Late Friday afternoon, as I prepared for an evening out with my husband, the phone rang. "Hello?"
"This is Erica. I'm with your husband. He's been in an accident." A motorcycle accident -- on the freeway -- at rush hour. All she could tell me was that Tony was conscious.
I took a deep breath then told my kids. With Kellie, our neighbor and long-time sitter on the way, I kissed my kids and promised to call when I knew something. Minutes later, as I merged onto the freeway, the song "Vessel" by Chris Sligh began to play, and these words filled my ears: "The pain's too great you put me through/I find myself on my knees to pray/Then you hear the words you long for me to say/Make me a vessel that you can always use/No matter how you break me, what I win or what I lose."
"No, God!" I cried. "No more. I've already accepted so much, trusting You to use it for good, to reach others with Your love. Why more? Why Tony? Why now?"
Just two days before, I'd sat with my cousin over dinner, telling her, "Tony has always been my stable base, my security, my safe place." Yet even as those words replayed in my mind, I heard God's quiet, gentle voice saying to my heart, "No. I am your rock, your stability, your safe place, and I am enough."
I know God is enough. I know Tony isn't mine. He's God's, and so am I, and if we're truly His, why shouldn't He use us any way He chooses to further His kingdom? Are we really any different than Job? What happened to Job wasn't about Job at all. God choose him to illustrate a lesson far bigger, far more important than Job could see this side of Heaven. "OK, Lord," I breathed. I hit replay and listened again as the lyrics soaked deep into my soul. "Make me a vessel," I prayed, "no matter the cost, whatever the cost. I'm willing."
Amazingly, my husband suffered no broken bones and no major head trauma flying through the air and colliding with the concrete at 40mph. His injuries would heal in time, yet as he began to heal, I started to lose perspective. "I feel like an onion," I sighed to a friend one afternoon, "like God just keeps peeling me away layer-by-layer. As soon as I accept something hard from His hand, He allows something more. I don't want any more 'scary' stories to tell. I don't want any more 'events' to write about. I don't want people to have to pray for us or bring us meals. I'm just done."
My friend looked at me gently and said, "But God is using all this in your life. I see it. I've been blessed by it, and I've grown through your example. Maybe," she added mischievously, "instead of an onion you should think of yourself as an artichoke."
I actually laughed. "An artichoke?"
"Yup! Maybe God is peeling you away layer-by-layer to reveal the useful, useable, truly beautiful part of you your heart."
Cindee Snider Re lives in Sussex, WI with her husband, their five children, two cats, and two Shichon puppies. She enjoys quiet evenings, long walks, good books, homeschooling her kids, and lots of good, strong, hot, black tea.