We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.
- Anaïs Nin
A few years ago I was struck by the reality that the life I now live is often harder than the one I lived before God saved me. I didn’t get saved until early adulthood, so I have vivid memories of life before Christ. My life was certainly empty, but it was very different, and in many ways easier. Life after Christ became richer, but harder. It became hopeful, but filled with greater difficulty. I had joy, but not necessarily unending happiness. My sins were forgiven, but sometimes there wasn’t much else to rejoice in. The more I grew, the more I realized that I’m not alone. I even started seeing that the pattern of scripture is pain now, relief later (Rom. 8:22-24). God’s people must walk through a lot before they get the promised land, before they get glory (Acts 14:22).
“So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”—Isaiah 55:11
I used to think that this verse was primarily about salvation. When I would pray for people who had heard the truth of the gospel, I would pray that God’s word would not return void in their lives. I saw it as a verse that spoke to the great value of continuing to proclaim God’s word to the lost. God will work. He will scatter the seed of the gospel, water it, and reap a harvest. Don’t lose heart. God is always working.
One of the hardest parts about moving on from the hospital experience is moving on from the reality that life hung in the balance every single day we were in that hospital. With a placenta abruption time is of the essence, and because I had a partial abruption I was always hovering over the reality of a full abruption happening at any moment. For context, a full abruption means almost certain death for the mother and the baby in a matter of minutes. A full abruption gives no warning until it is too late, and then you are on the clock to save mom and baby. That is where we lived for three weeks, death crouching at our door. Every day we begged God not to let it walk right through to take Ben and me.
I joked after my book was finished that now I could go back to doing the work of the home again. I thought finishing the book meant I needed to get back to actually doing the work. I needed the perspective and the headspace to do it. But what I didn’t know is that I needed to experience the work. God wasn’t concerned about me getting back to work. He was concerned about humbling me and making a recipient of the work.
Of all the things I wrote in Glory in the Ordinary, perhaps the hardest thing for me to accept in the book is the fact that I can’t do it all. I wrote it. I’ve spoken about it. But I have a hard time believing it and living it out.
And then I went to the hospital.