Last night, I was watching (for the second time) a documentary regarding the life and death of Joey Martin Feek (To Joey, With Love– you may be able to watch this on Netflix or Pureflix). I didn’t follow Joey’s story until she became terminally ill. She seemed to be an amazing person, who lived an amazing life and died an amazing death. Many have been so heavily impacted by her life (and death). It’s such an inspiring, yet sad, yet SO INSPIRING story- of a beautiful person with courage and faith. And she left behind a beautiful family whom she loved with every moment.
Since I have been sick (constant chronic pain since 2009, in 2016 diagnosed with a condition called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome- a genetic disorder that I have had since birth but only have recently received the diagnosis. EDS causes pain, migraines, anxiety, depression, gastrointestinal problems, genitourinary problems, extreme fatigue, PAIN (did I mention pain?) – and the list goes on and on), I have had multiple people, including myself until the last year or so, pray for my healing. I have had people blame my lack of healing on some sin of mine- there’s plenty of those it could be pinned on! I have walked through a miry swamp- wrestling God, wrestling disease, being worn completely out by my disorder, by irritation with people, with God, and with myself. I’m sure you can relate, because even if you are not sick, you have some sort of problem. In this sin-sick world, there are financial woes, physical woes, family woes. You may have a wayward child or not enough money to pay the rent. You may have people you don’t get along with, maybe even in your own home. You may have a marriage that is teetering on the rocks. I hope none of these are true. But you probably have at least one thing in your life that really gets your goat, and you can’t figure out why God isn’t fixing that thing. I mean, he supposedly loves us, right? And I love my kids, and the one thing I’d love to do is fix every single one of their problems.
But….WHAT IF. What if we threw our arms open in reckless abandon of our circumstances, instead of trying to change them? Hear me out before you assume I’ve lost it. I mean, if your kid is sick, or in rebellion, or your body is shriveling away, the right thing is for it to be- well, righted? Right? Made right? But if it isn’t happening, then, it isn’t happening. And why continue to beat our heads against a wall that isn’t budging?
I am wondering if the answer might be to just embrace the circumstances. Embrace the pain. Embrace the discord, or the person wronging you, even as they are wronging you. And even in their dirty muck. I long ago quit asking for healing. My logic was- I was made this way. It’s not like I caught some disease. I was put together chromosomally like this. Kind of the same way someone with Down’s Syndrome is put together. Do we pray that they won’t have Down’s? I mean, usually we just accept that they do and enjoy their beauty and loving personality. At least I do. I am wondering if we maybe should look at our own issues this way, embracing them, ACCEPTING them.
I despise the mere thought of ACCEPTANCE in my own life. I am a fighter. I historically have fought problems, and have warred in prayer. I am goal oriented. I am always thinking forward to the next big thing. I always have a goal in mind- finish a degree, buy a different house, accomplishing something/anything. But maybe that’s not always the answer.
While watching Joey Feek, I saw her cry. I saw her and her husband and family pray for good. But the greatest thing I took away from this wonderful documentary, is watching her live, despite the dying; watching her embrace her circumstances. Sometimes living meant having a surgery, or just ironing a shirt. She didn’t fight against the cancer all day, every day in prayer for healing. They seemed to pray as they normally would, asked for healing, and then embraced in faith the circumstances that did not change, only worsened. Then she died. She received the ultimate healing, the ultimate victory, from a good God that she had entrusted her life with. She had a baby, a husband, and every reason to pitch a hissy fit because of her circumstances. I’m sure she had her moments. But I didn’t see any hissy fits.
Circumstances are what God uses to mold you into the person you were created to be. The clay doesn’t fight the Potter’s hand while it’s on the wheel. It curves and bends to mold to the hand. It doesn’t yell back demanding prayers either. It doesn’t stand there scratching its head, or get bitter and dry up. It just turns into a beautiful piece of pottery. And that is what our lives are likened to in the Book of Isaiah- we are clay on the Potter’s wheel.
I was inspired by Joey’s life. I want to be like her, as she followed Christ. Her life is a beautiful testimony of a life well lived and a woman who loved well. Even though she is no longer with us, she still lives on in the hearts of those who loved her. Isn’t that what we all want in life? Well, I do.
I want to be a Joey.