To my sweet babies,
I recently attended an event where the speaker was lauded for suffering something great without anyone knowing about it. And I felt my cheeks burn red while I politely put my hands together for this cancer survivor. I ducked my head and my breath caught in my throat because I know there’s no way I would’ve made it through the last eight months of our life without someone knowing about it. I know there’s no way that I could have survived the loneliness of moving to a new city and a new home with a one month old baby and a body that just wouldn’t put itself back together and a mind that rode anxiety merry-go-rounds until they turned into panic-attack whirlwinds.
Girls, you might know better than anyone how I haven’t just been limping this year, I’ve been carried. By your father; by a friend I met in the library while the snow fell and colds kept us quarantined inside, just as it was becoming manageable to go out; by bold and dear new and old friends who aren’t afraid that they might say the wrong thing and who love fiercely; by the old grandma at Goodwill who grabs my arm and says, “You’re doing a good job;” by the church.
Let me tell you something, girls. And you need to get this. You need to hear all of it and let it soak into your soul. One of these fiercely loving new friends wrote to us last night and told us that his 5 year old is praying for us. Praying that we will remember our baptism.
You girls know full well and can tell me that baptism is a sign and a seal of our union with Christ. Of our weakness. Of our complete lack and inability to do anything or be anything amazing and our total dependence upon the one who has already done it all and is all in all. Daughters, if you don’t learn anything else from me, I hope you learn that because of the gospel, our weakness can be a gift. Our baptism reminds us that when we were weak and helpless and dead and empty, Christ came to us and united himself to us and raised us up and his actual life…his very life is in us.
And when we remember our baptism we remember that this wasn’t a one-time deal. Jesus promised to keep right on doing this.
To stay with us, unite himself with us, remain strong when we are weak.
The truth is that we are helplessly broken, weak beyond strengthening, but Christ is not. And because he is not, even our weaknesses, our shortcomings, our failings are swept up into this redemption story. The call to walk with Jesus is a call to sanctification.
A call to decreasing so that Christ might increase. A call to letting go of our prideful preoccupation with becoming perfect and to laying hold of all of who Christ is.
And so, sweet girls, the truest thing about you when you are joyful or when you suffer is that you belong to God. And because you belong to him, your weakness need not frighten you. You need not hide it or be ashamed of it. You need not strive to be lauded for your ability to “go it alone.” Jesus went it alone because he knew you could not. Don’t try to walk through weakness alone. You cannot do it. Remember your baptism. God has given you his son and he has made you a part of his people. Fear not. Hide not. Do not be ashamed. When you are weak, you are very strong.