“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5
We didn’t go to school for a week. Vince had so much mucus that I had to suction his tracheostomy tube every half an hour, and I had to help him cough. It was a dual feeling: I missed the usual daily routine, but at the same time it was nice to be at home and not have to rush anywhere. It felt like Christmas at the end of February. Just like when it’s snowing outside and it is winter break, and our biggest adventure is to get to the top of the street and go sledging back down. Before Vince started kindergarten and then school, I didn’t even notice weeks like this, because we spent months together in the captivity of our house. Now we played airplane and travelled all the way to Sweden. Then we started an obstacle course: who can collect more stars? It was nice to be at home resting and in peace, and to laugh a lot.
We were even giggling about me holding the suction machine and the cough machine in one hand, and eating scrambled eggs with the other.
Then the usual weekdays begin again. Vince’s gone back to school. I take care of errands and listen to the audio material from Bible School, so I can catch up. I talk to a lot of people and they ask why we haven’t been to school. Then I notice that a few days go by, and in spite of the fact that we were at home for a full week, I am tired again, my strength has disappeared again, and all the negative thoughts find their way back into my head. I suddenly realize: while we were at home, I didn’t talk to anyone, we played a lot, in the mornings and evenings I listened to worships. And now, when seemingly everything is alright, Vince is not sick and I have more free time in the mornings, I am tired again. What is happening?
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
Have you noticed that we die a little every day?
James warns us to be careful about what we say, because the tongue is a fiery snake that poisons the body and soul. Proverbs says we should treasure our hearts most of all, because all evil stems from it. Then Timothy writes that it isn’t what goes into the mouth that defiles people but it is that comes out. Would it be this simple? I talk to moms, teachers, friends, I tell them how much secretion Vince had and that I had to suction it every half an hour. This is the real infection: worry, tiredness, explaining my own things, feeling pity. Then once I notice it, I realize again that there is only one thing I need to do: change my thoughts to God’s thoughts. This is the only medicine that truly works! When I see my tiredness, I realize where my tongue has been, where impurity has found my heart, and I take out the Word of God. I put it into my ears, I listen and I find peace. I go to God, I put down my burdens and tranquility washes over me.
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’” John 11:25-26
Have you noticed that every day we die a little, and every day we also get resurrected when we hand our burdens over to Jesus?
The other day I was reading Isaiah chapters 56 and 57, and it was talking about Saturday. God commanded that the Jews wouldn’t be allowed to do any work on Saturday, on the Sabbath. And those who didn’t obey were stoned to death. They took the law very seriously. Now we are not living in the era of the law but in the era of Grace. But this doesn’t mean that the laws don’t apply to us. God knows what’s good for us. He knows that He wants to give us a constant Saturday, tranquility. But we don’t accept this, we want to act and we want to pay for everything.
I infect myself with my speech, the same way others do the same as well. I look around, I see friends, acquaintances, and everybody turns and talks sideways. Everybody blames somebody else, or they blame themselves. Everybody is envious of someone, or dissatisfied with that someone. Or they are hard on themselves again and again for not being able to do something right. There is sickness everywhere, marriages in shambles, friendships dissolved.
Everybody focuses on a diet that could change them, a psychologist, a trip, a new job, a new relationship, another someone or something… But why do we forget to look up? Why are we only concerned with ourselves or others? Why don’t we cling to the Only One who holds every remedy and solution?
Next on my agenda is a paleo diet because of my arthritis, but it is not what’s first. My son is misbehaving in school, and everyone wonders what kind of parent I am for not being able to discipline him, but it is not what’s first. My friends have difficult life situations, they pour their hearts out to me, but it is not what’s first. I rarely see my parents, and I feel guilty about that, but it is not what’s first. I am afraid what will happen to Vince once I am not around anymore, but it is not what’s first. My husband is upset with me for something, and I wonder for days how I could make peace, but it is not what’s first. At night, when I turn Vince around, my hands and feet are sore from the pain, but it is not what’s first.
The first place is already taken! It is reserved for God!
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39