Can the Wounded Serve

Tears began to flow as I was sitting in a living room with a few other ladies, the kind of tears that you didn’t mean to let fall but couldn’t stop. img_6627You see, something almost magical happens when these ladies gather and I get to join.  All of the sudden I don’t have to be a rock star mom, an amazing wife, or a devout Christian.  I don’t really have to be anything.  We are not best friends, even though I enjoy each of them very much. We don’t hang out much besides these couple gatherings a month and a small chat here or there when we have the time, but when we do come together we can share our hearts.

The topic of conversation was casual and turned a bit more passionate when we fell onto the subject of our city and the needs that are so prevalent.  That Sunday’s sermon was excellent and has had my head spinning ever since.  It was touching, it was motivating, and for me it was frustrating.

And this is why:

The season of life I have stepped into, with much resistance, is a season of healing.  Some of us have skeletons in the closet, baggage we are carrying around, pasts that haunt us.  And at some point we desire freedom, so we let out the skeletons, unpack the bags, and revisit the past.  This is my time.  This is my season.  I am not overjoyed about this and am like a resistant two year-old saying “No, I don’t wanna!” while stamping her foot so hard her wispy toddler hair bounces from the impact.  Reluctantly, I give in.

I’m only at the beginning, just getting started, but am raw from emotion.  It’s not easy opening up your heart, the one you have guarded faithfully for many years, the one you have taken care of.  So when the process begins, things I have begun experiencing, for lack of better words, are different and unfamiliar.

As we begin talking about our community and the children and the poverty, I lose it. With the condition of my heart and the room’s loving atmosphere of  “come as you are” my emotions spill out like little bouncy balls going every which way, and there was no way for me to catch them.

I know I felt conflicted after hearing the message on Sunday, but these tears, this deep heartbreak with an even deeper anger caught me off guard.  Because I believe I cannot do anything about it, or can I?

I’m left with this question, can the wounded serve?  I’ve been called into this season of life, to heal and to rebuild the broken, my broken.  Opening up old wounds is painful, and it takes time and it takes energy.  Honestly the task seems too big, overwhelming and extremely scary so how could I possibly have the capacity to serve, to serve others, to serve our God?  I’m angry that I feel like I can’t, that I’m not whole enough or strong enough, or put together enough.  I cannot even carry my own burdens so how can I carry the burdens of others?

But I still want to.

I don’t have an answer to my question, I just lay it out there for discussion, to chew on, to examine and search and wind the wheels of our mind.  Now the easy answer is, “Of course you can serve, of course you can help others.  With God you can do anything. He makes up for what we lack.” Actually these are all things I believe, and even believe He calls us to do the things we could not possibly do on our own. However, I don’t think they answer my deeper question. Because if you are really wounded, if you are really sick and God does not give you an instant healing, but instead purposely calls you into a journey of healing, of rebuilding and refining are you really supposed to be out on the mission field? Am I really supposed to be out on enemy lines when right now I’m not sure I could easily recognize the enemy, when I feel as if my armor is thin and my limp is too slow? God is choosing not to fix this quickly, He is choosing to allow me to walk with a limp, to be confused so I seek, to keep my armor thin so He can heal my wounds.

So I googled it, the question.  I didn’t ask Seri because we are not well acquainted yet, and Google usually pulls through.  My quick search came across stories of soldiers being allowed back into action after losing limbs, amazing stories of courage and duty to our country.  However the soldiers did not go back into battle until they were healed, or at least strong enough to handle battle.  A play also popped up in my search by Thornton Wilder called The Angel that Troubled the Waters with the quote, “In Love’s service only the wounded soldiers can serve.” I turned this quote over and over in my mind, and I understand the plays beautiful message that our wounds serve a purpose.  I get that, but still the question can be asked, when do those wounds serve a purpose? Plus, it doesn’t fit so neatly into the freedom and healing I’m seeking after.

I also go to God’s Word and demand my brain to recall every Bible hero I can remember, did any of them serve when they were incredibly wounded and vulnerable? At first my mind goes blank.  I am not a Bible scholar, far from a theologian.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t even ace my Old and New Testament Bible classes in college.  Finally a Bible figure pops into my tired mind, a story I had just read to my daughter the day before, the story of Samson.  Sometimes the simplicity of a children’s Bible story book helps me see the main story and not get so caught up in the details. bible2
I remembered that I was taken aback because he, being one of my childhood heroes, was not a great guy.

At first glance he seems like a big jerk.  On second look, maybe he was just a real sensitive guy, but either way he just didn’t do much good with the strength that God gave him.  As his life story goes, He did do good on the last day of his life, when he was stripped of his strength, sight, dignity, identity, and freedom.  God granted him strength one last time and he pulled down the whole temple killing thousands of Philistines.  He was wounded and he served.

I’m sure there are other stories in the Bible of those serving when they were wounded and not to be forgotten the many martyrs and those tortured for their faith.  As I typed the words wounded and vulnerable my beloved Jesus came to mind.  However, I wouldn’t dare to compare my situation to His sacrifice or even the sacrifice of the many others who have gone before me.

