47. He (Sarah’s father) had, as always, gone before me to make a. Path. As I struggled and suffered and faltered after my own near-death experience, I wondered if I could be as brave as he was, if I could be as faithful, if I could make eye contact with my unanswered prayers and keep praying anyway.
131. My friend (who was coming to grips with having to live with an essentially unhealable/unresolvable mental illness) was glad for the author (of a book that another friend had given to her to read) who was healed, but she didn’t find the story particularly helpful for her circumstance because, despite her faith and her prayers, my friend had not been healed in that way. What she really needed was a book with a vision for living with mental illness as a woman of faith – a Vision that was lively and substantive – not another account of someone else’s miracle. She needed people to stop talking about her mental illness as her enemy. It wasn’t an enemy. In fact, she hadn’t healed to be healthy until she welcomed her whole self – mental illness included – as a friend with whom she would learn to cooperate and receive as her whole self. … I’m not precious and beautification about this: suffering can be a sacrament not because it’s refining on its won – suffering can also make us bitter and twisted and angry – but because it can become the sort of darkness that makes the light much more beautiful. After all, when you a re in the company of those with unanswered prayers, you learn that getting your desired outcome isn’t the yardstick for holiness.
145. (During the crazy times – littles everywhere – no peaceful coffee/bible/devotion times)…..If I had to restrict prayer to a t IMEI and a time and one particular moment with all the stars in alignment, I would never have prayed. One of the clearest memories of my teen years of my father doing this exact same thing. I was once the one waking up early a nd wandering down the hall, coming upon him in his work clothes ready to go to the office as he sat at the table with his bible and his notebook or planning, quietly writing down our needs and writing down Scriputre to guide his prayers for us. So I still pray this way too: the words of the Bible shape my prayers and shape me…..(this is how a father’s example saturates into daughters’ faith).
Tara is the “axis upon which [our family] spins through the world, unsure and unsteady and brave enough to try. 155
I had wanted more control of my narrative of God; I wanted to get ahead of the story, to set the time lines and parameters….but I couldn’t fake my way to the narrative I wanted to believe. ….I had failed to be curious about my own healing. I had returned to a one-sided, narrow, restrictive story…..156-7
172. I have always loved the imagery of God as a mother in Scripture, so it’s not completely out of left field for God to use a maternal image to break through. In my life, to give me a path to follow toward choosing life (which was Sarah’s mom’s spiritual touchstone/life-theme via “choose life” from “the their comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life , and have it to the full.” And Jesus identifying himself as the Gate and the Shepherd.). Most of us identify God in parental terms a an father- and that is deeply meaningful to me as well. And that has come easily to me perhaps because of my own father: his strength of character and conviction, his steadiness and masculine love, have been a foundation to my life. Knowing my own father made it easy for me to love God as father. He gave me a straight path to run on to see God as a good and loving father. But just as my own father gave me a glimpse of God’s good character, so did my mother. She could not be erased from the goodness of God’s expression. her energy, her nurture, her fierce mama bear protectiveness, her joy and laughter, the ministry of her hands in my hair smoothing away the stress.
203. “…The centimeter by centimeter prophecy of Shalom… I was learning to clasp hands with miracles as the spiritual discipline they were perhaps always meant to be… “
205. What “I am the gate and the shepherd” mean….
I had failed to be curious about my own healing.Sarah Bessey, p. 156-7
I am the gate…Jesus, John 10:7
the centimeter-by-centimeter prophecy of Shalom…Sarah Bessey, p. 203.