Saturday, August 4, 2012

2002: 40 Thoughts in 40 Days

(Forgive me...this is long...it was a long year!)

As I write this, like many others around the world, I am basking in the excitement of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Ten years ago, it was the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah that grabbed ahold of our attentions. While today we are celebrating the achievements of Gabrielle Douglas and Michael Phelps, in 2002, we were focused on Sarah Hughes, Bode Miller, and Apolo Anton Ohno.

It was also during the Winter Olympics celebration in 2002, that I discovered I was pregnant. I was surprised, and not entirely sure I was ready for another baby, but having only one child was never really part of "the plan", so...we moved forward spending those first few days and weeks reliving the excitement of what another baby would bring.

The happiness was short lived, as I would miscarry this baby just a few short weeks in...and we moved on.  We moved on through the year and throughout the summer, into August. I turned 30, and I was pregnant...again. And let's be honest. I was not excited, I was...hesitant. No, not even hesitant. It was more of a "Here we go again" attitude. Before we even had the opportunity to tell our friends, I found myself giving up hope as a 3rd child was lost yet again.  This led to an overwhelming period of poking, prodding, and testing with a fertility doctor. I was not looking to see how I could get pregnant, only trying to find out why I couldn't stay pregnant. I think I was in a rotten mood most of the time, I was angry with God, and when Dr.'s Poke and Prod couldn't give me any definitive answers, a heavy dose of cynicism set in.

And then there it was...that moment when everything stopped for the family. That one night when our lives changed forever, and my mother's world came crashing down around her. I think everyone hits a point within their life when it just seems as if all hell has broken loose and when we begin to ask, "How much more am I supposed to take?" Right about then...I was angry. I was resentful. I was cynical. And I was pissed off.

(I know I'm not supposed to say things like that. It goes against my character (most of the time) to be so...blunt. But I figure if I'm going to share the past 39 years of my life with all of you, I may as well be honest in doing so.)

In the weeks that followed, my anger slowly found it's voice - that's the good thing about being a stay-at-home mom, as it offered MANY opportunities for my own one-on-one conversations with God. I decided that if He was going to get so personal and interfere with my life, He had better have a good reason why and He had better fill me in on it! It was during one of our many conversations, I found myself at the point where all I could do was to cry out to Him, "Why? I just want to know why? JUST TELL ME WHY!" I heard Him simply say to me, "Look to Job."

Just stop what you're thinking....No, it was not an audible voice from the heavens, and there was no angelic choir announcing Him.  But when this passing, fleeting thought came into my head, I knew that it was God speaking to me. And how did I respond? I laughed. This is Job!  The man with the never ending whine! What in the world would Job possibly have to say to me?

Romans 15:4 - Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it's written for us. God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever He will do next.

When you read the book of Job, it doesn't take long to see that he loses pretty much everything, including his children. Suffice it to say, his whole world caved in overnight. We all have had a bad day at some point, but let's be honest. The verses that describe Job's loss continuously read, "While he was still speaking..." Yes indeed, this was a very bad day - the events that Job experienced in that one single day are something that maybe we've experienced in the course of at least a week if not a month or two.

But how did Job respond?

Job 1:20-22 - Job got to his feet, ripped his robe, shaved his head, then fell to the ground and worshiped: Naked I came from my mother's womb, naked I'll return to the womb of the earth. God gives, God takes. God's name be ever blessed. Not once through all this did Job sin; not once did he blame God.

Our children are a gift, and the appropriate response to a gift is gratitude. Job, even though he has just lost everything, thanks God for the gifts he had been given. I had to ask myself if I was willing to thank God for the gift He had given me and had now taken away. Could I loosen my grip on my children enough to feel the freedom of entrusting everything to His care, and welcome God to have his way with those I love?

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 - Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

The same God who gave Job all his possessions also had taken them away. Just as the same God who gave me the gift of that life inside of me, had chosen for whatever reason to bring that life back to Himself. I couldn't let the knowledge of this pull me away from God, but instead draw nearer to Him. I love my God for who He is, not just for what He gives.

10 years later, I can thank God for that short time He blessed me with a beautiful gift of each one of my children, those living and those who are not here on this earth with me, and I can also thank Him for those few years when my life was blessed by seeing a man who loved my mother with everything in him. 

Blessed be the name of the Lord!

C.

*Charles Swindoll. Job: A Man of Heroic Endurance
Nancy Guthrie. Holding On To Hope



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