God sometimes speaks to me in simple images in the quiet minutes of the morning in which I am beginning to awake. Yesterday was one of those days in which He spoke to me in the reentry hour. It was sort of a dream, but more like a small vision, there one minute and gone the next. It was an empty coffee cup, porcelain white and perfectly clean with a small white bloom attached to the inside of the cup, as if its dainty stem had grown right out of the porcelain.
I awoke, feeling that it was of God, but somewhat puzzled by the image. In my humanness, my first instinct was to look at it literally, so I assumed He must surely be telling me to stop drinking coffee, that perhaps something would bloom, that great things would come if I could only stop drinking coffee. I shelved the thought, hoping He had some other message for me other than giving up coffee. Then, I stumbled to the kitchen, got the kids off to school, and sat down to have my quiet time.
Lately, I have been reading the Streams in the Desert devotional because it speaks deep truth to me in the midst of difficult seasons. Last week was one of those weeks when I needed its words. I awoke on Monday, and instead of seeing a sweet vision from God in the reentry hours, Satan arrived to twist and torque every muscle in my upper back and neck. My neck froze to the point where I could not move it more than a centimeter in any direction, so many hours of my week were spent lying in the bed staring at the ceiling while family and friends tended to my children.
In the previous week, my physical therapist had told me that my neck looked better than He had ever seen it. So, I just knew the time had finally come. I was healing from Lyme, and God was finally coming to remove the yoke from this neck and He, for sure, was going to allow me to paint and write all that I wanted. And then, Monday came and the rest of the week was filled with ice packs, heating pads, an MRI, a steroid dose pack, and quite obviously, no writing or painting. Needless to say, I was a bit discouraged and began to imagine myself stuck in this cycle of pain, and I completely lost sight of what God might be doing in the midst of it.
So yesterday, I pulled out the Streams in the Desert devotional after pondering what the image of the coffee cup might convey. The devotion for that day spoke of God as an artist, using many "brushstrokes of sorrow" to paint into his masterpieces, you and me, so that we can be used to show his glory. It spoke of waking up and opening our hearts to the lessons that God intends for us to learn in our suffering. And it warned of the danger of our "cup of sorrows" being emptied, and us having failed to glean the truths that God wanted to teach in the midst of the trial. It spoke of opening our hearts to pain and suffering and rejoicing in it.
So today, I woke up and smelled the coffee and began to meditate on all that I have learned through Lyme. God began to open my heart to receive the truths He wanted to teach me. I do believe God is going to empty my cup of Lyme and neck sorrows, and in its place, something clean and beautiful will have bloomed inside of me. Something sweet and soft and gentle that was not in my heart before. Something pure that only grows inside the cup of suffering.
Sometimes it's hard to see the bloom until the cup has been emptied, but I am asking God to give me the grace to see it even in the midst of the journey. And I wonder if meditating on the bloom that's coming forth is part of my healing, if healing sometimes comes when we stop trying to push away pain, and surrender to it for a season for the sake of God's purposes.
It is often writing that helps me focus on the bloom rather than the gloom in the midst of trials, so as much as the Lord allows, I am going to write as I travel the rest of this journey. And I invite you to come along with me, to glean truth with me, to walk with me as I make my way toward the finish line of Lyme treatment. Sharing with you holds me accountable to getting my thoughts down on paper, and through that process, I see little bits of his bloom come forth in places I least expect. But most of all, I desire to share this healing adventure with you because I know I have not traveled this path to allow all these lessons to dead end on me. So over the next few weeks,
i will keep
to wake me from my sleep
as i seek
God has given me
through the deep cup