Another excerpt from Girl Meets God.
Again, it is very hard to reduce a linkage of thoughts of another into a short succinct paragraph. But I will try. Here Lauren speaks of her friend’s marriage, and what it means to her.
“I look at Hannah and I am . . . jealous because I believe that marriage is a school of sanctification . . . I have seen clearly the holy work done in Hannah and Jim’s home this year. Being stuck with each other, being forced to stumble through her (affair) and his heartbreak, has made them better spouses and better Christians . . . God has been who he said he would be “He will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap.” . . . He has used their marriage as soap.
I praise God for his soapiness, and then I get so jealous that I think I might literally start to see green. It is the old question, the pathetic question: Why them, Lord? Why them and not me? . . .
I try to picture watching her being pregnant . . . I try to picture the baby shower . . . I try, while I picture these things, to picture myself being happy for Hannah, and I can’t. I can’t imagine feeling happy. I just feel jealous and pathetic and lame. I feel miserable . . . like a bad, selfish person, so uncharitable that I can’t summon even a shade of joy when my friends do great joyful things like have babies. . . .
Later, in the shower, I get it. I get that Hannah’s pregnancy is my own school of sanctification. God is sanctifying Jim and Hannah through marriage and parenthood, but He is not just blessing them and leaving me out in the unblessed cold . He is using my ridiculous jealousy and my endless self-pity to sanctify me . . . He is using that baby shower to somehow grow me into the person He wants me to be.”
- Lauren F. Winner, “Girl Meets God,” Colorado Springs, CO, Shaw Books: 2002.
Sanctification. Soapiness. It is a struggle to see my struggles as soapiness. Once I was able to, but now this seems sufficiently more difficult considering the numerous deaths I have witnessed this past little while. I am unsure as to the value of being cleaned and sanctified when death is an imminent reality. It seems so futile.
But I digress. Back to the issue at hand.
I wonder about the events in my life and whether they were intended as a sanctification school for me. And I think about how I have approached these – some I have embraced as opportunities to grow. Some I have cursed and resented. There are so many possibilities which overwhelm me. What is God trying to use to clean me? My job? My living situation? My stupid new car? My relationships with people who have hurt me? My jealousy of my friend’s attentions which are no longer focused on me? My unhealthy view of my place in other’s lives? My bus rides? The dog who lives upstairs? My pen which exploded yesterday? How far does this reach?
I don’t know. But I will try to know. And that is always a fun journey.
But now this is my biggest challenge. This has added another dimension to my perpetual cycle of struggle – now I struggle with my struggling with struggles, if you can follow that. Is this struggle in itself a method of sanctification as well? I believe so, which is encouraging. Now I have decided to take steps to deal with my hurts and my pains, with the real possibility of more hurts and pain looming over me almost daily in terms of my medical health.
I am fearful that with these new health developments that I will again forget and spiral downwards into a heartless oblivion. It is my intent to become healthy again. To get myself again in that position where I approach God in a humble and gracious manner whether I am seriously ill or whether I am seriously healthy. And that is my struggle. And that is my goal. And this is my attempt at embracing my sanctification schooling. I have even become so cheesy as to hide little “remember what you goals are” post-it notes around my office and around my room. It is my commitment to try hard to re-orient myself to my God. And through that to allow myself to be soaped. Cleansed. And sanctified.