Friday, March 6, 2015

Living Grateful

Just about to go to sleep when I realized it's Random Journal Link-up Day, and I completely spaced. So before you read any further, skip on over Here to read Joy's beautiful journey/ministry with journaling and don't forget to check out the other journal-keeper's contributions in the link!

It's been a hard week for me. People who live with chronic pain know about such times. I suppose after all the stress of the last several months preparing for and having Grampie here, watching him die in our home, it's not surprising that my body is rebelling now. I'm very used to what to do when my body is screaming in pain. This is what I've been given, I believe. And grace covers my insufficiencies so well. I'm awed that God filled up my weaknesses to the very last moment needed in Grampie's life. And now is letting me feel what I didn't feel during those days I needed strength. That's how He works. So I don't begrudge these hard days. They are just part of life on this fallen planet, in this broken body of mine.

All that said, some days are harder than others, and this has been a hard week.

So I forgot RJD until just now. Come late to the party, bring a bologna sandwich of a journal-offering perhaps (I don't know yet, I haven't opened the notebook to see). But perhaps, there will be a feast at the table anyway. Perhaps God will take my paltry offering in my broken hand and make it into something good. "Taste and see that the Lord is good," the Psalm tells us. So, shall we see?

This is the page I opened to:
June 7, 2001
Went with Beve to SqHS's Baccalaureate Service. The unforgettable speaker was Noemi Ban, a Holocaust survivor. She watched her father bless her as he was taken to die. She saw her mother's eyes saying, "I love you," as she was led to the gas chambers. And Noemi found grace, love, faith and hope in the most evil of all the death camps-- Auschwitz. When her own strength ran out, when she was so near death she couldn't stand, three friends, at the risk of their own lives, held her up. They literally held her upright through the night so she wouldn't be sent to die. Is there a clearer picture of friendship? Of love? She spoke of her liberation day, of a beautiful young American soldier finding her (with her friends) hiding in the forests. He told her, "You are free." She fell in love with America on that day and has lived her whole life grateful. It could have been otherwise. She could have been destroyed by that evil. Instead she has lived, grateful for her freedom. 

It makes me wonder. How do I live? Am I so busy looking at what's wrong with my life? At the things that aren't what I like, the relationships that are difficult (like Mom) that I just don't live grateful. Living grateful for what is. Isn't that the story of the gospel? Isn't it also true that we were all saved from certain death? Do I live that way? Or have I forgotten? Have I begun to take this unbelievable (but true) story for granted, that He got in the way of death FOR ME. I mean, it's like He stepped in front of a bullet for me. That's just the truth of it. Jesus Christ took what was meant for me. If He'd done it that personally, I'd probably never stop thanking Him. I'd feel like every single day was charmed after that moment. But the truth is, that's exactly what He did. It's that personal, that immediate, that real. The cross was all that. Stepping in the way of death for me. Freeing me from certain death. And every single day I live, I should live in light of THAT. Nothing is bigger, nothing is broader, nothing is more important than that. What He did colors everything. 
So...nothing that ever happens to me compares with what He's already done. I live my life grateful, no matter what.

Funny how these things work out. I needed to read these words tonight, to be reminded of why pain isn't important, why I can (and usually do!) rejoice in my little pain. There's a whole lot more in what Noemi shared that service. I love her words about friendship. Can't believe I didn't write about that. But that isn't where my brain went that night. That's telling too.


Dawn Paoletta said...

Hi Carolyn, I am so sorry these days have been difficult and I am honored that you are still taking the time in light of your present difficulties with your gramps last days...this is recent, right?

But oh these words and the perfect timing as you said, of re-reading them now. I so love that God gives us lessons, insights and glimpses into grace and truth...His glorious revelations and then we are led to write them...keeping them. More so to find them again and let them minister their grace and truth anew. How is anything so perfect? Ordained...somehow. His divine hand on all, meeting us again and again in our need, sometimes before we even know we need the need to be met...the reminder of His presence. What a beautiful image too, of these friends holding their friend up...Thanks as always for sharing from your treaures!

Pamela M. Steiner said...

This was so amazing. Thank you for sharing this with us. I am truly sorry for your current pain. I can so relate...I went through similar physical issues in the aftermath of the death of our son last was kind of like the unwinding of months and even years of trying to hold it all together and not allowing myself to rest and relax and grieve. Then my body wreaked havoc on me...but I am so thankful to say that God has helped me and has strengthened me and has brought new health and vigor to my body and soul today. There are still many times that I recoil back into my shell of pain, but then I think of heaven and how wonderful it is that my son is no longer suffering...and I rest again in God's arms. One day at a time. He will bring healing to you one day at a time. Trust Him to do so. Thank you for this post today. You are such a blessing to me.

Kel Rohlf said...

Carolyn- I am coming late to read the postings, but I am moved by how God reminded you about RJD and that you opened to a passage in your journal that was just right for you and for your readers that day and today for me...and as we remember His death...I will be thinking of how he took death for me and for you and for Grampie and what a amazing gift this is...grateful!