Evenings, for me, are my greatest struggle. In the early morning hours, I struggle with truth, struggle to have courage, and hurt deeply about my story. I have had three continuous sleepless nights. My weary heart aches in the night to remember the truths of God and His great mercy in my life. At times, I grow envious of the sound of my guy sleeping peacefully next to me. I sometimes want to wake him and have him remind me of truth and grace. Then I remember his chocked full days and servant heart, and I thank Jesus for the sweet sleep he has been granted.
In the night, I struggle to believe the truth that my story is good, and my days are precisely numbered in love. God has granted me grace recently to be able to enjoy reading. Through this struggle, the medications have made reading almost impossible. Music has often been the lifter of my face and heart. This week Philippians has been a great comfort.
18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. To Live Is Christ Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith.
In the night, I grieve that I may not be here when my girls become young ladies and Lake becomes a young man. One of the greatest gifts I have known in my life is the heart shared of a young woman. I love, love, love the gift of walking life with a woman growing in her faith, struggling with truth, making hard career decisions, meeting conviction of sin, and learning to love with integrity. The young ladies that have shared their journey with me are a great and amazing treasure to my heart. In the night, I struggle thinking I may not know this season with my daughters and son.
I want to live in the tension of them trying to spread their wings, disagree with my strong opinions, have differing tastes in clothes, music, decorating, life. I want to see the beauties they grow to be inside and out. I want to see Lake take on the challenge of manhood and living in integrity. I want to be the one to offer grace in their falling. I want… Oh how I want to be here for it all.
I long to be here to meet the young men and the young lady my children will love, or to walk with them if they are called to be single. I long to be here to share the deep truths of our faith. My hearts desire is to walk the grace granted me before the hearts of my husband, children, and my community. I even long to help my kids with acne, navigate shaving legs, bras, heartbreak, figuring out a tampon, learning boundaries with technology, learning to process friendship in all it’s nuances.
These longings expose two things: my deep arrogance in thinking God needs me to accomplish His good purpose, and the struggle to trust a good God who knows exactly the story He has planned for each of my family members and community. The struggle that the story without me could be good, could be great. That the beautiful, ugly of cancer could be used to shape the hearts of my children, husband and community in a way that is amazing, grace-filled goodness.
Four is very, very young. I have no memories of being four. Story Jane has unbelievably gracious siblings that would generously share their memories of me with her. My heart is grieved that she may not carry her own if Jesus takes me home soon. I do firmly believe the love I have nurtured into her has given her a heart of courage and grace that fiercely loves big. But every story I read of someone living a long life with metastatic cancer, I immediately add that number to my sweet Story Jane. Yesterday I heard a woman living ten years. I immediately thought, Story would be 14, oh please Jesus. I weep writing these words.
Every moment given to me feels like a precious gift. In the daylight I live that gift. My children’s faces are chapped from too many kisses, their ribs sore from fierce hugs. Somehow I feel as though I’m trying to fill a cup so full with love that it will carry my children through a lifetime. But if I’m believing the truth and thinking on Jesus, I know my love is merely an extension of His great, abundant, reckless love. That love transcends me. That is a love that can truly carry my children through whatever they face. In the night, I struggle to remember. In the night, I forget about the gain of heaven and I merely long to stay and live Christ. The best thing about Jesus is that He knows. He asked for the cup to be passed from him. He knows. He longs to hear my tears in the night. And every morning I wake to His new mercies and the sweet faces He has granted me to love.
How do you struggle in the night to remember the truth of the gospel?