Looking Up – A Gift I Didn’t Want

Sarah Beam   -  

Dear Hope Church,

A few years ago, we went through a season of life that was incredibly hard. My migraines, which have been a lifelong challenge, crescendoed in a nearly non-stop debilitating attack that left me largely bedridden for a few months. Life came to a halt. Many days I was unable to drive my children to and from school, grocery shop or cook, keep laundry moving, help kids with homework, or work. I couldn’t enjoy time with friends or family because the pain drowned everything else out. We were constantly reaching out to friends and family for help just to keep the absolute essentials of life going, kids at school and food on the table. 

One of the things that has stuck with me and that I’ve often pondered since is the unasked for gift of dependence. There were many days when it wasn’t even safe for me to drive and I had to depend on others to transport myself and my kids where we needed to be. I couldn’t even get to the doctors or the pharmacy without help. All of the things that had made up much of my life for the previous decade, caring for a house and children, were suddenly beyond my capacity. I couldn’t contribute anywhere. I could only receive. And I really hated that. It was immensely humbling and in a way revealing. Because aren’t we always dependent? Isn’t the very nature of the gospel that all we can do is receive? 

In that season, I had the facade of independence and self-sufficiency and my contributions stripped away and was left with the reality of my dependence. I can do nothing without God. We’ve spent the last four weeks in Acts 17 and one of the verses that has stuck out to me is 28: “In him we live and move and have our being…” Our daily living, our daily breathing in and breathing out, making meals and mopping floors, driving kids and grocery shopping, getting out of bed, all of it is entirely dependent on God. Even when we’re able to do it all, it’s never by our own strength.

I never would’ve chosen that season of complete dependence. It was a gift I didn’t ask for and really didn’t want. It’s one I’ve seen others receive gracefully or grudgingly (like me) as they face their own illnesses or aging minds and bodies. Lord, give us grace to receive. Help us to remember that it is in You alone that we live and move and have our being.

Sarah Beam