Yesterday, our pastor, Dave, preached on Suffering. I don't like suffering, do you? Dave pointed out that likely none of us do--we all want to have good days at work, a good supper, and happy, peaceful conversation, a relaxing evening, and a restful night's sleep. When we don't get what we want, it's easy for us to get irritable, grumpy--or even down-right angry! Dave explained that suffering causes us to grow though in ways that we would never grow if we didn't experience suffering. We are stripped of our own ideas and forced to look hard at life from God's perspective. We learn to draw deeper from God's strength, rather than relying on our own. We re-evaluate our priorities in life, become wiser, and hopefully better, not bitter, people. Through suffering we are refined, purified, and hopefully grow more and more towards the person God wans us to be.
I thought Dave's message was timely for me. . . . This preparation for Katya's surgery feels painful. Thinking about being separated again from my children feels horribly painful. Sitting for hours in Baltimore while Katya is in surgery, without family or friends with us for support feels painful to even contemplate. The uncertainty about the out-come of Katya's surgery is the most painful of anything . . . will she live through the risky surgery, or will our hearts be ripped in two? And if she lives, will she be changed only for the better? or will there be changes for the worse that will cause our family to suffer more?
Even though we CHOSE to sacrifice and change our lives to bring Katya into our lives doesn't mean that suffering doesn't make us feel tempted to whine sometimes. We are not some sort of super-humans! Even though we are glad beyond words to have Katya with us doesn't mean that we don't MIND some of the painful changes that Katya's presence has brought into our lives. To love Katya means we also suffer pain . . . I have shared some of the ways on this blog. Others are private, quiet pains we suffer as a family. I'm proud of my kids--proud of my husband. They have chosen to embrace Katya and all that her life with us means--both the joy AND the suffering. And because we have chosen to embrace life with Katya and all that it means, we have love and laughter along with the pain and tears. We have God to walk with us during the hard times, the lonely times, and the times when tears fall. We have God to walk with us when we laugh for joy, and when we beam in pride at her latest accomplishment! I think He radiates joy at those times too!
With God's help, I want to continue to choose to embrace all that life with Katya brings.