the following blog includes several excerpts from my journal, written over the past month.
so many of you have loved us and encouraged us daily with cards, emails, and blog comments. i thank God for you everyday. we have heard many times now how strong and even surprising our faith has been during this trial. my first reaction to that is that i’m surprised too! but i stand firm on the fact that it is not anything we have done on our own. it is because of all of your prayers for us and God’s love and provision for us that we can be strong during this trial. but in order to be authentic here on this blog, it is important for me to share my struggles as well.
i was thinking the other day about God’s plan for jonathan’s life, you know, the one i mention over and over again here on this blog. i realized i tend to acknowledge it as if it stands alone; as if it’s compartmentalized and not a central component of my very being. the truth is, God’s plan for jonathan’s life has just as much meaning for him and his future as it does for me and my own journey of faith.
from the moment we learned of jonathan’s condition, through the months of anguish sure to come, my faith has been and perhaps still will be, shaken a bit. some days are worse than others. there are those moments where i’m just ready to shake my fist at God, scream aloud that it’s not fair, and turn my back. to know that at anytime in the next few days or months, i will be walking into a maternity ward to deliver a baby, and will most likely leave empty-handed and brokenhearted... how could God expect me to react any other way to such heart-wrenching conditions? i consider myself a strong believer, yet, i have never been placed in a circumstance quite like this, which requires me to walk out my faith like never before. in fact, the faith i’ve had for years now seems to be inadequate for the task ahead.
i guess i could sum up my faith prior to this, simply by saying that if i could bottle it, the label would say “caffeine-free, diet faith.” it lacks the quality ingredients that can only be gained by experiencing God in ways that go beyond the neat little phrases and familiar verses people use to somehow validate their faith. it's also much, much easier to believe in and love God when things are going well in life. while i have always chosen to believe everything He says is true; to walk by faith and not by sight…now it is like He is asking me directly, “so do you still believe everything I say I AM?”
there are times where i feel like i will totally be consumed by the sorrow of what's to come. i have never felt anything like it before. it makes my heart heavy and my stomach queasy. i feel like i breathe it in and it's thick and suffocating. it's exhausting to wake up every morning, even when i've gotten good sleep, and remember that i'm one day closer to my baby dying. it wears on my patience.
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ~Lamentations 3:22-23
i have mentioned in a previous blog post that to “let go and let God” (see, there’s one of those neat little phrases right there…) has been freeing for me. actually, it has been more than freeing…it has been exhilarating, like jumping in an icy-cold spring of water on an excruciatingly hot summer day. it is refreshing and cleansing. to see God at work, meeting me right where i am, without me doing much of anything except perhaps bringing to Him faith the size of a mustard seed…it’s incredible. there are days where my prayers sound exactly like this: “OK, God. Help.” and He does. He doesn’t take away my awful circumstances, but He makes them bearable. everything He promises me remains true. again, He proves that no matter what, i can trust in Him.
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. ~Psalm 3:5-6
what a journey of faith i am on. God has taught me more in the past few weeks than i have learned in 31 years. i am learning that in order to have strong, steadfast faith, one must endure trials and testing. the path is not easy, but i'm learning that where there is sorrow, there is still joy. where there are tears, there are still smiles. where there is trouble, there is still triumph. where there is silence, God still "speaks" to me through his word and gives me comfort that cannot be found anywhere else or through anyone else. my understanding of who God is has increased. my faith has become stronger, and for that i am thankful. one day, i would like to be at the point where i am thankful for this present suffering. one day, i would like to be able to look back at what i had walked through and, if i was given the choice to change my circumstances, that i would still choose not to change a single thing because of the faith, wisdom, and other blessings i had gained through the experience. i am not there yet, but i know it is a work in progress.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. ~ Romans 5:1-5
a sweet friend sent me this song during the time i was journaling these things about faith. maybe it will speak to you as it did to me: