Have You Made Your Life Before Illness Into an Altar?

Have you ever built an altar out of your life ‘before illness?’ Kerryn explains.

“Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise You with the lyre, O God, my God” (Psalm 43:4).

Releasing parts of our former lives can be painful and slow!.

Recently I’ve received the final box of my special education teaching material from my former school. I had left it there to continue the program seamlessly, when I had to leave suddenly through illness. However, with major changes at the school, I felt that it was time to have my belongings returned.

After sifting through a car load of boxed school materials, I found what was mine and returned the rest.

My little pile of belongings have been sitting in our lounge room for weeks now. I haven’t had the physical, emotional or mental energy to sort through them.

I’ve realized that it’s sitting in the lounge room–almost like an altar!

My recliner faces this pile, so I’ve spent a lot of time looking at it. This has brought about reflecting on my teaching career and what an altar is, as well as what the Lord wants to say to me through this episode in my life journey.

An altar was a place of sacrifice, memorial, worship.

The word “altar” is mentioned 968 times in the Bible, so clearly it’s of huge significance to our understanding and lessons from God.

It seems that my little pile of belongings, of such a long career are both . . . a sacrifice–through illness–and a memorial to all that happened in my teaching career.

I am certainly not worshiping it, but I am reflecting upon all that this means and worshiping the Lord for His help in this journey.

This has taken me to a deeper understanding of the Old Testament altar and that Jesus’ death on the cross has released us from the need for physical altars. Jesus is our living altar now–One of sacrifice, memorial, and worship.

Alongside this, I’ve realized that God wants me to reflect on the memories of joyful times of teaching and not just on the pain of releasing it. Yet again, I can choose where my focus lies. I choose joy and delight!

Praise God for His Word.

Praise God for our history with Him.

Praise God for Jesus’ death on the cross for us.

Praise God for the lessons learned through something like a pile of belongings from my special education teaching career.

Prayer: Lord, help me to come to the alter now . . . to You. As I release the griefs of illness losses, bring to remembrance all of the precious joys and memories from times past. Amen.

About the Author:
Kerryn Wright lives with her family amongst the gum trees in South Australia. She was a special education teacher prior to chronic illnesses. Her husband is carer for three of their family, who have chronic illnesses and disabilities. God has always guided them through life’s challenges, often in surprising ways.

What are your alters of memorial or sacrifice? What precious memories do you have that always bring joy and delight?

This song is “Help Me Find It” by Sidewalk Prophets. The lyrics are beautiful and describe feelings I think all of us who live with chronic illness have experienced as we are looking at our life–before illness and after illness–as we tell God not to give up on us. -Lisa