I have promised my God all of life one too many times for me to refuse any part of it to Him if He asked.
There is one portion in life, though, that I prayed and prayed was in His plan for me. The gift of bearing life.This is one desire I convinced myself could never be bad, it could only be pure! And surely it is what God wanted for me, too, when He designed my body to accommodate this precious gift. Surely.
But with dread, I have played out scenarios of God’s jealous voice, or be it my guilty conscience, asking whether I could still live with joy abundant if I were forbidden this portion and called to love Him alone. Though even just the thought sprinkles chills throughout my heart, I know what I have promised. In the end, I would set this, too, carefully in His hands, for if you shall have it, I will give it Lord.
But oh today… I shudder at such a thought that drifted through and did not leave, but stayed there like an impostor in my head. It was this: that I wouldn’t mind being forever a daughter and never a mother if for the sake of Jesus. That the life I could one day bring forth is impossible a sacrifice before the life that had been given…the thought that I could have the abundance of joy in life even if alone. I deny that this thought is mine. As someone who has pondered motherhood since childhood. As someone who has a list of possible names for the four young ones she hopes will be hers one day. As someone who sometimes even (wrongly) considers marriage as a means to a more precious end. No way this could be me.
Help! Someone who is not myself is doing something inside of me. Is this the compelling crime of sanctification? But who should I blame when I am the one who invited them in. I am the one who cannot refuse Him who does not capture my heart to sacrifice everything for Him, but gently restores it to want nothing but Him and all things through Him.
A moment. When you see a human body in its simple breathtaking form and everything about it proves life: the skin holding all colors in its humble tint, the slow rising and fall of the chest that knows rhythm of both thrill and slumber, the sinking depth of a thoughtful gaze found in both infant and weathered eyes.
A moment. When you think upon relationship and wonder what this intangible attraction and desire for intimacy is between two beings. How we are each unique and yet not so much, that even without common language or blood, life can be freely shared…and why on earth we deserve to experience such heavenly things.
A moment. When even if you think you have lost all will to live, and take the rope and step off the edge, find in your own gasping breaths, a yearning: your spirit reaching out to take hold of something you do not want to lose.
These moments. When life, in all the ways it peeks into your soul, leaves the mouth of your heart agape in its constant beauty and makes the innermost parts of your being ache to live in it fully.
And the very moment. When you understand that this incomprehensible gift is not the greatest good. That life is but a means to an end, beyond any category or any imperative, of love. Each moment of it, a door erected for the purpose that you may hear the knock of your lover upon it and invite him in.
In this moment, you finally see that you’ve had love all along. Because he who enters has built the house in which you dwell. And life is a friend who may stay, but whom you may also bid farewell. No longer must you clench its crutch in your hand and tremble with fear that you will be left sprawled out on the floor. No, with love’s aroma saturated within you, life itself will linger all around… knowing that here is the place where even eternity would fall short to encompass the breadth and length and height and depth of this love.
I’ve been asked often and regularly why I love Korea so much. I answer— I don’t know.. I just love it! But really I don’t just love it.. I easily slip into judgment and complaint towards this nation because of its many flaws. My curious devotion was uncovered only when I realized that love for a nation doesn’t come from what it does for you- that would be gratitude. And love for a nation doesn’t come from how great it is— that would be pride. But love for a nation comes from the simple recognition that it is yours. And such ownership doesn’t sufficiently come from the random fact of where you were born or the ethnicity of your parents, but from where you ground your heart. Where you are divinely called to call your home.
Might this not be how “foreigners” can live in devotion to a people and place that may never claim them as their own. They have surrendered their citizenship to a greater name.