The Scrape of Grace


Ever tried to pull the bark off a tree?

A similar wrench happens inside me sometimes when circumstances force my character to stretch. My weak yearning for comfort, security and the humanistic desire to provide for and please has to be torn away from my chosen behaviours and actions.

Walking day after day after day this last week through a medical minefield with my 22 month old has made me physcially ache. Holding her still for several blood tests, limbs steady through many xrays and adminstering frequent doses of painkillers has unsettled me.
Soothing, cuddling and trying not to react when she has screamed, refused food and thown and shattered her toys has gone on for too many days to be easy.
Walking in the shadow of leukemia fears and out into the sunshine of relief when they were unfounded has aged me.
Sitting for 7 hours in an emergency waiting room with her at the local children's hospital on hard bucket seats, has given me consciousness of blessings to be thankful for but made me ache all over.

I slid into a hot bath one night and nearly sank with the sheer weight of the weariness of forced joy that made each inhalation a dragging effort and the overwhelming, relentless stack of complications that weakened my tolerance. Fighting the temptation to crawl into an emotional cave and hide for a year but instead having to reach deep and keep reponding to the words and needs of my other girls and husband has grated on my selfishness.

And then today on our first outing in nearly two weeks that wasn't medical, when I had smartened the small people up, fed them and got them to church on time, Mishal out of the blue threw up just after we arrived in the creche. Yes, I was humilated but had spare clothes for her with me, for the first time in 9 months. Yes, I was with her and it wasn't someone else covered in vomit. Yes, we had gone to church in two cars and I was able to leave with her immediately. But I could feel the pull of despair again, watching helplessly in the rear vision mirror as she continued to be sick on the drive home. She was limp and pale and as I carried her whimpering body indoors, the desire to have it together and have it all good finally came apart from the chance to live in the grace of God's sufficency in the moment.

Layer upon layer of mothering discomfort, fear and frustration have worn my resilience to nothing. I cry easily. I drift off in the middle of conversations with the girls. My hands shake and sometimes my heart beats fast for no reason. The hard shroud of my insecurities has been pried loose, painfully it hangs away from my heart and I realise that I have never really walked in grace like I could choose to now.

Because grace perhaps is not an instant numbing balm.

Perhaps just maybe, it is the costly intersection between surrender and hope.

It is unspeakable, intimate and deep. There is no covering or protection between me and my surroundings. There is a tenderly ironic metaphor that as a mother I am confronted by. It is of us mothers as babies in utero, competely dependant and naked and yet hidden in the water of creation, connected to the source of life and the blood of existance.

I have no answers for my own questions and cannot explain away nor prop my exhaustion up on any current of energy or distraction.

But I can choose to dwell within the tent of my faith. The covering, perfection and the power of unmerited favour and like an embryo who has done nothing to earn survival, the complete rest found in the presence of growth.


Lee  – (August 9, 2009 at 7:56 PM)  

Wow, you've had a tough week. Thank the Lord you have Him.

Sammy  – (August 9, 2009 at 8:40 PM)  

Oh Amy, thank God she is ok! I can't imagine what you must have gone through. MASSIVE hugs xxxx

Cassandra Frear  – (August 11, 2009 at 1:22 AM)  

When I have been so sick I thought I would die (more than once), I read about Elijah. When I was so traumatized by life I thought I would have a complete meltdown, I read about Elijah. Times when I lost hope and couldn't find the strength to go on, I read about Elijah.

I wrapped his pain, his triumphs, his aloneness, his struggles, and his tender and fierce God around me until I was well and strong again.

God is not just the one who helps us during these hard times. He is our way through it.

This morning I pray that He would be your way.

Bless you.

Kelly  – (August 13, 2009 at 10:57 PM)  

Amy, I found you through a comment on Cassandra's blog when I was looking for quiet places this morning. I am amazed at your ability to describe your circumstances, your feelings.

I have been here. I am not here now, but I know all too well how I may find myself here again tomorrow. It is more than grace - it is Him, drawing you deep into His love for you, teaching you how strong it is, covering you, overwhelming you with it so that you can know how near He is, how good He is.

I get this; I know this stripping of soul that brings us naked into His presence, half-fearful, so desperate, with despair gnawing at the corners of our consciousness.

It is a strange grace, this emptying of us into His love. It is a chance to know Him as God, God we can't control, God we don't want to, because we don't understand His ways, because we don't know what He knows.

What a wonderful thing He is doing in you! It is good; I can see it, feel it! I am just beginning to know and explore the joy of it on my own.

You are loved...

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