Isn’t That Enough, Lord?

37067597 - young woman showing her denial with no on her hand

It’s enough, Lord. You can stop.

They’ve already had two miscarriages, isn’t that enough? They had a less than ideal childhood, isn’t that enough? Shouldn’t that cancel out anything bad in adulthood?  They already have a child with a disability, shouldn’t the rest of their children be perfectly healthy? Lord, their marriage is hard enough, can’t You heal it now and not allow any more brokenness? Lord, they’ve had one child die, will You please excuse them from having anything else tragic happen? They’ve already lost one parent to cancer, isn’t that enough? Lord, isn’t one tragedy enough? One diagnosis? One death? Why must some people endure so much, Lord?

It’s as if I think there should be a limit on our suffering.  A place we get to when there is no more because we’ve been. through. enough….and then I am reminded of God’s truths:  none of this pain, sin, suffering and death was in God’s original plan.  It all entered when the forbidden fruit was consumed.  He is not the one to blame, question or be angry with. His Word tells us we WILL have trouble (John 16:33) and to not be surprised at the fiery trials we are going through (1 Peter 4:12). He warns us about this world, which is good of Him.  Because in Him is no bad, just good. So while He allows “life” to happen to His people, people that love and honor Him, He can use it for our good and His glory. In this world we WILL have trouble.  In this world we will suffer and have tribulation and much affliction. And because God is good, there is a place, not of this world, when God says, “OK. That’s enough. It’s time to bring them Home.” And we enter Heaven. A place where sadness, death, sin, sickness, lying, cheating, addictions, pain, etc. are NO MORE.  Trials are part of this life but not part of our eternal home. THANK YOU, JESUS.

So until then, when we see people going through trial after trial after trial, or we are in that place, we can remain hopeful and remind ourselves and others of God’s mighty truths and promises.  He loves us.  He is good.  This isn’t our home.  Our world, our bodies and our lives are fallen. Broken. Sinful. Never to be truly whole, perfect and complete until Heaven. So we endure. We persevere. We remain steadfast under much trial. We have hope! We can trust God to act and work things together for good. We can rest in His love that is bigger than we can imagine. We can know that we know what we know, but we must not only know it, we must live it because others need this hope, too.

I recently read a book* that said instead of asking God “Why?” (which I do often) ask “What now?”. We usually don’t get an answer to our “Why?”, but our “What now?” can be answered.  By the power of the Holy Spirit we can know what now.

I like to tell God how to do His job and make little suggestions here and there that show how feeble my faith is.  How tied it is to the here-and-now, to circumstances and sometimes even people.  As Christians, our hope and our faith can only be in Him.  Because- (I’ll say it again) In the world you will have trouble! But take heart He has overcome the world and can overcome us!  When He overcomes us our faith will rest solely in Him.  Not in anyone else, not in ourselves, nor in our circumstances.  Our foundation must be laid on Him with hope in Him, expectant of Him to shine light in dark places, to bring something, anything good from tragedy and to show us who He is and how loved we are.

Thy will be done, Lord.  Not ours, Yours.  Everything we go through can be turned into good- for our good and for His glory…to make Him known. Relationships can be healed, we can seek Him more, and people can be saved.  We are talking eternal purposes here.  Things we cannot see or make sense of.  We have to trust. To stay in the place of trusting in who He is when we can’t even see through the tears.

What if, with my hand up asking God to “Stop, that’s enough”, I’m not only building a wedge between my Savior and me but I’m praying against the very things that could actually bring freedom, healing and wholeness this side of Heaven?  What if what He has for us on the other side of this suffering is better than anything we can imagine? What if He can really use us amidst our afflictions?

