But those who drink the water I give will never
be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling
spring within them,
giving them eternal life.” (John 4:14)
I often found myself, during my black and white years meeting up with the Cheshire cat in the most unlikely places. He would appear and disappear in the background of my sorry scene and grin and wait for me to engage in some philosophical conversation.
When I came close to Jesus, it was like God coloured me in. The black and white world around me slowly turned to colour. When I found my feet in church again, an inexpressible joy welled up in me and that joy has continually bubbled. It’s the same joy I felt during my childhood, those Sunday school days and worship times and prayers before bed. This joy is a joy that never goes away. It can be tested. It’s not like happiness; to be happy is momentary, it comes and goes. No, the joy of Jesus never leaves. I have known joy during grief, during times of deep sadness. When I miscarried my second child I was deeply sad but joy continually welled. This glimmer of hope, like a flickering flame that can never be blown out burned in my heart.
But I have experienced times when it seemed that this joy had almost vanished. From the age of 12 to 26 I closed the church door behind me and dived head first into a dark world dressed up as light. I gave my heart so freely and so dangerously but all along the broken path, I ached for truth; I wept for it. Deep into the night I cried out in emptiness for something to fulfil me, but I just found myself falling and falling deep down the rabbit hole and into an empty room with a tiny door of beauty beyond, but my flesh was too big to enter it.
But then, just when I thought there was no point in going any further, I saw the bottle that said, “drink me.” And as I drank the living water, joy filled my heart again. My dry and withered self revived into an explosion of wonderful colours. I could see the miracle in everything. I could finally see God touch every inch of darkness with his wand of light; I began to see God in everything. In the beads of rain strung like pearls on a cobweb. Through it I could see the glorious sun shine through black clouds slashing like a sword through the tired day.
God’s grin could be seen everywhere. Even on the most dreadful of days, when the rain was heavy and the wind played havoc with my mind; there He was smiling, like the still in the eye of a storm. Bringing me an inexplicable peace. I began to feel alive. More alive than I had ever felt before. Especially when I opened the bible. The words leapt like stars across the page. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Every single word struck my heart with incredible truth. I drank in the pages and felt every word hydrate my soul like liquid gold. It was as though every word written was just for me. Making me feel so precious, so loved, so unique.
Joy burns bright when I see the miraculous; the uniqueness in each and every one us. It stuns me to think that we live on a unique, beautiful green and blue planet in an incredibly gob smacking solar system of multi coloured planets in an infinite space. Doesn’t this just simply blow your mind? It amazes me to know that every single human being on this planet is unique. Our DNA is completely distinct. And what astonishes me is that at the moment of conception when the sperm meets the egg; DNA is formed and in that DNA we can determine the fundamental and distinctive characteristics of who we will be, what colour hair and eyes each one of us will have, what qualities we will carry.
When I look into the deep blue eyes of my beautiful boys ( my husband included) I revel in delight. My heart bursts with joy at how wonderfully unique and complex we really are. I have promised myself I will not be having any more children but I must admit, there are moments when I excitedly think…but if we had another one, who would they be? A completely brand new little human, made by our love and designed by God. We can choose this little being to come into existence. I must admit there’s something quite exhilarating about this. Something utterly miraculous and brave.
As I travelled through Wonderland I desperately tried to find meaning in life, but all through my time giving my heart away there was a hollowness that ached inside. Like Alice I found myself falling down the rabbit hole and almost drowning in my own tears. Sure there were moments where I would stumble upon happy times with the mad hatter at his tea party but soon enough i would dissolve into despair again; nothing fulfilled me. I tried to find satisfaction in all sorts of things and there were times I would feel good in the moment, but like most tangible things in life, the enjoyment expired, the moment faded.
The thought of not knowing Jesus now is unbearable. Settling down, getting married and having children is a blessing, but as wonderful as it is to have such precious boys in my life, I would not cope if I didn’t know the beauty of my Father. I would be an anxious wreck if I didn’t know the grace of God. The thought of losing another child (especially one I have nurtured and fallen deeply in love with) at one time would have destroyed me. Yet now I can face death bravely, I know where my babies are going when they leave this earth. I am absolutely certain that heaven is real. Jesus said, true faith is when there is no doubt in your heart. I can thankfully say I truly believe that the whole point of our lives here on earth is to know Jesus. There is nothing more fulfilling than this.
In fact, it’s worth your life. And it stuns me to know that Father in heaven loves me even more than I love my own children. In fact, i’m still trying to get my head around this one. Giving your heart to Jesus and knowing you are loved unconditionally leads to wholeness, it leads to a whole new and wild adventure; a pure, unadulterated joy that never fades. Eternal life beckons, heaven beckons. In fact, if you look closely enough heaven breaks out in Wonderland.