Being human and alive are wonderful things! The Scripture aptly calls us God’s masterpiece or handiwork (Ephesians 2:10). We were not haphazardly thrown together. We were created with purpose and magnificence, every part of us—body, mind, emotions, soul, spirit. That is why today, on the second anniversary of our traumatic armed home invasion when I was held at gun point, I decided to take this day to celebrate the glorious gift of life.
I had it all planned out. Because I love Life Choices where God has called me to lead, and I work with a wonderful group of people, that despite their own personal challenges, lean on Jesus and are blessings to others, I really wanted to spend the day there. First, I would order my favorite drink, a hot vanilla chai with almond and coconut milk. I would lead our staff devotions and invite them to share in the joy of being alive. Next, I would complete the training of our newest presenters of an educational program for students that I am proud of. Then I would work on some strategic elements to help our organization move forward in expansion. During break times I would connect with my staff individually, express my appreciation for them, and listen attentively to what they had to say. Finally, after dinner I would do some reading and writing for an assignment due this weekend. Most people might not think I had a very good celebration planned. But to me it seemed the perfect way to spend the day, because my life was not cut short and I would be able to answer the Lord’s call through service.
However, this morning “being human” kicked in. From the moment I started spending time with Jesus, my emotions were stirred. I cried tears of deep gratitude for the Lord’s faithfulness to me. And the tears wouldn’t stop. I sang worship songs through tears. I got prepared to go to work through tears, but I left my house too late to make a latte stop. I arrived at work with a couple minutes to spare before staff devotions. Somehow I managed to give my speech on celebrating God’s gift of life and how thankful I am to be alive. Then I opened our devotional book to read. I finished one sentence before handing it to someone else to read. I buried my face in my arms, and started to cry again. My staff prayed for me and spoke words of affirmation and encouragement over me. Then they said I should go home. I complied. (Did I mention how much I love my staff?)
I swung by the coffee shop on my way home, and cried after getting my order. I took some boxes to Goodwill that had been cluttering the guest room for too many weeks, and worshiped and praised the Lord for His goodness through tears. As I played my piano and sang to the Lord through blubbering sobs, His presence was so sweet and near. I made paleo waffles, I went on a walk, and I took a nap. I enjoyed fruit smoothies seated around the table with my knight in shining armor, my daughters, and twin granddaughters. I left space for more tears or other emotions that needed release.
The Lord has brought me through so much healing the last two years. This year has been much easier than the first. While I would never wish such an event on anybody, the Lord has used it to change me at an inner level that is hard to describe. My weakness is to measure my human worth by my productivity, and by my ability to remain emotionally stoic in stressful situations. The Holy Spirit continues to tap me on the shoulder. Being human is more than my output and contributions, even when done for the glory of Christ. Being human is also expressed in quiet, contemplation, authenticity and honest emotion. My journey reminds me of the story of the Velveteen Rabbit and his quest to become “real.” Much of my shiny coat of performance and pretense has been worn off. I am free to be human, to feel, to be real. My “celebration” didn’t turn out the way I planned, but that’s just fine. It truly is good to be alive, tears and all. Simply human and alive.
“The LORD your God is among you; He is mighty to save. He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you with His love; He will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).