Slowly, my freedoms have begun to fall away, one by one. I can no longer exercise, drive, be alone with my children, eat, walk or even get out of bed unassisted.
In the last six years, I have encountered numerous challenges: entered into recovery from an eating disorder, married my sweetheart, traveled halfway across the country, birthed two children, walked with my husband through the completion of his master's degree, entered with him into his first pastoral appointment and launched a new church campus. We also bought our first house and acquired eight pets.
My greatest life change, however, began following the birth of our second child. I visited my doctor soon after, where I tentatively stated my fear that something was not right with my body. This began a season of more emergency room experiences, specialist appointments and medical diagnoses than I could count on my fingers and toes.
My life became one I never envisioned living. My idea of ministry seemed unattainable, as I became the one who needed constant care. My idea of motherhood shattered as I realized that I could never safely be alone with my toddlers. My image of marriage quickly embodied the vow of "in sickness and in health" with a depth of experience I never wished to embrace.
I have begun to ask for eyes to see the redemption that is present in my suffering. As I surrender control of so many elements in my life, I have discovered a slavery to spiritually-crippling control. As I release my vice-like grip on my life of fierce independence, I learn the joy of dependence on God and interdependence with others. While I cannot provide fun outings, I can still lavish my children with love and offer a soft place to land. In the absence of physical healing, God manifests miracles through the comfort and joy of his presence through my pain, suffering and loss.
While not all life transitions are the objects of our longing, they offer opportunities for me to see that with God all is grace, and not even illness will separate me from his love.