Warts and All

Thursday in the First Week of Lent

“On the day I cried out, you answered; you strengthened my spirit.” Psalm 138:3 

“When I wake up in the morning, maybe God will have taken all my warts away.” My six-year-old Clare has had this same prayer for months. Every few days she repeats her hopeful plea, while diligently applying her creams and Band-Aids to the annoying little wounds. Once a month we visit the dermatologist for a painful procedure. And then we start the cycle all over again… each month thinking it will be the last. 

But then she wakes up and sees those physical marks on her skin, and she is reminded that God didn’t answer her prayers. 

Clare is not alone in her anguish. Her words are as old as Queen Esther and the prophets.  In the midst of pain, all we see is our own woundedness. How often have I expressed frustration in God’s seeming lack of response? Or failed to see how the struggle God has placed in my path as a gift. 

Tonight she nursed her wounds after traumatizing the dermatologist this afternoon. She was feeling sorry for herself but then had an epiphany: it could be worse. Her classmate is allergic to chocolate milk and that is never going away. At least she still has hope that her warts will disappear one morning. She would not articulate it this way, but God is slowly “strengthening her spirit.” 

These little pests are annoying and painful. My hope is that as she walks this journey she will come to realize that she is loved, warts and all, by God. After all, it’s not nearly as bad as being allergic to chocolate milk. 

Published by jencoito

Jen Coito is a California native with diverse experience in parish, academic, and national ministry settings. She has a Masters in Pastoral Theology from Loyola Marymount University. She worked for the California Province of Jesuits for seven years promoting Christian Life Community on university campuses and other diverse ethnic settings. Jen has collaborated on the creation of formation materials, discernment tools, and small group processes that are being used around the country in Vietnamese, Korean, Spanish, and English. In 2013, Jen and Jesuit priest Fr. Tri Dinh co-founded Christus Ministries out of a desire to engage local young adults and form young-adult friendly parishes. Jen works for the Sisters of Notre Dame in California as the Associate Director of Mission Advancement. Jen, Jason, and their three children live in Southern California. You can read more of Jen's writings at www.jencoito.com.

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