A Healing Misunderstanding of Mine

March 16, 2010 at 11:00 AM 1 comment

Many people wonder how I have such a strong faith and love for the Lord even though I have experienced such a strong season of sorrow in my life…

At Hailey’s memorial service I wrote a note that was shared by a family friend; I wrote:

…today we don’t mourn the loss of a life cut too short nor are we angry with God, we celebrate the life of our amazing daughter and the miraculous 36 days she lived…

At my dad’s memorial service I wrote and read something similar:

While someone may expect me to be bitter or angry about the loss of my daughter and the loss of my dad within such a short period of time, I am not. Instead, I want to tell you all how thankful I am to have such an amazing Heavenly father and how thankful I am that He blessed me with such an amazing earthly father…

Well let me tell you, my faith has even surprised me at times.

The moments of peace, joy, and contentment that God has given me surprise me. Before Hailey passed away and I attempted to visualize life without her, I thought I would be devastated, paralyzed by grief, and I couldn’t imagine myself ever healing. I never thought in a million years that only 3 months later I would be where I am at. God surprises me, but really His faithfulness shouldn’t.

At first, when Hailey was born, my faith in trusting God was like instinct. I didn’t even think twice about trusting Him, about knowing His will would be done, about Him loving me, loving Hailey, having a plan, etc. Didn’t think twice, didn’t bat an eye. It was natural for me to turn straight TO GOD as these waves came crashing down on me instead of AWAY.

But I am an imperfect person. My faith stands strong, but I will admit it has shaken.

There have been nights spent sobbing and sleepless. There have been days I have literally curled myself into the fetal position on the cold tile floor of my bathroom and gave into the grief and sobbed in the dark until I had no energy left to sob, until my tears ran dry.

I have had days where I have hit the bottom, where I felt below the bottom, where my life and my future seemed to be ripped out from under me.

In those moments my heart has cried out to God… and at least once my mind has tried to shut Him out where I told him I didn’t understand him and I didn’t want this and I didn’t want Him. But deep down I knew my heart and so did God – I desperately wanted him and needed him regardless of my understanding him or not. Even in those moments, when part of me wanted to turn my back on God and become angry with Him, those desires didn’t last. My faith prevailed and continues to prevail.

But I have been to the bottom. I have let the storm overtake me and let it nearly drown me. Thankfully, my God and my husband who love me, save me and pick me up off the floor – cause I can’t do it myself. And thankfully these moments have been few and far between.

I have found a comfort and peace in my daughter’s death and in my father’s death that I didn’t know could exist. I know that God loves me and loves them both. I know that God has a purpose and He is in control. I had prayed that His will would be done in both of their lives, and I believe His will was done. I know that God does not want us to suffer, but He will let us and, most importantly, He will be there with us. I know that God doesn’t create every bad situation, but I also know that He CAN work good in any situation.

Those things I know and believe and those promises He provides in His word have carried me through and continue to carry me in my grief and uplift me and sustain me. I actually cried in the car the other day because of how overwhelming and amazing it is what God is doing in me. Have you ever cried because you can’t believe how much someone loves you? I cried because I was overwhelmed by God’s love. And I cried because I can’t imagine where I’d be right now without my relationship with God and my faith… or rather I can imagine and that is an ugly, dark place…

But a few weeks ago I was struggling with something. Something I thought I knew about God, but soon realized my knowing wasn’t knowing at all. It was an inaccurate perception I had.

One night before bed, I confessed my frustration with Josh. I repeated all those things above that I know to be true about God. And then I said, “But I don’t see how my future is going to be good like God says it’s going to be. My future is NOT good. My future seems HOPELESS. I don’t have my daughter with me. I’m not the mother I wanted to be. I’m going to be living approximately half of my life in the next 20 years without you by my side (because of the Army and deployments). I don’t have my dad to talk to or spend time with. The rest of my family lives far away from me. My future seems like I’m alone. I don’t see what good there is at all.”

Clearly, my statements bothered Josh. And bothered is probably too ‘light’ of a word to use. It’s probably more like I scared him (my lack of faith) and hurt him (me saying I don’t know what good there is in my future…when my future includes him).

