Saturday, January 26, 2008

The WAIT poem

I'm skipping ahead a bit in my monthly devotionals based on Hannah's Hope because God has really put it on my heart that someone needs to read this tonight. I pray it will be an encouragement:

The following is copyrighted material taken from Hannah's Hope: Seeking God's Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage & Adoption Loss, chapter 15:

As Russell Kelfer so well expressed in one of my all-time favorite poems, "Wait" below, I often wished I could see enough of God's plan at least to know if the battle was even worth such grief. If only God would tell me, "Yes, someday you will have a baby," or even "No, my plans for you do not include a child," then I would have either been able to rest in the peace of knowing or grieve my losses and move on.
Living in the ongoing unknown made worship a true sacrifice. Blind faith was sometimes fearful, painful faith, especially whenever I tried to exercise it in my own strength. Fortunately, each time I made even the meekest attempt to reach out to the Lord, my Father was there to hold my hand and guide me along the way.

(Taken from "Follow Me!" by Russell Kelfer, copyright 1995.
Published by Discipleship Tape Ministries, Inc., and Into His Likeness Publications.
Used by permission.)

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried.
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, He replied.
I pleaded, and I wept for a clue to my fate,
And the Master so gently said, "Child, you must wait."

"Wait? You say wait?" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why.
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word.

"My future, and all to which I can relate
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me 'wait'?
I'm needing a 'yes,' or a go-ahead sign,
Or even a 'no,' to which I can resign.

"And Lord, you have promised that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord I've been asking, and this in my cry:
I'm weary of asking: I need a reply!"

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
As my Master replied once again, "You must wait."
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut
And grumbled to God; "So I'm waiting, for what?"

He seemed then to kneel and His eyes met with mine
And He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens, darken the sun,
Raise the dead, cause the mountains to run.

"All you see I could give, and pleased you would be.
You would have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of My love for each saint;
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.

"You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust, just by knowing I'm there.
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me,
When darkness and silence was all you could see.

"You would never experience that fullness of love
As the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth and the beat of my heart.

"The glow of My comfort late in the night'
The faith that I give when you walk without sight;
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

"And you never would know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that 'My grace is sufficient for thee.'
Yes, your dreams for that loved one o'ernight could come true,
But the loss! if you lost what I'm doing in you.

"So be silent, my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me.
And though oft' may My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of still...wait."

For Further Thought:
(From "Fear of the Unknown" by Ginger Garrett, Moments for Couples Who Long for Children, Colorado Springs, Colo.: NavPress, 2003, pages 39-40)
Our suffering can increase through the agony of not knowing when it will end and why God has allowed it. We want answers to questions that God does not seem eager to explain.... We imagine that if only God would tell us the day and time that our wait will end, we could relax and pace ourselves during our waiting.
But the idea that this suffering could stretch on indefinitely haunts us and makes the present much more difficult. We can stand short bursts of pain, such as in the dentist's chair or when we get a flu shot, because we kno the pain will end quickly and because we feel confident the suffering will produce a greater good. We don't seem to need or ask for God's strength in those moments...
Lack of control, however, with no sense of when the suffering will end or why God allows it, nudges us to an all-knowing, all-powerful Lord. God can best demonstrate who He is when we are paying careful attention. Perhaps that is one reason why He does not reveal to us His exact times and dates and reasons. We want Him to reveal the future - He wants to reveal His character.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

One Family's Journey Toward Adoption...Lost

Join Kris and Jim on their journey toward the adoption of Kira, starting near the beginning of a pregnancy and following step-by-step through all the joy and excitement, right up until the day of their would-be daughter's birth. The final post shares shining grace and a strength only God could provide at the news that this newborn child would not become their daughter after all. Path to Kira

Friday, January 18, 2008

Harvesting Hope from Heartache

On the Proverbs 31 Ministires blog (heads-up, the author is a mother of 5, 2 through adoption, so there will be occasional references to motherhood but not the theme of this post) there is a writing challenge this week. God pulled me from bed 2 hours early this morning, prompting me to write my article for this contest. But when I took a quick visit to the Hannah's Prayer Community Forums (message boards) before coming here, He quickly made it clear that what I had planned to write was not what He wanted me to say this morning. She I'm tossing my notes aside and giving a heart answer to a grieving friend instead.

