Live Into The Limits

He spoke light and it was. He called out to the ocean depths and they swelled up, but met the shore and came no further. There is no place we can go apart from Him. He holds all together and to Him nothing is hidden.

“Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
and caused the dawn to know its place,  Job 38:12

 

 

 

While I pen these weak words a precious friend of mine is breathing some of her final earthly breaths. Soon she will exhale and it will be her last. She’s thirty-five. Thirty-five with a wonderful husband and two full-of-life young children.

Her story is everything I fear most.

I know all the right answers. I believe all the true things. It’s just I can’t seem to quit clawing for some feeling of control. Even if it’s imaginary I want a worldly security blanket that assures me everything will be all right in real time.

I was on the phone the other day with a friend and we were shaking our heads at our twenty year old selves. We believed so much hung on our own abilities. It was narcissistic optimism I suppose, but it was as much about the facade of control as anything. We thought we had more to do with the good in our lives then reality seems to prove.

I don’t believe we should throw up our hands and let fate take its course in our lives. If you’ve been on the field very long you’ve probably felt the soul tugging. The pull that has you hiding in secret so no one knows how much of a mess you feel, how inadequate for the job you know you are. Let me whisper a bit of courage into the uncertainty of it all. In Christ, we live limitless.

What I practically mean to say is live into the limits.

I’ve changed. The girl in my twenties is not the woman who is now braving her thirties. I wake up scared most mornings. In the middle of the night I stare into the black and feel the pressure of the unknown on my chest. I used to be paralyzed by the fear. The choke used to prove too much. Now, on my good days, it motivates me.

My friend I mentioned earlier. The one across town who we’re saying “see you soon” to while fighting back tears. We’ve spent two years in a Bible Study together and most of that time has been during her battle with cancer. If you know my story then you realize my greatest fear is to leave my babies motherless.

A few months back, shortly after the birth of my baby boy, I got to sit and visit with her for a few minutes. A rare thing amidst her illness and constant cycle of treatments. She held my miracle baby, the one I had after a miscarriage and through a frightening emergency c-section. It took my breath away. The bundle of warm life nestled against the thinning skin of my terminally ill friend.

We will lose eternally more than we gain if we let our limits define us. It’s ok to wake up scared, but move past it to the promised peace that can and will pass all understanding. Where our understanding ends Christ holds tight. Where our grasping and clawing leaves us worn thin Christ is our stronghold.

We’ve got nothing to lose. There is nothing that we can lose in this life Christ has not found and redeemed to the greatest extent. Tonight when I’m grasping for answers and a way to make sense of a thirty-five year old mama-sister dying, I’m going to live into the truth. The one thing I can control is my choice to believe and live that belief with the sweet fruit of faith, hope and the greatest of all: love.

I’ll snuggle my babies close. I’ll roll to the middle of the bed instead of clinging to the edge after an argument with my husband from earlier in the day. I’ll leave hope in someone’s mailbox. I’ll unfurl the fist to hold a hand sure and steady.

Where are you being asked to live into your limits in this season?

Photo Credit: Adam_BT via Compfight cc

11 Comments

  1. Emily November 1, 2015

    I am so, so sorry about your friend. I understand the breathless heartache that comes with living something like that. This summer, a friend of mine passed away at 27. Another friend of mine was diagnosed right about the same time with aggressive cancer at the age of 24.  I’ve slammed, hard into the realization of limits, brokenness, and death. At 24, it’s a lesson I wish I didn’t have to learn! But I’m with you – the only thing we can do is press into the One who has Control. I’ll say a prayer right now for you.

    And can I make a suggestion? – I know this might feel like too soon, especially since your friend is still here. But after she has gone home, give yourself a weekly space to process your grief. Join a GriefShare, find a book to read, or just carve out dedicated time for it. Grieving a friend is a strange, hard thing, and it’s ok to just leave room for it in your day.

    1. Jessica November 2, 2015

      Emily, thanks so much for sharing your own experience. I will take your suggestion to heart. I lost my parents as a child and so my walk with grief has been since a young age. However, have to say the recent loss of this friend has been very difficult. It seems to be very connected to my own loss as a child. It’s just a new level to things that I didn’t really expect as an adult and as someone who has lived in the cycle of grief for the better part of her life.

