I have spent the last two weeks sick. Very sick. Not literally dying kind of sick but the I wish someone would shoot me and put me out of my misery kind of sick. Week 1 was the flu. It started on a Sunday night and pretty much wiped out the majority of the rest of the week. I took myself out of everything I had scheduled to rest and recover so that by the next week I could be back in the swing of things. Week 2 arrives and I am feeling better- still a little tired but I am re-entering life. By Wednesday I was able to shower, fix my hair, and get dressed without having to take a nap immediately after. I actually left my house and interacted with people for a large part of the day. I was feeling confident. Then Wednesday evening it hit. The stomach flu. Oh and it hit hard. I was quarantined to one corner of the living room and the downstairs bathroom in hopes the rest of my family would make it out unscathed. A good plan- an isolating plan but a good one. It was just me and the cats against the army of germs that had invaded my intestines. My assumption is the cats know they have nine lives and their curiosity about my condition was enough to warrant the possibility of sacrificing one to be witnesses to the horror that was the next 36 hours of my life. That may sound a bit dramatic but it is not. I reached a new personal low about 8 hours in - at this point I was too weak to walk from the living room to the bathroom so I sat on the bathroom floor with my head laying on the toilet seat like a pillow. If you know me you know that I detest public restrooms. I also consider my downstairs bath to be a public restroom because it is only used by guests and the only guests I actually have are teenage boys coming to visit my son. SO this is not the cleanest bathroom in my house. But I have lost all sense of pride or sanitation- I am just trying to survive this thing. Then it gets worse. As I lay there- exhausted and lifeless, one of the cats comes to check things out. It's not enough for him to circle me and paw at my lifeless body- he decides he needs a better vantage point from which to view the situation and proceeds to climb up my back and perch on my shoulder like a bird and peer over my head into the toilet. I am too weak to do anything about it. I sit there hugging the toilet with a cat (20 pounds of cat I might add) perched on my shoulder and I think "This is how I'm going to die."
Obviously I did not die. Unfortunately I still had a full 18 hours of sickness ahead of me but I made it. And thanks to my husband's unwavering commitment to rubber gloves, clorox wipes, and lysol the rest of my family escaped my same fate. Friday I was trying to recover - I could barely eat and had no energy and I remember thinking I was just so tired of being sick. I had just been through sickness the week before and now here it was again just in a different form. And I was tired of it. I was tired of being broken. I wanted to be well. I wanted to do all the normal things we take for granted like eat and drink and walk without needing to rest. Honestly I have felt this way a lot in my spiritual life as well. I get so tired of being broken. I want to be well, to be whole. I imagine what my life would be like had I not made so many mistakes and lived out of so much sin- and it makes me sad. Sometimes angry. And ashamed. And I start to think if I feel this way, God must feel the same way only more so. I mean what could He possibly think as He looks at the life He meant for me compared to the one I have? All the mistakes and wrong turns, all the wasted opportunities, all the death and destruction I have chosen over life- how could He not be disappointed?
I saw this the other day by Billie Mobayed- "When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful." Aggrandize means (I had to look it up) to increase the power or status of something, to enhance the reputation of someone beyond what is justified by the facts. When the Father looks at the broken mess of my life, because of Jesus and His work on the cross, His thought is not what a disappointment I am but how He can aggrandize the damage in my life- how He can take all the broken, damaged places and fill it with the gold of His love and redemption and not just restore me to what I was before but to increase my value and my worth through the very damage I had done to myself, or maybe the damage someone else had done to me. He doesn't give me what I deserve but what Jesus deserves. He enhances my reputation beyond what is justified by the facts of my life- my sins, my failure to love, my lack of faith- and He makes me valuable, worthy of love and honor. I don't even understand this. I don't understand this kind of love. I cannot even fathom that I am never a disappointment to the God of the Universe, the Creator of the World, the Alpha and the Omega. He stoops down to lift me up. The only response that I can have- the only response He deserves - is not for me to refuse because I know I am unworthy but to accept His beautiful gift because I know that He loves me and this is what He wants. Jesus left heaven for this, He walked the earth for this, He died for this, and He rose from the dead for this. How can I refuse an invitation like that? I can embrace my brokenness and fall into His arms as many times as it takes. He never gets tired of saving me. He never runs out of patience or mercy or resources. And one day when this life is over we will look back together not at the mistakes I made but at the beautiful rescues He offered me freely and frequently. It will be His story of saving, not my story of failing. And it will be a very, very good story.