As I wrote a couple of weeks ago about my ten year anniversary of coming to Christ, I began a reflection of my journey so far, and my discipleship by the Spirit. I am continually amazed at how much He has transformed my heart and mind in order to mold me into His image.
When I took my first baby steps, I had many concerns. I felt invisible and wanted to be noticed. I was single and longed for a husband. I lived with other people and yearned for a place of my own. I needed control in every area of my life, even though it felt as though everything was in chaos. I demanded independence. I hungered for peace.
Within six months of accepting Jesus, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. Rather than being overcome with fear, I prayed. I did not ask God, “why” but, “why now?” I recognized this was my first real opportunity to allow Him to mature my faith by transforming my need for control.
I did not ask God, “why” but, “why now?”
He began to do so almost immediately. When I began chemotherapy, I had no energy and had to take off work for three months. At the time, I was teaching at an elementary Catholic school. The teachers and moms organized to provide meals and housekeeping for the 90-day duration. In addition, during weekly assemblies, the entire school prayed for my recovery. Beyond that, an unknown angel paid my rent for six months.
Not only did God take away my control, He removed my independence as well.
As He continued to work in me over these past several years, my longing for a husband reversed into a recognition that I am His bride. My concern for visibility disappeared completely into a desire for solace. I now have a place of my own – the “desired haven” I prayed to Him for so many years. (Psalm 107:28-30)
After ten years, I no longer have to stand out or be better than anyone else. I no longer have anything to prove, nor am I preoccupied with accumulating things. And even though I still slip back into my own, limited perception, I am more often able to see situations and people through God’s generous and gracious eyesight.
Because He made this clay jar substantial and abundant enough to hold His unlimited love and radical grace, I am able to amply distribute it to others. Most important, while I know I am on the right path, I clearly understand He is not done with my transformation.
On this Passover, I acknowledge this is a lifelong journey of many spiritual miles. It is the difference between calling myself a Christian and a follower of Jesus. And I have many years and many steps to travel here before I experience the joy of meeting Him face to face.
(I want to add a special “Thank you” to Takami Ibara for giving permission to use her photograph for this post. Her nature photography is breathtaking, and I encourage visits to her blog and purchases of her art postcards, stationery and posters.)