About a month ago I faced a situation where I had come to the end of myself…or so I thought. Due to some on-going health issues, I was facing surgery to take out a portion of my colon, something I was abundantly aware I could not fix myself. And so I placed myself and my colon in the very capable hands of an outstanding surgeon. After meeting him, I found out many times over how highly people think of this man, his abilities and his ability to interact with and genuinely care for his patients. I started thinking…sweet! This doc and me – we got this covered. The end of myself? Not quite.
Sitting in the pre-op room, watching nurses come and go, listening as my sisters (one a nurse) asked questions I hadn’t thought about…I begin to realize how “not at the end of myself” I really was. I still thought I had this all under control…sort of. When I awoke after surgery, groggy, not really with it, I knew I had come to the end of me. I could do nothing short of push the pain meds once in a while for myself. Even turning on my side I had to have help, not to mention sitting up, getting to a chair, eventually the bathroom…you get the idea. Nothing – not a thing could I do by myself. Humbling for sure.
Then…I came home. Not able to drive, only able to get up my stairs one step at a time with someone watching… couldn’t tie my shoes, let alone focus long enough to make a meal. I cannot tell you how at the end of me I was. Being dependent in the hospital is one thing – it takes the game to a whole ‘nother level when you’re at home. Over the past three weeks people have brought meals, they have changed the sheets on my bed, they have texted, called, covered worship services, preached and the list goes on and on. At the end of me…
At the end of me….when I let go that I really had any control, when I released the idea that somehow I could perform well enough…when I realized that all I had was my heart…there I found life. Life based on people’s love of me – sisters who changed their lives around to be with me, friends who stayed with me, folks bringing food, stopping at the store, sending cards…none of it happened because I did anything to merit this. None of it happened because somehow I earned it…no, at the end of me was life, rich, full, peaceful life.
And then I got to thinking…if people here on earth love in such profound ways…how much deeper and greater is God’s love for me? For us? For all? And I realized though…the only way to truly experience that love, is to get to the end of “me.” To let go of all my plans, my capabilities, my abilities…to release my need to perform, be in control, have it all taken care of…to get to the place where I surrender it ALL and simply come to Jesus, humbly, willingly, with an open heart…and kneel before my God…and there I will find the life I so desperately long to find.
So, here’s my invitation…for the weeks of Lent, I invite you to journey with me as we delve into this posture of “the end of me”…where we will come to the end of ourselves and willingly embrace the God who loves us. And in doing that – see how his life, the life he gives can turn ours upside down, inside out and into something we never dreamed. I’ll be honest – it might be scary, it might be hard…but I’m pretty sure I can guarantee it will be worth it all. Come…join me…and the end…so we can embrace the beginning! – Pastor Jane Jebsen