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ANDREA BURKE
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Oh For Grace to Trust Him More

Andrea Burke

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I have forgotten how to happily move along this earth within my own body. I feel betrayed by her. By her heavy-laden limbs, her disease-ridden organs, the internal mechanisms that fail to work as they ought, reminding me these bones aren’t heaven bound. Only the soul within. The soul who looks at the edges of her skin and sighs.

I have forgotten how to laugh with a laugh that surprises me and bubbles out of my throat in immense joy and catches the hearer a little off guard. I have allowed my mind to be a residence for fear, and I’ve given it far too much time to relax, take off its shoes, stay awhile. I must change those locks.

We have passed through more than half of October as I write this. Today I walked around the garden, the last of the zinnias still tower over my head, unashamed to be blissfully out of place. A field mouse has eaten all of my lettuce. The garlic now sleeps beneath the straw. The field is brown, painted with that ever-present patina of autumn. The one that glistens copper in the morning frost. Under the heavy storm cloud, the trees bend and surrender. Leaf after leaf. “We are done,” they say. “We are tired and the burden of carrying is now too much to bear.”

Do you know I can’t remember the last time I sang? No, no, not for others. I mean, just for me. Just for the Spirit who lives within me. I hummed a verse of ‘Tis So Sweet the other day because I’ve forgotten most of the words. Except for these few, “Oh for grace to trust Him more.”

I think of these words as I watch the garden slip into slumber, as my children grow and learn that bruises come when you least expect them, as my husband works from 5am until midnight when his head hits the pillow, when the doctor calls and gives us some choices, none of which we really want at all, when the phone dings with a message that those we love are no longer here on earth with us.

Oh for grace to trust Him more.

I walked through hospital hallways recently, visiting a dear friend from church. As I walked the sterile corridors to her room, I passed picture frame after picture frame, photos of local parks, waterfalls, flowers in bloom in springtime, lilacs heavy on green branches. It occurred to me then how terribly empty these photos feel when you’re hooked to an IV drip in your hospital bed. Tiny, tiny glimpses of a world outside that is alive and growing. Pictures of a world that feels like a lifetime away from the beeps and alarms and smells of a hospital floor.

Not much unlike how Heaven feels here, earthside. We see tiny pictures. We think we are living our fullest dreams and lives, but really we are sick, bound to our hospital beds, imagining what a world is like where there is no suffering. There hanging on the wall, we see a picture of a world that is more alive than anything else in these four walls. Could it be true? Does it really exist?

Oh for grace to trust Him more.

We’ve received a handful of bad news lately. Not only ours, but from people we hold dear. People we carry in our hearts like family. When it all seems too much to bear, I’ve done what I do best — gather in all my pieces, my heart, my voice, my commitments, my family, quieted down, and then hide in the quiet places of my home and mind. Light some candles at dusk. Hold on to the ones I love. Face the unknowns with our hands held and enjoy some good food along the way. I dig in my heels and fight

for the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies, 
for the love which from our birth 
over and around us lies; 

I anchor my hope not in what I can see or feel or measure, but in the even steady depths of my Redeemer.

And then by candlelight and broken bread, I whisper “Oh for grace to trust Him more.”