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One Body with Many Members

Thursday, March 10, 2011
I awoke at 3:15 this morning.  I allowed my brain to churn for an hour, then finally got up to write.  I am a person that has always required a great deal of rest in order for me to function positively and effectively throughout the day.  The only times I have ever been awakened in the middle of the night, outside of crying children, was because the Holy Spirit was wanting to whisper something to me and I needed to pray or I needed to write. If it had to do with writing, it was always something God inspired.  I also have never had a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep... until recently.  The first couple of nights after Michael's wreck, I took some pain reliever with benadryl, in hopes of a relaxed sleep, but my brain activity would not shut down.  I have tried something a little stronger which worked for several nights, but I am now beginning to wake up between two and four with a surge of thoughts and feelings running through my head.  It gets to a point that my stomach begins to feel like it is on fire, my heart begins to beat a little faster, and then I realize it is time to write, in order to "give birth" to my thoughts.  After I get them out, I feel lighter and the presence of the peace of God.

I have been overcome lately with the whole concept of "the body of Christ", and not only what it means, but what it looks like.  In Galatians 6:2, it says,"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."  The trick is knowing each other's burdens.  We live in such a prideful society that wants everyone to think, "I am fine....  I can do it myself...  I don't want to concern you with my problems...everyone has enough problems of their own."  The toughest one, and the biggest lie, is that we want people to think that we don't have burdens and all is well.  If we weren't supposed to have burdens, why would God command us to carry them for each other?  I have always been a very private person, not so much keeping my burdens to myself, but just a private life in general.  Michael and I were at peace and happiest in the presence of  our family and within our "four walls", the garden being included within those walls.  Life is rich in this place. It is different now.  I have needs that can only be met by those outside the walls.  I need to have other people help carry some of these burdens as much as they have a need to carry them. The only way this can happen is if I am gut wrenching honest...filleted open for all to see the injury. The mystery of the body of Christ.

I don't know where I would be at this moment without that body and its' members.  The body reaches beyond our church family, as it should.  The body is the body of believers... not limited to those with whom you share a pew on Sunday mornings.  Michael and I changed churches 4 and a half years ago to a church within our community.  We loved the people were we had been attending, but God was moving us to a new place.  Michael had spent so much time studying town planning, that he was a strong advocate of worshipping in a community and having a "sense of place".  By worshipping in our community, it becomes easier to share one another's burdens.  We become accountable one to another because we are seeing each other on a regular basis, and not just on Sunday morning.  He loved that he could go to the local coffee shop and have his coffee served by a  girl who sings in  our choir.  He loved how we could look out our front window and sometimes see our pastor's wife and the church administrator taking their morning walks.  He loved that we could be at the church in a moment's notice.  He loved that we could host neighborhood Bible studies and everyone present lived within a half mile of our home.  He loved that the waitresses from two of our favorite neighborhood restaurants could be seen power walking or pushing their little ones in a stroller down our street.  He loved that we could see our good friends from church walking their dog every Sunday afternoon following their leisurely nap.  These, seemingly little things,  make up a community.  A community enables us to know the lives of those with whom we  share it.  It is what makes us stronger. Sharing burdens makes us stronger.  Two is always better than one, and three is even better.

1 Corinthians 12:12-18,21-26 says it perfectly, "The body is a unit,though it is made up of many parts:and though all its parts are many, they form one body.  So it is with Christ.  For we were all baptized into one  Spirit into one body - whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free- and we were given all the same Spirit to drink.  Now the body is made up of not one part but many.  If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.  And if the ear should say,"Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.  If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?  But in fact, God has arranged the parts of the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be.....The eye cannot say to the hand,"I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!"  On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem weaker, are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor.  And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment.  But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body,but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it;if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it."

Our assistant minister described it to me last week like this. (I believe his wording and the thought came from the author Philip Yancey.)  He called it connective tissue.  When we have a cut in our physical bodies, it hurts most where the injury occurred....  In this case, my heart, my children, and their hearts. But the connective tissue around the wound is tender and hurts as well. The closer you get to the point of injury, the greater the pain, but the whole area, or the body of Christ, hurts.

I am so overwhelmed and speechless to be watching this truth play out in my life right now. I am bleeding. I have lost a lot.  The pain and the wound are raw.  The pain is more real than I could have ever imagined.  I am not hiding anything.  What would I gain by hiding?  This is the hardest path I have ever had to take. It is lonely. I am grappling in the dark. I am missing my husband with all of my soul... just to smell his skin and touch his hair. I can't breathe. The air is heavy. My vision is blurred. Sometimes I can't think. The baby steps are not baby at all....but I thank God for the mystery of the body of Christ. They are holding me like you do when you stub your toe and, instinctively, you grab it or massage it.  I am thankful for the community of believers that are trying to ease the pain and holding me while I limp along on this journey.


Anonymous Says:
March 10, 2011 at 7:19 AM

What at first may have been a means of therapy to help you move forward in your journey of dealing with the loss of Michael, has now become one of the most powerful ministries of Christian faith that most us have ever seen.

God is truly speaking through you and your writings.

I'm not sure that you even read these comments or those on Michael's Memoriam FB page but through your raw emotions, and amazing display of love not only for Michael but also your love and steadfast Faith in Jesus..... many that come to your blog have real cause to re-examine their own personal relationship with Him and in doing so have been brought closer in faith through you as an instrument of His Mercy and Grace.

I have included you and your precious family on our prayer list at our Church..... please know that we love and pray for you daily.

In His Grip

K Spong
St Joe (Class of 1979)

“God places the heaviest burden on those who can carry its weight.” - Rev. Reggie White

Anonymous Says:
March 10, 2011 at 7:30 AM

I continue to be empowered by your heart's sharing. Indeed, many are standing with you, and will continue to do so. The path up the mountain has some even places, but many that become narrow and steep. You will navigate every turn, every elevation. PEACE becomes you.

kim Says:
March 10, 2011 at 7:44 AM

I just had this conversationn with a new friend going thru financial hardship. She asked how we made it thru. She needed tangible answers, she knew Christ ultimately the answer but she needed to know other actions. I said that i let my close friends know what was going on. If I had not, then the anonymous grocery cards, cash etc wouldnt have been in the mailbox. I have hid for so long and its a lonely place to be. Im in awe of your words, your faith. Im lifting you daily, that He will hold you as you wait to see the one He holds of yours. Im so grateful to know you, you give me strength. affirmation that anything money can fix isnt a problem at all. michael encouraged kyle momthly. just a phone call to check on him. michael is witnessing to him thru your words at this present moment. i read him "my michael". i saw him pondering. Praise God for Michaels legacy. It lives on,

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