Thoughts, Truth

Why sit we here until we die?

In view of what God has brought my family through recently most of my postings have been what God has shown us as we walk this path were are on. The fortunate thing is—God’s Word applies to every aspect of our lives. What God has revealed to help us through our loss can be reapplied to help someone else through financial crisis, the betrayal of a spouse or friend, illness, etc. The very things in our lives that the enemy uses to completely immobilize us can be the very thing that God redeems to bring us into the most fruitful time of our lives. As we place our trust in Him, God will bring the truth of His Word that we have hidden in our hearts to our remembrance.

The loss of a child is a particular pain that is not easy to overcome. It’s a pain that I have heard spoken of many times but couldn’t even come close to grasping until I found myself face to face with it. I found myself desperate to reclaim my life, to achieve a sense of normalcy. But all my body—my flesh—wanted to do was sit. Wallow. Oh, how I wanted to wallow—to clothe myself in despondency. As I sat in my favorite chair, feet propped up, remote in hand, prepared for day two of whatever I could find to avoid what I was facing; I heard these words… “Why sit we here until we die?” I had read those words before. Why sit we here until we die? I knew they were in the Bible, somewhere in the Old Testament. So I consulted my know-it-all friend, Google.

The story is found in 2 Kings 7 starting in verse 3. “Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, “Why are we sitting here until we die?”

These men were faced with a choice—not a very enticing choice—but a choice nonetheless. In those days lepers were kept outside the city, away from everyone. Isolated. Option One: They could stay where they were and starve. Option Two: They could attempt to enter the famine-starved city where they were not allowed and were not welcome. Option Three: They could surrender to the Syrian army where they would either be fed or killed. Really. Not a choice I would like to make. But what did they have to lose?

They rose at twilight to go to the camp of the Syrians; and when they had come to the outskirts of the Syrian camp, to their surprise no one was there. For the Lord had caused the army of the Syrians to hear the noise of chariots and the noise of horses—the noise of a great army (2 Kings 7:5-7a) The Syrians assumed that the Israelites had hired some extra muscle to help them out, so they ran. They ran and left everything intact. Their camp, their tents, their horses, donkeys. Everything.

The four lepers fell on their spoils and ate and drank their fill. They began to squirrel away treasures when they remembered their countrymen who were trapped in a besieged city. Starving. They went to the gatekeeper of their city and shared the good news. He relayed the message to the king and—after a bit of drama due to unbelief on the king’s part—the people plundered the tents of the Syrians.

If those four men hadn’t made that simple choice to “get up and go.” This bit of history would have ended quite differently. We have the same choice to make. Do we sit here in the middle of our problems and quit? Do we go back to the place we started—to our past where there is no help for us? Or do we get up, dust ourselves off, and move forward! I chose the latter and I hope you do too. Because as we go, God will make a way for us.

Thoughts, Truth

Unstoppable

We had a special speaker in church last Sunday. He spoke on being unstoppable. The things that stop us and the things that urge us to press forward. After the events of the last month I feel pretty unstoppable. But I have been stopped before. By tiny, seemingly insignificant things.

The children of Israel. God rescued them from Egypt in an unmistakable and spectacular fashion. They experienced what I would think was the biggest mass healing ever as they partook of the atonement. And then they plundered their captors as they left. He provided an escape through the Red Sea. Through it! Not around it. One thing the speaker at church said stuck with me. He said, “The Spirit of God wants to lead us through, not around our trials.”

Through it, not around. There is growth in adversity, if its handled right. Once the Israelites were through the brunt of their trial…that’s when the whining and complaining began. They had experienced God’s deliverance. They had experienced God’s miraculous provision through the water from the rock, the manna, and the quail. They had experienced God’s guidance through the pillars of smoke and fire. He was with them through it all. What more did they want? As the whining reached its crescendo. They camped in the middle of the wilderness. Stopped by their own selfishness and disobedience. Stopped where God never intended them to be. God intended to guide them straight through to the other side. Instead they chose to wander, around the mountain they went.

We need to trust Him. He promised in His word that “He would never leave us or forsake us” (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5). “All His promises are Yes and Amen unto the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Louie Giglio preached a message that I love, “How Great is Our God.” If you’ve never watched it, do yourself a favor and do so. In it he talks about the bigness of our God and how small we are by comparison. And if we are small. Our problems must be teensy! Towards the end he talks about how people assume that we will always wake up to rosy circumstances. Does that happen…always? No. Can God do it? Yes. Absolutely. But if God wouldn’t deliver Jesus from carrying His cross, what makes us think He will do that for us. In the Word he tells us to “pick up our cross and follow Him.” (Matthew 16:24) Paul said that, “He died daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31). What God did promise us is that as we walk though the trials and tribulations of life He will be there right in the middle of it with us. And as we walk our weakness will be transformed into His strength. Our doubt will be transformed to faith. Our defeat will be transformed into victory. Keep walking, be unstoppable!

