Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Much-Afraid, More-Alive

“As Christians we know, in theory at least, that in the life of a child of God there are no second causes, that even the most unjust and cruel things, as well as all seemingly pointless and undeserved sufferings, have been permitted by God as a glorious opportunity for us to react to them in such a way that our Lord and Savior is able to produce in us, little by little, his own lovely character.”~Hannah Hurnard, from Hinds’ Feet on High Places

Several months before Danica's surgery I was looking to read the above book again. I hadn't read it since I was a girl. My dad ordered me a beautiful hardcover copy as well as an illustrated children's version to read through with Delaney. I am kindred spirits with the main character, "Much-Afraid." I constantly visit verses about courage and fear and am literally paralyzed by the thought of a continued life of exhaustion, pain and suffering. I'm afraid Danica's fusion won't heal properly, and she will have to continue to undergo surgeries and disability. I'm afraid our marriage will not make it through the next three months. I'm afraid the gulf between my Delaney and I will continue to grow as she needs me, and I am not there for her. I'm afraid she will grow to resent Danica. I'm afraid I won't be able to return to work, and we will have to move into my parent's basement. I'm afraid of the pain I continue to suffer physically, the endo growing on my organs and the six months of Lupron I will begin next week. I'm afraid of the night and no sleep and long day coming tomorrow so much like this one it numbs my mind and my heart. My God gets this. It's no mistake He speaks to my cowardice over and over in His Word.

For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.(Isaiah 41:13)

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

During the last few weeks I have seen so much brokenness and pain. Walking through the halls of the Children's Hospital I could hear the constant cries of children including my own sweet Danica and see the tears and fatigue in the eyes of the parents who passed me in the halls, and I wondered where is God's plan in a place so full of undeserved suffering? I have wrestled with my own faith and the theology of God's sovereignty. I have resigned myself to trust His word and maybe never understand.

Every day since returning home I have tried to leave the house alone for a brief while to get a break from the very constant needs of Danica. Much like my quick visits to the chapel at the hospital I need this desperately to be okay. I cannot find God without some time and space to commune with Him. As I get in my car and drive the rural roads around my parent's home listening to praise and worship music or old hymns and sometimes silence and take in the breathtaking autumn colors I am reminded God is speaking to me everywhere. The death of fall, the harsh winter I know is coming and the promise of spring speak to His faithful love on the just and unjust. It all leads me to the cross. All I once held dear I count as loss. I thought I learned this lesson before. More of Him, less of me . . . more LIKE Him, less like me . . . Beautiful brokenness.

Much later in her journey to the High Places Much-Afraid " . . . Found, too, that now as she was accepting [Sorrow and Suffering’s] companionship in this way, she seemed more alive than ever before to beauty. . .” I am finding beauty in the unmistakable grace, undeserved favor and blessing of God. I'm finding beauty in the ugly too because it all leads me Heavenward where He promises there will be no more pain, no more sorrow and when we see Him we shall be LIKE Him.


  1. Oh Monica. Your words cut straight to my heart. You have a great ability to paint your feelings and where you are with mere words. What a gift. I wish so much I could give you an "in person" hug, but I am giving you an in spirit hug (((((((((((Monica))))))))))))) I am so glad to hear that you can still see the love of Christ, and how even more He becomes everything. I hate the fear issues...and I read that book and relate to that character also. Maybe it's the thorn in our side? At one point I had to make a conscious decision to choose to obey and believe and trust, when I started to look at everything from a worldly perspective. Mostly I don't know how I'd survive without my belief. Praying for you. All of you. Love you.

  2. Monica, this touched me in deep places, because I, too, am Little Much Afraid. Fear has been my nemesis for so long. I remember the part of the story where Much Afraid opens her bag of stones of remembrance, and they all look dull and lifeless. She almost throws them away, but she chooses to keep them and go on the rest of her journey. In the end they are priceless jewels. You are carrying priceless jewels, remembrances of God's being with you, over and over again, on this journey of suffering, pain, and loss. Let's keep going despite our fears. Loving and praying for you.