I have a dear group of friends that I am so grateful for, but as a whole, we have lived a lot of life in our 30-something years.  So I say to God, “That’s enough. We’re good. We have learned and will continue to persevere with one another’s help, but can’t this be enough?” I don’t always laugh at the future like the Proverbs 31 woman is supposed to, especially because I know we will experience more pain and heartache. More death. More sin. So, often, I fear the future.  BUT THEN…I’m reminded God holds the future and He holds each one of us. He will hold us up, strengthen us and give us the grace we need to put one foot in front of the other in faith and in life. He has also given us each other to walk through this life with and that is something we can praise Him for daily. We will see more bad…but we will see more good and we will see Jesus as we endure.

He is God. I am not. He is sovereign. Mighty. Loving and kind. All that we go through, good or bad can be used for His glory and our good. It’s a place- a mindset and a heart-set we must stay in to be victorious until we see Him again. When we are reunited with babies we never met, those that were gone way too soon, parents, grandparents and siblings…everything we have endured here will be gone. What will remain are the crowns we will receive.  Because we share in Christ’s sufferings, we will share with Him in Glory (1 Peter 4:13).

Rereading this I am reminded that one tragedy, death and ‘diagnosis’ was, in fact, enough. How tragic was Christ’s death on the cross? I can’t imagine what everyone was thinking.  But God knew.  He knew what would soon happen and how beautiful the discovery of Him being alive forever would be.  His is good and can take really, really bad and make good.  For you and for me, for all who believe.  Both of these events, Christ’s death and resurrection give us hope for now and eternal life to come.  What Christ endured for us is enough for us to have hope in the middle of suffering and enough for us to meet Him face to face one day.

Christ’s death on the cross, the resurrection…ok, that’s enough, Lord.

Blessed in the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12

 

*Safe in the Arms of God, John McArthur

 

Isn’t That Enough, Lord?

37067597 - young woman showing her denial with no on her hand

It’s enough, Lord. You can stop.

They’ve already had two miscarriages, isn’t that enough? They had a less than ideal childhood, isn’t that enough? Shouldn’t that cancel out anything bad in adulthood?  They already have a child with a disability, shouldn’t the rest of their children be perfectly healthy? Lord, their marriage is hard enough, can’t You heal it now and not allow any more brokenness? Lord, they’ve had one child die, will You please excuse them from having anything else tragic happen? They’ve already lost one parent to cancer, isn’t that enough? Lord, isn’t one tragedy enough? One diagnosis? One death? Why must some people endure so much, Lord?

It’s as if I think there should be a limit on our suffering.  A place we get to when there is no more because we’ve been. through. enough….and then I am reminded of God’s truths:  none of this pain, sin, suffering and death was in God’s original plan.  It all entered when the forbidden fruit was consumed.  He is not the one to blame, question or be angry with. His Word tells us we WILL have trouble (John 16:33) and to not be surprised at the fiery trials we are going through (1 Peter 4:12). He warns us about this world, which is good of Him.  Because in Him is no bad, just good. So while He allows “life” to happen to His people, people that love and honor Him, He can use it for our good and His glory. In this world we WILL have trouble.  In this world we will suffer and have tribulation and much affliction. And because God is good, there is a place, not of this world, when God says, “OK. That’s enough. It’s time to bring them Home.” And we enter Heaven. A place where sadness, death, sin, sickness, lying, cheating, addictions, pain, etc. are NO MORE.  Trials are part of this life but not part of our eternal home. THANK YOU, JESUS.

So until then, when we see people going through trial after trial after trial, or we are in that place, we can remain hopeful and remind ourselves and others of God’s mighty truths and promises.  He loves us.  He is good.  This isn’t our home.  Our world, our bodies and our lives are fallen. Broken. Sinful. Never to be truly whole, perfect and complete until Heaven. So we endure. We persevere. We remain steadfast under much trial. We have hope! We can trust God to act and work things together for good. We can rest in His love that is bigger than we can imagine. We can know that we know what we know, but we must not only know it, we must live it because others need this hope, too.

I recently read a book* that said instead of asking God “Why?” (which I do often) ask “What now?”. We usually don’t get an answer to our “Why?”, but our “What now?” can be answered.  By the power of the Holy Spirit we can know what now.

