Well, on Monday I talked at my MOPS group about what I learned from Bethany and Bandaids. I talked about the value of sharing our sore spots, taking off the bandaids in our lives and opening up our owies to the fresh, healing air of others. (See that story below!!)
Then on Tuesday I talked to my counselor … and here I am to share one of my sore spots. The counselor told me a disturbing fact. Apparently I am STILL not God. Sigh. What a disappointment! Apparently I can't do everything for everyone all the time and meet all the needs and do all the tasks and smile and be happy in the whirl
wind of everything that must be done. I am, alas, not omnipotent, omnipresent, or even omniscient. I am merely human. And so, to be happy, healthy, and wise, I must live within the limits that God has created for me. Instead of trying to do-all, be-all, perfect-all, I'm supposed live in the reality of my favorite Bible verse (you'd think I would have gotten it by now, but apparently I still struggle):
Ephesians 2:10: For you are God's MASTERPIECE, created in Christ Jesus to do good works that HE has ALREADY before-prepared for you to walk around in. (That's my translation out of the Greek.)
He's got what I need to do all prepared for me, like a parent prepares everything his child needs to do a fun craft project together. I don't need to try to do everything, just what he's prepared to do, and then I can walk around in it with Him.
Maybe this I'm-not-God-really-I'm-not thing isn't so bad after all . . .
I think I'll go walk around a bit now, and in the meantime, here's the bandaid story from when Bethany was little:
THE BIG SCREAM
A shriek pierced the air. Then another. And another.
A chill shot through me. I dropped the papers in my hand and bolted for the door.
Another scream sliced across my nerves as I sprinted down the hill toward the plastic kiddie pool where my three-year-old daughter was playing with her Daddy. I spotted her taut-as-a-bow-string body standing next to the pool. She turned her red, scrunched-up face in my direction and let out another howl.
My husband, Bryan, sat in a chair next to the pool with his arms crossed. White spots shone on his arms where his fingers pressed into his biceps.
I slowed. This didn’t look like the near-death, blood-everywhere, broken-bones, 9-1-1 emergency that I was expecting. Instead, it looked liked a certain little girl was having a fit.
“Hey, what’s going on here?” My voice barely carried over Bria’s shrill cries. “Did she get hurt?”
Bryan turned toward me. His eyebrows bunched together in a frown. “No.” The words came out like a flat stone hitting water.
“No? But –” I gestured toward Miss Blotchy-Red-Face who was now taking a ragged breath.
Bryan sighed. “You’re not going to believe this.” He pointed to the small rectangular bandage on her thigh. The plastic strip was dangling from the “owie spot” where she’d gotten an immunization two days before. “I told her we needed to take that bandage off.”
Bryan had hardly finished the sentence when Bria started up again. “Noooooo,” she wailed, “dooooooon’t.”
I turned to Bria, but before I could say a word, she clenched both fists and threw back her head. “I don’t waaaant to take it off. It’s gonna h-h-huuuuurt.”
“It’s half off already.”
“Noooo, noooo, noooo . . .”
Bryan threw his hands up in the air. “I’ve had it.” He thrust himself from the chair and tromped toward the garage. “You sit with her.”
I settled into the chair and grabbed Bria’s towel. “So, I guess you’re done in the pool, huh?”
Two sniffs, then her arm wiped across her nose. “No.”
I raised my eyebrows.
She jumped back into the pool.
A few minutes later I spotted the bandage floating on water’s surface. I hid my smile. “Hey Bria, how ‘bout we take off that band-aid now?”
“Aaaa,” she began, then looked down. Her cry stopped abruptly. “Where is it?”
I pointed to the pale pink strip. “Guess it didn’t hurt so much after all.”
She poked at the bandage with her toe. “It came off.”
“I didn’t feel it, though.”
She studied the bandage for a moment then plopped down and starting playing with her bucket.
As I watched her, I began to chuckle. All that fuss for nothing. But I guess I’m no different. Often for me, too, the anticipation of pain is more than the reality.
Because God is a good father, He, too, wants to remove the bandages in my life, those things I use to hide old pain. He asks me to open up, to be vulnerable to Him and others. But even though I may not holler as shrilly as Bria, in my heart I still often cry, “Nooo. It’s gonna huuuurt.”
Yet, God continues to call me to truth rather than hiddenness. In fact, the Greek word for “truth” in the New Testament has the same root as “unhidden.” And so, I think about that bandage floating on the water’s surface and wonder if God’s simply trying to tell me that if I trust him and open up, I’ll find that it doesn’t hurt so much after all. I’ll find that God can and has healed my owies. And now, it’s time to trust, to risk, and to try something new.
So, these days when God asks me to take off the bandages in my life, I’m trying not to fuss too much. Instead, I pray, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24, NIV)