Monday, December 3, 2012

Day 1 - December 1 - Hope

Sorry for the delay... a glitch with the home computers means I can't post from home right now so it's break time only at work or when I am somewhere with access.
Here is my post for Saturday...

This will be the third time I have blogged about this song…it’s just that powerful to me.  I can listen to it and cry and I can listen to it and smile…all depends on the day.  For those who don’t know, it was written by a man named Steven Curtis Chapman. Chapman is a Christian musician who, just a few months before crisis struck my own family, was struck by his own personal tragedy. His daughter, Maria Sue, adopted from China, was struck and killed in her own driveway by an SUV driven by her 17 year old brother. This family was shattered but still filled with hope, still able to see the light of God at this sad time. 

With Hope 

This is not at all
How we thought it was supposed to be
We had so many plans for you
We has so many dreams
But now you've gone away
And left us with the memories of your smile
And nothing we can say
And nothing we can do
Can take away the pain
The pain of losing you

And we can cry with hope
We can say good-bye with hope
'Cause we know our good-bye is not the end
And we can grieve with hope
'Cause we believe with hope
There's a place where we'll see your face again
We'll see your face again

And never have I known
Anything so hard to understand
And never have I questioned more
The wisdom of God's plan
But through the cloud of tears
I see the Father smile and say 'well done.'
And I imagine you
Where you wanted most to be
Seeing all your dreams come true
'Cause now your home
And now your free

We have this hope as an anchor
'Cause we believe that everything
God promised us is true

We wait with hope
And we ache with hope
We hold on with hope
We let go with hope

 I just began reading a book written by Mary Beth Chapman, Maria Sue’s mom.  I am not even more then 1/8th of the way into it and have already found inspiration in this amazing writing.  And it’s the writing format that I am finding inspiration in.  I just might get the story of our journey written (in a 3rd format) some day…but that is a story for another day.  Steven wrote a series of songs in this dark time in their lives and so many of them speak to those who have lost a child.  Times are dark in loss, so often it is so hard not to question God.  How could something (someone) so good make something so bad happen is often what I hear? I know I just wrote about this subject a few posts ago so I don’t need to go into my feelings here except to say that I truly believe that bad things just happen…because there is evil in the world, because God is powerless to stop some things, because it just happens… not really sure what is the best thing to say there.  Finding hope in loss is next to impossible at times.  I know I needed to grab a hold of anything I could to be hopeful about.  I remember waking each morning in those dark times, forgetting or maybe just ignoring what had happened and feeling hopeful.  And then the memory would return, reality would crash around me and I would be sobbing once again.  But as the day moved on I would feel Cameron move, I would have sweet moments with the other boys and I would find a glimmer of hope in the dark day.  And as time went on I would go up and down in hopefulness and hopelessness.  Every day brought struggles but every day also brought hope.  I learned over time that I could find comfort in my faith in God, in my belief that Cole was in Heaven and that I would see him again.  I learned to say goodbye ‘with hope’ because I knew that I would see him again.  I didn’t have answers and there were so so so many questions but I learned, over a very long period of time, that I could trust God, that he knew where I was going, he knew I could get there. 
Last year when I blogged about this song I found an article written by another Christian blogger. And felt, then, like I could connect with it so much.  And that was a year ago… when I truly was just at the beginning of the amazing transformation that has happened within my faith, before I explored it the way I have and before I publicly declared that I believe Jesus died for me, to save me and dedicated myself to him.  And before I spent a year really exploring my purpose in this faith journey and how it connects to other families who have experienced loss. Now the article means even more.
What was asked of the author and has been asked of me is  Where is the hope in this death of Steven Curtis Chapman’s daughter? How can you say God is good?

I will be blunt and honest here… it is next to impossible to say “God is good,” during situations that shatter our hearts and bring us to utter despair and pain.  But if I have learned anything in the last year (or more) is that the path to hope and healing always goes through doubt, pain, anger, grief, and mourning. But more than that, if we aren’t able to tell God honestly how down right angry, bitter and in pain we are and to not doubt tell him our doubts just makes our relationship with Christ weak and incomplete.  We have to be to speak these things and trust that his redemptive power and grace is very real, that he understands and knows how we are hurting.

There is a path that leads to the acceptance of what has broken our hearts… 'There is Hope because Death Does Not Have the Final Say!' I cannot speak for God, I do not know anything for certain and would never profess to be very knowledgeable here but I do not believe the death of Maria Sue, Cole, any of our TTTS angels or any person who has left this earth suddenly and before their earthly family felt was their time, was the will of God. It has always bothered me that people so easily “this was the will of God” and concerns me even more when those of strong Christian faith do it.   Why??? Because it is not what the questioning believer needs to hear, it’s not helping them to trust God in most cases. But nevertheless, it is not outside the 'Sovereignty of God.  In other words, God is in control, remains in control and will always be in control. God was not surprised. He is sovereign and He alone is God'
There is HOPE – even in this tragedy, in all the losses we feel so hurtful about this holiday season – because it cannot separate us from the love of God that is so clearly spoken of in scripture:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 8:38-39]

There is HOPE because the families that have lost a child do not journey alone. Many of us have seen and felt this…the outpouring of love that others show when tragedy strikes.   The number of people who read blogs and facebook support groups of families they have never met and send heartfelt messages of support. 'People care. The body of Christ cares. When we don’t have the courage and strength to HOPE, others HOPE for us. No one person or one family exists on an island to themselves. This is the beauty of the body of Christ'.

There is HOPE because, God cares. He has not forgotten us. He will not forsake us. And He continues to use all circumstances and situations – even tragedies – to bring His children and the larger creation – back to him.   'God restores. God reconciles. God redeems. There is HOPE because there is Life beyond this world. There is HOPE because in short, there is God. '

God is HOPE.
IN short I guess I would say tragedy isn't God's will but His response is...and our response hinges on that. Nothing can take away His love, nothing can seperate us from Him. When we can't find hope others will find it for us. When tragedy strikes it is often how we cope that is the thing of hope.

For me I know that the life I live here on earth must reflect my journey back to God and in turn back to Cole and to all who have gone on to Heaven. Being positive, helping others, finding a focus and purpose for the journey Twin to Twin Transfusion put us on will bring me closer to him, to both of them.
I can and will live my life 'with Hope'.

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