Monday, April 6, 2009

a “triumphal entry”

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.
Be blessed.

7 comments:

Emilie said...

That's an awesome post, Bethany. You'll get through this, I know you will!

Anonymous said...

Bethany,
I still believe God is singing over you with joy! In my heart, I am too. Everything will be ok. By the way, Andy blessed us with his message on Sunday too. God is making him into a wonderful preacher. Dad and I are so blessed!
I love you.
MOM

Anonymous said...

Got home from Nicaragua early yesterday a.m. We heard about you from Christina there, wept and prayed for you and are still praying. I laughed when I read about striving to reach a level of maturity that would require no grace! Your brother is a wise man. I thank God he was there for you.
How sweet of the Lord to love you with the gift of Dewberry perfume! I thank God for Julie too. Hope to talk soon now that we are back.
Love you lots,
Aunt Sylv

Christina said...

Bethany like all of us, you are more vulnerable when you and/or the ones you love are sick. I, too, am thankful Andy was there for you. I pray for transformation by the renewing of your mind; we all need it! I think I am more in touch with how much grace I need the older I get.
We're praying for health, strength, assignments done and passports in hand.
Love you loads, Mum

Anonymous said...

Bethany,
Your honesty and vulnerability continue to inspire me and call me to the same. Like you, I have thought about reaching that place of maturity, or a place where I would not be disappointing God. (Sylv laughed with me too, when I told her this!)

But that is the best part, Jesus loves you for who you are. Not for what you do! This is the way you love Promise. No matter what she does (or doesn't do), you love her. He loves you. Just as you are. Exactly as you are!

Thank you for sharing your story, raw heart and all! It made me weep.
Praying for all three of you. For perfect health!
Enjoy your Dewberry!
with love, Kate
ps. hope next Date day, it's back to beating Tim at Scrabble!

BeccaLynn said...

You make me cry. I love you so much.

Andrea D said...

Oh Bethany, this was a beautiful post! My heart aches for you because I know the pain of powerlessness when your child is sick. I can really relate to feelings of disappointing God but I laughed in disbelief that even you, who I have held up as an inspiration (i.e. if Robbie and I could be as obedient to God as Tim and Bethany are, we would really be living out our destiny that He has for us and THEN He would be pleased with us.), even you can feel that you have disappointed God. I know I would say to you without hesitation that God is so pleased with you as His beautiful girl and after reading your post, I feel that you are reminding all of us, despite our circumstances, of this comforting truth. Thanks for being so obedient to God AND so real and down-to-earth. (That goes for Tim, too! We love your blog!)

Andrea