I like to tell God how to do His job and make little suggestions here and there that show how feeble my faith is.  How tied it is to the here-and-now, to circumstances and sometimes even people.  As Christians, our hope and our faith can only be in Him.  Because- (I’ll say it again) In the world you will have trouble! But take heart He has overcome the world and can overcome us!  When He overcomes us our faith will rest solely in Him.  Not in anyone else, not in ourselves, nor in our circumstances.  Our foundation must be laid on Him with hope in Him, expectant of Him to shine light in dark places, to bring something, anything good from tragedy and to show us who He is and how loved we are.

Thy will be done, Lord.  Not ours, Yours.  Everything we go through can be turned into good- for our good and for His glory…to make Him known. Relationships can be healed, we can seek Him more, and people can be saved.  We are talking eternal purposes here.  Things we cannot see or make sense of.  We have to trust. To stay in the place of trusting in who He is when we can’t even see through the tears.

What if, with my hand up asking God to “Stop, that’s enough”, I’m not only building a wedge between my Savior and me but I’m praying against the very things that could actually bring freedom, healing and wholeness this side of Heaven?  What if what He has for us on the other side of this suffering is better than anything we can imagine? What if He can really use us amidst our afflictions?

I have a dear group of friends that I am so grateful for, but as a whole, we have lived a lot of life in our 30-something years.  So I say to God, “That’s enough. We’re good. We have learned and will continue to persevere with one another’s help, but can’t this be enough?” I don’t always laugh at the future like the Proverbs 31 woman is supposed to, especially because I know we will experience more pain and heartache. More death. More sin. So, often, I fear the future.  BUT THEN…I’m reminded God holds the future and He holds each one of us. He will hold us up, strengthen us and give us the grace we need to put one foot in front of the other in faith and in life. He has also given us each other to walk through this life with and that is something we can praise Him for daily. We will see more bad…but we will see more good and we will see Jesus as we endure.

He is God. I am not. He is sovereign. Mighty. Loving and kind. All that we go through, good or bad can be used for His glory and our good. It’s a place- a mindset and a heart-set we must stay in to be victorious until we see Him again. When we are reunited with babies we never met, those that were gone way too soon, parents, grandparents and siblings…everything we have endured here will be gone. What will remain are the crowns we will receive.  Because we share in Christ’s sufferings, we will share with Him in Glory (1 Peter 4:13).

Rereading this I am reminded that one tragedy, death and ‘diagnosis’ was, in fact, enough. How tragic was Christ’s death on the cross? I can’t imagine what everyone was thinking.  But God knew.  He knew what would soon happen and how beautiful the discovery of Him being alive forever would be.  His is good and can take really, really bad and make good.  For you and for me, for all who believe.  Both of these events, Christ’s death and resurrection give us hope for now and eternal life to come.  What Christ endured for us is enough for us to have hope in the middle of suffering and enough for us to meet Him face to face one day.

Christ’s death on the cross, the resurrection…ok, that’s enough, Lord.

Blessed in the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12

 

*Safe in the Arms of God, John McArthur

 

Love Runs Red

For years, the kids* and I have worn red on Good Friday…here’s why.  Hope you will join us! #loverunsred2017

Tomorrow is Good Friday.  The day many, many years ago Jesus Christ sacrificed His perfect, blameless life for our salvation and redemption.  One man, one act, one horrific death for any and all.  It’s hard to comprehend!  I can’t think about that day without recognizing the significance of Christ’s bloodshed on the cross.

We all know what blood is, it’s the red fluid continuously circulating throughout our bodies composed of vital nutrients and transporting them to and from our organs.  It gives us life and without we cannot live…interesting, huh?

“For the life of a creature is in the blood…” Leviticus 17:11

In the Old Testament, God required animal sacrifices for the temporary forgiveness of sins.  Can you imagine?  I think it’s all I would be doing, sacrificing animals to live in a brief moment of freedom, a temporary time of forgiveness…wow.  Just wow.  I’m so grateful we live on this side of the cross, this side of grace, this side of the last blood shed for our permanent forgiveness…and then I think of what it cost and I’m overwhelmed and cannot believe I am loved so much– we all are!