But we all with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Feelings, Thoughts, Truth

A day I won’t soon forget

On July 8th, 2013 I was changed forever. I have experienced plenty of loss and pain in my 35 years but this was different. This pain was utterly and completely personal.

Numbness with a dash of Revelation

It was a day that started with excitement and joy. My husband was making the two hour trek into work. But I was going to the doctor for my 16 week check up to see how our little girl, Isabel Hope was incubating. Instead, after the normal pleasantries, I was notified after a Doppler and two ultrasounds that our little girl was gone. Fetal demise. Two words I never thought I would hear describing any of my children. The doctor was speaking but my ears were ringing. Gone. Gone. She’s gone. My Pa and Grandma Debbie met me at the doctor’s office. As I walked out of the office the wall of strength I had held up against the doctor’s words broke and so did I. The tears came. Grandma Debbie reached her arms around me. My parents arrived and their arms joined hers. Trying to siphon off the grief that had wound its way around my heart. My husband called and in between gasps I relayed to him what I knew. She had died two weeks before. Before we had even picked her name she was gone.

For two days I wavered between numbness and unrelenting grief. God I know this wasn’t your plan. How could this have happened? How? Why? Both questions I knew wouldn’t be answered sufficiently on this side of eternity. My husband stayed home the first day. We lay in bed just trying to muster the strength to get up and do something, anything. As I sobbed into my pillow I found a picture on my phone of our seven year old daughter, Grace, taken two days before during our Sunday morning church service. She was at the altar, her eyes were closed, her hands were raised. Experiencing the presence of God as only a child can. Beautiful. Immediately my thoughts shifted to Isabel. My little girl I will never see this side of glory. Glory. GLORY. The only thing she will ever know. “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8) No pain. No sickness. No disappointment. Straight from the comfort of my womb into the presence of God. And a part of my heart began to heal.

Thursday, I readied myself for another doctor appointment. Time for a game plan. I couldn’t bear to be stuck in this twisted, grief-filled holding pattern any longer. I prayed, “God, if this is going to happen. If there is no way of escaping this path. Please, I know it will be hard for my husband and me but I want to see her. I want at least one memory I can hold onto.” As I stood there. God spoke. Strong and clear. Straight down deep into my spirit. “The enemy didn’t do this for her. Isabel is safe with me. He cannot touch her here. He did this for you. To destroy your calling as a worship leader. To destroy your husband’s calling as a minister. To destroy your family. To crush your faith and the faith of your children. To make you doubt even my very existence. Make no mistake. He did this for you.”

My husband says that you can preach the whole Bible out of John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John10:10 NKJV) As I have heard my Grandma Debbie preach many times. Good God. Bad devil.

As I pondered those words from God my spirit rose up strong within me and I shouted to the enemy of my soul, “YOU ARE A FOOL! God didn’t do this. You did this! You did it and you will regret this day. I will not give up. I will not turn away!” I meant it with every fiber of my being. From that moment forward I have had sadness and even tears but that all-encompassing, paralyzing, hopeless grief is gone.

That night my prayer was answered. After being in labor all evening, I rushed into my bathroom where she was born. Palm sized and perfect. Everything visibly where it should be. Eyes, ears, lips, button nose, arms, legs, fingers and toes. I held her and we gazed at her. Taking a picture with our minds. Our one memory this side of heaven.

Where things got interesting

Apparently the enemy wasn’t content with stealing the earthly existence of my baby girl. He had fixed his gaze on me. After she was delivered I breathed a sigh of relief. That wasn’t so bad. As I lay in bed ready for some healing sleep, the hemorrhaging began. So much so I just sat in the bathroom going in and out of consciousness leaning against my husband who was my pillar of strength through the night. Why wasn’t the bleeding slowing? We called 911.

As they rushed…um…rushed may be the wrong word. It felt as if some senior citizens were out for a Sunday morning cruise along the waterfront. Anyway. As we reached the hospital the doctors looked me over. Apparently the placenta was stuck. It made it halfway out which kept the flood gates open. I felt as if I was fading away. I was desperately trying to hold on. They lowered my head and got my feet up in the air to get what blood I had left where it could do the most good. After what seemed like an eternity the Obstetrician on call arrived and was finally able to get the placenta free. After they slammed a unit of blood into me (that was the exact word they used since they had to get it in so fast) things started looking up. After a second unit it was looking even better. 36 hours later they released me to complete my recovery at home.

Two weeks later I met with the doctor who saved my life in the Emergency Room. He informed me how glad he was that I didn’t try and make the 40 minute trip to Olympia. In his words… I wouldn’t have lasted that long. Thank God for the urgency in the Holy Spirit we felt to get help when we did. I had no idea how close I came to eternity.

It has been four weeks and two days since that night and I can say with absolute certainty that God has kept me. “And we know that ALL things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NKJV) We know He did not cause this, but we know the He will use it for His glory and purpose.