One Thousand Gifts is sitting open on my kitchen table. Somewhere in the pages, God spoke again. Truth echoing around my kitchen. Maybe it is her story being in words that I can understand. Maybe it is that God has been molding and changing and now I’m ready… the soil has been plowed, tended, seeds sown, water pouring in great gushing streams and gentle fragile rains until the truth has grown and produced and all is ready to harvest.
Regardless of the reason, I’m here.
The lessons on thankfulness and blood and salvation have hit their mark and my pen is lifting- my Bible opening- my heart accepting.
I wanted to begin simple. To gently dip my toes in the waters as the author did. But I know my story is different. This isn’t the beginning- not for me- God has been working and changing for some time- this is simply the naming of what I have learned.
It’s time to jump. Not holding my breath or plugging my nose, afraid of drowning. It’s time to breathe deeply, opening, surrendering to the waves that crush and mold and change, and allow my shore-lines to be redefined. So my pen scratches on my journal page the number.
And for some time I stare at the blank beside it. Is it true? Will this be the completeness, the fullness, the wholeness of salvation that God has been promising? I know there is only one way to tell but I attempt this last time to be reassured, to be promised. And as I whisper prayers in my heart, I hear the repeating of the story.
“the Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed,
took bread, and when he had
given thanks he broke it…”
2 Corinthians 11:23-24 (emphasis mine)
Given thanks in the moments before the blood-bath begins. Before the pain that rips and claws and scrapes. The sorrow so deep it drowns and fills and leaves holes of emptiness. The promise that only in the emptiness can we be filled.
Truth calms me again. I’m already drowning. Why do I fear the water? I am jumping from one ocean to the next. Except this new water carries the hope of life! My pen lifts again and the painful writing begins.
No, let me begin earlier. Let me do this right.
My One Thousand Gifts
Given and Now Fully Received
- An empty womb
In those three words an abundance of sorrow crests and falls, like a wave that stomps upon the shore. The small pile of dreamed-on baby clothes, stuffed at the bottom of the closet. The untouched toys. The moments when I stared at those two pink lines all those months ago. The blood and mountains of sorrow that came afterward.
But I said it. I scrawled it on the page.
Thank you God for…my pain.
And it is named. Just like at Eden.
My breath falls heavy and I listen to the birds outside my window. The quiet hum of the fan. Then the silence breaks as Donkey, who is trimming the front yard, lets out a bray to shake the house slightly- and I laugh.
- Donkey, who reminds me of Haiti and all I learned there.
How fitting that my husband brought Donkey home on Mother’s Day. He is part of my journey. The reminder of those sweaty days in a cement house on a tiny island in the Caribbean. The days when I sat with my head bend low over Scripture, searching, longing for something to ease my pain. The sacred God-moments when I stared at truth and felt my heart transformed.When I hurried to pull the shoes from my feet. To touch the holy ground on which I was standing.
- bowls of vine-ripened cherry tomatoes
- walking through fields to collect crispy sweet apples
- arm loads of green peppers
- handfuls of fresh cut chives
- canners full of water
- bright yellow sunflowers in glass Coke bottles
and God speaks again in the sigh after the laugh, as the world tilts back to normal…
“He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me,
and he prepares the way so that all may know him
the Salvation of God.”
Is there something in your life that causes you deep pain? Can you find a way to be thankful for it? To admit that you, in all your limited knowledge, can’t see the beginning or the end. To trust that the God who created you , formed you, breathed life into you… the one who chose to die so that you can live– has a plan and purpose that will prevail in spite of pain? To find healing in the fact that God allows pain- not just for you- but for himself as well?
The greatest lie that the enemy uses when we’re facing pain is that we’re all alone. You’re not alone. I promise. You’re not alone.