The Gift of Fragility

I am in the beginning of a new chapter of my life. So many new things! I am at the beginning of a year-long Clinical Pastoral Education residency and at the beginning of life in a brand-new place. 

Many of you know that I have been in transition for several months now—since I had to resign from the church I served in California. This time in my life has been a time of epic proportions where I have experienced the ups and downs life throws at you.

The truth of this matter is that I am feeling a significant amount of stress these days. It is soooo intense that my eyes just cry. I am learning how to lament for the first time in my life and have found myself constantly immersed in deep feelings of grief and loss.

My family and I moved from the Deep South to California with great hope of staying home. Such was not the case, and we are now in the Midwest. 

Our experience at home (California) was unlike anything we have experienced before as a family; and we know that the experience in Iowa will be unique as well. The setting has changed, but the paradox has not. All around us we have the familiar and not so familiar. We know we are in the same Nation, yet it feels so different. We continue to be disconnected from friends and family. I miss fencing, running, hiking, sipping a glass of wine while watching a movie with my daughter. I miss my friends and family. 

I am not sure what my ministerial life will bring, but I am open to it. Although I feel totally overwhelmed and disconnected, I am deeply satisfied to be with my family. The financial pressure continues to be very present, but it is less expensive to live here than it was in California. When I feel my daughter’s arms around me, or my grandson’s, it is all worth it. 

The hospital work is familiar to me, yet very unfamiliar too. I get so tired that my exhaustion gets the best of me. I am learning new things for sure and that alone encourages me to keep going. I am both experienced and inexperienced in my new role. 

I am learning to stay with the broken and not try to fix it. I am focusing on accepting discomfort as a gift and my new disorientation as a blessing.  Once again, I am learning to just let it be what it is. 

My frailty is completely exposed. I feel squeezed like grapes, and I am trusting that the best wine yet will come out of God’s squeezing. I had a breakdown this week and one of my dear new friends directed me to 2 Corinthians 4.

Maybe you too feel strong and weak. Do not lose heart. We are treasures in fragile clay jars.

“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.  We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.” (4:8-9)

“We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus,  will also raise us with Jesus … All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” (4:14-18)

Be blessed.

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Evelyn:
This really speaks to me. I, too, feel myself in new territory taking care of my granddaughter as she copes with many challenges. I feel so unprepared but I know God is with me and I have to trust His leading. My thoughts, prayers and love are with you, Maricarmen, as you adjust to your new calling.

Maricarmen:
Thank you, Evelyn. God will give you what you need. You are in my prayers. Love you.