Monday, May 20, 2013

He is Gracious...

After my Mother's Day post, I almost wanted to do a Father's Day post. However, I am not my husband, and honestly, his feelings and struggles are his to share, not mine. I am not about to interview him, or ask him to write a post, because frankly, that's awkward.

However, as Father's Day is approaching, I want to take time to not only honor and love my husband, but respect him as well. In the last post I referenced a Bible verse in Genesis 25:21, " Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant."

As I wrote that excerpt, I was reminded on how obedient Simeon has been to the Lord. I hesitate to say some of these things, because it is an ugly time I will be referencing, and possibly unintentionally hurtful to some. I pray that you do not look at my past spiritual ugliness as much as you look at my husband's spiritual steadfastness. I am scared to write this, honestly, because it requires great humility and transparency on my part. 

In the early months after our third (and prayerfully, hopefully final) miscarriage, I was bitter. I was so bitter in fact, I would listen to no one. I would hate pregnant women. I would even hate their children. I hated people for what it seemed like not caring. I hated Simeon for not understanding. Most of all, I hated God. Oh how I hated him. Many nights I would throw things, break things, hit myself, want to commit suicide, shove Simeon to the side if he tried to comfort me, oh how I hated life. I was broken and miserable and I wanted everyone in my world to be the same--including my husband. I hated that he still trusted God. He still believed God wanted the best for us. I can't even count how many times I tried to convince Sim otherwise, and how many times I became even more angry and bitter, that he still believed what the Bible said. I was angry at Simeon! I was blaming him, blaming our past, blaming everything that I could as to why, we, of all people, were continually being crushed. I blamed Simeon for not being the spiritual leader he was called to be. (Ironic, isn't it? I was blaming Simeon for the very thing he was trying to do...spiritual leadership).

As I look back at how awful I was, I am reminded though, that Simeon stayed obedient. Even when he was torn apart with grief, even when his wife was screaming at him to not trust God anymore, even when it seemed that friend after friend was going to be parents, even when Satan used our past to deceive him, Simeon remained steadfast. There were probably a few stumbles along the way, but he was a man of God through it all, whilst I allowed Satan to have my heart and mind. Simeon didn't know how to deal with me. Once again, as I look back, I am so disgusted by how easy it was for me to not care about God. I am appalled with myself. I am completely and utterly broken by how much of my stuff my husband had to deal with.

Still, he obeyed. He prayed over me when I didn't know it. He read the Bible aloud when I wouldn't pay attention (I didn't want to, so I didn't). He pleaded with God over me. He said so much truth in the face of my hatred. He remained calm (most days) in the face of my outbursts. He begged with me to trust God, when all I did was refuse. He asked me one final question. He asked me if I would be willing to go to counseling. That even if I couldn't trust God, to please trust my husband. 

It was by the utter pure, loving, wondrous grace of God that I agreed. Every fleshly fiber in my body was screaming "NO!", but there was one tiny whisper, that pleaded, "go...". I don't know what made me agree, other than the fact, that Simeon needed a better wife. What I was, was awful, terrible, disgusting, debilitating, and dreadful to have to come home to. Frankly, I needed help. I felt like I was drowning in anguish. The more I clawed to get out, the deeper I was being pulled under. 

It has been 6 months since we have gone to counseling. We don't go every week, but we do Skype, and it is  perfectly blessed each time. Our mentors in this hard time have been nothing but encouraging, challenging, and trusting with us. God has shown Himself to us in ways we didn't even know possible. Every time we struggle, we read what we need to hear in the Word, or our mentors will share what we need. Sure, we don't have a child (yet). Sure, we still struggle with being thankful for the opportunity (and future ones) that God has given us through miscarrying. But we trust. We laugh. We cry without bitterness. We care without anger. We learn through a lens that most others may never have the opportunity to. We can learn through the lens of anguish, sadness, and trust. 

This time in our lives will more than likely never be looked upon with fondness, or "oh hey, remember when...". However, I will always look upon this time as a 'worse' in the vows we took-- a 'worse' that God turned into a 'better', because of the steadfast obedience of my husband. I will look upon this time, remembering when my husband was the spiritual leader, in the face of the biggest opposition--his wife. I will remember God's grace in this time.

I would hate to know where Simeon and I would be if he had listened to me. If he had given up. If he had allowed Satan to win this battle, through me. My husband became a warrior of God in my eyes, when he refused to bend a knee to the enemy, and that deserves more of my respect and love than anything he can physically do otherwise. I love my husband and as Father's Day approaches, I could not be more thankful, loving, or respectful, of who Simeon is as a husband, and as I know, a father someday. 

I am doubtful many men read this, (really many people at all), but this is my challenge to you. Please be such a strong man of God, that even when everything around you crumbles, and your wife may be the strongest opposition you may ever have to face, that you will remain strong in the Lord. Be such a strong man, that no matter what Satan throws at your family, you have the discernment, wisdom, and love for the Lord, that you will be able to lead your family in the right direction. Be an Isaac. Pray on behalf of your wife, for your wife, for the heart's desires in your wife, for your children, born and unborn, for yourself. Become Mordecai's and Daniel's  in sea of people who bow to the enemy of the Lord. 

"And all the king’s servants who were within the king’s gate bowed and paid homage to Haman, for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai would not bow or pay homage." Esther 3:1-4

"Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days." Daniel 6:10 (after a law passed to not petition anyone but the king for 30 days)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

He Comforts...

As Mother's Day is fast approaching, I find myself thankful that I am working instead of celebrating. As much as I would love to be celebrated as a mother, I find it difficult to even view myself as one. In my mind I know that I am one, I believe that I am one, but how do I view myself as a mother when there is no child here? No child I have had to care for. No child I have had to teach. No child I have had the pleasure of building memories with. No child I have been able to see grow, either in my womb or outside of. No child to watch smile, laugh, cry. No child to hold, hug, love, cuddle. No child to kiss away ouchies.

