Wednesday, October 21, 2009

O2

God touched my heart so deeply Monday night that I'm surprised I didn't wake up Jesse with my tears. My pain has been pretty bad the last few weeks, worse than it's been in months, but rather than give in, as was my former MO, I've been gritting my teeth and fighting through it. I've been still going to work, keeping up around the house, and going to Mom's to list on eBay. Maybe I've gotten better at hiding it, maybe it's just been going on for so long, but no one has noticed. I used to get sick of people asking me all the time how I was feeling, because I never knew how to answer. Now it's been so long since anyone has asked, that I felt alone and trapped within my pain.

No one wants to be a big whiner, so it's not something I just bring up in conversation, but it had reached the point where even close friends and family stopped asking. And to be honest, I was feeling a bit angry and resentful, feeling ignored and irrelevant (except when someone needed clean clothing, money, or a listening ear).

Monday night Jesse came home and said that he had been looking up the different Hebrew names of God online. I did a study on His names about a year ago, and I mentioned El Roi. Now why I mentioned that name when there are so many others that I use regularly (Yahwah Rapha, Yahweh Sabaoth, Abba), I don't know. I've never actually used that name to pray to God. That night in my Bible study, I ended up reading about Hagar, Abraham and Sarah's Egyptian slave who gave God that name: El Roi. I was surprised by it popping up again, but the end of the chapter stunned me. The book, Live Relationally by Lenya Heitzig and Penny Rose, had a short section about people who suffer from chronic pain, especially arthritis. The section seemed a bit out of the place with the rest of the day's reading. If I didn't have arthritis and was reading it, I would probably wonder about the placement, but because I do, I know that it was there just for me.

God's love came through so strongly: He sees my pain; He knows my suffering, and I am not alone. I cried and cried with relief and joy. It was a amazing feeling to be seen and to be known. I cried away the anger and resentment. The tears washed away the fear of not doing enough, not meeting expectations. I felt like I could take a deep breath for the first time in weeks. El Roi, my
God sees me right where I am and He knows; there is nothing hidden from Him.

He knows you too. No matter where you are right now or how you are struggling, know that the Creator of the World sees you. And in seeing, He knows. And in knowing, He loves you. Right here, right now.

O2 by Richard Dahlstrom is a blessing in book form. Dahlstrom demonstrates that faith comes in two forms: inward (prayer, praise, reading the Bible, etc) and outward (charity, social justice, hospitality, etc), and only by finding a balance between the two do we find our way to live out faith. He decisively indicts both sides for not pursuing all that Jesus taught and only doing what comes easily. He divides the chapters into inhaling and exhaling and then delves deeply into practices of each. The chapter on how to live in good stewardship of the earth and rebalance your budget is mind-blowing and definitely a must read. I'm definitely hearing God's call to hospitality after hearing Dahlstrom's description of how he and his family have exercised it over the years and it has changed their lives. I am more of an inhaler, so disciplines like solitude and prayer come more naturally to me, but every chapter is a wonderful read and has something for everyone whether it is a strength or weakness of the reader. It's going on my shelf next to Blue Like Jazz.

I'm giving away a copy of this tonight! You only have a couple of hours left to send me an email. I'll announce the winner here tomorrow.

2 comments:

amyanne said...

Christy - loved your post. Thanks for sharing your pains and joys with us!

Linda Clare said...

Hi Christy, snooping on all the CFBA reviews. Thanks for reading & reviewing my novel. I suffer from chronic pain due to post-polio syndrome and your post made me cry right along with you. I'd just read a not-so-good review by someone who disliked the Fence novel, so your review helped a lot!We are comforted, carried, and loved by the Great Dangerous God we run to for help. Thx, Linda S. Clare