"Everything goes through upheaval in the spring." This is a line from a favorite movie of mine (a cheesy, adorable one - I admit it) and it hangs around in my brain because - whoa, it's kind of true.
Our upheaval has included a variety of frustrating things, plus some really strange, lingering illness that basically knocked us out for a month. It's true that kids are little petri dishes carrying around all sorts of gross things and over the course of 5wks, our little party of three shared two sinus infections, an upper respiratory infection, two stomach bugs, strange midnight-only nausea, acute sinusitis and an ear infection. We didn't get to do anything except grumble and complain and not sleep. Not my finest hour, people. Not my finest hour. But of course, I was learning anew that "His strength is made perfect in my weakness". I was weak in ways I hated and was embarrassed of. I learned I am reluctant to be in pain - of any sort - for any length of time. I sat on the phone with my counselor explaining all the Real Big Problems and he gently said, "Well, I think you simply are going to learn to endure. There is not an answer for this. You must endure."
I was both relieved, and ticked, of course. I wanted to know if there was some sort of spiritual oppression or was I praying backwards or did he have some insight into my family care so that I could make this all better? But no. There was no answer for strange sickness and indefinite exhaustion and the resulting potty train regression plus grumbly hearts. The only response was to endure, because the life of the Enduring One indwells me.
I feel sheepish to even say this, because heaven knows enduring a cold and some potty accidents are first world, middle class, American problems. I am not unaware that there are larger, harsher, crueler things people across the country and across the world are enduring. Which is in part why it became so important that I buck up; that I relinquish my hold on, "If we could just get better or just ____________", then I could be obedient and do all the right things for my family.
The truth is that the obedience of faith precedes transformation. If I cannot or will not choose to obey God in my circumstances, it will be oh so much harder to work through them and oh so much harder to hear His voice in the midst of them.
If I am in the circumstance, God is in it.If He is in it, He is in it for good.
He will use these uncomfortable and inconvenient things to reveal Himself to me, to teach me to endure, to enlarge my capacity for suffering and to create space in me to absorb suffering for others and with others.
So we are moving into this season of upheaval with "endurance" on our minds. I am reminded of my intent for this year to be "still and small" and am pondering all that means. In the endurance, there is great work being done in our hearts, in our home. I sense it. I know even bigger upheaval will come and that I will have more space, now, to absorb it, because Christ is teaching me to endure.
I can do and endure all things, now, because Christ strengthens me and is, Himself, my strength.
And when we stopped being sick and started feeling ourselves again, we decided to have a really magical spring: