Tuesday, December 4, 2007

blank slate...

every morning i sit and stare at a blank screen and wonder what i am going to talk about.
i wonder if anybody cares.
but more importantly (i don't really care if you care...haha), i know that no matter what i start with -- this blog always gets so long-winded and ends up somewhere in an alternate universe from where it started.

i'd blog everyday, but i am so exhausted by each post that it becomes overwhelming and i need a few days in between to spend the hour or so elsewhere!!

but the beginnings of the week are really good for me -- and therefore -- it's time!

for starters -- just like clockwork -- it is day three of my cycle. (period) and i never called the clinic. so -- it's officially an unmedicated, unregulated cycle this month. and i'm really excited that i have released that. it's one thing to SAY that's what you'll do -- but quite the opposite to actually do it and...i feel a release, as though this holiday season is going to be alot smoother because i'm not paranoid about any ADDITIONAL thing. so to celebrate -- i downloaded a few christmas albums to my iTunes and have been working on my Christmas cards and have been ok. i feel stressed about other things, like...my horrible efforts to even THINK about Christmas shopping, and my HORRIBLE haircut i just got, and the pile of laundry sitting in the hallway, and the Part TWO of my root canal yesterday, the "friendly fire" that chad and i went through this morning determining if today's stamps are REALLY 41 cents or 43 cents, and the list goes on.

actually speaking of chad -- he's got SO MUCH work going on over the next 24 hours that i should be able to knock off a LARGE portion of my checklist. CROSSING FINGERS!

whoa....today's entry is actually pretty boring.

i have no segue into this, so this is a rather abrupt transition...but i have to tell you...that i love my church. out of nowhere -- i needed to say that. maybe that is why i feel so much better at the start of each week. my lenses are refocuses, life is about the RIGHT things and not the WRONG things and i'm again reminded of everything that matters. which is painful and glorious all at the same time.

chad and i always have a saying, "if change is
really necessary - don't use bandaids - use a scalpel."
we apply it to really retarded things, in every arena of life. like. when our car goes into the shop and they come back with bad news. chad's response..."do surgery. do it right. fix it permanently, rather than buying us time with a bunch of short term fixes and bandaids."

or when we have a leak in our apartment.
"Rip out the ceiling, find the pipes, resolve the PROBLEM, not the symptoms. No bandaids."

or with my teeth. hello. no explanation needed.

or with my photography business -- "No short-cuts, no quick fixes....do it right, now....despite the frustration...and you won't have to do it again later..."

bandaids simply buy you time to be frustrated again in the future. surgery guts the problem and hopefully resolves it forever.

so you can imagine how this "concept" took on a very striking and emotional message to me when i was reading through my blogroll and realized another woman struggling with infertility was quoting C.S. Lewis from his book "A Grief Observed."

The terrible thing is that a perfectly good God is in this matter hardly less formidable than a Cosmic Sadist.
The more we believe that God hurts only to heal, the less we can believe that there is any use in begging for tenderness...Suppose that what you are up against is a surgeon whose intentions are
wholly good. The kinder and more conscientious he is, the more inexorably he will go on cutting.
If he yielded to your entreaties, if he stopped before the operation was complete, all the pain up to that point would have been useless.

now let me just start by saying -- i've read this book years ago and swore it off forever. i cried through the ENTIRE book and found it incredibly depressing. probably because a GIANT like C.S. Lewis isn't supposed to question God. he's on the inside track with God so therefore -- to read his anguish and his questionings of God's will...was a bit bleak for me....when i was GOING to C.S. Lewis for all of his theology on how to better deal with loss and grief.

do you realize he never recovered from his broken heart? he never got over the loss of his truest earthly love - his wife. he had only been married to her for a few years, later on in life, and she died of cancer. her name was "joy." after penning the words of "A Grief Observed," lewis died from what many believe were symptoms of a broken heart.

even cs lewis could not escape the unavoidable disappointments of this fallen, evil world. he does however conclude in his book that his faith in God's providence was restored fully -- but it's poignant to note that that is quite different from deliverance of earthly pain. the two are mutually exclusive. purely capable of co-existing in our hearts for all of our lives. pain and Providence.

the magnificent conclusion to all of this is:
with Christ -- the pain will one day end.
without Christ -- the pain will never be over.

Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, James McDonald always says, "In 1000 years, think of where you and every single person you've ever met, will be. There will only be two camps of people left. Those with Christ. And those without. Whatever it is that divides people now on earth, wealth, prosperity, position, titles, possessions.....will all be burned away. The division will be boiled down to one, singular, fear-filled line in the sand. You have Christ. Or you do not."

obviously, earth pain (aka., C.S. Lewis' loss, etc) is universal and very, very real. my pain in infertility is just one facet of pain that plagues humanity. but everybody experiences "the test" that brings them to a crossroads in their faith.

but at least, despite it all, i'm promised a pain-free eternity. it seems sometimes that all bets are off, in this life. very few things are sure...are certain...are concrete. earthly reason isn't expansive enough to make sense of an upsidedown life. and the sooner you welcome the scalpel of a fully good Surgeon -- with the END as the prize, the less treacherous the process seems.

yesterday in church -- we continued our series in Luke. "The Facts about Jesus."
yesterdays message title was "He had a criminal record."
Luke 22.

Luke 22:41:
And he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and prayed, saying, "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done...and being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground...Then they seized him and led him away...

however it's possible -- for however short the moment -- Jesus wanted out. he wanted this ordeal to be removed from him, though he voices the desire for his father's will to trump his. and then he was arrested.

i had never thought much about "remove this cup" from me.
interestingly, we learn it's a cup of God's wrath. full to the brim with judgement meant to fall upon every sinner for eternity. the cup had my name on it -- fully deserved -- fully just -- deep enough to punish my fallen nature and every shortcoming, for eternity future.

Jesus drank it in my place.
all of it.

...leaving none left...for me to drink.

he acquired a criminal record that night -- he was arrested by the most powerful Roman empire....

and the criminal record -- was mine.

most humbling however is the fact that he wasn't arrested by chance, he wasn't a victim of the system, he wasn't just martyred by the government during Passover to quiet the unrest among the Jews during their holiday....

it was all intentional. "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer....this is my body, which is given for you..."

He did it all for me...

and now, He's on a holy mission, to not condemn and force me to drink any of his wrath, but to remove the cancer in my heart, which left untreated would spread, and overcome, and kill. to beg him to stop, or to make sure he does it painlessly -- would be to care more about my short-term comfort than my long-term race to the finish.

no, as believers, that doesn't make us doormats, or martyrs without a cause, or victims to our circumstances....or hopeless.

when compared to the depth of eternal agony that was my just sentence, that i have been spared of -- the temporary agony of this world hurts a little less, the gain is a little more, the vision is better understood.

and though the scalpel is sharp enough to cut to the core...sharper than any two-edged sword...
piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart...

through it all....His healing is eternal.

Lewis was right...He hurts in order to heal....

...and He used his only child as his primary example...

9 comments:

ckuretich said...

LOVE THIS.
i have nothing else to say. I just love it. and it's all so true, and so right, and so bold, and so necessary to hear - that's all.

Julie Nickerson said...

My pastor just talked about this.

Beautiful words.

Becky Barber said...

wow. this is great. i think i need to go pick up a copy of that book. love me some CS.

something along the same lines... (i just blogged about this on xanga - i know, i know...but it's not REGULAR blogging!) Lon preached about God's eternality this week at Frontline. If you have time, listen to it: http://www.frontlinedc.com/pages/page.asp?page_id=712

I think you'd like it. :)

Glenna Marshall said...

Weird...same passage, except from Mark was what my husband preached on Sunday (as we are going through Mark). Good stuff.
I'm embarrassed to say I've not read that Lewis book. What's wrong with me? I love a depressing read every now and again.

Heather said...

beautiful post. man, once you get ramped up in your posts, you really go for the gold! no wonder it takes you a few days to recover. :)

Terri said...

LOVE IT!! PREACH ON SISTA!!

Nikki said...

So funny how God uses multiple sources to get a point across. I've been reading from "Soul Cravings" by Erwin McManus and for the past few days his entries have been about hope - hope lost/hope gained and the trials and tribulations through it all. Amen sistah!

Chrissy said...

you have the greatest ways of wording things, allison. if you wrote a book, i'd read it.

such good stuff.
love that book, too! i really liked it. so very real.

Jen said...

Hi Allison,
I love this post. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. I am looking forward to getting to know you! I love your style of writing-you share so much of your heart! Happy New Year, new (to me) sister!