Saturday, April 26, 2008

The measure of my creation

Recently I got a chance to experience again Courtney Kendrick’s fantastic essay on infertility (which you can read here). The first time I read this essay, I was thinking about my own experiences with infertility. I still remember the pain and frustration of that time, but it was strange to me to look back on those days from where I am now. Between my days of infertility and my life now were some very hard years of post-partum depression and struggles as a young mother. My struggles with young motherhood were much harder for me than the infertility struggles, and yet—and yet, who can campare pain? When you hurt, you hurt, regardless of the reason. Anyway, when I read that essay at first, I thought about motherhood and the pain it (and the lack of it) brings.

This time, however, I was thinking about what I am too often thinking about: my current illness. And the words were like scripture to me. Because I am at the same place Courtney was—in the middle, confident that it will end someday, but still in the middle. And then I came to these words:

All bundled up in sweats and a wool hat, I was passing by my neighbor's home when I had an inspired thought, “I am fulfilling the measure of my creation.”

And I just wanted to cry. That’s it—my deepest yearning (probably it is everyone’s): to fulfill the measure of my creation. Can I do it while I feel sick?

The answer must be yes. Because God created me. God is perfect. His work (to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man) WILL succeed; it will succeed with me, if I let it.

How? How? My heart breaks open as I ponder this. Have I been hindering God’s work within myself? What exactly is the measure of my creation, and how can I fulfill it despite illness, despite weakness, despite all the ways I fall short? Courtney answered that question. She goes on,

Since interest in my body was no longer simply how to make it pregnant
[make it healed],
I felt empowered to do the Lord's work in other ways.

And that’s it. I have to find the other ways to do the Lord’s work. Which include allowing myself to be served, sometimes. Or maybe just smiling and nodding while my kids play in front of me instead of throwing balls outside with them. Or serving frozen food again, but doing it cheerfully instead of mournfully.

It’s worth spending more time in conversation with God about this. What is his purpose for me, since he’s put me in this situation, and how can I bring it to pass?

Thanks, Courtney, for the lesson.


Zina said...

On your behalf, I am sick of your being sick. But I am also learning from all your learning, if you want to take heart in that at all.

It's easy to say that the Down Syndrome child is fulfilling the measure of his creation, the wheelchair-bound parent is, and so on, but it's not fun to have to make the adjustment to being confined to doing less when we've been used to be able to do much more.

(I just finished my round of iron shots and it's made a very noticeable difference -- and although I'm still having some stomach problems from the new meds, I think they're helping, too. Then yesterday I had big plans to get things done -- and got hit with a stomach flu (or newly intensified side effects from my medicine? It's always so hard to know) and it was SUCH an annoyance to have to take to my bed for the day. (Come to think of it, I haven't left the house in 2 days. Bleh.) Anyway, I sure wish this ordeal were over for you, but I absolutely agree that our "widow's mites" are always all that the Lord asks of us, as long as we give all that we have to give and do it wholeheartedly.

c jane said...

I love your insights. Being with you yesterday was extremely insightful for me too, as is reading your thoughts. Thank you for being such a wise sage for me.

Queen K said...

Beautiful, Darlene.

You've had such a poignant epiphany. I hope you're feeling an inner release as a result. I think you share my tendency to over-analyze things--I hope you can rest in the new understanding you've gained, instead of using it as a jumping-off point for more mental churning. But I know, it's easier said than done.

And Zina, I wouldn't say my child with Down syndrome does less than my other children. It's just a matter of perspective. Likewise with us--we're so anxious to figure things out/fix things/do the right thing, and God smiles because he doesn't share those anxieties. He knows the meaning and benefit of our circumstances will unfold of their own accord--we don't have to force the blossom open. We just have to be.

Love you, Darlene.

Zina said...

Yeah, queen k, those might have been poorly chosen examples. I was just trying to say that while everyone has limitations, I find it easier to be understanding and accepting of others' than my own. It's so hard for me to keep remembering that God's the one who gave me the limitations and that he's not going to punish me for their effects on me; that even my bad days "count," etc.

Melinda said...

Wow, great post. I'll be thinking about this one for a long time.

We can learn so much from each other's challenges.