I received Angie’s new book, I Will Carry You, in the mail back in April. I had pre-ordered it, so when it arrived it was like opening a Christmas present I didn’t know I was getting. I really thought I would start reading the minute I got it in my hands, but I had a few things for my blog to work on so I set it aside, thinking I’d get to it the next day.
As is typical, things rarely go as planned. I started in on what turned into a month of feeling more unwell than usual. Weather affects my joints pretty drastically and I ended up barely being able to get out of bed for the next few weeks. But on one particularly bad night, at about 2:00 in the morning, I thought maybe reading would be a good distraction from the pain that was keeping me awake.
It’s an amazing book, one that feels like a bible study mixed in with the beautiful story of her daughter, Audrey. I was only fifty or so pages in when she was talking about the story of Abraham and Isaac, which prompted her to look up the meaning for the word “trial.” This is what her book said:
TRIAL (Old Testament) noun: from the Hebrew word sara which comes from the root srh, which means, “to bind, tie up, restrict.” Thus, the noun comes to denote a narrow place in life where one is bound or restricted…
I read it, and then read it again. And as I tried to digest it, I kept muttering to myself, “God, what are you trying to say here?!?!”
My name, Sara, means to be in a narrow place in life where one is bound or restricted. Me. Sara. Who is homebound. Restricted by my location. Restricted by my very body that could barely move from the pain. Restricted by my lungs that don’t allow a deep breath anymore. Restricted from life beyond my four walls.
I got it. Not subtle. But what’s the point you’re trying to make here, God??? What’s the point?
Funny, that’s a question I usually try to avoid. What’s the point of all of this? What’s the point of my illness… my pain… my limitations… my forfeiting of all the dreams I had for my life. What’s the point?
I avoid the question because I’m fully aware I may never know the answer. I may never know how He is choosing to use my life or why not healing me fits into His plan. And I decided a long time ago that it’s ok if I never know, because I trust Him. He knows, and that’s all that matters.
But as I sat there and wondered, “What’s the point?” it occurred to me that as my physical life has been made narrow, as I have been bound and restricted and faced this trial, He has saved me from living a narrow life.
If I had not become physically restricted in this trial, I would not be here talking with all of you. Because of this trial, my world – my life – has been opened up to a community who has stepped forward to share my life, my story, my faith. I have been stretched and pulled and reshaped in my beliefs. My life has been fuller and deeper and wider, maybe not despite of my homebound status, but because of it.
My name is the origin of the word trial. I am bound and restricted. But He saved me from living a narrow life. He took my trial and redeemed it. I thought, in my story as Isaac, I was not spared because I am not healed.
But in truth, He healed my spirit.
And set me free.Leave a Comment
Vicky Westra says
You have such a way of thinking and then writing about those thoughts. I have always said you live a “big” life. Who knew that was the meaning of Sara? Its very fitting when I think of your illness and yet, I am glad that you don’t let that define you in a restrictive way.
Still have Angie’s book on my wish list, but I too know it will be worth the wait!!
Love and blessings to you, Sara!
Debbie G. says
Thank you! For being you. For sharing your life with us in an honest and real way. Thank you!
Laura@Life Overseas says
What a powerful story you are living and sharing and learning. Thanks for honestly including us in the journey.
I was reminded when I read your post about my missionary-hero Amy Carmichael. I read once that she prayed one morning and wrote in her journal for God to use her life in any way to bring Him glory. That same day, as she was walking her property for rescued children from temples in India, she fell into a hole and somehow injured her back. For the next 20 years or something, she was bedridden. But in was in those years that she authored nearly 20 books (I am getting some of the details wrong, I am sure . . . ). Everyone said that if she hadn’t been confined to her bed, she would never have “stopped ministry” to write. And none of us would have her written words today.
So, keep writing . . . we are listening.
Charissa Steyn says
Stunning. I am speechless. Never doubt that God will use you just where you are at Sara… you are a blessing to many!
Beautiful story. I was just watching something on tv yesterday about this exact thing, how important it is to recognize the “point” or reason for even the bad, inconvenient, or frustrating things that happen to us. You have certainly hit the nail on the head!
Laurie Wallin says
Oh what a precious heart… thank you for opening up to us all with your struggle and your insight. I’m new here to inCourage, and I am so blessed by each of you who share.
Like you, I’m in a narrow place. Not because of my name or my own infirmity, but because of my role as a mom to two very challenging girls. I just posted a different kind of story on my blog this week, and it shares your heart of grief, brokenness, redemption, hope…
You’re a kindred spirit! Hang in there!
Gail Smith says
Thanks Sara, for sharing your life. I don’t remember if I commented on it, but I love your note on feathers, too.
I just wanted to share a devotional book I just finished with you,Daily Devotions inspired by 90 minutes in Heaven.
I, too, live in pain, but it’s nothing compared with what you live with. Don Piper the author, also lives in pain. I found it so comforting to read the words of someone else whose life did not turn out as planned and who daily faces challenges of restricted living (altho again, nothing like your own limitations)
Just wanted to share it with you. Hope your pain eases today.
Your sister in Christ, Gail
“He has saved me from living a narrow life.”
my sweet, friend….you are so full of wisdom!
you ‘get’ it.
i love you SO.
this made me think of a scripture I ran into a while back …
Micah 2.7a Is the Spirit of the LORD restricted? (NKJV)
the spirit of God in you is not restricted Sara which so perfectly represents what you have written about 🙂
Oh wow, such a great message. As always, thanks for sharing your journey with us. You never fail to make me think, and that is a wonderful gift.
.. .and through your trials, and narrow spot, and constriction, you choose to glorify the Lord. It seems entirely likely that THAT’S the plan.
He has taken so many of my trials and redeemed me and I am thankful. Thank you for your words, Sara.
Sara, this was such a beautiful post. I love your heart so much and your capacity to find the beauty everywhere is incredibly inspiring. God’s redemption is present in your story and I am honored to call you a friend. Sending you tons of love and lots of hugs from the Carolinas.
God is speaking through you to all of us and it is inspiring. You are so beautiful and courageous. Thank you for your unflinching honesty. XO, Pinky
Oh, Sara, this causes me to sing that old hymn, “I am free from the cares of tomorrow, I am free from the guilt of the past. I have traded my shackels for a glorious crown. I am free. PRAISE THE LORD! Free at last!”
I am reminded of David having to hide from Saul. That though his movements were restricted, oh, how his spirit did magnify the Lord, Most High!
May God richly bless you dear Sister, for you are experiencing a freedom that many will never come to know without accepting Christ as their Savior.
Your words and spirit are a sweet aroma of praise before our Lord and King!
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