My heart still doesn’t have an answer that fits perfectly in the slot. All I have is a discussion.  I’m not sure there is an answer.  Maybe I’m looking at it all wrong.  Because most of this has been “I” statements speaking to what I want and what I don’t.  Isn’t the real question about surrender?  How much am I willing to give up?  Am I willing to give up my comfort, my pseudo-clarity, and my easy answers to go down the unfamiliar path?  The one that looks dark and scary where I can only see a few steps in front of me. The one that creates more questions than there will ever be answers.  It is not about my great ideas, or how much I want to serve and fix, or how hard my heart breaks for others. It’s definitely not about my impatience, resistance, and anger for having to go through a healing season.  When it comes down to it,

it’s not about if I can serve, but If I’m willing when He calls me to.

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, uphold me with a willing spirit. ~ Psalm 51:12

Crock pot confessions

I have been sitting on this blog post for quite awhile letting fear and doubt and perfectionism keep me from posting it.  It is a little scary and intimidating to post your first one, especially since I don’t really read any other blogs and am not sure what a true blog is supposed to be. The content still rings true even though it was written several months ago, not much has changed.  This has been pressing on my heart long enough so ready or not here I come….

 

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Coming back from my first grief support group is probably not the best time to start writing my first blog post.  Even typing those words “my first blog post” make me shiver just a bit.  Although I’m not sure what I am so scared of.  I am writing to probably an audience of two, my husband because he loves me and my mom because, well, she is my mom and that is what moms do.

Raw is the best word to describe my state right now.  It’s been a rough emotional week, but then again it has been a rough month.  It seems like we just can’t catch a break and are being bombarded with one thing after another.  It’s just regular inconveniences, but they keep on coming with just enough time for us to catch our breath in between.  It’s nothing life changing.  No, that was three months ago when I got a call to come to the hospital because my Grammie had been in an accident, a fatal accident.  And when I got another call in May telling me my sister’s son has cancer.  He was just six months old then.  Or over two years ago when I found out I was going to be a mother of four, just after we celebrated my son’s first birthday.

Yes, those were all life changing events, then why was scraping the gooey sticky mess of chicken broth and bits of bones off my refrigerator feeling like a life changing event.  I had been cleaning all day, since 6:45 am to be exact.  That was when I came downstairs, stood in my kitchen, and stared at the mess.  My sleepy light-sensitive eyes sweeping over my kitchen trying to inform my just as sleepy brain what I was actually seeing.  What the sleepy brain concluded was that my crock pot had erupted like a volcano in the middle of the night spraying gooey sticky greasy chicken broth, bones, and meat all over my kitchen.  Not a spot was missed, Crock Pot Volcano made sure it hit every surface, wall, appliance, cabinet, window and thing in my kitchen.

You see, I was determined to beat this bad luck we are having and decided it was time to cook up some healthy nutritious bone broth.  This was to nourish our bodies and keep us from repeating our four long months of illness we experienced last fall and winter.  I was being proactive, getting ahead of the game.  But in all my excitement I had forgotten one small detail, don’t latch the crock pot. Now all our health and nutrition was spewed all over my kitchen, and I was left to clean up a mess of good intentions.

By the evening I had shut down and then the tears came.  I was just so tired of failing.  I knew we were living in chaos.  The month before, my husband and I came up with a plan of action.  We were organized and full of hope. I was going to declutter our home and he was going to balance the budget.  We even had weekly meetings to discuss our plan and revise and evaluate.  Little did we know by the end of the month we would only  discovered how little money we actually do have and all I would declutter is the breakfast bar.

During my pity party with the refrigerator and wondering why every part of my life seemed so hard I couldn’t help but wonder if there was more to this disaster than chicken.  I thought maybe this was not terrible luck and God is either trying to get my attention or is preparing me for something.

These past few years I think I should get an A for effort.  I have tried so hard to pull us out of the chaos.  But the more I try to climb out the farther I fall in.  I’m a fighter by nature so if it gets harder I fight harder.  I keep fighting for this nice life.  You know, the one where the house is organized and clean, home school time is filled with amazing lessons about history and cool science experiments, healthy meals are on the table every night at 6:00, dinner discussion is great, bedtime is full of stories and giggles, prayers and kisses.  Life flows nicely, we have our problems but we handle them with ease.  That is the life I keep fighting for but instead I get a house full of clutter, school squeezed in while cleaning up the dishes, I hope to at least feed my family something before 8:00 and bed time, well, its loud, its chaos.

Crock pot volcano has finally gotten my attention or at least brought me to a new level of exhaustion, stripping my emotions raw, and forcing me to stop, to pay attention to His still small voice.

Maybe I need to stop trying to climb my way out of the chaos, and instead I need to find Him in the midst of it.

Not climb out but search within and just find Him, grab His hand, or even jump on His back and let Him lead me through instead of out.

Maybe I am fighting what I need to be living.

And that’s it.  I have no amazing conclusion.  No five step process on how to get to that nice life. The only life changing thing I am attempting to do is listen and follow what He says. Simple, but not so easy.  He has impressed upon my heart for so long to write.  I have continually fought Him on it.  I have come up with every excuse in the book as to why I can’t write.  But I am done fighting Him.   I am listening and trying to obey and pay attention to His still small voice. 

Welcome, if you may, to my journey.  My journey through the chaos, jumping onto my Savior’s back because if my two feet hit the ground I will be running the other way.  No more fighting, no more escape attempts.  I will face it head on, I will face the life He has for me because that nice life, the one I have been fighting for, it’s just not mine.  As long as He is with me, I think I can do this.  I can go through the chaos.

14 The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14