“…without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Hebrews 9:22

With blood we have life, without it there is death.  Through Christ’s blood, poured out on the cross, we can truly have life and freedom.  His bloodshed wasn’t a temporary act like an animal sacrifice, but was and is a permanent reminder of our forgiveness of sins.  Of grace being enough; of Christ being enough.

“…and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in Heaven, by making peace through His blood shed on the cross.” Colossians 1:20

From the beating with the whips, to the crown of thorns, from the holes nailed in his hands and feet suspending Him on the cross, to the final pierce in His side, the weight of the sins, sadness and sufferings of the world were laid upon Him, one man, our Savior, Jesus…and then entered grace.  With each drop of blood that fell at the foot of the cross, each drop that rolled off of His brow, we are forgiven.  We are given grace.  Grace undeserved but given anyway.  We will continue to struggle with sin and sufferings until we meet our Savior face to face but no more is there a need for blood to be shed, just blood to be remembered and received.  Oh THANK YOU JESUS!

Love runs red.  On that dark day years ago and until He returns, His love runs red for each one of us.  Tomorrow we honor Him and remember His sacrifice by wearing red, won’t you join us!?

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us.” Ephesians 1:7, 8a (NIV)

 *Not all children will grasp the cross and what wearing red tomorrow truly means, but it’s never too early to start teaching them about the importance of Good Friday, Jesus’ sacrifice for us, sin and Heaven.  Pray for God to give you wisdom in speaking to your children on a level they can better understand.  There are several tools out there that can help, too.  Here are a few of our favorites:

10 Years Later

img_3249It’s hard to believe my brother Daniel has been gone 10 years.  An entire decade has gone by since we have seen his face, his smile, his hands that I loved…a long time since our ears have heard his laugh or hilarious sense of humor.  When Daniel died in his sleep on October 19, 2006 at 29, I just wanted to die right along with him and didn’t know how I would function without him in this world.  But God is good – great – and has been faithful to carry me and my family to where we are today.

Daniel died on a Thursday which made Thursdays a hard day for quite a while…but God is faithful. Our daughter came into the world a few years after he died on a Thursday.  Three years after that, our first son was born…on a Thursday.  Although our third gift from God came into the world in the early morning hours of a Tuesday, we found out we were pregnant with him on a Thursday (insert the praise hands and heart emojis please).

Reflecting on these last 10 years, I smile.  He knows the plans He has for us and they are good and filled with hope. I am reminded, too, that God is El Roi, the “God who sees.” When Daniel died, God could see the baby boy we would have in 2016, and knew his name would be Daniel. That is so amazing to me!

What God has shown me in all of this is that He is faithful and worthy of my trust.  He is faithful when I’m not, He is faithful when I can’t see; in the darkness, doubts and fears, HE IS FAITHFUL. And this has given me such confidence in seeing His faithfulness in all circumstances of life, big and small, good or bad, past, present and future.  His faithfulness is something we don’t always grasp when we are walking through the fire, but we must not let go of this life-giving truth.  We must hold onto His faithfulness, His never ending hope, no matter what life throws at us.  We can choose to see our circumstances or we can choose to see His faithfulness, in all things.

Last night as I held my baby Daniel, tears of gratitude streamed my face, Jeremiah 29:11 filled my thoughts, and deep joy filled my soul.  Canon in D played overhead and my thoughts drifted back to my brother’s time at our wedding…it was probably one of the best nights of his life.  He danced so much his legs maybe never recovered but he said it was worth it.  And then Twinkle Twinkle Little Star came on…that’s another story in itself but God’s faithfulness was evident, even in the two songs that played as I rocked my baby Daniel last night. 

The journey of healing from the sudden, close loss of my “Naniel” and the journey of my 3 babies I hold here and now are an awesome testimony of God’s faithfulness to me…to us.  And I am so grateful. The details I share and the ones I keep tucked close to my heart are all part of His beautiful plan that never ceases to amaze me.

