The Real Me Is Here
By Mary Southerland
Being with You will fill me with joy; at Your right hand, I will find pleasure forever (Psalm 16:11, NCV).
Our seven-year-old grandson was very sick and in the hospital for seven days. Justus had both a bacterial infection as well as a serious viral infection. His fever spiked to 106 every night for five days and for three of those nights he was listed code red as his heart rate increased and his oxygen levels decreased.
The doctors from Infectious Disease scrambled to figure out which bacteria were causing Justus’ illness. Finally, after four days of all questions and no answers…
…they switched antibiotics and Justus finally began to improve. We all cheered when his fever only reached 102! And I took my first breath since the moment he got sick.
Our daughter and son-in-law stayed with Justus day and night. So his little brother Hudson stayed with us. I knew Hudson was terrified. It seemed like the most important three people in his world were locked in a hospital … and his best friend, his brother, was very sick. I made a special bed for Hudson beside our bed where I could reach down and pat him during the night … or hold his hand … or just stare at him and pray.
One night I was getting Hudson ready for bed. We went through the usual routine of taking a bath, picking out special pajamas, brushing teeth, reading a book and then praying. Hudson prayed for his brother every night, pleading with God to make him well so he could come home. Before tucking Hudson in for the night, I went to brush my teeth so I wouldn’t wake him up later when I came to bed.
When I walked back into our bedroom, I stopped dead in my tracks. Our daughter had framed recent school pictures of Hudson and Justus and given them to us as gifts. We placed them on the bookcase in our bedroom so we could pray for them every morning and every night. Hudson had gotten the picture of Justus and sat it on the floor beside his bed. When I walked into the room, Hudson was talking to the picture, “Justus, I love you so much! And I really, really miss you! I am telling God how much my heart hurts without you and that I need Him to make you well.”
I didn’t hear the rest of Hudson’s conversation with his brother. I was crying … and pretty much losing the control I had wrapped around my heart since Justus was hospitalized. I finally pulled myself together enough to pray with Hudson and tuck him in for the night.
When Justus finally came home, Hudson could hardly stand it! He was ecstatic! He kept hugging Justus and kissing him on the cheek. Justus finally said, “Hud, Mama told me you slept with my picture by your bed. Did you?” Hudson grinned and nodded yes. Justus smiled and said, “Well, now you don’t have to sleep with my picture. The real me is here!” Hudson’s face beamed with joy!
And I thought about my own life … my own heart … my own relationship with Jesus Christ. Scripture promises that the Lord’s presence brings joy.
And yet … there are many times when my life does not exude that joy.
Maybe I have forgotten what it was like when I first met Jesus – the wonder of His presence in my life. At times my life is too crowded for God.
It is so easy to relegate our spirituality to religious activity when all He really wants is to spend time with us. When the tears fall, He wants to wipe them away, collecting each one so that He can pour them back into our lives as a refreshing rain of restoration. God longs for us to forever run into His arms, sharing every hurt and rejoicing in every victory. The Father yearns to wrap His strong arms around us, bringing the peace we so desperately need.
I desperately want the Father to bring back the new again … and live a life that celebrates the amazing truth that the real Jesus is here.
Father, I sometimes feel like my life is spinning out of control. I’m tired of the imbalance I see in the way I live. Help me learn how to establish priorities that please You and reflect Your plan for me. I commit to spending time with You each day, seeking Your wisdom and direction. I love You, Lord.
In Jesus’ name,
Mary Southerland is an author, international speaker, Founder of Journey Ministry, and Co-founder of Girlfriends in God. Her books include Hope in the Midst of Depression, Sandpaper People, Escaping the Stress Trap, Experiencing God’s Power in Your Ministry, Trusting God and Knowing God by Name.
Mary’s heart passion is to help women discover and live out their God-shaped identity and purpose in life. Connect with her on her website, Facebook, and Twitter!