  2. Valerie November 1, 2015

    “We will lose eternally more than we gain if we let our limits define us.”

    Gonna chew on that one. What a great thought!

  3. Jennifer Ott November 2, 2015

    Oh, I wish I could hug you (and I am not a hugging person)!  It slammed my world when a dear friend died at 33, leaving behind two children.  I had experienced death before (worked at a hospice for children in Africa) but never someone my age, a friend for many years who have lived life with me.  It tested every limit of my belief and faith.  Still brings tears.

    Leaving our comfortable life in the US for here, feeling years behind everyone else who came as youngsters (we are nearly 40!), and jumping right into work with nationals (with all the cultural nuances that we don’t know along with the language we don’t know) has been hard.  Not harder than I expected since I am a pessimist (I call it being a “realist”), but just hard.  And all my ugly keeps bubbling up.  I am not the person I hoped I was, and I could maintain that veneer back in the states.  The differences here strip me of everything I prided myself in before (organization, competence, sheer grit, and CLEANING).  Going to ponder moving past the end of me to Him…

    1. Jessica November 2, 2015

      Isn’t that the rub? Moving past the end of ourselves and into Him, the limitless One. As I write this I am picturing Christ telling the woman at the well that he is the well that never runs dry. You said you are a pessimist who calls herself a realist- I get that! But all our glass empty thinking is nothing compared to Christ’s never run dry theology, isn’t it?

  4. Cecily November 2, 2015

    Well, I did it again.  I cast off the limits of being quiet, and I made myself vulnerable, AGAIN!  I just came through a very busy, emotionally difficult, fulfilling and feeling impossible at the same time month.  The Lord carried me and helped me all along the way, but I was in serious agony as this difficult month exposed some pretty yucky things in my life.  And, as the yuckies were revealed to me, I didn’t hide them very well at all.  And then I ended the charade for good and tried to put words to them–those messy, non-Christian, ungodly things that I see in my life.  But why?  I wasn’t at a confessional or in an openness and brokenness session.  And now I am dealing with the age-old shame that comes with being seen for who I am.  But I have a choice of how to go on from here–to keep living out loud, in the reality of mess, or to try to take back all the things I said because I don’t like being exposed.

    This is not along the same lines of losing a loved one, so I hope this isn’t in the wrong place or the wrong time.  But, it is about pushing through the limits of pride to live a messy life outloud.

    1. Jessica November 2, 2015

      I think that what you are talking about is the same as what I’m talking about in so many ways. My struggle against fear and closed living is the exact same thing you’re talking about. Vulnerability is risk. We limit our vulnerability and we limit risk and it makes us feel safe. Oh but what do we sacrifice to do so? Thanks for sharing a bit of your story today and keep pushing on. I believe it’s the only way to live full friend.

      1. Cecily November 2, 2015

        Thanks for the feedback, Jessica 🙂

    2. T November 3, 2015

      Hey.  I relate.  Does it help to remember that the people who you shared your bleh with all have deep chasms of bad seething inside them, too?  And if it was married folks, then they know about their own stuff and their spouses’ horribleness?  Yes! for getting things into the light.  I remember reading a book about believers in a concentration camp–every morning, the women tried to put their plates in the sun after washing them (often w/out soap because there wasn’t any) to try to get rid of some of the germs.  The light can stop that festering bleh.  Same for the stuff inside us.

  5. Monica F November 2, 2015

    “We’ve got nothing to lose. There is nothing that we can lose in this life Christ has not found and redeemed to the greatest extent.”

    Thank you for this beautiful post and sharing your heart.  Your post had me in tears, and I just want to send you a hug over the internet!  Recently, my husband and I lost three dear friends (separately)  to illnesses over the course of a year- it really rocked our world.  I began to engage more deeply, see more clearly, use my time more wisely, and love more passionately- craving more and more of the Holy One in the midst of loss and confusion.  Clinging to the Hope we have in Him is something I am reminded of every day when I see the pictures of our sweet friends on the wall in my kitchen. 

  6. Jessica November 2, 2015

    I wish I could give you a hug too. It’s just so hard, right? It catches you off guard with how deeply it challenges your faith and surety. Praise that we have that. That we can cling to it as the boat rocks! Yes, gaze at those photos and let the grief AND the gratitude wash over you at once because that really is the only way to live in the tension.

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