Friday, April 10, 2009

Thank You, God, For Saving My Life

(C, this poem is especially for you)

A little bird I am,
Shut from the fields of air;

And in my cage I sit and sing

To Him who placed me there;

Well pleased a prisoner to be

Because, my God, it pleases Thee.

Naught have I else to do;
I sing the whole day long;

And He whom most I love
to please,
Doth listen to my song:

He caught and bound my wandering wing,

But still He bends to hear me sing.

My cage confines me round;

Abroad I cannot fly;

But though my wing is closely bound,

My heart's at liberty;
My prison walls cannot control

The flight, the freedom of
the soul.

Oh! it is good to soar
These bolts and bars above,

To Him whose purpose I adore,

Whose providence I love;

And in Thy mighty will to find

The joy, the freedom, of the mind.

I found this poem in the book "A Step Further" by Joni Eareckson-Tada (check out Joni's website, she has an amazing story!) This poem was written by a French noblewoman named Madame Guyon who was arrested in 1688 and falsely accused of heresy, sorcery, and adultery by jealous church officials. She spent ten long, lonely years in prison after being convicted, and wrote the above verse during her confinement, which, Joni writes, " an eloquent expression of the strength God will give to the suffering heart that waits on Him."

I read this during a particularly difficult time of my life when I was suffering both physically and mentally. I was in so much anguish, day after day, month after month, that each day I woke up I wished it could be my last. I wasn't suicidal, I just wanted the pain to be over, longing for God to take me. When I read, and then re-read (many times) this poem I sensed my whole perspective on pain and suffering changing. "Well pleased a prisoner to be because, my God, it pleases thee." That is a point of view that never would have occurred to me on my own. My mind
just doesn't work like that, but I was able to see the beauty of it, and I wanted that conviction for myself. As I claimed this poem as my own prayer, my life slowly began to change. I know this isn't always the end of a person's story, but I was eventually able to find the medical help that I needed to drastically reduce the amount of pain I was having to deal with.

I'm much healthier now and, when I think back on those difficult years I realize I wouldn't trade them for the world. I never thought I'd be able to say that the suffering was a "gift", but it was. Would I still be able to say that if my pain level had remained high these past couple of years, had I not been able to find medication to help me? I'll never know. I'd like to think that I would, but I'm sure the jou
rney, if graphed, would be a line going up and down continually.

I know my suffering in this world is not over. Somewhere along the way I will experience more - it's part of the human condition, and I know I won't like it or necessarily be able to embrace it as I learned to do before. In fact, I'll probably have to start all over again in the process, but I'll have the memory, the experience of my previous victory over discouragement to draw on.

At the beginning of "It's a Wonderful Life" with Jimmy Stewart, the angels are talking and Clarence, the guardian angel, asks if George, our hero, is sick, and the other angel responds saying, "No, it's worse. He's discouraged." May God help all of you with your own personal discouragements so that you can also say, "My prison walls cannot control the flight, the freedom of the soul."

Have a truly happy Easter!


little pink plum said...

I remember reading Joni's book many years ago...brings back memories.

Have a blessed and happy Easter!


Lori said...

I adore hummering birds and can't wait until May 12 until mine show back up for the summer . Wonderful blog.

Lynne Countenance Jewelry / BeadyIze said...

Thank you Lori and little pink plum for stopping by and reading my blog. I hope you both have a wonderful Easter too!

Meagain said...

This is so beautiful, Lynne. You have used your own pain in a wonderful way, reaching out to others to comfort them in their time of discouragement. Thank you. You do it well.

Carol said...

Wow. That's all I can say. What a heartfelt post.

I believe that God puts certain people in our lives for a reason...and sometimes it's for sharing life journeys. I'm sure that's one of the many reasons He put you in mine!

This is now copied and hanging next to my computer. Thank you, Lynne. xoxoxoxox

Lynne Countenance Jewelry / BeadyIze said...

Carol and Meagain: Two very special people who know exactly what I'm talking about. Our journeys continue!

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