Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief comes to steal kill and to destroy; I have come that you may have life and life to the full.” (John 10:10) I have heard that scripture preached so many times, with the majority of the sermons leading us to believe that our life is to always be exciting, blessed, and successful and if there is anything going on to the contrary, then we must be doing something wrong. More than once those words have been like a dagger of condemnation piercing my heart as I would experience struggles and hardships that seemed beyond my control.
In my quest for living that life to the full, I am the ultimate at always trying to find the good in all that is bad, the light at the end of the tunnel, the hope in the face of despair. Yet in living 41 years so far I have discovered that life isn’t always successful and enjoyable. Yes I know, we are supposed to savor every moment because we never know what’s going to happen, but in all reality, let’s just admit it, sometimes the taste it leaves in our mouth is a little more like raw sushi instead of chocolate cake. There are mornings that you can’t wait for the sun to rise so you can begin a new adventure, and then there are others that you have to pry yourself out from under the covers and force yourself out of bed. There are the moments that you wish you could hold onto forever, and there are days that you feel like will never end. The statement, “life isn’t measured by the number of breathes we take, but by the moments that take our breath away” is blissfully true on both ends of the spectrum. It can be the priceless awe captured in a snapshot of your 3 year olds first sight of the ocean, or it can be the terrified image that is forever burned in your memory of your now 9 year old as he watches life fade from his father’s eyes. There are times in your life that you have never felt happier and blessed until something beyond your control knocks the wind out of your sails and you feel like you can’t even stay afloat.
My family is in a major transitional stage in our life right now. My children must learn to live with the peace that their dad is no longer suffering but living the eternal life that their faith promises them and to balance that with the weight of the heartache of him being gone and the deep sadness that comes with missing him tremendously. I myself am experiencing the emotional and mental stress of feeling like the sole source to supply their needs, mentally, physically and emotionally all the while wrestling with the constant monkey of fear on my back that whispers I’m not going to be able to do it. It’s not easy looking in your children’s eyes and seeing a hurt that you don’t have the fix for.
Nevertheless, this is life and it is happening, and I am living it. Every day that there is breath in our body and blood flowing through our veins we are thankful yet susceptible to experiencing the good and the bad, the blessed and the destitute, the satisfying and the exhausting, the contentment and the disarray. If you are reading this you are probably thinking, in the most sarcastic tone you can muster up, “wow this girl is a beaming ray of sunshine!” I confess it has gotten me down, lower than I have been in a long time; there are more moments than I can count that I feel I may spontaneously combust.
The good news is that I am simply living life to the fullest. If you read John 10 in it’s context, the whole chapter deals with us knowing Jesus for who He really is, for how He cares for us, knowing the sacrifice that He made and how He wants us to be able to hear His voice. He doesn’t promise that a life to the full will exclude times of heartache and despair, but He does say that if we belong to Him, then we will know His voice and He will take care of us. Even though life is tough right now with many things uncertain, there is one thing that I’m sure of, I know my savior and I hear Him when He speaks. Whether He chooses to speak to me through His written word, an audible voice, or through the understanding words of someone who loves me, I hear Him and it breathes life to my weary soul.
So many times in my life I’ve wondered what in the world I have done wrong, asked over and over, why Lord? I have prayed, confessed, and hail mary’d enough times for every priest in America to be covered, yet on a hot summer day, in the silence of an empty office, I discovered that the place I am at right now in my life is exactly where God wants me to be. There are no wrong or rights to analyze and no condemnation to carry. I am living life to the fullest because I know Him… and I need Him… and I know that I need Him. I ask for an answer, and I listen as He speaks. When I wake up feeling empty, I ask and He fills me up. When I feel like I am going to fall apart at the seams, I somehow feel His arms around me holding me together. When my mind can’t take anymore and my emotions are on overdrive, I set my thoughts on Him and I find peace. I stand in awe at his goodness and the sacrifice that He made so that I can draw near to Him. Does this mean that everything will be okay tomorrow? No, not necessarily, and neither does it mean that there won’t be times that I question Him again, or feel like I’m running on empty. It does mean however, that whatever tomorrow brings, He will be right there with me, He will take care of me, I will be okay and I will be living the life He so graciously came to give me.