Even When It’s Hard

     Roman’s 12 is just hard. I have been reading in Roman’s for months now. I have wrestled with almost all of it.It not fluffy, or full of happiness. It is a serious look at who God is and how we should be because of that truth. Roman’s 12 basically lays it out. No mincing words, no embellishing the commands to make them easy to swallow. Just a command – do these things.And all the things are hard. Really hard.

     The kind of commands that make me ask. “Are you sure, God? Cause, really, this seems a bit much.” Commands like, never be lazy, be patient in trouble, be ready to help others. Then it delves into those commands that are just flat out opposite of everything our humanness feels and thinks. “Bless those who persecute you.” Does any one else feel like you would be doing a lot of “blessing” if you followed this rule all the time? 

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     Then He takes it one step further, “Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.” If this meant bless them by taking them out of my life, maybe. But, no. The verse means pray that goodness will abound for them. Oh my. The verses go on to say not to repay evil with evil. My hurt feelings, and frustrations, and anger have trouble with this one. 

     So I’ve prayed about it, thought about it, and looked at it from various angles. Three thoughts struck me. First, why would God set it up that way? Because He loves His people. He doesn’t want us going around repaying each other for all the bad that we do. We have all seen where that kind of chaos can lead. We would go back and forth until we hurt each other. Period.         

     Second, He also knows that holding in anger and bitterness eats us alive. They are like an acid – destroying us more and more as we allow it to fester. He wants what is best for us – and so He asks is to let it go.

     Third, I had to realize that so often, I’m on the other side. I’m the one people are not cursing. I’m the one being given grace rather than being paid back for evil. If I want people to treat me with forgiveness and mercy – I need to offer it to them.

     Knowing these truths doesn’t make it easy to obey. Doesn’t make it my first or my natural reaction. It does, however, make it worth doing. Oh, and God said to – so there is that. Maybe that is where obedience should have started, but working it out in my head and my heart has given me the why, and that will help me be obedient more often.  

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     I am finding that much of the Bible is hard, if you really dig into it. It’s not all about me and what makes me happy and comfortable. Yet, it is still all for my good. I’m making an effort to follow Roman’s 12. There will be much prayer and much work involved I guarantee the blessings will greatly exceed the hard.

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Joy, Grief, and Gratitude

20150810_121820Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It is a day to come together and remember the little ones who left us way too early. It is a day for us to mourn, but also to share our stories and educate others on this very real loss. It is also a day where we can see and understand that we are not alone. I felt the need to share my own story today in hopes that it might bring healing and hope for others.

Danny and I were married for a little over a year before we decided we were ready to have a baby. We thought it would take a while. We thought wrong. It happened almost immediately. We were a little shocked that it happened so quickly but we were very excited!  We told EVERYONE! I can remember being so sick. I don’t think there was a moment that I didn’t feel sick from the time my feet hit the floor in the morning until the time I laid down at night. I remember one day as I was nearing the end of my first trimester, I realized I didn’t feel sick anymore. I was so thankful that the sickness had gone.

The day came for my 10 week check-up and we were so excited. This was the day that we got to hear our baby’s heartbeat for the first time. Anticipation grew as they listened for the sound that would confirm life for our precious child. They worked and worked to find the heartbeat, but there was only silence. The doctor explained that we would need to move to another room for an ultrasound. I still didn’t quite get it. I wasn’t worried at all. I knew that we would get the ultrasound and hear that heartbeat that we had been waiting to hear. I was wrong. I looked on that ultrasound screen at a still picture of my baby. No movement, no heartbeat, no sign of life.

The doctor explained that they needed confirmation from another doctor. Since he was the only one left in the office, we had two choices. We could either drive to the hospital for a second ultrasound or wait until morning to come back. I couldn’t wait. As we drove to the hospital, the whole way I was crying out to God, asking Him for this to be a big mistake, praying that when we got to the hospital it would all be fixed and our baby would be healthy. Once again, I was wrong. The hospital confirmed, we had lost our baby.

This was one of the most devastating things I had ever experienced. My baby had died. I had heard of this happening to others but I never imagined it would happen to me. I certainly didn’t realize how much it would hurt. I didn’t even get to hold my baby. I don’t know if our baby was a boy or a girl. I didn’t get to give my baby a name. I never really understood the pain until I experienced it for myself. A few people reached out to me but many were silent. Many don’t know what to say. So many suffer through this in silence but it doesn’t have to be that way. I want to reach out to others who have been through this loss. It is important to know that we are not alone. It is important to know that this little life that grew inside of us mattered. That baby is just as dear to me as the two precious children that God has given me since then. There will always be an empty place in my heart for that baby until we meet again in Heaven. Even with the pain, even with the loss, I am still so grateful for the gifts that He has given me. I want you to know that it is okay to grieve. It is okay to walk through the pain of losing a child. It is also okay to feel joy again.

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