Sunday, April 28, 2013

Surrender of Control

This week I headed to Houston, Texas to visit my Irish friend, Glenda, from England.  Her brother is marrying a Texan this weekend.  I intruded on their time since its been a year since I've seen her.  Plus, its a good chance to get away and relax a bit.  

As we were landing into Chicago, we were flying in the middle of some huge clouds.  As I was looking out the window and seeing nothing but white, I was struck by the fact that my faith in God is a lot like flying in a plane.  There I sat with no control of our plane as we were headed through the thick whiteness.  I had to sit back trust the pilot and his gear to get me safely on the ground.  I could have sat there and worried about it and fretted, but what good would that have done.  I wasn't in control of the situation.  I sat in the back of the plane with my seatbelt buckled and let the pilot worry about getting us safely to Chicago.  

On the second flight of the day, we started feeling quite a bit of turbulence.  The pilot came on the speaker and said, "I'm sorry about the ride and that it is making you uncomfortable.  I promise…we are quite safe."  Isn't that how it is in our own lives.  Each one of us experience the ups and downs of life and sometimes the violent shaking aka turbulence of life.  Life isn't always a smooth, comfortable, enjoyable ride.  Sometimes we have to go through the turbulence of life to get to the destination God has for us.  But, just as the pilot reassured us we were safe, God whispers in our ears, "I love you.  I've got this.  You are safe with Me."  

As I pondered trusting the pilot, I thought about how my God is even bigger, even stronger and how He has a better navigation system than my pilot or the airplane had.  I could worry about what will happen in my life, but what good will that do.  I have no control over it.  My worrying doesn't change my circumstances. 

I just need to sit back, buckle up and enjoy the ride.  Knowing and trusting that my God has a plan for my life.  A plan to prosper me and not to harm me, a plan to give me a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).  I need to trust that through the storms and through the turbulence He is Lord of all.  

Monday, April 15, 2013


For Charlotte's funeral, I picked the song "Blessings" by Laura Story to be sung by our pastor's wife.  For a couple weeks before we lost Charlotte, I had been hearing it on the radio a lot.  Now that I think about it, it was just another way God was preparing me for what was to happen in our family.  After we lost Charlotte, I knew I wanted my pastor's wife to sing "Blessings" and "Give Me Faith."  About a year earlier, she had sung "Blessings" in church with her daughter.  When I called her to ask if she would sing, I couldn't remember the name of the song.  I was like "the one you sang about a year ago and it has the word tears or something in it."  She knew immediately and she said yes!  

When I first picked "Blessings," I picked it because of the chorus...
Cause what if Your Blessings come through raindrops
What if your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise
The Lord knew I had shed many, many tears and I needed to feel Him near.  I needed to feel that even in this just maybe it was His mercies disguised in pain.

As time went on the days and weeks after her funeral.  I would play the song and it took on a completely different meaning for me.  One day I heard it as I was driving home from Costco and just began merging onto the highway and I began to weep.  Not so good when you are accelerating up to 70 mph.  The verses are what made me weep.
We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things
I wept out of conviction.  I'm guilty.  I pray those things.  I pray His blessings on myself and over my family.   I pray protection for my kids while they sleep.  I pray for God to take the hard things out of my life.  Don't get me wrong.  I don't believe it is wrong to ask God for these things.  But sometimes I pray selfishly, for God to make my life easy and comfortable rather than praying for his will.  This is where my weeping stemmed from.  How dare I think that I should know how my life should be or end up, that it should be problem and pain free.  As the song says, its about His love for us.  This love that "loves us too much to give us lesser things."  The part that really brought me to my knees in repentance is...
We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe
Ugh!  Do I believe Him in His goodness as I say that I do?  Do I believe He is who He says He is in His Word?  Or do I throw it back in His face and say, "You're not with me because I don't feel you,  because my circumstances are tough and because they don't seem to be getting better"?   What if each and every day He is giving me His mercies?  Be it the hard days or the easy ones.

For me, His mercies in disguise in this time of mourning are knowing Him more for who He is.  I love the line toward the end of the song that says, "what if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life, is a revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy."  That's it!  That is exactly what He has taught me through this struggle.  I long for Him!  In this world I'm gonna have trials, but it makes me long for Him and Heaven all the more.
For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.  Philipians 1:21
This song has changed my prayer life.  I still get caught up in the "all about me prayers," but "Blessings" has made me think twice.  I want my prayers and my life to be "all about Him and His glory."  I have to believe He knows the best way to bring Himself glory whether it be through pain or "blessings."  


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Spring and Longing

Today I finally got myself to clean out Charlotte's dresser and put the baby girl clothes back in the bin to go back to storage.  It seems as if I was just washing and folding them, preparing for her arrival.  As I pull out the newborn clothes each time we are preparing for the birth of one of our children, I am in awe of how tiny they are.  I get all excited to dress my new babies in them and I dream about what they will look like and who they will become.  I'm sad because Charlotte will never wear them.  I bought a couple new outfits just for her and I will never see her in them.  I am sad that I will never get to dress watch her grow before my eyes.

It's been two months since we lost Charlotte.  I miss her.  I cried today because I once again long to hold her.  I have this idea in my head that as time goes on this longing and sadness I feel will go away.  It hasn't.  In the last week, I have dreamed and longed to hold her in my arms more than ever.  It may be the fact that it is now Spring.  New life is forming all around.  I always have a longing to have a baby in my arms when Spring comes around.  This year I should have.  This make me sad and makes my arms ache all the more.

This morning, I read a blog, of another mom who lost her baby girl, and I cried for her.  She made a comment that really stuck with me.  She said to her daughter, "every day we are closer to where you are and we will rejoice to see you again." I'm so thankful I have this confidence.  It doesn't make today hurt any less, but it gives me great hope for the future.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Moment by Moment

After hearing the news that we had lost our daughter, Charlotte, I lived the next 24 hours and even days moment by moment, trusting God each step of the way.  I remember asking my pastor's wife to pray that Jesus would carry me through all the things I knew had to happen in the next hours and days.  Carry me He did!  If I started to look ahead to far, I would get scared and become overwhelmed.  This wasn't how Jesus expected me to get through this trying time.  His plan was for me to trust Him and He would give me exactly what I needed.
In quietness and confident trust is your strength.  Isaiah 30:15
I didn't see any way around what I had to go through, so I trusted Him.  I prayed through each moment.  Each step along the way I gave to Him, trusting Him.  After I had my IV put in and my blood drawn, I said aloud, "one step done."  I praised Him.  As I was getting my epidural, which I am never fond of getting, I prayed..."help me, Jesus.  Oh, Jesus."  One more step done.  After they broke my water...another step done.  I spent that entire night of labor trusting Jesus each and every moment.  He gave me peace.  It is hard for me to comprehend the peace I felt as I walked through the most devastating thing I have ever been through.  It had to of been from Him, because in my human self this would have been impossible.  He was so faithful each and every moment.

He desires us to live moment by moment, relying on Him to give us the strength to get through anything we face, from the mundane to the trials, from the joys to the challenges.
If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  John 15:7
There is no need to jump ahead of Him with all the what-ifs and the worry.  We have no idea what will happen.  And He's got us!

The result of living this moment by moment kind of faith is Peace and Hope.  These come from a God who loves us and has a plan for us so He is glorified in our lives.  It's not about us and what we can do. It's about Him and all He can do.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  John 14:27
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.  John 16:33 
This is the Hope we have.  He has overcome the world!  He will overcome whatever you are facing today.  Our job is to trust Him moment by moment.  He is faithful and He will do the rest.