So I took a few months off I guess...LOL...I am back and have some friends questioning 'just where are you God'???
1 Peter 1:6–9 6 So be truly glad.* There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. 8 You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 9 The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.
Recently a few moms in one of my facebook groups have posted about their struggles with life and their disatisfaction, frustration, discouragement and even anger with God in giving them the trials they have. It came about in a discussion by one mom who recently miscarried her 'rainbow baby' (her first baby after loss, in her case, the first baby after the loss of one of her twins). She really just wanted all this pain to stop and for people to understand how hard things were for her... that she didn't feel like she would 'make it' because she had 'made it' through the loss of her TTTS angel. She questioned why God thought she could do this because she really felt she couldn't. And sadly she asked why God hated her so much.
My heart wept for her, ached for her. I wanted her to know the God I know, the one that holds me when I can't stand anymore, the one who wipes my tears when the pour down my face as I look at ultrasound pictures, read things I wrote during my pregnancy, look at pictures of my son's broken and battered body. I wanted her to know the Jesus I know.. the one who came to take my son home when no other healing could happen, who healed his body in the best way possible. The Jesus that that has lead me back to God time and time again when I have struggled and questioned. I told her... God loves you so much and understands your pain...he lost a son, he knows this pain. He knows what we don't ...he knows just how much we can handle and he is there to hold us up when we can't stand anymore."
But I know how hard it is to hear the voices at times when your heart is broken. I get it. And sadly so do others in our group who also are struggling to make sense of it all, to find God in all of this. Another mom wrote about her how hard it was to get her head around why a loving God would give her so many trials... take her parents from her when she was very young and then take her beautiful baby. It made no sense to her and it makes no sense to so many of those who are grieving. They feel God has no right to do this and can not get past the reminder of what they are missing out on, especially when you are raising your angel's identical twins. They just feel so abandoned by God, like God has let them down, like they have angered God and he is punishing them. Like God hates them.
And as I pondered these words, these feelings of those I consider my friends, I knew that I needed to write a blog again... not that I intentionally abandoned blogging...I have been distracted by many things, overwhelmed by many others and struggling in my own ways but rest assured, I am back and have many many ideas of things to write about. I struggled with what to write. What could I say that would make sense, that would help. I could share some of my favourite scriptures like
James 1 2-4... 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything
But somehow I think scriptures only comfort you when you are ready to accept that God is all loving, all caring and all encompassing. I know for me that reading scripture when I was in my first 18 months of grieving just made me feel like a hypocrite or not a 'good enough Christian'. I couldn't really handle it.
I wondered about sharing some amazing worship music... this one I have listened to so much lately ...not intentionally but instead by the divine purpose of God... (and stay tuned for a some reflections on my first 5k and what I heard and felt that day... maybe my next blog...maybe not LOL)
Praise You In This Storm
I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining
As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away
And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm
I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You
But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away
I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth
And as I wondered about how to share what was really in my heart about why things happen the way they do, where God is in all of this and how we move forward in him I finished the last chapters in the book I was reading. It is called Through Every Storm (coincidence, I think not) and is one I just randomly picked up off the shelf in the church library. It is about a couple who loose a two year old child in a choking accident and how they both struggle afterwards, how hard it is for them to grieve... and eventually how the both come to Christ because of it (coincidence...I think not). In it their marriage falls apart and they end up in a sort of separation situation.
Her father comes to speak to his son-in-law and instead of reprimanding him for all that he has done wrong, instead of showing one sided support of his daughter he instead confesses that he, too, has experienced the loss of a child. It was a child that had been conceived out of wedlock and had been stillborn. His words were so powerful.... "We felt sure God was punishing us for our terrible mistake, our awful sin (when they could not conceive another child for 4 years after getting married to each other a few years after the baby had died). Later in life, when we gave our lives to Christ, we discovered some amazing things about His grace and forgiveness. We didn't realize until later just how much He loved us in spite of our imperfections."
Powerful enough but the next part really hit home in what I wanted to say to those struggling... needed to hear myself at times... " God does not deliberately bring on despair and grief as a means of getting back at us for our wrongdoing. He does allow circumstances to to enter our lives that will draw us closer to Him though." "I believe God wants much more for you"... It's time you learned to trust Him. He's not out to hurt you. In fact, just the opposite. He wants to guide you, give you direction for your life, help heal your past hurts".
Later in the book a pastor speaks on the same theme and once again God spoke to me with ideas of what I wanted to say to those who are struggling with their feelings about what has happened in their lives. So often people are troubled by tragedy...I know that I was. You can't understand why God allows it. How often do we hear 'why do bad things always happen to good people'? The fact is that evil surrounds us. What I never realized until earlier this year when I truly read Genesis and studied what happened there on that fateful day in the garden of Eden is that is where evil began but that God knew all along that it could happen. He created Adam and Eve with free will just as he creates us with free will. They chose to disobey and since that day their choice, the results of their original sin has continued to plague us. But one thing is so so so very clear to me...GOD DOES NOT CAUSE EVIL...but he does allow it. Evil entered the world on the very day that Adam stood by and let Eve be taken in by the snake. Evil began when Eve took that first bite and then convinced Adam to do the same. But God understands what a problematic world we live in and he wants us to live victoriously in it. He gave us Jesus so that our sins could be forgiven because he knew we could not do it alone.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28
It is so hard to know what to do when your heart is so wounded, when you feel so lost. So often we look for the answers in the wrong places and you wait for something to happen that will fill us full of hope and peace. I know that I did that for a great many months after we lost Cole. I kept thinking that I knew the reason things happened. I knew why we were experiencing this, the lesson we were to learn... I mean it had to have been to make us work better as a family and damn it why couldn't Geoff figure that out, why did he have to call me day after day with complaints about how hard it was for him with the boys and the house and.... Yeah...I was so sure that I had it all figured out and I never listened to voice of the spirit telling me to open my heart to him. I think as children and young adults...heck even as older adults that we are taught to look for God through the 'good things' in our lives...job satisfaction, success, popularity, dedication to a church etc.
We seem to think that if we are doing good that God gives us good things and if we aren't getting what we want then we think He must think we are bad. We are often lead to believe that if we live a life of service, do good deeds, go to church, donate money, help others and say we believe in God that we are doing what we need to do to ensure our place in Heaven. When we question what God is doing in our lives then we question if Heaven even exits. But Jesus tells us in his word that He is the answer to our deepest longings. Only He can relieve us of that heavy load of guilt and sin we carry around. Only He can lift the burdens we carry, the sorrows that fill our hearts. If we turn to him and tell him how we feel, tell him how lost we are, how guilty we feel, how confused, angry, bitter etc... if we tell him he will not be surprised... he already knows. He knows what burdens we carry and he just wants us to hand them to him. He is just waiting for us to come to the cross and lay them down at his feet. It may not ever be easy to understand why things happen.
It may never make sense and it may hurt forever... God never said it would be easy and never promised our lives would be free of pain. But he did promise us salvation and an opportunity to see our loved ones again if only we could accept that Jesus came and died for us so that we could live eternally and commit our lives to trying to follow his teachings. Doesn't mean you can't question, doesn't mean you won't be angry, doesn't mean your life will be without sorrow. But it does mean that one day your life will be filled with much joy, hope and peace.