On the outside I look like any normal mom as I pick up my kids from school or sit on the bleachers cheering on my son, but I always feel some level of symptoms.
They no longer disable me, most days. But can I live the way I used to? No, not really. I live differently. I make decisions constantly to push or rest. I can’t zoom through life. I can’t care about things I used to fret about… I just can’t.
And I’m different in my spirit, too. Even when I am having a really good time… like laughing uncontrollably, and I see from the corner of my eye, a person who seems to be struggling… something in me truly aches too.
Going through Lyme Disease changed me indefinitely. It literally broke my spirit at one point. Even though I have experienced so much healing, a part of me is still broken. There’s this ache in my soul that will never go away. And I can never see my body, my life, this world, in the same way. Never. Whatever made me feel “normal” and oblivious before, is a distant memory.
But what can I say except that sometimes life requires us to walk a different kind of path for a while… or (gulp) for the rest of our lives.
One thing I appreciate about living with a chronic illness (and this is hard to say, because there is so much not to appreciate about this!) is that ongoing discomfort rouses and awakens my convictions, and doesn’t let me apathetically coast along the riverbank.
But oh wouldn’t that be so nice? 🙂
When life veers out of the calm and out into the unpredictable waters … something happens.
God calls us out, out of normal, out of that lazy river, and gives us an opportunity to ask some very real questions in light of the hefty currents:
How am I going to see my life now?
How am I going to see myself?
How am I going to see God?
Can I still see that my life has purpose even though it is no longer easy? Can I still see that I am completely forgiven and loved despite the pain? Do I still believe that God is for my ultimate good even though life comes against me?
Because what if we’re facing the very things we’re facing so that we can live differently? What if the world needs less normal and more courage?
Normal may keep the world spinning predictably. It may look great on paper. It may keep our lives in a single file line for a while, but it is an illusion.
If we are honest with ourselves, it’s the uncomfortable, so-called “different” things about ourselves that make us contemplate who we really are.
In fact, they say to know the taste of a tea, we have to immerse it in hot water. And if we want to know what kind of father a man will be, watch him untangle Christmas lights… 🙂
Because anything that rattles our very core, keeps us up at 2am, shipwrecks our plans… forces us to ask where our convictions truly lie.
It leaves us no other choice but to take our eyes off the masses, off others who seem to have everything tied up in a neat trendy bow, and instead ask the questions, “Who am I? What will I live for? What has God called me to?”
And maybe it is only those who don’t feel normal anymore, who must redefine themselves by something greater than their circumstances… who have faced the reality that they will never be like everyone else… who can truly answer these questions, because they are the ones who have to ask them.
The words of Scripture remind us that for those who trust in Christ, they are new creations… changed, different, set apart.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
~ 2 Corinthians 5:7
Maybe being renewed through the trials of life, though hard, ugly and exhausting, is really an act of grace… an act of this strange grace that works best when we don’t need to be normal… and instead, want to be changed to be more like Christ.
Could it be that losing normal is the only way to begin to live extraordinarily?
And maybe, when it’s all said and done, to want anything less, will seem nothing but strange.
Blessings all you “strange warriors.” 🙂
As God told the apostle Paul in the thick of the storm, “Keep up the courage.”
You are making a true difference!
Please take the time to listen to this Christmas song “Be Born in Me.” (Click on song.) And also check out a personal favorite “A Strange Way to Save the World.” These have been on repeat here in my home!