Chris Tomlin O Come all Ye Faithful

Friday, February 10, 2017

As Much as Sara

It's Friday. On Monday morning, early, my husband and daughter will board a plane heading for Florida on a mission of mercy to try to get an accurate diagnosis for my brother in law who has been vomiting since Thanksgiving and has taken no solid food since then.  He has lost 100 lbs and is seriously ill at this point.  However the hospital where he has been repeatedly admitted has been useless at diagnosing and treating him properly.  So my husband and daughter are going to get him discharged from said hospital and are taking him to a large medical center some hours from there.
Please join your prayers to mine that the larger hospital will be able to diagnose and treat him.....so that he can recover and once again eat and drink.

It will be a very long week for me.
I will be even more alone than I usually am.

I'm reading a book by Sara Frankl and Mary Carver (a friend of Sara's)...The book is called Choose Joy and if you know anything about Sara (www.gitzengirl.blogspot.com) you will know why the book bears that title.  The portions by Sara in the book are taken from her blog...many portions of the book are familiar to me as I had first read them on her blog years ago.  Sara had almost a cult following...people -some ordinary, some disabled--flocked to her in the hopes that her optimism and unquestioning faith in God would rub off on them.  I, for one, have been challenged and convicted as I have read her words.  I worship the same God as she does (present tense, because now Sara is worshiping Him in Heaven)....so why am I not as far along on the journey of faith and joy as she was?

I don't know the answer to that question but I daresay it is due to my mental health issues.  I have struggled with major depression for decades on end as well as enduring a struggle with psychosis and it's accompanying paranoia for the vast majority of my life.  These two factors tend to "darken" anyone's outlook who suffers from them.  I know that God loves me as much as he loves Sara but I  may never have the impact on people that she has had.  I can say, honestly, that I am more positive now than I have ever been in my past.  I am less cynical, less bitter, less lost than ever before. But these gains have been hard won. 

My life is not an easy one...Neither was Sara's (she struggled with and died from Ankylosing Spondylitis.) She suffered as much pain as I do and maybe even more.  But I know more than anyone, that pain is not something that can be compared person to person because pain is individual.  No one experiences it the same as anyone else.  What knocks someone flat may not even register on my assessment.  And visa versa. But I do know that pain either drives you into the Father's waiting arms; or it drives you away.  It drove Sara into his embrace and it has done that for me too.  But my edges are brittle.  My humor can be biting.  And sometimes I am just sad.  I don't think my sadness is self pity. I think it springs from an honest assessment of the pain in me and around me.  This world is a dark, evil, and frightening place.  And the only reason that doesn't have me heading for the Golden Gate Bridge is that I know that GOD is none of that and it is HE who is in charge!  I know the end of the story and it will be GOOD --it will be incredibly good.

So for that I praise Him.
For that, I hang on.

Sara's words challenge me.  She is "Farther Along" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7h491ur_iAw)  Where she is now, she is being given glimpses into why she suffered the way she did.  She knows--even as she knew in this life--that God knows what he's doing and that his reasons are perfect and "past finding out"...

So now Sara watches from Heaven and I believe that prayer exists in heaven after all is it not conversing with God?  And I believe she prays for those she left behind, just as she did on this earth; for those who loved her and were loved by her in return. 

The day Sara died was a Sunday morning and I found out that morning that she was gone.  I confess, as I sat in church, every song reminded me of Sara and I simply could not stop crying.  For as joyful as her going home was....it was heartbreaking because for those of us who loved her; she was gone and we needed her to adjust our attitudes and to give us a reality smack in the head.

So her words remain.  If you knew of GitzenGirl or are just intrigued by what you read here, I would suggest you buy Choosing Joy and get to know this angel who was on earth for a while and who changed and challenged every one she came in contact with.  There are three people who challenge and change me: Sara Frankl, Oswald Chambers and Jim Elliot.  Each one of these people died young but call each of us who read their words and view their lives, to a higher plane of walking in faith and joy.

Maybe someday when I grow up I will have an attitude like Sara's.   I wish I would right now.  But God is not finished with me yet.  He is still honing off rough edges and turning the lights on in my dim interiors.  Maybe one day I will glow like she did. 
Am I jealous? No I don't think I am.  I used to be a little jealous of the way she made friends and of her friends who would do anything for her.  But I realize that that was only in response to Sara's specialness and that she deserved those friends and the good things they did for her.

I pray, "God make me like Sara!!" and He says, "No I'm making you like Cynthia.  And I love you both my daughters, neither one more than the other."  And that is such an awesome thing. God loves me as much as he loves Sara!!

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