On Friday afternoon I stared at the text message from my doctor, giving me the results of my estrogen level test: “nonexistent.”
Nonexistent. Maybe that’s what all women go through when they go through menopause. I don’t know. But I know that with the things I’ve been dealing with, I was willing to give the sample of Estrogen gel the doctor gave me a try. Within thirty minutes of applying it, I noticed a difference. I could feel my hard edges softening. My appetite returned. It felt like my life was going from two to three dimensions.
And as I felt better, the contrast made it clearer to me how I had been living — with nonexistent energy, nonexistent motivation, like a wooden stick figure trying to find a way to go through the motions. Yes, I had times where everything came together and I felt like myself again, but I didn’t know when they would come, or how to bring them.
But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always. Hos. 12:6
I read that verse in Dr. Delgado’s waiting room, while I was trying to have a spiritual time in the midst of feeling like my chemistry was off, a bit shaky and weak. What a great verse it is. It reminds me that the most important things to God are for us to practice love and justice. It also spoke to my heart: I need to ALWAYS wait for the Lord. I need to be patient in my nonexistence, knowing He will thinks I am awesome and has my back, that He is faithful and passionately wants the right thing for me.
The next morning, Saturday, was grey as we left early to go to have a reunion with our old friends David and Sheila. Driving under the overcast sky, we prayed, and asked God to use us over the coming weekend. Then I read aloud the first chapter of “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voscamp. We read about the tragedy of her life, and how she closed her fists to God.
The book mentioned the story of Hezekiah, and how he prayed to live 15 more years, and God answered his prayer. But when he did, he fathered Manasseh, who led the Israelites to do much evil. Voscamp related what her brother in law said, “Maybe you don’t want to change the story, because you don’t know what a different ending holds.”
How much would I like to change the story sometimes! How much I would like to not be nonexistent. How much I would change what I see as less than optimal circumstances and situations because (gasp) I think I know better than God how things ought to go.
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord… Luke 1:46
I read this verse in “One Thousand Gifts” and I made it my goal for the weekend to become less, especially in my world view, and instead focus on making God greater.
The sun came out. We arrived in Cleveland, TN and had a wonderful visit with David and Sheila. It was inspiring to see how they have matured because they have honored their relationship with God. I saw the peace in their hearts, and what they have been learning. I saw how they give to so many. “I’ve decided there is no failure,” David told me, “because failure is an ending.”
It’s true. Life is a process. What looks like a failure can be God’s success. And what we think of as a success can turn out badly. The only way is to totally rely on God.
From there we went to the wedding. What special vignettes I remember! Seeing Devon, beautiful in a light blue dress and red lipstick, slip in the seat next to me just before the wedding started. She made it in time. Seeing Dave walk Rachel down the aisle, she so lovely and he so proud. The groom looking like he was tearing up. Hearing how Rachel’s favorite thing about her husband to be was his passion for God. The barn turned into a fairytale with flowers and twinkle lights. My grandchildren running around the grassy fields in the twilight, Layla looking like a little Norse princess in her flowered dress and suede boots, the front of her hair pulled back in two braids, with long curls bouncing. Ethan “exploring” with me, keeping a running dialog, bright blond hair and his now grubby white oxford shirt. I dragged my daughters to the dance floor and we danced, and later Layla came and twirled with impish happiness to the music.
Sunday we woke to a vista of lovely hills covered with mist. We drove back through the beautiful scenery, singing “How Great Thou Art.” We read more of Voscamp’s book, about how thankfulness is the soil from which God works.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Phil 4:6
That is a challenging concept for me. How can I be thankful for situations that my own best thinking tells me are not they way they need to be?
My thought is, I’ll arrange things how they need to be, I’ll pray about how things need to be, and then when they are, I’ll be thankful. God wants me to be thankful first, thankful in the nonexistence.
Then we got to church at North River, and I did one of my favorite things — I sat next to my son and worshiped God. And I listened to Tom Brown’s sermon on how we CAN change the world, as overwhelming and hopeless as it seems. Tom read the following scripture:
The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am the LORD; in its time I will do this swiftly.” Is 60:22
The least of you will become a thousand. God can take the nonexistent and make it great.
Even failure is not an obstacle. I keep worrying about the details, trying to assure that everything works out perfectly. But what’s amazing to me is that even if things don’t go perfectly, even if things fail, God can use the failures. It can all a part of His plan.
I need to learn to thank God in the incompleteness, in the failure, in the nonexistence, because I TRUST Him. He who brought the broken manged body of Jesus back to life, seated at His right hand, can work in any situation. We CAN change the world, though our efforts seem feeble and fallible. May His will, and His will only, be done always.