Friday, August 5, 2011


A friend just recommended a blog to me because according to her facebook post it “really made me think of you".  From a first glance, I can see why she said that.  The second post on this page by Sarah Mae addresses a criticism of her latest book 31 Days to Clean:  Having a Martha House the Mary Way.  If my friend (who was a university roommate) didn’t know back then that I need help in the cleaning department, then she knows now if she’s read the blogs I’ve written about it.  By the way, I’ve also blogged briefly about Mary and Martha.

The third post on Sarah Mae’s page is titled “For the lemon pound cake nights…”  The author delves into the different ways we cope when need a break from the stress or disappointment or any other array of negative feelings we may have at time to time about our lives.  She “escapes” with pound cake and latte at Starbucks.  Ironically, my “escape” lately has been a warm or rather hot cup of coffee which is the name of this chick’s blog:  I made coffee earlier planning to sit and enjoy a cup while my husband finished making our late supper but I sat down instead to another of my rarely visited escapes:  writing this blog.  It is now nearly bedtime and I still haven’t had time to sit down to drink it.  Once I’m done feeding my little baby and putting her, the last of my four darlings to bed, I’m certainly going to enjoy my escape to cafe latte land.

As I now sip satisfactorily on my roasted bean bliss, I’m feeling particularly thoughtful because Sarah Mae’s words from her lemon pound cake post have brought back memories of when I too was “coming undone for days because of how overwhelmed with life I was. I pretty much had everything I ever wanted (husband, babies, the ability to stay home, etc.), but I was drowning.”  And memories of when God’s word breathed life straight into my heart.  When chayah, Hebrew for “live”, became a life motto for me.

After having dealt for years with overwhelming feelings of unwarranted guilt and inadequacy I was losing my faith, not so much in God, but in my ability to ever allow God to make changes in me that would make life worth living.  In the months before, God had shown me His unfailing love for me (I’ve written about that here).  Despite the ways God was revealing Himself to me I still struggled with a lack of joy and purpose for living.  I wasn’t suicidal per se, but I was really questioning the relevance of my existence.  I was a Christian, yet I was extremely unhappy, and I couldn’t understand why God would put me on this earth to live in such misery.  Since as long as I could remember I wondered why I was born, and as Job did, I cursed the day I was.  One particularly frustrating day I was in my bathroom freaking out.  I don’t know why the bathroom but that’s where I was.  Crying out to God for help and asking Him to reveal His word to me I began to read my Bible.  I simply opened up to Ezekiel where I had previously left off reading.*  I began to read Ezekiel 16 and the words echoed the wretchedness that I felt:
On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were you rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths.  No one looked on you with pity or had compassion enough to do any of these things for you.  Rather, you were thrown out into the open field, for on the day you were born you were despised. (vs 4, 5)
Reading this now I realize how awful that sounds but that was how I felt.  I felt like that little baby, alone, uncared for and unloved; despised and helpless; abandoned and hopeless.  I kept reading . . .
Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, “Live!”  (vs 6)
Imagine that one word Live coming off the page and becoming larger and larger.  That is what I saw.  Live left that precious book and became imprinted on my mind.  In that one word I felt God saying to me “Live!  I want you on this earth.  I put you on this earth.  I want you alive and not just to breathe and exist but to be content and to be fulfilled.  Don’t just survive, live in wholeness, in the completeness that I’ve planned for you.”  He then promised me in His word:
I made you grow like a plant of the field.  You grew and developed and became the most beautiful of jewels. (vs 7)
What else can I say?  That moment, that “Chayah!” moment was the most impactful moment of my life.  It’s why I chose to name my 3rd daughter Chayah.  At 5 months pregnant we had yet to choose a girl’s name.  After watching the movie Defiance, I was enthralled by the name of one of the characters, Chaya, which in it’s Hebrew guttural pronunciation sounds like “kHy-yah”.  Out of curiosity I looked up the word in my Hebrew-English dictionary and was amazed that it meant “live".”  I told my husband I didn’t care how we pronounced it but if she were a girl her name had to be some variation of Chayah (we later chose to soften the kh sound to sh).  The next day I was scheduled for an ultrasound at the children’s hospital to confirm whether or not the first ultrasound at my local hospital was correct in a diagnosis of fluid around her heart.  Thankfully it was incorrect and we were able to find out that we were having a little girl.  That evening, once again out of “curiosity” I looked up the Hebrew word that was used in that passage from Ezekiel.  Sure enough it was chayah.  The one word that God spoke in a book filled with lengthy monologues was “Chayah!”  I believe God gave me the name for my little girl as a reminder of the way He wants me to Live!
Obviously, life isn’t always peaches and cream (or coffee and cream), but I’ve never sunk to the lows I felt then.  I still need to escape to the quiet place with my Savior sometimes to maintain my sanity but He’s taught me that I’m worth it, life is worth it and to work harder to truly Live.  Now that my cuppa Joe is done and it’s way past my bed time, I look ahead to my next chance to escape.  Maybe next time with a good book.  Say, 31 Days to Clean?
* In my quest to read the Bible from cover to cover I placed a stroke beside each verse as I read it.  Ezekiel 16 had not been stroked so I assumed that was where I had been reading in the days before.  I later realized that I had not left off reading at Ezekiel 16 but actually had been reading about 5 chapters ahead according to the strokes I had made.  I believe God allowed me to skip those chapters in the past because He knew that I would need to go back to read them precisely when I did.

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