We are not pregnant. This is the only ultrasound we have from any of the pregnancies that show life. This is Nathaniel. 

As I have found myself looking at the negative, I have decided there are some things that I would love to say to all the mother's I know.

First of all, Happy Mother's Day. I pray that this day you recognize how blessed you are. I pray that you can prepare for the year/s ahead. I pray that you are truly blessed by someone on this day, because the calling of being a parent, is by far, one of the highest callings God has given anyone. Being responsible for the teaching of God's Word, with every action being watched by the little eyes of your child/ren, is a massive calling that God has chosen you for.

Second of all, I would love to emphasize how blessed you are. Take time to think of your children, and how amazing they are, from the very first signs of pregnancy to now. It doesn't matter that your house is a mess. It doesn't matter if they make you stressed. It doesn't matter if they have hijacked your body and have not yet given it back. It doesn't matter if they are the most stubborn, disobedient child. What matters is that God has entrusted the care of this living being, to you. What matters is that you are called to love this child as Christ loves us. To direct them. To teach them. To show Christ in your daily life. What matters is that you are blessed beyond measure with a child.

Third of all, I pray that you reach out to someone hurting, or yearning for a child. I am not saying this for my own benefit, please understand that. But I pray that you recognize the pain of this holiday for mother's that never got to hold their baby for the first time, or had to give their child back. If you know someone like that, please reach out to them. I challenge you to think of someone that ISN'T me and recognize them for being mothers. I pray that you find the Sarah's, Hannah's, Rachel's, Rebekah's, and even Mary's and bless them for being Mother's. Although Mary was not barren, she was more than likely shamed. Be a blessing to a Mary you know--show her that a child is a blessing, not a shame, not a curse. Show her the design for motherhood.

Lastly, I ask that you pray for each of these women who come to mind. Pray for their husbands to be strengthened in the Lord, so that Satan has no hold on the women on Mother's Day. Pray that God moves each and every one of them into His Will. (That is the prayer from my heart to the Lord's ears, and is quite possibly the safest thing to pray for, because you are asking for His Will to be done.)

As I finish this, I find myself not necessarily focusing on the negative, as much as I realize how God has entrusted me to carry these miscarriages.

Would Sarah become the Mother of Nations if God did not have a specific time for Isaac to be born?
 Genesis 17:15, "God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah."

Would Rebekah be the matriarch of the 12 tribes of Israel if she would have given birth sooner?
Genesis 25:21, " Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant."

Would Rachel be able to be the mother of Jacob (who saved Israel) if God's plan was interrupted?
Genesis 29:31, "When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless."

Would Samuel be so attuned to God and His word if his mother, Hannah, had not asked the Lord for him?
 1 Samuel 1:5, "But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb."

In each of these women, God entrusted them with not being able to give birth. While there were times of bitterness, jealousy, and yearning, in each of these women's lives, God entrusted them to not turn barreness to bitterness, joy to jealousy, caring to yearning. Would any of these women have impacted the world, and Christian faith as we know it, if they had given into their flesh completely? Would any of these women have impacted the world or our Bible, if they did not have upstanding husbands? Would any of these women have been able to have compassion and comfort for other women in their lives, as Christ does for us on a daily basis? God entrusted each of them, to somehow, someway, impact the world--even to this day. Pray for the women you know, to have an impact worthy of God's calling. Whether mothers who have their children right now, or not.

"All your sons will be taught of the LORD; And the well-being of your sons will be great." - Isaiah 54:13

Monday, May 6, 2013

He is Worthy....

"Worthy is the, Lamb who was slain,
Holy, holy is He.
Sing a new Song, to Him who sits on,
Heaven's mercy seat."

As I sang this in church yesterday, during worship, I realized something. Granted this song is not from the Bible, nor a commandment, but, the phrase "sing a new song" was heavy on my heart. What is my song that I sing to the Lord in my soul? Is it the same old same old ballad? Is it praise? It is thankful? Is it cheerful? Sing a new song. What should the song in my soul be?

On a different note, I ran my farthest run ever. 5.25 miles yesterday. As I was running the first two, there was an incredible pain right below my rib cage that was caused by my breathing. I stopped for a little, then decided to push myself and run even further than originally planned.

As I was running further, I started realizing some similarities between running and the Christian walk. For one, the devil tries to distract us, to cause us pain, to continue in pain. He does not want us to succeed. He wants us to stop.

I have heard it said (and say it myself) that running is at least 80% mental, and as long as you can get over that wall, you can succeed, and go even further than you thought you could in the first place. If you think about Satan being that wall, you always run into it, it's always scary, seemingly unable to get past. But, if you just push yourself, a little harder, than before, you run at that wall, and you show it/Satan who is boss. Not him. Not you. Christ.

At first I was discouraged because my time was longer per mile, but then I realized as well, that it was the furthest I had ever gone in one run, and one year and 2 months ago, I ran 1.75 miles less and way slower. Satan wants to come along side of us and discourage us from any improvement that we come across and remind us how far we have yet to go. Ignore him. He has no business telling us, whom believe in the blood-striped body of Jesus Christ, what we can and cannot do.

The very last thing was the endurance. Endurance for both running and a solid Christ following life, is essential, that we continue to run, to endure, for the promises that Christ has for us. Even if it hurts, even if you keep hitting an invisible wall, even if it seems impossible. Keep going. Keep running. There will be a victory, whether with running, or with Christ. The victory may seem small, but no victory is a small one.