, the shy child terrified by her father’s hands and voice, the young girl utterly alone, caring for siblings only years younger, the world looming cold and threatening. So much shaking fear.
There is much I would like to share with you about this journey, and probably will, but today I want simply to assure you that God is always at work. Though often not the way we would write the script, He is creating something more wonderful than we can ask for or imagine. And this life, this world, is only the beginning.
But I’m not giving up on this life to merely wait for heaven. There is value in living well, living with wholeness, even if we are sick or in pain.
As many others have, this past year a group of us asked God to give us a word for the year. “Abide” keeping popping up for me. I wanted something more active, brighter, and something that would mean I’d spend less time in bed and more time accomplishing my goals. But I have learned this year how powerful it is to abide. It begins with reading his love letter in the Bible and listening. Learning to meditate has helped me slow my racing mind and sit in his bright love.
I have allowed the silent infant to cry out and abide in His loving presence. The toddler learned to abide in His consoling embrace. The frightened and lonely little girl began to run into his arms. I’m learning to really let His love soak deep into every hurting, crippled part of me.
That is abiding.
The word I’m hearing for 2020 is “New.” Once again, it’s not flashy or active sounding, but the time I’ve spent abiding has given me hope that New really can happen in my life.
I resolve to be alert, to be present in my life, to deeply experience feeling chosen, being custom-made to praise Him.
“This is what God says, the God who builds a road right through the ocean, who carves a path through pounding waves, The God who summons horses and chariots and armies— they lie down and then can’t get up; they’re snuffed out like so many candles: “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’ —the coyotes and the buzzards— Because I provided water in the desert, rivers through the sun-baked earth, Drinking water for the people I chose, the people I made especially for myself, a people custom-made to praise me.
Isaiah 43:16-21 MSG