It was autumn and I’d barely registered the change in seasons. That quiet place in the upper Midwest was full of trees shedding leaves and smelled of cold, damp earth. The cold sun shone bright, reflecting off of morning dew but did little to take the chill out of the air. It was October and I had apparently packed for September.
Hustling to the conference center after everyone else had gone for breakfast my breath came out in short puffs. When had it gotten so cold? And when was the last time I truly felt the air outside and in my lungs?
Out from the cold and into the warmth of the conference center I could hear women’s laughter and smell the frankincense. Coming down the stairs I could smell the food and my stomach turned over. Skipping breakfast had been a good idea. I was sick. The bruises on my legs and the thinning of my hair confirmed the number on the scale. Those could be hidden by clothes and a little rearranging of hair but the dark circles under my eyes wouldn’t be camouflaged by the best concealer. I’d tried. Waiting in the hallway for the food to be cleared away I picked up a sweatshirt in the gift shop. The first strains of music drifted through the corridors and I made my way in.
A year later and I can still hear the song. Echoing off walls and into my heart.
Your love is
Like radiant diamonds
My heart broke some more and spilled fresh tears when I thought I had none left. Because this didn’t feel like radiant diamonds.
Your love will
Surely come find us
And the tears wouldn’t stop. Because I didn’t feel found.
God of mercy
Sweet love of mine
Nose running, soul wrenching tears. Because this didn’t feel merciful.
I have surrendered
To your design
Ah, yet more tears. Because I didn’t like this design. This design hurt. Bad. This design included genetic disorders and fear. Not for myself, but for my child. How could this love be like radiant diamonds and merciful? It didn’t feel like it. And how do you surrender to a love that doesn’t look the way you think it should?
I’d been crying out for Him to take this from me. From her. I was looking for the fairy tale love. You know the one. Where the damsel in distress cries out for help and He comes charging in on a magnificent white steed, swoops her up and carries her to safety. I wanted Him to swoop down and take away these faulty genes and carry them far away. I was certain that was what love should look like.
But I was wrong. A year later, I have a better understanding of love. Instead of carrying me, He asked me to follow Him. Instead of saving me from this short term suffering, He is saving me for eternity. He was calling me to die to myself and live for Him. An internal crucifixion. Surrender to His design. Because He is love. Because He never leaves me alone. Because His plans for me are good.
A year later, He has pulled me from the depths of despair, showered me with grace, and given me peace and joy in Him. And I’ll continue to pick up my cross and follow this
Sweet love of mine
Even if it doesn’t look the way I want it to.