My heart has been in so many places this past year. As I look back on 2012 I can’t help but smile at what God has done and how He’s chosen to do it. Right before Christmas last year I shared my prayer that my afflictions might be used to bring glory to God and that all the hurt in my life might not be in vain, but would be offered up as a sweet sacrifice.
Tripp and I got pregnant again in May and at the end of July I made an unexpected appointment with the doctor just to make sure everything was ok. It wasn’t. Our baby was gone, again. The little one we’d seen at 10 weeks kicking and moving was sitting lifeless before us on the screen. As I got up from the table, with this feeling of shock and disbelief all too familiar to me, I briskly walked through the crowded waiting room with my head down and tears streaming. Tripp asked if I wanted to go somewhere and talk but I just wanted to go home. Home, where I knew I could just cry and scream and let every single emotion flow.
As I sit here typing this, the tears are running down my face and my mind is going back to that place of heartache and pain I felt on that day and this is what God brought to my mind:
“....To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.” Isaiah 61:3
God has done this in my life. He has given me a crown of beauty, a joyous blessing and festive praise. He has given me all of this and more out of the depths of my despair and hopelessness.
I don’t know why God chose to take this precious baby from me. I don’t need to know the why’s to this question because I trust the one with the answers in the palm of His hands. I trust that the one who sacrificed His only Son for me, a wretched sinner, will transform my why’s and my questions into songs of praise. I trust that the one who drew me up from the pit and set my feet upon a rock will take my broken heart and put it back together again even stronger than before.
“In our times of suffering, God doesn’t give answers as much as he gives himself. And already in the Bible he has revealed more than enough of himself to give us solid reasons for faith - yet not enough to make our faith unnecessary.” Randy Alcorn
I have been so comforted by the words of Jesus in John 13. Jesus was preparing to wash the disciples’ feet. In those days peoples’ feet were extremely filthy, dirty and smelly and the feet washing was left mainly to the slaves or servants. Jesus came to Peter with a towel around his waist prepared to humble himself and wash his feet. Peter said, “Lord do you wash my feet?” and Jesus replied, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” A couple of verses later Peter responds with, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head.”
“Our understanding his purposes in a particular providence tends to be not as important to God as our trust in his character. One day we will understand. And we will, with great joy, proclaim, ‘The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works’ (Psalm 145:17).” John Piper
Jesus' words are the words that I whisper to myself over and over again when the kids have disobeyed me for the umpteenth time that morning, or at the end of the day when I sit back and wonder what is the point of my life, or when my heart just doesn’t feel like there’s anything left to give. I know that what God is doing in me in those moments of tension, struggle and pain are for my good and Jesus is right there ready to take my uncleanliness, my ugliness and bear it upon Himself. He is there to wash my feet. And all the while He calls me not to question but to trust, for what He is doing I do not understand now but afterwards I will.
This is just a little window into my heart and what God has been showing me this past year. I have so much more to share but will save that for another post - hopefully to come next week.