I remember the day he took my breath away. It began like most, I suppose. With my feet dangling over the side of an exam table, her fingers clickety clacking away at the computer and his voice posing the question as it had a million times before, On a scale of 1-10, how is the pain here and here and here...
And so it went.
A squeeze. A number. A clickety clack. As this little routine ended, he asked if I had any more questions. To which I answered playfully, I don’t know that I would remember even if I did! And so we all giggled because in the hard things you must. It was then I began to shimmy to the floor, expecting his usual goodbye. But this time, he held his hand out as if to stop me and said, How is your disease affecting your ability to be the mother of four?
I answered with incredible eloquence: Er...um...
No, really, Sara. I want to know.
I stared at my dangling feet, hoping that I could muster something true but all that came out was another giggle and, Oh, you know, it makes it hard and hilarious and crazy messy but kind of wonderful, too... Something in my eyes must have said that I couldn’t say more because he pressed no further, the clickety clack slowed to a stop and we said goodbye.
I made it as far as my van before the tears welled in my eyes. Because the truth is I have a disease, one that is relentless and unkind, one that takes away new pieces of me every year and that leaves me broken each day, one that demands that my four babies and sweet man wade in all its messy.
And it is hard.
To find yourself in quiet corners, asking Him the what-ifs and the whys, begging for grace every second because it is the only way you know how to breathe. To hold on with white knuckles to every promise He speaks and every happy moment given. To trust that all the hurt in their little hearts that comes out of your illness will be grown into something beautiful and good.
It is a daily battle for grace. One that asks us to let go of the outcome, the prognosis, the future, and to trade it for the gift of today and the promise of forever.
Even in the hard, the crazy, the messy reality of a broken mama with four babies comes the part that is so immeasurably good... Little faces. Little feet. Little hands. Little hearts. Little dreams. Little lives. All wrapped up in a love so big it will not be bested by a measly little disease. All gathered in their mama’s heart so that no piece of them can be taken away. All bathed in a grace that comes in knowing that there is no way without Him.
To deny such goodness would be to deny our very breath.
But in this season of Advent, I know it can be hard to hear a melody of Give thanks in all circumstances because our humanity often chafes at the thought of being thankful for pain and hurt and the brokenness that comes with it. It is why when I’ve been asked the hard questions—the ones that nearly break me at their call for vulnerability—my heart always answers, I would never have chosen this disease, this path of brokenness. But I would choose the story He has written in it. Every single time, I would choose it. For it is in this sacred place where my hands uncurl to welcome the good Jesus gives in every curve and line and page of hurt and hard things.
Be it in the chance to know Him, permanently face-planted at His feet. Be it in the grace to love and mother differently, to stumble and fall, but to know He is in it. Or be it in the gift of little hands and hearts and faces that remind me of the beauty He brings from this often messy, tattered story.
So that I can say in this place on this day...I am grateful for every single breath He gives in this crazy-wonderful little life.
Sara Cormany is mama to four and wife to one sweet guy. She is a stroke survivor, chronic illness fighter, and former teacher to teenagers. But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy, and the seemingly unimportant of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful. She writes about their journey together at www.everydayisgrace.com.