She was worth it, I said through tears.
I’ve experienced tangible moments a few times in my life where I was confronted with someone I served. And I realized to serve them, it cost me some things.
And yet, I knew deep down in my heart if I was given the choice to serve them–love them–or keep the thing I gave away…
I’d choose to love them.
One was a kiddo I met as a play therapist. I served her from the time she was 3 until she was 9. We played hide and seek, created pictures in the sand, and spoke to each other in meows, giggles and funny little facial expressions. She told me stories that echoed of pain in her past brought forward only within the metaphor of play. She shared her fear of abandonment through stories of animals who got lost. She would hiss like a mad little cat at the things that scared her—thunder, lightning and sometimes me.
I can remember a day where I looked at her playing, while internally grieving motherhood. As I watched her dig in the sandbox, I felt God whisper, If you birthed a child at 25 like you wanted, you would have never met her.
Another kiddo I loved I knew from the time she was 2 until her death at 5. As I heaved sobs at her funeral and felt an internal wreckage within my body attempting to let her go, I knew that I’d face death over and over again if it allowed me to play barbies with her on the floor of the hospital clinical where we met. I hated death, but I had memories tucked in my heart that made it bearable—the day she drew pictures of her nightmares. The day she freaked her sister out by acting out death. The day she called a doctor HATER because he dared not pay attention to her cute, feisty little hey. The day she asked me what a freckle was and we marveled at the unique ways God made us. She was worth this pain.
And another. This one was an adult. She was enduring the breakup of her marriage. We cried and lamented together for over a year as she watched her husband leave, felt the abyss of sadness over the death of her biggest dreams. She bravely looked unwanted singleness in the face, and she found the strength and courage to grow in the midst of incredible pain. I can remember sharing with her what I knew of unwanted singleness. The excruciating, lonely, scary and at times embarrassing aspects of it. The questions I didn’t have answers for. The fears that made me nauseous.
I realized one day that had I not stayed single through my twenties and thirties, I would not have known how to empathize with her. I would not have known how to care for her. I wouldn’t have known her.
Again, she was worth it.
As believers, we wrestle between multiple cultures that frame up what life is meant to be. The world tells us a fairy tell of life that gives us whatever we want. It champions an elusive promise of a pain-free existence, while bullying us that if we are experiencing pain, there is something wrong.
With our circumstances.
But more than that…with us.
We live in another culture that speaks of picking up our cross and dying to ourselves. Terrifying expectations. The fine print of faith that we don’t understand until we do. When we are evaluating suffering active in our lives and trying to trace the face of our Heavenly Father to internally determine if He was worth it. Was knowing Him worth this pain?
There were times I said He wasn’t.
I was mean to Him.
I ignored Him.
Turned my back to Him.
Breathed threats to Him.
Figuratively flipped Him off by the behaviors I lived that were contrary to what He called me to.
Effectively said, No thanks, God. I’ll go my way.
And the gentle, ferociously persistent ways He tugged my heart back within His embrace. I kicked and screamed, until my childlike spirit found rest in His spiritual arms. I couldn’t be at peace until I was at rest with Him.
I’m rediscovering His worth to me as He reminds me of mine to Him.
When I read about the garden of Gethsemane—the unearthly groans that emerged from our Saviors body as He sweat drops of blood that mixed with His tears. The begging not to go. The pleading for another way. The persistent cries for a bridge out of the cross that awaited Him. And His faithful obedience for the cause…
He was determined to win me. To win my heart.
He was determined to win you. He would not cease until He got to keep you.
As He hung there, suffocating.
Pierced and flogged beyond recognition.
Did His heart groan, She was worth it?
I still find myself learning how to look at Him in the spiritual face I cannot quite see.
I imagine Him looking at me.
Holding me with arms I cannot quite feel.
Allowing me to search Him.
To rediscover He is safe.
To find a way to trust that He wouldn’t ever do it differently.
And the life He has gifted me, He knows I wouldn’t choose to do differently if I knew all He did.
To Him, I was worth it.
And to me, so is He.
Please, Jesus, help me believe this again tomorrow.