Today I’m remembering a girl I’ve never met but wish more than ever that I could have known. Her story of living with a chronic illness, one that had eventually trapped her in own home, has captured me. Yet she would not dwell on her limitations or may have even used the word “trapped”, for she chose to accept the life that God had given her and saw her own suffering as a gateway to joy. Today I’m remembering a girl named Sara. I’ve never met her, but I can’t wait to meet her one day in heaven.
I’m not sure why her story captures me, except that it convicts me and encourages me to run the race God set before me. You see, Sara had a disease that made breathing air toxic to her body. And yet she lived. She really lived. The first time I read her blog I had to stop and take a breath myself and let that reality sink in. My thoughts raced from “Why, God?” to “How can she not be bitter?” to “How does she really find joy each day?” As I read on and on I started realizing how abundant her joy and life was because she took what God gave, gave thanks, and then broke it for others. She choose joy. I also started realizing that Sara, in her physical limitations, probably knew more about joy than I ever have.
Just a few days ago Sara took her last toxic breath of air on earth and her first breath of pure air in heaven. And as I read on and on about her last days on earth from the people whose lives she so sweetly touched, I discovered a surprising truth. She was a simple Iowa girl like me. She was living her seemingly limited but ever-so-abundant life in the backyard of my hometown. We surely walked the same streets once upon a time. We probably ate at the same restaurants back in the days when she could. And we graduated from college in the same year. She was my age, yet she was ever so wiser in wisdom than our years. She had lived the abundant life that I long to live, and if only I could have met her face to face. I would ask her to teach me joy and teach me surrender. I would ask her to teach me to receive and teach me to give. And of course, I would also ask her to teach me to write like she does with transparency and authenticity and grace. She would be a great teacher, I’m sure.
I feel like I have met her, in a sense, through her writings. She has inspired me to choose joy each day and graciously receive what God gives me. I could say more, but her words are better.
In Sara’s words…
“I think, for me, it has been about learning to want what He wants for me more than what I want for myself. It’s a tall order and I don’t say that flippantly. But my joy has truly come from Him finding His joy in me rather than me finding my joy in what I desire. It doesn’t mean I don’t long for different, it just means I find peace in fulfilling rather than understanding. In the knowledge that this life isn’t about me, it’s about Him.”
Thanks be to God for the abundant life of Sara Frankl, who teaches us all that this life is really about choosing and finding joy in Jesus.