Beyond the Costume

photo-2Back in November my favorite author, Ted Dekker, came to a church in Dallas to share his testimony and do a book signing. Having never seen him in person I was eager to go and hear him speak.

Some time after I received an email from Ted’s manager asking for the attendees to share how Ted’s talk had impacted us. I replied with a short version of my story. I came across that email today and it inspired me to write this post. Here is what I wrote:

Ted,
My name is Sarah Kerby and I am 24 years old. I am known as one of your diehard fans having read almost all of your books. I truly enjoyed seeing you in Dallas and having the opportunity to hear your heart and get a glimpse of who you are and why you write what you do.

What you had to say was very relevant to what I have gone through this year.
I am married and I have an 18 month old son. My husband and I desire to have more children and in January we found out I was pregnant. I lost that baby a few weeks later. In May I was pregnant again! But, just like last time, I lost the baby a few weeks later. It was utterly devastating. Tests have been done but there is nothing physically wrong with me that would lend reason and answers to why I had two consecutive miscarriages after having a healthy child. It’s a mystery, as so many things are.
In between my two miscarriages the Lord was working on my heart in an extreme way. I finally sought Christian counseling for the anger and depression issues that I had had for so long. It was a humbling and cleansing experience.
All that to say that the Lord has shown me an immense amount of grace. He has taken me beyond this “costume” that experiences heartbreak, pain, sin, and wondering and has shown me an unexplainable peace that penetrates my soul. There is more beyond this life that we live day to day. We forget who we are, always, but then God sends a reminder. He has done that a lot this year and He did that through you and what you shared.
I thank the Lord that He has chosen to speak through you and that He has given you such an amazing gift. Thank you for sharing it with all of us.
Faithful reader,
Sarah

Since that email I have lost a third pregnancy. And now I’m at a point in my life where the future of my family isn’t so clear. After three consecutive miscarriages I feel like we’re at a crossroads. What do we do now? Do we stop getting pregnant or keep trying to have a healthy pregnancy? What is the Lord’s will in this?

My doctor is going to be running more tests and we’re going to be praying about what the Lord wants us to do next but right now, in the unknown, I am at peace. I’m at peace because there is more to life beyond this costume. I’m just here playing a part that God created. This body that makes up Sarah Kerby is just my costume. The roles that I play, the experiences that I live, and the choices I make are just one small part in the greater drama that is the Gospel, that is God’s divine plan.

It’s not that my struggles don’t matter. They do matter. They are real. But there is more to life than this alone. There is more to life than fulfilling the dreams of Sarah Kerby. There is more to life than doing what makes Sarah Kerby happy.

I have this soul that is in dwelt by God Himself. And it is my soul that says, amidst the feelings of my costume,  that “it is well.”

My costume says, “God must not love me since he’s taken three babies away from me.” But my soul says, “I don’t deserve God’s love and yet He extended His grace and gave me a son.”

Beyond the costume. That is where I look when all seems lost and things don’t make sense. The costume confines but the soul is free. The soul knows that this body and this life is just a costume and that I am meant for much more than this.

My costume has always desired to have many children. I dreamed of having a big family. But my soul knows that the Lord is sovereign over that dream. I can let go of that dream because my soul is content with God’s purpose for my costume and ultimately, my soul itself. I may yet see that dream, maybe not biologically or maybe not at all, but I am at peace. I am not my costume. I am my soul. And my soul belongs to God. In belonging to God, I have nothing to fear. Not death, not unhappiness, not suffering, not future unknowns. I can rest here, now, in all of this, because I know Jesus and Jesus has set me free. I am not bound to this world. I am not bound to this costume. I am bound to Christ, to His unfailing love, and to His grace which carries me through life until He calls my soul home.

The following song written by Horatio Spafford is, for me, the perfect way to end. I cry every time I sing this song as I’m sure Mr. Spafford did as well. He wrote this song during his own personal tragedy and it wonderfully expresses the anguish of pain and loss of our costumes as well as the deep spiritual strength, gratitude, and humility of the rescued soul.

When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
What ever my lot you have taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul

Though the devil will ruin, though trials may come
Let this blessed assurance control
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And He shed His own blood for my soul

It is well, with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin not in part but the whole
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, oh my soul

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight
And the clouds be rolled back as a scroll
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend
Even so, it is well with my soul

It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

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