Happy Palm Sunday, everyone. I hope the day has been meaningful and memorable for all of you. It certainly has for me. This morning at 4 am, Tim and I were awakened by a very feverish baby girl. Coughing and throwing up, Promise was crying a weak, pathetic whine. Her fever was 103.8 and we immediately went into survival mode....cold wash rags, paracetamol, breastmilk...and we blasted the air con. After a few hours of crying and praying, she fell asleep....I did not.
Between the dizziness and nausea caused by my ear ache and the brooding concern for the Lady Bird, I was unable to relax. I was angry. Fed up. Furious. At God. At myself.
I got up and found my brother online. I needed someone to set me straight...to remind me of what’s truly going on under the surface and what truly matters. Faced with the overwhelming fear of losing Promise, not finishing schoolwork on time, getting behind and not seeing my patients I promised to visit, I felt like a total disappointment. My brother was kind enough to point out that God is still good in it. In it all. This wasn’t helping my mood. I already knew that, but my brother didn’t know that all of this was my fault. I just felt like my sin had brought this on us....my lack of time with God....allowing fear to take hold....not praying enough....it just had to be my fault....God was trying to prove a point....or get me to “draw close” to Him in my distress.....WRONG-O.
He shared that though God preordained us to suffer through this crazy bout of sickness, God was weeping for us, too. Like Jesus who wept over Jerusalem though their unbelief was part of God’s ultimate and good plan, the Lord was weeping because it hurt. Because He feels. Yes, He could fix it in an instance and I don’t know why He hasn’t, but I know that He loves Promise more than me, so I have to just trust His plan.
He also reminded me of Hannah...who prayed and prayed for a child and God gave her one, but instead of her hoarding that child, she gave him up to the service of the Lord only seeing him once a year.
To be honest, this wasn’t really helping. But it did confirm once again, that Promise is HIS and He’s just loaned her to me for the time being. This conversation led to another. My difficulty in accepting God’s grace....my deep-felt responsibility to be ‘good’, do ‘good’ and speak ‘good’....the constant feeling that I have been disappointing God. Feeling as though I caused or somehow deserved this season of sickness and fear. Now some of you would say, “Oh Bethany....look at your life, you’re doing so much, God is proud of you!” Yeah, but you don’t see the internal workings of a very sinful person. Not too sinful for God, but definitely disappointing. Funny how suffering brings out your best.
One skype sentence led to another and I came face to face with His grace. My brother is a good preacher, a good pastor, and a good encourager. I just (subconsciously) thought that I would someday reach a level of maturity that I would no longer need God’s grace or at least not a lot of it. Ha ha ha. I knew I wasn’t there, yet, but I was trying so hard to attain it. It doesn’t exist...yeah, I know this, I really do. My brother just reminded me of it.
So here I sit. Too tired and weak to work, too weepy to leave Promise’s side....I feel frail and in a daze....and yet, I feel a sense of peace and relief that I don’t have to be any other way right now.
Soon after my brother’s skype sermon, a friend of mine from the clinic came by with food for dinner and something enormously meaningful. Julie is from my homestate of Oregon and I actually went to grade school with her younger sister. When she came to Mercy, I felt a camaraderie with her as we have so much in common. She has been a great source of fun and friendship to me and in passing one day many months ago, I noticed she was wearing a particular scent....a scent that smelled like the special shampoo from the Body Shop that I used when I was in high school....Dewberry. When I was in high school, I got to spend my lame minimum wage on frivolous items like yummy smelling expensive shampoo from the Body Shop. Mmmm. I commented that I recognized the scent and that it had been my favorite growing up. I asked her if it was the coveted discontinued Body Shop Dewberry scent and she said that she’d had it for years and yeah, it was the special stuff. It made me smile. That was the end of it.
Along with my meal from Julie and the gals at the green house, was a perfume bottle from the Body Shop. Dewberry. And to be honest, after the morning I’d had with my brother on skype and the last 4 months battling sickness, I knew this precious perfume oil was from Jesus. Julie was the obedient vessel, but the oil was from my Lord. When I should have been the one adorning my Saviour with precious perfumes and oils on the day of His Entry, He came to me. When I should’ve been preparing for His triumphal entry with my life laid down and singing hosannas, He met me in my weariness and adorned me with the oil of gladness...or Dewberry.
Thank you for your prayers and encouragements. They are huge.