“You need to write,” my mom said.
She spoke those words to me several years ago urging me to chronicle my experiences and anecdotes of all that God has shown me in life and in littles and in love and in loss. Over the years, I have written each time I felt God stirring something in my soul. Many have come to me over the years and said, “Thank you for writing. That was for me.” (Note: When I finally land a book deal one day, I’m keeping a list of all of you who said you’d buy my book!)
But the truth is, I have written for years not for an audience, but for me. I have written as a way of marking down the lessons and promises and victories and defeats so that I might learn from them. Because at the end of the day, I’m just preaching to the choir and I’m head vocalist.
I recently started following Annie F. Downs. In full disclosure, I didn’t follow Annie until work led me to know who she was and heightened my curiosity. A couple of weeks ago, she announced that her latest book, Remember God, was available for pre-order. Something sparked in me and kept me relentlessly warring within myself to buy the book.
“No,” I told myself. “You are not going to buy yet another book that will sit in your nightstand or your closet shelf unread.” I was trying to be practical. I am a terrible reader. I love the romantic idea of reading, but I find myself largely incapable of setting aside the time to actually read. However, this book, when pre-ordered, came with a free audio version of the book. I remembered a gift card I’d been given to Barnes & Noble some eight years ago. It still lay in the back of my nightstand, unused. Late one night when the urging got too strong, I rummaged around and pulled it out.
Okay, fine. If the gift card still works, I’ll get it. To my surprise, it did work. And it covered, with only a few cents remaining on the card, the exact amount I needed to pre-order the book. I knew the book itself was less important to me than the audio, which was my best hope for actually “reading” the book.
The audio was delivered, and in one swift trip to Texas and back, with a weary heart, I was able to take in most of the book with only a small bit unfinished. And in the way a child sits at the feet of a storyteller with eyes wide, this morning I sat in my quiet, dark garage after school drop off to hear the last remaining chapters of the story.
I couldn’t even finish the acknowledgements of the book. Immediately, when the epilogue was complete, I turned off the truck, burst into the house, and I grabbed my computer. I sat with tears streaming down my face and an urgency to rush to write the words that God was stamping on my heart in the final words of Remember God. The blinking cursor stared at me, and with each blink, I felt God stamp the words a little more clearly.
The limp and the blessing.
“You’re writing from a different place.” She smiled and then hurried to continue, hoping to clarify what she meant. “You’ve always written so well. But something is different. Your writing is coming from a different place.” I was having lunch with a dear friend who I had not seen in over three years. Sure, we keep up with texts and social media, but sitting down to visit had been lost at the cost of kids and chaos.
With no hesitation, I said, “It’s Jacob. When I look back at my life, it’s like everything pivoted from that point. The course of my life, my perspective, everything… it all changed with Jacob.”
Sometimes, I fear that writing about Jacob, talking about Jacob, remembering Jacob will eventually garner an eye roll from some. I fear that it will offend those who have never had kids. I fear it will offend those who have lost their only child and feel I should be blessed with my three. I feel that some might squirm at yet another mention of him because he was simply a fictional character in their minds whereas he was the central character of my whole story.
A child promised. “This will be your redemption baby. This baby will be God’s instrument to heal your heart and change the chapters of your story.”
I didn’t know when I wrote those words at only a few weeks pregnant that we would name him Jacob.
I didn’t know that he would become my limp and my blessing.
In the bible, Jacob wrestled with God and received a limp from his wrestling, but he also received the blessing.
I cannot stop talking about Jacob because he is, without a doubt, my limp and my blessing.
He is my daily reminder not simply of a child lost, but of purpose born.
He is my long-standing proof that God will do what He says He will do.
He will be faithful.
Even when it looks nothing like we thought it would look when we first received the promise.
Because when it looks as though the promise has perished and all is lost, only God can take a situation that is irreparable and in fact make it the birthplace for blessing in our lives.
What is your limp and your blessing? What is the thing that is marked with such hurt in your life that is so big and so glaring that only God, in all of His power and goodness and mercy, can make it a blessing?
He does that you know. He is still the God who restores. It’s His promise. If it’s not good, it’s not the end. Because if there is one thing that I have come to know… it is that in ALL things—even the wrestling and the limping and the pain—yes, in ALL things, I know my God is GOOD. He will do what He said He will do. He will provide what He promised.
And so, the story ends with you, in your wrestling. Do you believe, do you choose, do you stand unwavering– to believe that the limp might in fact also be a blessing?