I hesitantly adjust my gaze to meet my new postpartum belly. It mockingly stares back at me. Amidst the saggy skin and stretch marks—which I carried home with me after my previous postpartum stints—this same body boasts a new alteration. My mid-section now bears a six-inch scar a few inches below my belly button. It is still red and tender to touch.
For me, having and executing plans in every aspect of my life brings me great satisfaction. Perhaps you can relate. For people who are not planners, it is hard to explain how much relief and excitement I feel when all the pieces fall together. This can be on the day of an event I have been planning for weeks or something as small as just getting the kids out the door at the exact time I wanted to.
For nearly two decades, I have lived in a village in Western Kenya and worked as a hospice nurse caring for seriously ill adults and children. Each day, I see a combination of beauty and brokenness aplenty within my neighborhood. I walk dirt paths where my footprints blend with those of barefooted children. I ask myself a question that so often serves as a guide when I’m unsure of how to respond to the needs around or within me: What does it look like to love in this situation? I sit alongside joy and pain and witness God’s nearness to the brokenhearted, including my own.
I was considering getting involved in the youth ministry at my local church. I perceived God was stirring up the notion in my heart of serving, but I was in the middle of navigating major life transitions.
r Several “random” conversations later – and an email to my inbox inquiring about my involvement in this ministry I’d been dismissing – I closed out of my emails and exhaled my reservation to God, “I’m a hot mess, how can I help anybody?”
Scripture in Matthew 27 details the experiences of Christ when he was crucified. This is not the only Gospel to do so, but it does contain key details that Mark, Luke, and John don’t. Christ was ridiculed, humiliated, mocked, tortured, and eventually killed on the cross. What is so great about this passage is the sheer amount of miraculous occurrences that came from Christ’s final breath. The earth shook, the rocks split, the dead were raised once again to life, and the veil was torn.