Day 28: Carrying Her Cross
By Katie Comiskey
Kansas City Living Waters Leader
The Lord has met me in my brokenness in myriad ways: at His Cross, through His people, in the beauty of the Eucharist. He has freed me from the bondage of despair, rooted in a deep sense of inadequacy in my femininity. From a young age, I felt disqualified in my gender: never worthy, not possessing the beauty and the charm to be considered a “good” woman. Thankfully, I have received healing in this area, particularly through Living Waters.
Despite this deep work, the lingering accusation of my inferiority as a woman remains. The stronghold of the lie has been broken, but a residue of shame and doubt hovers, “a little cross” that I have learned to carry.
I always thought that healing, once realized, would eradicate my tendency towards self-pity and self-hatred. I imagined me, fully “healed,” confident and vigorous, without any hesitancy in offering my self-gift. To be sure, I have grown much more assured of my value as one created in the image of God; even still, there remains a temptation to retreat to this old, familiar place, especially when I feel lonely or rejected.
My prayer used to be that Jesus would remove this proclivity towards despair or "acedia", the spiritual apathy that concedes to the enemy’s lies about my worth. Jesus has found a better way! It seems fitting, that just as we await the beginning of Advent, the Incarnation that upended all expectations of the kingdom of God, I see the unexpectedness of Jesus in my own healing. He has not removed this little cross of mine but allows me to bear it. He helps me to bear it.
In many ways, I still ache: ache in the feeling of not measuring up, ache is my singleness, ache in hopes not yet realized. As I ache, I look to Him. My disquiet reminds me of the One who gave all to secure me in love in the thick of feeling unlovely.
This is no worldly sorrow! This is a pain that draws me close to the Lord, this Jesus who willingly took on all human suffering to redeem it. Before the Wounded One I offer my tiny wounds; before the Crucified, I bear my little cross. In this place, I am fully known by the Lord and in this way, I learn to trust him more fully. With my little cross, I am learning to walk in faith. Not without ache, but full of hope.
‘Jesus, rouse the gift we are. Help us to attend to the treasure you summon from the trash. Free us from our constant faultfinding and free us for vestiges of paradise in our memories and in our lives today. We refuse the liar who tries to rewrite Eden out of our histories. Unite us to the home of our original dignity.’ ‘Jesus, have mercy on us as Your Church. We have abused weaker members, including children, and protected ourselves. We have violated the most vulnerable. In Your mercy, free us to superabound with justice. Grant us Kingdom discernment and courage to reform ourselves. May our repentance grant us Kingdom authority to strengthen the weak, discipline violators, and restore the violated.’