David and I had a long talk yesterday about how I feel like I’m living someone else’s life. I read a book from the library about a woman who had a car accident and injured her head. She woke up and had forgotten the last three years of her life. In those years she had lost weight, got her crooked teeth fixed, become a high executive in her company and married a gorgeous man and lived in a huge, magazine-looking house. She was the complete opposite of anything she remembered. The book is about how she tries to fit in and then fights to be herself in the foreign place where she finds herself. I read it, fascinated because I related so much with the woman in the story. It is like I woke up in a totally different life than my own. I am fighting to be myself. Instead of a leader and outgoing person, I am living life as a wallflower. Instead of being energetic and running from project to project, I sit on the sidelines and watch other people living the life that I have always known.
Michelle, Ian and Justin, my brother’s older children, remember my mother as a fun, exciting grandmother. Kristen, the youngest, remembers her as a complaining, inarticulate woman, a grandma who had a stroke that completely changed her personality. I don’t like it that Jashton has experienced who I am and Tobiah has had glimpses, but Corban will only know me as the person living the life I now have—someone who sits, someone who needs to be helped out of chairs, someone slow and who sometimes uses a wheelchair because she isn’t strong enough to go long distances on her own. Instead of energetic grandma, I am tired grandma.
In Psalm 137 the psalmist ask God how the people of Israel can sing praises to God when they are in a foreign land. I ask God, how do I sing Your praises in this foreign land—not just foreign land of New York but in this foreign life? The psalmist concludes that they must remember and not forget Jerusalem. I must remember and not forget God who is the same no matter what life I lead. He is the unchangeable source of life. He is still the God of mercy, grace and love. I have joined the groaning choir, the one the writer of Romans speaks of in Romans 8:18-25.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy
to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the
anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the
sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly,
but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself
also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of
the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation
groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not
only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit,
even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our
adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have been
saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he
already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance
we wait eagerly for it.”
Not only am I called to remember, but I am called to hope. The best is yet to come. The more I lose here, the more I long for that glorious day when I shall be all that God created me to be.
I remember speaking to a fellow student at the University of Illinois who was specializing in special education. She worked with multiple handicapped people. In fact she was dating a man in a wheel chair, paralyzed from the neck down. She commented that we think we are “normal” here, but when we get to heaven we will realize how limited our normal was compared to what God actually created us to be. Sin and the curse weigh down on our physical bodies in ways we don’t even understand. In heaven, it will be as if we are all finally set free from our limited “wheelchair” bodies that we called healthy, energetic and full of life.
Maybe God lets us go through growing limitations just so we will more eagerly await our real life with Him. I can always sing about God’s great love for me and my hope in Him.