After sharing of the deaths of two grandmothers and her unborn (six-years-awaited) child all within a two month time span, she writes:
"How do I trust Him and what am I trusting? I want to trust that this will never happen again and I know that isn't possible. I have been such a faithful Christian, I go to church every week, I [serve om multiple] ministries, what else do I need to do to be blessed with biologically carrying a child?
"I just don't understand and I am so confused right now. I am scared of how mad at God I am!"

Precious Friend, my heart hurts for all the trials you have endured. I'm sure you have heard that grief has stages. You are facing two very distinct kinds of grief right now - the profound and specific losses of three precious to you (all in a very compact timeframe), and the ongoing, less definable but every bit as real, ongoing grief of loss upon loss, month upon month, hope upon hope, dream upon dream. Anger is one very valid stage of grief, as is "bargaining" (as reflected by your questions above).

I struggled with these same questions. Not just struggled, but wrestled and fought under their weight as you do! In the end God reminded me that just as I cannot earn His grace, a child is also a gift, not a right, and that He alone is the giver of good gifts. He gives them to whom He chooses, in the timing that He deems most perfect. He does not give according to "merit" for all my works are still broken offerings and worthless rags. He gives according to His goodness and best plan.

As much as I long to give you a "formula" I can only speak from having survived those depths where you now find yourself and encourage you to remember that you cannot earn a baby. The Psalm "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." had me convinced otherwise for a time, that if I could just show God how much I was doing for His service, that surly He would honor that. And then one day, in as close to any "audible voice from God" experience I've ever know, He impressed so clearly on my heart that I had the totally wrong idea of what it meant to "delight" in Him with, "My child, you cannot treat me according to the gifts I choose to give or to withhold. I am Worthy of your praise, with or without a baby!" It was then that I realized that a baby had become an idol to me, taking my focus and God's rightful place of longing in my heart.

This realization wasn't an immediate fix, didn't make me "all better" over night, and certainly didn't instantly cause my womb to become fertile. But it was a significant turning point in my heart, the start on a pathway toward healing and freedom from anger's bitter grasp, the first glimmer of hope that there truly was light on the other side of that deep, dark, senseless valley of grief.

As for anger, I know that the anger itself can be a fearful thing. May I encourage you that your anger does not take God by surprise and that He is big enough to handle it? Death makes Him angry too. This fallen world is not as He designed it and death is an evil, vile thief. If we believe that God has the power to prevent such evil and yet chooses not to take action, why wouldn't we be angry with him? What God wants from you the most right now is your honesty, with yourself and with Him. Let Him know exactly how angry you are, why you are angry, how you feel betrayed... Hold nothing back. Yell it out to Him if you need to. Start a journal and get it all out there in black and white.

And then, once you have laid yourself bare before Him, ask Him to take all that brokenness, bitterness, disappointment, grief, and more, and replace it with heart healing and peace. He is the author of hope and we are promised that when our hope is in Him (not elsewhere, like in a baby) that He does not disappoint. I am not saying this to crush your dreams that God may yet have motherhood in His plans for you. In fact, it is my earnest prayer that He does, and from a human standpoint I pray that this answer to prayer comes much sooner than later. I am simply saying that when we get to this stage of grief, our needs are far bigger than simply that of conception. While there is nothing you can do to "earn" a baby (and you will only make yourself more miserable in the attempt), please allow God to start bringing Life in a new way as He is the only one who can meet this terrible heartache.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Inner Beauty

I recently started a fun new blog called Let Your Inner Beauty Shine as part of my Inner Beauty Girlz outreach. The blog features Affordable Mineral Makeup and offers a ton of great beauty tricks, makeup tips, devotional reflections on beauty that delights the Lord, book and product reviews and of course give-aways! I would love to invite you to come join me for a little light-hearted fun to lift your heart and Let Your Inner Beauty Shine today!