My life verse seems to be popping up everywhere I turn right now, and I believe the Lord is faithfully reminding me of this truth. Yesterday morning when I flipped my daily Scripture calendar over, there it was:
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)
Sunday morning in my home church, there it was listed on the bulletin:
"Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He's the one who will keep you on track." (Proverbs 3:5-6 The Message)
A dear friend of mine shared these thoughts with me recently, and they so gripped my heart. As I read, I wept...
That was the ultrasound tech's gentle reply when my husband asked where the heartbeat was. I’ve miscarried twice before. But this time I had made it almost through the first trimester. Sure there had been signs of difficulty but two previous ultrasounds had revealed a healthy growing little one. We were getting excited. I had hoped we could announce this little one's arrival on April 25th, the due date of the one we lost last September.
I wasn’t expecting her to say that. Not this time. I had been telling myself that there was still the possibility that something could happen. But I had begun to hope. We were making plans. We had laughed with other couples in the hallway at the doctor’s office. I heard the guys joking about their wives' cravings.
Our drive to the office had been joyful, full of plans. Our drive home was quiet, filled with sorrow.
“Three in heaven, three with us,” I hear myself saying out loud. Many women experience this. How many have never breathed a word and just hurt in silence, my husband wonders. Miscarriage is something you’re supposed to grieve for a day and get over and move on. Don’t talk about it, it makes others uncomfortable. Don’t dwell on it. Cry today and move on tomorrow. That’s what my mind tells me. But my heart screams out – this was a life just like my three other children, just as precious.
I should be angry with God some say, because after all, He could have stopped this from happening. Yes, He could have. No, I am not angry. In the midst of my pain and heart ache, I feel my soul crying out for Him, for a sense of His presence. I have learned that He is the one I most long to turn to when my heart is broken. He made my heart, He created my soul. Why would I run from the only one who knows how to heal what is broken?
I don’t know why. But I know whom I have believed. Yes, in my years I’ve had time to learn that He is who He says He is. In my earlier years I knew this in my head. But I had not yet experienced it yet. I know now that He has never let us down. He hasn’t always explained what He’s been up to. But He has not let us down.
And He comes – He comes in the loving words of friends and family, He comes in the emails and in my husband's hugs. He comes in his assurance that whatever I need to do or say or be, it’s ok to do or say or be. He comes in songs with lyrics that have a new meaning. Most of all He comes in Scripture. The nearness of God is my good. He is the God of all comfort. Great is Your faithfulness. Your mercies are new every morning.
We all experience our own life's heartaches, disappointments, questions...the place to go is to the Word of God. So many of my closest friends are facing very difficult situations in their own lives...an aging parent that needs constant care, the loss of a child due to cancer, the loss of a job, health problems, a wayward child, financial difficulties, relational struggles. On and on the list could go. I just started reading a book written by Larry Crabb entitled Shattered Dreams - God's Unexpected Pathway to Joy. What God is reminding me is that these trials are temporary, and we, in our humanity, tend to first look at the trial itself, instead of looking to the One who holds that trial in the very palm of His hand. And I have been through enough of them to know that He knows what He is doing, what He is allowing, and that if we will "Fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our faith," (Hebrews 12:2), we will begin to see our own shattered dreams as pieces in a larger puzzle, a mere chapter in a larger story. And the more of them we live through, looking to Him and not the circumstances, the easier it becomes to trust Him when the next one rolls around, because He has proven Himself faithful in the past, and He will be Who He says He is.
This month is going to be a busy one!! This weekend Hannah and I head to Spartanburg for the Miss South Carolina Pageant Forum, where she will have the opportunity to perform her talent for the competition in front of all of the other contestants and officials, as well as attending meetings about the final details of the competition that will be June 25-July 3. In addition I have several concerts and events coming up. On Thursday I head to SouthGreenwoodPentecostalHolinessChurch for their Mother-Daughter banquet. On May 14th, I am looking forward to sharing at a Ladies event at FellowshipBibleChurch here in town and on May 22nd I return to Greenwood, SC for another Ladies event at HarrisBaptistChurch. The last weekend in May takes me to Louisiana where I will be participating at a women’s conference as well as the Sunday morning service at OldBethelBaptistChurch in Clarks and then June 1st takes me to GreenhillBaptistChurch here in West Columbia.
Jennifer and I are currently looking for some churches that would be interested in hosting me as a part of their summer concert series. The weekends of June 13th, June 20th, and July 25th in particular are open at this time and I would love to head your way for a love-offering concert if your church has an opening.
On the Home Front
So many of you have asked how Ross is doing, and I appreciate your interest and continued prayers as we all seek the Lord in this situation. He is very much enjoying the "man time" with his dad, as he calls it, and I am coming to understand it's a natural progression of life for a young man his age to need time with his father. Of course I miss seeing him daily, but am very much looking forward to the summer months that he will spend with us here.
Although Hannah and I didn't quite make it to the end of the Bible in 90 Days Challenge with our church student ministries, we are going to keep plugging along, knowing we will finish in God's time for us. The point is to be in His Word, daily. To be able to trust Him through the most difficult circumstances in our lives, we have to know Him. To know Him, we must spend time with Him, daily. Then because of the investment of time into that relationship, we can have the perspective my dear friend had in the midst of such devastating loss. He is faithful.