We’re entering into an anniversary of sorts. One year ago this month we began to live life with the realization that our oldest son has an inflammatory bowel disease… ending up with the diagnosis of indeterminate colitis. It’s chronic. It’s disruptive. It’s incredibly inconvenient. But, it’s the place God has us. We are seeing God “show up” in amazing ways as we walk this journey.
This blog entry is the first in a series where I will try to recount the valley we began to walk last year. We aren’t to the other side yet. But, I believe that it’s important that we share this journey in community. The way a few grains of sand in my shoe drive me batty, sorting stories alone leads to isolation.
But those same grains, when joined with thousands of others, provide a tender and inviting place to walk. So stories, when shared in community, provide a gentle place to process what God’s doing. The difference in is in the gathering.
When we share the journey with others, openly, God reveals himself in the process. Not just when everything works out like we hoped.
I’d love to hear your own stories about how God has met you in the midst of unknowing.
September 28, 2011
Gathering information is a strength of mine. It’s my “go to” move when I’m trying to cope. So, when we learned that Benjamin has “indeterminate colitis”, I consulted my nutrition books and websites looking for answers, looking to fix it. Unfortunately, there isn’t an “easy fix.” But what in life worth doing or learning is ever easy? Even so, information by itself is cold and steril. In my searching, I craved more than information. I craved a presence I knew was beyond me. I needed God near.
You may have heard me speak about the nearness of God. It’s my favorite thing about Him — that he doesn’t run away in times of trouble, that he celebrates with us in victory, and draws close when we cry. But I have to say, after many days of Benjamin bleeding, even in the hospital, I started to feel desparate.
One morning, about 10 days into our hospital stay, I needed to be loud with God. I went on a walk and yelled at him. OK, God, this has gone on long enough. Why don’t you do something? Where are you? I need you to press in nearer. You’re not near enough. I felt desparate. Many times I sobbed and nearly collapsed.
As I plodded along the nature paths in our neighborhood, the morning silent and misty, a strange thing happened. Instead of my thoughts swirling in despair, I realized that they had begun to settle on what brings God glory. I noticed glistening dewed blades of grass, the beautifully haphazard array of wildflowers and weeds, a seasoned stump ringed with age. Unintentionally, I was thinking about how God was bigger than “indeterminate colitis.” He gently led me to a place of surrender and I no longer cared about being “delivered.”
I asked him to glorify himself in the midst of our struggle. I told him that if we could just stand in the radiance of that glory, it would be enough. I rested there, sweetly. God drew near.
I can’t say that Benjamin has been healed. He will most likely have this condition for the rest of his life. I can’t say that anything I’ve planned has worked out my way. But, I can say that God isn’t wasting a minute of this. He is bringing himself glory as he shepherds us in the valley. He is good and the writer of good stories… and I’m so glad I’m his.