Soul Care

Still
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I muffle my cries in the pillow so my children will not hear me: “Jesus, Jesus, Lord, please help me!”

My body is locked in excruciating pain so debilitating I can barely move. I continue to weep—pleading with the Lord to help me get out of bed. I wiggle my way out until my feet reach the floor.

At that point I begin to thank God. Even though I am still blubbering, I’m on my way. I know God is my only hope and help. As a single parent, I have to get up! It’s not an option. I put one foot in front of the other. Each step feels like I’m carrying a bag of bricks. I make it to the bathroom, knowing I can smother my cries with the sound of running water.

I am no stranger to illness. As a young woman I was afflicted with what I thought would be the end of me. On the contrary, the Lord has used it to draw me to trust him implicitly. My mother, who was still on the earth then, came to nurse me for a season. She told me one day, as I lay listening to her worship music, “A person can be ‘healed’ through the power of Love.” At that moment, I did not have the capacity to receive that kind of love. I was too self-consumed—full of self-pity and concealed bitterness, which the Lord would begin to reveal to me.

Later, true sorrowful repentance came as I began to see how the flesh and the world had tainted my mind and my soul. I was absolutely useless without the grace and real power of God’s Love in my life.

I sought the Lord in my distress. I had taken the gift of mobility for granted–getting out of bed without misery and getting myself dressed with ease and comfort. Now my gratitude was magnified each time I was able to do “the next thing.” I felt like a newborn baby—totally dependent on God.

I had been faithful and diligent in getting up before the sun and spending quality time with the Lord. But during this interval of chronic pain, I began to learn real communion.

There was nothing inherently wrong with my formalities, but within the ritual the voice of my Shepherd had become dull. I was more caught up in the chore of religion than in the relationship. As my eyes were opened, I wailed, “Lord have mercy on me!”

In the darkness of a deep valley, God shed his Light to deliver me from myself. He had to reattach me to himself, and that process will be ongoing.

Recently, a pastor who’s aware of some of my trials asked me how it is with my soul. Without faltering, I smiled and answered, “It is well with my soul.”  

About the Author

Regina Riley is a part-time seminarian at Calvin Theological Seminary and a mother of three.

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