I was asked a couple weeks ago if I would talk to our youth group in Sunday School today. The friend who asked told me that they were studying the beatitudes and when they were discussing who could share about “Blessed are those who mourn”, well she thought of me. I wasn’t sure just how to take that. Should I sit down to enjoy my own personal pity party?
Thankfully the youth minister, Michael, got me a copy of Hero of Heroes, by Ian Duguid, AND thankfully I read it. In the first paragraph the author’s words redirected my thoughts. He wrote that the mourning in the Beatitudes is not about personal sadness over circumstances but deep sorrow over sin. I was convicted. It made me think. This is what I thought . . .
Most of you know that I grew up in Birmingham, AL as a preacher’s daughter. I trusted Jesus as my Savior when I was very young and have bowed my knee to His Lordship time and time again as life has gone on – prayerfully with a quicker response time as I have grown. I worked for a college ministry after college, lived in Australia for a couple years, and then returned to the USA to marry my sweet Honey. I had a relatively easy life, loved this world and ministering to “those people” and, honestly, I thought I was a great example of what a Christian should be.
In 2004 we had our first child, Little. When she was four months old I started thinking that something wasn’t right. . . she was too mushy and she never reached for her toes. I made a couple jokes here and there but never voiced true concern because that might make it true, you know? At 6 months my mom and sister staged what I would call an intervention and voiced concern for a visit to a doctor. Just before Little’s first birthday we were told that she has Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum – she’s missing the 200 million nerve fibers that connect the right and left hemisphere of the brain. I was already pregnant with Bubba and sat in the Neurologist’s office hearing that we couldn’t be sure that Little would walk or talk or be able to learn anything in school. And then the doctor said that there was a 1/4 chance that this would happen again if we had any other children. He would love to talk to us about “our options” and if we found ourselves pregnant then he would be glad to discuss those options too. SO MUCH is wrong with all of that, right?
Over the past 8 years we have mourned. While it started out to be a pitiful self-centered mourning, with time it became something I would never have expected. I became struck by just how broken this world is and how that brokenness affects my little girl and our family as a unit. She doesn’t have a disability because she sinned but it is because of sin and the fall that she isn’t whole. The world was never meant to be this way and I have a new appreciation for this disconnect in creation.
As I have become more aware of the effects of sin universally, it has caused me to take stock of my own life and I’ve grown more aware of my own sinfulness. In just one short decade I have gone from thinking pretty highly of myself to thinking very honestly about my need for a Savior and inability to live without Him. I often spend my days oscillating between disgust and gratitude; depressive grief and hopeful joy.
Duguid writes, “We must mourn but not as those who have no hope.” One day our Little will walk with the Savior and she will be whole. Her arms will straighten all the way and she will be able to sing and dance at the same time because her brain will work the way God intended. And she’ll be singing and dancing in praise to Him. What hope! What comfort!
The lyrics of Andrew Osenga’s song “White Dove” say, “Everything sad will become untrue.” That is my hope.
Now, what I am about to say might sound trite to some, but I really weighed these words before deciding to write them. With all the pain that has come with Little’s diagnosis and the daily struggles that we face, I have to admit that I wouldn’t change things because of where He has brought us. I am blessed in my mourning in a way I wasn’t during the first three decades of life and I find comfort by the promise of being made new. Hallelujah and come quickly, Lord Jesus.