Impact

17 09 2011

Sometimes I drift. I don’t notice it right away, because the currents are subtle, but eventually I sense it. I’m antsy. Discontented. I want something . . . else, something different . . . but I’m not even sure what. I envy and stew and fret, and then I despise myself for it and ask God to set me right, when, like Dorothy in Oz, I’ve had the power all along to go home. I’ve known where peace, contentment, and joy lie — known the way to get there, and I’m only discombobulated because I looked for my heart’s desire beyond my own backyard.

God is here. God is here.

How many times do I need to learn the same lesson? It’s humbling. And then I realize how patiently God teaches me (again), and I’m bowed all the lower, not in condemnation, but in worship.

The God who is here speaks in a chorus of voices, and He is able to make Himself heard.

Sara Frankl is dying. Her body is shutting down. I don’t know Sara, but I logged on to twitter September 14 and “by chance” (ha!) read a provocative tweet that sent me to a blog where I spent . . . how long? I don’t even know . . . hours? reading her story. I read about her disease, her constant pain, her allergies that have confined her to the inside of her home, and her joy. Over everything, like a sheen of otherworldly luminance, this ridiculous, irrational joy. This accepting, radiant joy. In Sara’s blog bio she wrote, “Extremely blessed, well-loved and choosing joy while learning that homebound doesn’t limit your life, just your location. I hope you find something on here that makes you smile or makes you think. Or both.”

I read Sara’s words, and I smiled. I thought. And I repented. I grieved the imminent loss of a beautiful soul I never had the privilege to meet. And I remembered the truth.

God creates us for His pleasure and glory. He places us in this world and in His body, and He alone determines the impact our lives will have. When we strive for control and grasp for what is not meant to be ours, we live frustrated. When we lean hard into Him and embrace what He gives — when we live present in the moments of our lives, we see Him everywhere and we’re empowered to love. We set our eyes on Him, and we’re home. Just. Like. That.

In the days since I followed that tweet to Sara’s blog, I’ve read many tributes by her friends and by strangers like me who suddenly found themselves swept into this hushed and awestruck throng observing the final steps of a race well run. And what stranger has the right to enter into the presence of so much holiness and beauty? But God flings wide the window into mystery and says, “Come and see my faithful one. She is small, but she is mighty in the land. She is hidden, but her voice reaches to the ends of the earth. Like my Son, I called her to suffer for my glory. And like my Son, for the joy set before her, she suffered well. The joy she has chosen — My joy — awaits her.”

And I sense it. His delight in His child and His glory on her life, and all I want is to bring Him that kind of pleasure, too. To gaze upon His beauty and enter His purpose. Because, in the upside-down kingdom, success is not about fame or celebrity or the applause of men. It’s all about Him.

I’m not drifting any more. My anchor is firm. And my heart is full.

* * *

Sara is going home. May our worship rise with her, and may her joy echo in our song.

Reach, by Kye Kye

Is this it?
Is it so simple, my God?
Home! I found, I found You now!

{Peace to you, sweet sister, and to all who love you.}


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10 responses

17 09 2011
Sharon O

I have never met her either but her beauty radiates not only the love of God but her love of life even though it was difficult and painful she chose joy. It is all about attitude of the heart will it make you a better person or a bitter one? she reached out to many through her love and her joy and her ability to see and look past her own suffering. What a testimony and what a witness to both believers and not.
I have never met her but someday I will. For His Glory She lived and shared and loved on others… may we all choose to do the same.

17 09 2011
Patricia (Pollywog Creek)

Beautiful, beautiful words, Jeanne. I’ve read Sara’s blog off and on this past year, but rarely commented. She has been loved well by many.,

She has truly been a shining star, hasn’t she? I love how you wrote, “Come and see my faithful one…” Yes. Yes. Yes. That is Sara…and God has raised her up…and as the end of her suffering is near, so must be her reward.

Sara and her family have rarely left my thoughts the last few days and I can’t help but believe that God is being merciful to Sara, even as those who love her the most are deeply grieved.

Much love to you, dear friend.
Patricia

17 09 2011
Glynn

Like uyou, Jeanne, I’ve only come across her story in the last few days. And it’s both inpiring and humbling – inspiring because of her, and humbling for me — making me realize how much I’ve been blessed.

17 09 2011
Candy

Oh Jeanne, this is such beautiful poetry written about my sweet friend. Thank you for weaving your words so beautifully. I’m so glad you found her.

17 09 2011
jeannedamoff

Dear Candy, I only wish words could rise high enough. I’ve been following your posts on twitter and know she means so much to you and to many, and I imagine your hearts must be simultaneously breaking and rejoicing and filling with a wonder far greater than this awe of mine. Eternity so close. So very close. And the veil so thin. This is holy ground. May we keep the sense, even if it means we never wear shoes again.

I wish I’d found her sooner, but I know it’s no coincidence I (and a multitude of others) found her now.

Grace and peace and much love to you. And joy!

18 09 2011
chris

hi Jeanne,

just stumbled upon Sara’s story, in your blog and in Tinuviel’s. like you, i’m humbled and awed by Sara’s sweetness, love, and joy, in the midst of everything she’s been through. so often, i think that joy is not possible for me unless my circumstances are pretty close to optimal. But Sara shows us that with God all things are possible–that joy is possible, no matter how adverse the circumstances, as long as we are truly with God (just as joy is impossible, no matter how favorable the circumstances, if we are far from Him).

thank you for your post–in worrying and praying for Sara and her family, it’s a comfort to know that she and her family are the object of so much concern and prayer…

–chris

18 09 2011
Jo Ann

This was a beautiful post Jeanne! I wish I had known of her sooner also. I have been so blessed by her life and words. In the hardest times of my illness her words have echoed in my heart and added so much richness to my life. I am so grateful to Sara for all she gave and all she will leave with us. I have been so touched by the community that surrounded her and supported her. So many new friendships are being forged from sweet Sara.
Thank you for these beautiful words friend. Bless you and much joy to you!

18 09 2011
Kristen Tonne

So I was on the Mom Creative today and saw that you linked up a post about Sara. Thought, I know this woman, this is Sarah Damoff’s Mother-n-law. Loved reading your tribute to Sara. I don’t know her either, but her story touches my life and glorifies God. God chose the perfect person to have such a debilitating disease and still glorify Him. Glad other’s get to read her story because of your blog post

18 09 2011
Jennifer@GDWJ

Beautiful, Jeanne.

I’ve heard a lot about Sara during this last week, but I hadn’t known her earlier. I wish I had … What a beautiful soul she is! I, too, spent a lot of time reading about her illness, her perseverance, her spiritual inclination toward joy. What an incredible testimony to Christ’s power, resting on a person.

I appreciate your thoughtful post, Jeanne.

26 09 2011
Daniel Farrow

Thank you so much Jeanne for this sweet tribute to my friend Sara. My heart cried so much when I heard that she was dying, but I do choose joy even though I never had the privilege of meeting her on this side of heaven. She has such an amazing legacy. I’ll never forget the great lesson that her life has reinforced in mine. The lesson of what suffering produces.

Romans 5:1-5, Daniel

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