Archive for June, 2012
“Who?” you might ask. My dear, sweet daughter Carsyn. Today would be her 5th birthday had she not been stillborn. Her birthday serves as a reminder for our family of one of the darkest seasons we have encountered. In a moment like that, there are no words of comfort for someone who has just been told “I’m sorry; we cannot find your baby’s heartbeat. She has died.” There is grief. Even though, we never heard her laugh or saw her smile. Even though, I never comforted her when she was crying or read her a book or played with her and her dolls…there is grief. There is sadness. She is, to this day, part of our family, though. Her picture hangs on our wall with the rest of the childrens’ pictures. She come up in our conversations.
Our older 2 children were 3 and 2, then, so obviously their recollection of that time is minimal, though the oldest still remembers and hurts for her younger sister she never knew. As kids, though, they were unaware of layers of the other circumstances that my wife were dealing with. Having left a difficult church situation, the stress of moving into the upstairs of my parents home, “leaving” ministry with no perceivable prospect of return in sight, returning to a job and life that I had not expected to go back to…things were difficult for us. Uncertain, at best.
I find myself reflecting often on the circumstances of 2007 in hopes that the Lord will not allow me to become complacent and stagnant in life. Of course, I do not desire that to return to that valley, but I, also, do not want to forget the lessons that God taught me during that time.
What did I learn then that I do not want to let go of? (note: this list is certainly not comprehensive)
1. Life is in God’s hands. Pretending I have any control or hand on life and death is pure foolishness. Furthermore, I do not need to understand death any more than I need to understand birth. I should not ask “Why did Carsyn die?” any more than I should ask “Why was Carsyn’s life created?”
2. Circumstances change; God does not. The Bible teaches that His mercies are new each morning, He is faithful and can be trusted with my hope (Lamentations 3:22-24). If I remain in and rely on God’s understanding, not my own, He will direct my paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
3. Contentment in the Lord must be of highest importance to my family. Paul writes, “I have learned to be content in all things.” and so must I (1 Timothy 6). Not just contentment with stuff but with His power over the ebb and flow of life.
4. One of the most often misquote…and misapplied verses in Scripture is 1 Corinthians 10:13. It says:
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it. (HCSB)
I’ve heard it many times with this verse as support, “God will not allow anything to happen to you that you can’t handle.” This verse does not say this, nor does the Bible, in any other place, teach this idea. This verse is talking about the temptation to sin not the trials of life. The whole point is that we can’t handle many (perhaps argument could be made for all) of life’s circumstances. We need God. We need to Him as recipient of our praise in the good times lest we think too highly of ourselves, and we need Him to sustain us during the difficult times by His peace.
5. The peace of God really does surpass all human understanding. If I set my heart to honestly seek the Lord “through prayer and petition with thanksgiving” in both good times and bad, the peace of God will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus, and, as a result, I will not worry about anything. (Philippians 4:6-7) Those outside the family of God do not, in fact, can not grasp this.
Why is this so important to me? Because as difficult as that season of life was for our family, God has shown us great mercy & grace over the last 5 years since. He has added 2 more amazing children our family and granted us loving relationships from our amazing church staff and church family…to name just a couple. God has shown us His kindness in more ways than I can name…and that is something I never want to forget!