Working With All My Heart

I usually read my “On This Day” memories on Facebook. I love to look back and see where God has taken me and how he has walked with me on this journey. However, I’ve noticed that it can be a bit depressing when I see things like: 2011 – I was sick. 2012 – I was sick. 2013 – I was sick. Etc, etc, etc. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t complained so much on Facebook so I wouldn’t have to remember that I’ve been sick for years. But really, who could forget? And if the memories weren’t there, I wouldn’t be able to remember the good times either, and to clearly see God’s hand in my life all of these years. So, I read them.

Today, I was accosted by this status from 2010:

"Go rest high on that mountain. Son your work on earth is done." When I see all my wonderful, mostly grown-up cousins, I know your work was good and lives on in all of us. We will continue to make you proud, Grandpa. Headed back to TN today and in the words of my sister, the next time we get together needs to be because the family is getting bigger, not smaller!

The status was not explicitly stating that six years ago today was the day my mental health fell apart, but reminding me all the same. We had just lost our last grandparent and I was leaving my family again to go back to Tennessee to a stress-filled job after losing the last of a generation and barely having time to grieve. Just a few hours after this status was written, I would be calling an ambulance on myself during my first panic attack.

Let me tell you a little bit about my Grandpa Hays. He was told years before I was born that he would only live five more years due to his heart problems. And yet, he outlived all the rest of my grandparents and lived to see his great-granddaughter, Kate, the namesake of his wife, Grandma Kate. I’m incredibly blessed to have even known him! Praise God! Everyone who knew him said that he was a great man, well-known in his community. He was extremely hard-working, organized, and he continued to live his life to the full, even with all of his health issues.

When I look back on my life, I believe I am most like Grandpa and Grandma Hays. They were honest, albeit somewhat blunt, and I can definitely tell it like it is. I am certainly the organized one in my immediate family, and my grandpa was always proud of me for that. I remember one day he stopped by in the morning when I was just getting started with cleaning our incredibly cluttered house and he just kinda looked at me, shook his head, and wished me luck. He then stopped by again several hours later when I was almost finished and I will never forget the astonished look on his face as he told my mom, “this girl needs some kind of an award!” It seems like such a silly little thing, but I beamed with pride at my grandpa’s approval. I then grew up to be very hard-working in my jobs, just like him. I knew he was proud of me, as was stated in my Facebook status.

But just a few hours after the status was posted, I fell apart and just haven’t been able to quite put myself back together again. I let stress ruin my mind and probably my body. I lost my health and I lost my job. And today when I saw that status, a thought crossed my mind that I have had trouble letting go of ever since. Deep breath. If I’m being honest, my thought was, “I bet Grandpa is not proud of me anymore.” Now, I know that’s not a God thought and it’s probably not even a Grandpa thought, but it hurt my heart all the same. I wonder what he would think of me now – not working, applying for disability, sometimes barely able to get out of bed. What happened to his hard-working, honest, and organized granddaughter?

And as I’ve sat with this thought throughout the day, mulling it over and talking to God about it, the answer is – SHE’S STILL RIGHT HERE. I may not be able to muscle through my health issues to do all of the things I used to do, but I can get out of bed. I may not be able to go to a normal job anymore but I can walk the dog. I may not be able to follow the normal ‘rules’ of society, but I can write a blog. I am still the same person, and I will never give up. I still work just as hard as I ever did before. It just looks different now because everything takes more effort and strength.

Maybe you are feeling like you are not doing enough. Take heart! It doesn’t matter if your work doesn’t look like everyone else’s, as long as you are doing it with all of your heart. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” – Colossians 3:23 (NIV). You know your body’s limitations, just as I know mine. You may hate them sometimes, just as I have a love/hate relationship with mine. But if my limitations had not come, I wouldn’t have been able to see the beauty in the ‘slow down’, the joy in helping others through their journey and allowing them to help me, and the love of a God who carries me through all of my days. I pray that you are able to see the good in your limitations and thank God for his work in you! “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:17 (NIV)

So while that status hit me like a ton of bricks this morning, and I was already too weak to even deflect one brick, my God is strong enough to lift them off of me and kiss my wounds. He is teaching me to reject the thoughts that don’t come from him, and embrace HIS PRIDE IN ME. I’m fairly certain my grandpa would still be proud of me because he loved me so! But I’m absolutely certain that my God is proud of me, even when I don’t deserve it, and that is the best thought of all!

Love to you,

~Karina

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Author: Karina Baker

Hello, my dear friends! Glad to see you here. Thank you for reading about my beautiful rubble – my struggles with life, faith, and autoimmunity. Feel free to share your stories in the comments. My love and prayers to all of you!

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