The husks emerge

The snow melts slow this year, nights cold and days warm, and water drips quiet into the earth during the long dark night. Slowly the dead plants, the brown grass, the sunflower heads drooping low emerge from the snowdrifts and remind us of that endless cycle, life into death and death into life, round and round.
I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out-those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. (exc. John 5)
My heart beat slows and my medications are tweaked and it is back to the cardiologist, the oncologist, and the laryngologist I go. I join Amy in speech therapy to solve my worsening swallowing issues. I talk to my family doctor about the connection between mind and body, how this whole fall and winter, 6 months of turmoil and old pains risen from their graves to dash my spirit on the sharp rocks of self-contempt and shame, how that affects my body and especially my heart. "The seat of the emotions" (Genesis 6:5; Exodus 10:1; Jeremiah 17:9).

Through it all - suffering, survival, persecution, the terrors of nightmare filled nights, and even worse angst of tear-filled days - the Grace of the Gospel prevails. The truth on which I stand is that I am forever forgiven, forever saved, forever loved and forever He sees the good and erases the bad. For I will be merciful toward Genevieve's iniquities, and I will remember her sins no more. (Hebrews 8:12)

And that, my friends, is available to all of us through the cross of Christ, His everlasting triumph over the judgment for our sin, God's acceptance of His sacrifice in place of ours, the perfect Lamb slaughtered to redeem all the lost sheep of the world. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (I John 2:2)

Whatever darkness surrounds you, whatever cloud of witnesses shouts your doom, whoever curses the works you do for the Father, whatever suffering pervades your life, He is suffering with you and has forever paid the price for you. You are purchased at a price (Colossians 1:4), and precious in His sight (Psalm 116:15). Don't we feel just so about our own children, for whom we labor and weep and sacrifice daily? Are they not more precious to us because of the cost we pay to have them, raise them, and grieve for them all their lives?

Today an old Swedish hymn runs like an anthem through my thoughts, a hymn I learned from my grandmother and my mother, that captures just what I am feeling today.

I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.

I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.

I know whom I have believed,
and am persuaded that He is able
to keep that which I committed
unto Him against that day.

I Know Whom I Have Believed, from II Timothy 1:12
by Daniel Whittle, 1883

These thoughts, straight from my heart today, are my humble entry for a scholarship to SheSpeaks, a conference helping women connect to the loving face of our Father.