I've written a lot about mud in the last year. It's a metaphor that Brené Brown uses in her book. Rising Strong, and one that just seems to speak to me so clearly. So, I've kept on with it.
But a few nights ago, I was scrolling through my Instagram, wasting time and generally feeling depressed, when I came across a quote by a Jan Richardson. I googled her. Her website said she is an artist, a writer and a minister in the United Methodist Church. That's as far as I read... mostly it's not her I'm interested in, just wanted a face to the quote.
All those days
you felt like dust,
Did you not know
what the Holy One
can do with dust?
POW! This his me like a breath of fresh air and a ton of bricks at the same time.
Did you not know what the Holy One can do with dust?
Immediately, my mind when to the story in John where Jesus picks up dust from the road and spits on it to make... mud... and then puts in on the blind man's eyes, telling him to wash it clean in the river.
Out of dust and mud, comes healing. We see a similar theme in the 2 Kings story of Naaman's healing of leprosy. He was sent by Elisha to dunk in the dirty Jordan river.
Now, I am not a theologian by any stretch. I am married to a Pastor who loves exegesis ( I googled the definition for us: critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially of scripture) so I learn a few things by osmosis... but really, I suck at listening to even his sermons. (And he's pretty good).
I digress... I am not a theologian, so I don't want to read into this something that's not there, but I do wan't to dabble a bit with hope and faith.
I want to put it out there, that this journey through the mud is only as good as it is because of hope and because of faith. And to read the words of Jan Richardson this week, I found so much hope. And a renewed sense of faith.
Because here's the thing. I am so aware of the people around us who are lifting is out of the mud. And I would love nothing more than to lavish these people with gifts and kisses and treasures, their support is that welcomed.
But I'm not always aware of my God in these scenarios. It's far easier to dismiss him on the bad days, accusing him of not being there and not helping and not caring. But when I look at all that has been orchestrated for our family to live where we are, with jobs and supportive people and medical professionals and financial gifts... how can I dismiss that?
And even this image of mud. I so often see our family thrashing around in a pit, frantic to reach the edge and pull ourselves to safety. But what happens, when you sit calm in mud? When you move slowly through, calmly feeling for the footholds, suddenly, you can move forward, lifting one leg at a time, gently making a path for others to follow.
This is where I see my God at work. He is there, at the front of the rope, using a calm, gentle voice for us to cling to. And when we come through the mud, and the dirty water, our eyes are opened. Our faith is strong. Our bodies... healed.
Like Job, we don't know how long our time in the mud may last. I pray daily that it will pass quickly, that full healing will come to my body and those of my boys. But that may not be the case. We may never see the other side of the mud pit.
But, with that calm, sweet voice in control, I can sit still and enjoy my mud wrap, knowing that on the other end, my skin is going to look fantastic.
Lord Jesus, thank you! Thank you for being that calm, steady voice during the best and worst times of life. Thank you for being a lover of my family, a healer of wounds and a giver of life.