One day in our couple support group, our leader showed a video. The video is the work of The Skit Guys and is called Baggage. In the video we see a poignant visualization of how we get baggage…different people who throw it on us…friends…parents…lovers…and before you know it, we are weighed down trying to move forward in life, yet carrying bags on our backs and arms and hands. And then the actor talks about Jesus promising life, life abundantly – but life weighed down doesn’t feel like life. Then the actor remembers that Jesus told us to bring our burdens to Him – and that He would give us rest – so he goes to God and cries out…please, please take these bags…the bags slide of his body…and the actor lets us know that He – God – took the bags.
Yet, over the years of my faith-walk, I cried out numerous times. I asked for Him to help me be better, or think clearer, or speak kinder. I begged Him to take my marriage to a deeper place, to help me be a better mom and to show me the right path for my family. Life was good, we plugged along and were “happy” yet there was always something – MORE – that I wanted but could not define. Baggage…that I held deep inside and didn’t even admit I was carrying. I told myself that was because we would never have satisfaction in this life…we are made to yearn for the Kingdom that will be ours in heaven…
Then I found out about HUSBAND’s double life.
In that short period of time, everything changed. It was as if all the prayers and what-seemed-to-be-answers-to-prayers through the years were now just a mockery. The God that I’d cried out to either wasn’t real, or He couldn’t/wouldn’t do the things I’d been told He could/would, or He didn’t love me. I was angry at my belief whichever of those things was true. After those initial weeks of shock and denial and anger began to move into what am I supposed to do next to survive, I began to have some images.
Images of this Jesus I rejected in a garden, knowing He was to die, on His knees crying out to God, His Father, to please, please take this cup…let there be another way.
There was no other way. Not for Jesus. Not for me.
Images of Jesus being abandoned. Being mocked. Being beaten and abused. Being betrayed. Like me.
Images of Jesus on a cross, pierced physically, emotionally, mentally and hanging, exposing his brokenness and pain and bloody insides. Like me.
And then, three days later, an empty tomb. The evidence of His death laying there, bloody and tattered, but He was gone having transcended the pain and filth to become whole again. Images of Him reappearing to His people, scars evident on His hands and feet, but whole and beautiful and full of mercy and love.
I began to understand that He had never left me or forsaken me. That I had tried to take a path around or under or over the very path that would lead me to freedom. It was the path directly through the pain that would take me so beyond “happy” – that would get me MORE – the MORE I’d always really wanted. He had forged the path, He showed me He didn’t want it either, that it is fraught with all things overwhelming, but that He’d gone first and would be there with me through the journey.
And that…THAT is when I began to step into my healing, into freedom, into MORE.