FREE.

This post is one that I started well over a week ago. I saved the draft and then…well, life happened.

Since we’ve been home, we/I’ve been doing everything freedom will allow me to do – mani/pedi with my sister (something I haven’t done since our wedding), buying “fancy” shampoo (you know, the kind that doesn’t come in travel size…), sitting outside just to watch the sun set, eating steak with friends THREE times in one week, making chocolate chip cookies for no other reason than we want to, driving around Craighead Forest Park so we can sit in the car by the water and do nothing (save a short chat here and there and listening to the radio) with Sonic Happy Hour drinks. Life has been good.

In light of our recent escape from UAMS and our nation’s celebration of Memorial Day, I’ve done a lot of thinking about the concept of “freedom.” It is something we like to talk about a lot, but it is also a word whose weight we don’t recognize or internalize often enough.

Freedom in Christ –  He has given us an earthly, small-scale picture of what he means to be free. With our gift of freedom from the hospital comes an overflow of gratitude and desire to go out and live big. We want to love and give and risk. There is joy in our hearts that screams to be felt and shared…and this is just from a teeny stay in a well-run hospital. Compare that to release from all the pain and hurt and heartache and deceit that a fallen world has for us. Compare that to freedom from forever feeling alone. Compare that to what Jesus has done ultimately for us. Holy crap. Talk about feeling indebted.

I’ve gotten to know Jesus over the last few months, too. Like, the real guy. I’ve “known” him for 18 years, but never understood his grace to this extent before. It’s interesting that at the same time I get to physically see him work through our circumstances, I also finished reading a book about his personality. Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge puts into words something that had been stirring in my heart but had never completely exposed or explained itself. I can confidently say that I know Jesus now like I know Mitchell; if you tell me something that’s inconsistent with his character, I can say, “Um, that’s not the guy I know.” It’s the same as if someone told me that they saw Mitchell square dancing, or wearing a Speedo, or eating onions…It’s not consistent with his character, with my experiences with him. It isn’t true.

In getting to know Jesus, I’m doing so through the Spirit. And, all this extra contact with the Spirit has shown me some very real differences between him and the human heart/emotions. Your heart will deceive you. Once I realized this, I loathed the phrase “Follow your heart.” All the little girls out there wishing on stars and trying to follow their guts are going to be disappointed. (Jesus has a plan for you – a love story – you just won’t find it by “following your heart.”) Your heart is still flesh. Flesh dies. The Spirit however, is patient and wise. He is felt, yes, but he is not equivalent to my emotions. My emotions tell me I’m alone, the Spirit shows me that I am not. I will never be alone. He will guide me. He will not leave. Not after 40 days. Not ever.

By the way, how ironic is that? Forty days and forty nights in the hospital? Just a coincidence, of course…nothing significant at all. 🙂

Memorial Day. Being Home. Whether returning from battle with our nation’s enemies, leukemia cells, or spiritual demons, home is that place where we are most closely linked with each other and with our Creator. It is where we find rest. Renewal. Comfort.

“It is so much better to be home…” – Dr. Mahmoud

I know from my Spirit that Mitch is well – we are beating his cancer.

Thank you, Jesus, for letting me keep my husband.

*Bro. Bruce Tippit had a fantastic word or two to say about “Being Home.” Check out the sermon manuscript from May 27, 2012.

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