42. Alabaster jar
Some of you won’t be familiar with this story. One time around 2000 years ago, a lady of disputable reputation was so overwhelmed in her love for Jesus, that from the outpouring of her hearts reaction, she knelt at his feet and poured a bottle of the most expensive perfume over them. The religious people of the day were outraged that Jesus so much as even looked at this woman, let alone befriending such a person. Scholars tell us the value of the nard probably equalled a whole years salary. In addition, this perfume was held in a valuable alabaster jar, which was probably made of something like marble. So to open it, the top had to be broken off and as such, this was a very costly gesture of her adoration.
Just to reassure you - Andy’s always quite rightly said, ‘don’t preach’, when I’ve written these journey blogs over the months. But I figured, that just on this one occasion, you may forgive me. So I’m chancing my arm that you don’t hang up on me now – and instead, just smile, knowing that right now, I have the broadest one of all. For today, this mastectomy was symbolically my alabaster jar - for all the reasons above. Would I do it again? Absolutely – for all the reasons above. Was it worth it? Absolutely – for all the reasons above.
One thing I did not expect to be doing 9 hours post mastectomy was to write a short journey blog. But the joy in my heart has overwhelmed me so, that to capture this reaction seems the most natural way to honour it. God is literally pouring His love and grace over my soul, like waves of the sea lapping over and over.
You see, I count it all as privilege – to be able to share the tangible, real impact of what relationship with a living God can be all about. This is not religion. It’s not a set of rules and ‘though shalt and shalt not’s’. Neither is it a distant, unreachable and remote ideology. It’s about as real as the very nurse who’s just popped in to see me. Is it a crutch? – you bet it is. And to quote Bear Grylls, ‘we all need one sometime’. But it’s so much more, through the good times and the bad. It’s life itself. Abundant, joyful, victorious life – no matter what gets thrown at our feet. With the spirit of Jesus in us, this is what He so freely brings. And it’s the best way possible to live. Don’t you want that? Don’t we all? The good news is, that with Jesus in our lives, we all actually can.
'Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds'.
James 1:2 NIV