Whitley & Nana. I love how happy she looks in this picture with her Nana.
People inspire me. I’m captivated by a good story and most of the good ones have a little crazy in it. When you love words and people you find something to inspire you if you are brave enough to slow down and listen to words that define a heart. Sometimes a story has a little sadness and sickness in it, things we can’t edit out like a bad sentence or storyline. But, if I could I would edit out the hurt.
I love a good underdog story, the one that has bloody knees like mine from trying, flailing, and repeating as often as needed until faith returns and reminds me why bloody knees make better stories and people. Most of the time it’s not something featured on the news, or a blog that’s gone viral that moves me to the core. Although it happens and I love it when it does. It’s the stories of the people I love the most, just everyday people doing the best they can when life leaves them breathless and sometimes broken by something they can’t control.
I’ve watched my mother-in-law and loved her for over sixteen years. No one else has sacrificed more for God, her family, and ministry. I’ve been blessed by the efforts of what love has built in her and through her.
You will never ever meet a perfect woman, but sometimes life gives you the sweetest gift of loving people who find love perfected inside of them. A selfless heart giving to her family, spending up her days knowing that days are fragile and days are wasted. But we will never regret loving and living for God and our families. Everything else is just bonus.
I’ve heard it. I’ve said it. I’ve whispered it. I’ve wanted to scream it…WHY ME?
I have been invited to pity-parties and I have been the honorary hostess of pity-parties. I’ve seen anger on faces and worn out creases leaving tracks on faces and hearts. I’ve seen the fear and fist-clenched questions, and I’m not saying it’s wrong to think it and ask why me? I’m saying that it’s a waste of heart and mind space because of one woman’s faith in really difficult situations wrestling with an illness that leaves her no choice but to take a cocktail of pills and trust in an unseen God who has guided each step, even her recent, shaky ones.
I pray I’ll never say those two words again, but I can’t be sure. Although her body and sometimes her mind gives her fits, the core of who she has always been shines through the most beautiful blue eyes.
You’ve done everything right. You’ve lived the good life. You’ve fought the good fight. You’ve loved. You’ve sacrificed. You’ve given every ounce of all your beautiful things for everyone else, why does this bad thing have to happen to you?
When she was asked, ‘Why you?’ by someone she loved, words spilled out and taught us all a better way to ask hard questions.
Without hesitation she added one more word: Why not me?
Questions fade out to a beautiful God space, where He always wins and we win with Him. Cancer might silence a beautiful voice and take people way before we are ready to part with them. Parkinson’s might leave them shaky or cloudy, and we can’t fix it or control it. But, we still pray for it to go away and leave the ones we love alone. We ask God to give us strong limbs and minds to carry them through a season of uncertainty.
We don’t ask them to be strong; we pray that we can be strong enough for them. We take each day as a gift and love each other fiercely as we press through the crashing waves of fear and tell it to go away as His perfect love casts out the fear of the unknown inside of us. We come as we are and take turns being the cared for and the caregiver. I can assure you of this, it’s much harder on the ones who are being cared for.
Dementia makes me a stranger to my grandmother, but she is not erased from the slate of my heart, mind, or my memories. Love lives on inside of the hearts that remember. As I think of what all she has faced, the people who have broken her sweet, selfless heart…I say to myself, “Maybe to forget isn’t such bad thing.”
The lists of why me and why her and why us could spin a tangled web of fear and spill over into whatever our days, months, and years look like. Or we could ask a better question and steal back a bad moment where the enemy tries to do a number on our wobbly faith.
Why not us?
Why don’t we tell an unfinished story?
Why don’t we honor the ones who have given us so much?
Why don’t we shake our fists at the enemy and cry out to our God, and ask God for us to reach more than we could ever dream imaginable from a moment where we add one more word to our why me?
Why. Not. Us.
Why can’t we defy broken statistics and bad reports from doctors where the odds are stacked against us?
I grow weary of seeing my people tangled up with the noose of ‘why me’ tied around their necks, especially if it’s the only thing I hear repeatedly coming from their mouths.
A broken lyric stuck on repeat, a snapshot of pain, a scene that makes you want to turn your head and yet it is replayed over and over again…until we have had enough.
I grow tired from hearing my own, same, complaints. So, I’ve decided to be proactive in making changes in my life and relationships. I’ve overused my frustration when clearly my words and my actions can take on a better and more useful-non-doormat shape. I want to ask better, more helpful questions. I want to stir up faith in my heart and others, not frustration and endless ‘venting’ that is exactly what it is, barren, fruitless complaints that will not motivate others, or even myself.
We can still believe and beg for our miracles for the ones we love and for our big mountains that we can’t climb alone. But, until we have no more breath left we pray without ceasing. By serving others we give better space to the selfishness in our hearts. Often our mundane and miraculous moments are sometimes the same because it takes place in a heart that refuses to “check out” for the redefining of who we are. If we are still breathing God is not finished with molding our hearts and lives into who He destined us to be. Not more or less, just better and more like Him. Not like flawed humanity, but perfected love from telling the selfish side of you to die a little and take the backseat to someone else’s needs.
I’m better because of all the ugly, unwanted moments. The times I felt rejected. The times my body failed me and I questioned my sanity. God help us to ask better questions, because ‘why me’ is overdone and overused and it hasn’t helped one person that I know. It sure hasn’t helped me.
After I lost two babies to miscarriage and one son through a failed adoption, I was heartbroken. They slipped through my hands like sand until I was left with nothing but a clenched fist from trying to hang on to something that was never meant to be mine.
I asked God, Why me? Why did I have to be the frail, unfinished, wannabe mother?
Now I know why.
During my time of grief God showed me that He wasn’t mad at all that I was mad. It wasn’t a sin to be angry, but it was up to me to find out what to do with those feelings without opening the door to sin. I could travel to a place with moments of anger, but not set up camp there. My heart healed while doctors strapped me on tables to fix what was broken inside of me while I prayed for all the pain to be worth it. I promise you this, I’m better because of every single tear and broken, unwanted thing I have faced. I have learned to embrace the beauty of being shaped into someone with deeper faith roots because of my broken spaces and ‘why me’ moments. Yet from now on, I will add one more word and rearrange the way I see pain.
Why not me?
With so much love it hurts,
Missing my hero, Reverend Harry Melvin. He had Parkinson’s but Parkinson’s never had him.
My sweet, beloved Grandma. I love her.
12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:12-19 NKJV)
Linking up with my sweet friend, Holley Gerth. Would love for you to drop in and read all the encouraging words!