I continued by saying something like, “I just don’t see the good and the prosperity and the hope that God promises in my future.”

Josh asked me where God promises that His plans for my future include ‘good,’ etc. He said he was pretty sure God didn’t promise that and I said I was sure He did. So I searched for the verses that the were floating around in my head, and while I did that he gave me the examples of John the Baptist’s life – he was imprisoned and beheaded, Paul, my fav person in the Bible, was arrested and imprisoned numerous times and spent the end of his life in a prison cell – those Christians did not have a ‘good’ end to their lives. Huh… forgot about that.

Here were the verses I was thinking of (even if you’re not a Christian you’ll probably recognize one of these if not both):

“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him…” (Romans 8:28).

Well, I read them to Josh and then realized he was right.

First of all, the first verse was God’s promise to Judah in the Old Testament. While some could argue it applies to modern Christians as well, my personal take on it is this (and obviously there will be ppl who disagree, even Christians who disagree). First, if I try to apply this to myself, it is true that God does not want to harm me (as evidence by other scripture), but He does allow harm to happen – if He didn’t there wouldn’t be a thing called free will that exists in the world. He doesn’t want it, but He allows it. Second, if I try to apply this verse to myself, what I think are God’s plans to give me hope and a future are really what I was thinking of as my own plans. Those words don’t mean that I should be hopeful because I will have a good, pain free, problem free life on Earth or that God will pour out all the blessings I can imagine on me in my future. This is where I had been mistaken. The hope God gives to me and others is Jesus Christ. The hope that I have is that Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection allow me to have eternal life with God. My hope and my reward are in my future in heaven – not here.

Now to the second verse. In my mind it was reading more like “God works good in the lives of those who love him” and some may say well that’s not entirely an incorrect reading. Well maybe I was reading it more like “God works MY good in my life.” That’s where I really become incorrect. God is not promising that I will have a good life in this verse. Really in this verse God’s promise is that HE will work the circumstances in my life for HIS good. And that is a truth that has clearly been revealed in my life. God really is working His good, and that is really what matters.

So not to depress anyone, but God does not promise that your life will be good or that your future will be good if you love Him. In fact, I was reminded of all the places in His word that promise the opposite – that our lives will be full of troubles and suffering – especially for Christians (and yes sometimes he will cause suffering but that is another story) (John 16:33, 1 Peter 4:12-13, 1 Peter 2:21). Thankfully, God promises He will not abandon us, He will draw near to us, He will heal us, He will comfort us, He will work everything for His good, and more. When can we ever get relief from all the pain and sorrow in this world? God promises that in Heaven.

No one, not even me, knows what my future will hold – only God does. And I am finally to the point where I’m okay with that. I might not get any of the things I want. All of the things that could possibly devastate me in the future, just might.But that’s okay because  this world is temporary and Heaven is eternal.

Within the past few days I have come to realize that my life actually is good. And Yes I even consider myself blessed. If you can’t believe I’m saying those things – you’re not the only one! But I can say that.

Also, as I am writing this I am reminded of some of my favorite quotes from The Shack so I think I’m going to write a separate post about that sometime soon…

Driving home from my exercise class last night, one thought filled my mind, and that one thought is how I will close this post: God is good!

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Entry filed under: Me. Tags: , , , .

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Back to Mack

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Jennifer  |  March 17, 2010 at 10:20 AM

    2 Tim 2:3 Endure hardship with us like a good Soldier of Christ Jesus. We are called to endure hard times…but we can try to smile while we are enduring!

    This is a hard lesson to learn, but a good one to learn early. It will make lessons later in life much easier to learn and understand.

    You have done a great job. God is using this for good…and you will even see that it can be YOUR good as well as HIS. That is what is nice about hindsight!! We will soon be able to see what we cannot now see. It is great…but makes you feel small for your attitude through it all (that is what I have learned from my own experiences in tough times…there is lots of good that I just can’t see at the time!).

    Keep up the good work…God loves you and so do we!

    JKSB

    Reply

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Dedication

"God gives, God takes. God's name be ever blessed." ~Job 1:21

In Loving Memory of Hailey Marie

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