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23

“Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens, your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.” Psalm 36:5

“For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and His faithfulness continues to each generation.”  Psalm 100:5

 

Hurricane Matthew: A Sign of the Times?

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A friend shared a post with me last night about hurricane Matthew possibly being a sign of the end times. It was quite interesting and I don’t know if it’s true, but it did make me think.

As Christians, we know the Lord once walked this earth. And, as we know His Word to be true, we know He will be coming back, we just don’t know when.

After reading this article I had an epiphany of sorts. Maybe it was more of a freak-out moment, but I saw my life, everything in it, mainly the “stuff” and all the things that keep me busy and exhausted and felt a pit growing in my stomach. I thought about the Christmas accent plates and coffee mugs that are currently in my cart on a website and how pointless they really are in the scheme of things. How pointless a lot of what I do is when I think of my Savior returning.

I’m deeply convicted of how comfortable and selfish I have been lately. This conviction has turned into more fuel for my fire to burn for Him. To live for the things that matter. To find the balance between this life full of distractions and walking in the fact that we are getting closer to the end. To no longer be lazy or complacent but proactive in prayer and passionate about sharing Jesus with others. To live each day based on the fact Jesus IS coming back and so many people do not know the hope, love and promises He has to offer.

John the Baptist paved the way for his cousin Jesus. He was the “voice in the wilderness” with hope of the promised Savior. As Christians in this day and age, is it not our job also to pave the way for Christ’s second coming??  To be voices in this wilderness of stuff, busyness, sin and muck???

Our lives are but vapors.  Everything we try so hard to control or attain is fleeting and does not always have eternal purposes.  I think of the Haitians who, once again, have been struck by a catastrophic disaster.  It’s devastating and breaks my heart. I think of the many Americans on the east coast who have left all their belongings to flee from this massive storm…it really puts things into perspective!

This hurricane, this Matthew, whether an end time event or not, is a call to prayer and a place for God to move in our hearts and in our world. People are hurting, people need hope; we all need Jesus.  What a glorious day it will be when He returns, but until then, brothers and sisters in Christ, let’s pave the way and be voices in the wilderness.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega-the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come-the Almighty One.” Revelation 1:8

“You must also be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.” Luke 12:40

With God

FullSizeRender (1)When the doctor handed him to me, I knew it was really happening but I still couldn’t believe it.  With a room full of those I love crying with me, it was real but so surreal.  And now he looks at me, deep into my eyes, and smiles. And I am captivated.  I can’t quit thanking God, and a lot of times I cry because I cannot believe I get to be a mom again. A mom to this sweet boy, a boy named Daniel. He’s such a gift, in so many ways, sent from God at just the right time.

When I think back to 10 years ago when all I wanted was a baby and look at now, seeing what God has done, I cannot keep it together. It’s so overwhelming and I can, today, say that the pain of infertility and miscarriages was worth it. These children were each one worth the wait, the struggle, the heartache. Joy comes in the morning, whenever that morning might be. I no longer mourn our many losses or ask God why because I know His plan for our family was and is perfect…and far better than I could’ve imagined.

With God all things are possible.

All things, everything.  That thing we think is impossible and could never happen…with God is possible. That thing man says will never happen…with God it is possible. When the world tells us it will never happen, when our circumstances or past experiences paint the picture that it will never happen, we can never say never when it comes to our God.  What we see with our small human eyes is nothing compared to what He can do and has planned for each one of us. Oh that we would stay in a posture of knowing that no matter what, with God all things are possible!

At 6 weeks pregnant, When I hit publish on the blogpost “And So We Wait” I immediately ran far away from my computer, sick to my stomach with anxiety at what I had just put out there. Looking back, I truly feel the prayers of many carried this baby to term.  Each of you that stormed the gates of Heaven on our behalf played a special part in Daniel’s life.  We thank you so much.

We are so in love, our hearts are so very full and we are having so much fun with our little gift. I give all glory to God.

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