Testing 1…2…3

My nature is not to post my life for all to see. Especially when things are difficult, I take the role of keeping my dignity enough to deal with it within my close family. However, our lives as Christians are to portray that of Christ.

As I read the Scriptures, I am learning that to Christ, His life was meant to change, transform and guide others to Him. Therefore, whether it was to document His temptations, His private prayer sessions or His emotions, He chose to lay it all out for others to see.

In any learning experience, there comes a stubbornness of keeping things comfortable. However, comfort is something that Christians should shy away from. And because of this, I am throwing comfort out the window.

Here we are again. Hospital visits, doctor discussions, blood draws, car rides and waiting rooms.

When God calls us to a “higher calling” sometimes that higher calling calls us to climb up higher mountains.

Growing up, I witnessed and prayed with many who suffered a great deal of pain and heartache but that was just it, I witnessed and prayed. I heard people say that “Your testimony is the most powerful witness you have”.

In the back of my mind, I began to wonder when the “test” of my testimony was going to happen.

As Christians, our testimony is what reaches those who are longing for something “real”, past the veil of religious Christianity and toward a real life encounter with Jesus.

2 Timothy 1:8-10

So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

Even though my “test” isn’t over, I know that it is turning into my testimony.

Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

Two days that seem so love filled but those were the days in 2017 that were filled with pain for me and those close to me. Those are the two days that a child was in the early stages of becoming “my” child. Instead, those were days when those children were “fearfully and wonderfully made” in my womb and heart but that is where they stayed.

To the world, these experiences are devastating, hopeless and life-changing but to a Christian, this is just the “test” in the testimony.

To some, what I’m about to say my seem heartless, surprising and unbelievable but to some, it will make perfect sense….

I count my miscarriages a blessing.

When Christ is the One you’re living for, this life’s sufferings produce a perseverance that comes in the midst of running the race toward our life’s finish line. Running a race can bring exhaustion and feelings of “I can’t” but its in those moments in our journey to Jesus that we get a second, third and maybe even a fourth wind. For we know that Jesus is who we’re running for, not a medal, a pat on the back or a pick-me-up.

I know that my test isn’t over, my pain isn’t over and my emotional moments aren’t over but I do know that my faith in Jesus is only beginning. Knowing that He chose this test for me because He knew that with Him, I could rise above it all.

suffering

You see, Christ knows just what is going to prompt a deeper connection to Him and He chooses specific tests based on current circumstances. For you, it may be cancer, a son or daughter addicted, a life threatening disease or diagnosis, fear, a broken marriage…. you add your’s to the list.

God allows us to walk through things so that we can know His strength through it all, instead of relying on our own strength to get us through it.

Throughout my first miscarriage, I saw that God was there but I also thought it was just a fluke, a one-time thing and that after that, having a baby would be a piece of cake.

However, as I am walking through the second one, I see that God wanted me to seek and find out more about Him than simply believing that “15-20% of all first pregnancies end in a miscarriage”.

I am learning that through these tests, He is still faithful. Even if situations don’t turn out the way I want them to, my family wants them to or the world says they’re going to…

I know that my current situation does not surprise my All-Knowing Father. He saw this coming the moment I was formed in my mother’s womb. My life was a Best-selling book written by Him and awaiting the first page to be read and for this chapter to come to pass.

What strength we can find in knowing that our present sufferings were written way before our first breath. God sees, knows and walks right beside us because nothing surprises Him.

I know that someday, my “test” will be purposeful for someone’s life even if I can’t see the purpose right now. Someday, there will be a moment when someone asks, a couple’s heart breaks, a mother’s pain wrenched heart longs and my testimony will give birth to a heart transforming moment.

For now, I will choose to be unashamed of my suffering and know that it is producing a faith that cannot be measured by a world of why’s and why not’s.

Psalm 116: 1-9

“I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.
The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came over me;
I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“Lord, save me!”

The Lord is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
The Lord protects the unwary;
when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.
For you, Lord, have delivered me from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.”

Rest in knowing that the God of the Universe already wrote in the sufferings that you will face and have faced into your story before your story even began.

Who better to walk and talk with than the Author of your story.

 

 

My Masterpiece…Still in Progress…

Life is ironic.

As some look at their lives, they see an ever changing work of art with all it’s many shades and colors that often times mean nothing to you if you are not the artist.

As Christians, we know the Painter who’s perfecting our work of art.

However, we may look at our life and feel the work of art is portraying a painting that is very different than we would have imagined.

masterpiece.jpg

February 6th, 2017.

A day I will never forget.

The day I received a positive on a test that would change the course of my husband and I’s journey.

With excitement we looked into each others’ eyes as our hearts raced with each glance of those two small lines.

A day I had been anticipating for my entire life.

A day that I had dreamed about.

Growing up, I was often seen with a child attached to my hip or children flocking to my side. It was ingrained in me to be a mother. A trait God wove into my innermost being before I was conceived.

Therefore, I anticipated and longed for the day when I would hold, care for, and tend to my own child’s needs. Although this was the picture I thought my work of art would display, my masterpiece is looking a little bit different today.

The week of February 6th was filled with excitement, plans, goals and dreams that were being fulfilled right before my eyes and my husband’s. We could see the expressions on our parents faces as we told them the news that they were going to be grandparents. The expressions on our siblings faces as they were going to be aunts and uncles. However, the next stroke of the paintbrush looked a little bit different than we had imagined.

The week of February 12th is a week I will also never forget. A week of shattered hopes, dreams and goals.

You see, that week beyond all other weeks, my hope to become a mother in a few short months ended just as soon as it had begun.

Although I never saw a miscarriage in my work of art, I know that my God was not caught off guard by any of it.

At the time, I was in a fog of denial and grief. It was a time when no one understood and no one seemed to help.

But God…

You see, He saw it coming and looked at me with hope-filled eyes and hoped that this shattering news would lead me straight to Him.

He saw His children, my husband and I, grieving and waited for us to turn to Him instead of to the fear and questions that would meet us in our heartbreak.

There were days and still are days when fear meets me when I wake, but there is also a God who meets me with encouraging words and calming whispers that quiet my heart and cast out the fear that was ready to tangle me up.

It was in those times, spent with my Father that I realized this trial can either define me or my God can define me through the trial.

One February morning, I sat with my Bible opened praying that God would speak to me so clearly and give me “something”. Have you ever been there?

“Just give me something Lord?”

The awesome thing about our God is that He holds and hears every prayer and every tear.

This is where The Painter cleans His brush and knows He isn’t finished yet…

In my state of grief, He met me and this is what He said….

1.Give up everything (Luke 14:33)

Yes, the cost of being a disciple. Now there are two things that Jesus meant when he tells His followers to “give up everything”. In one instance, yes we must give up any material possessions that are hindering us from Christ. But also, there is the call to give up everything in our hearts that also keep us from fully following Him. These are the things that try to fill our hearts when our hearts are meant to be filled with Him. In my case, I needed to give up my hopes, dreams and goals that I held onto so tightly my entire life and let Him be my hope, dream and goal.

2. Be still, It’s time to say “Enough!”  (Psalm 46:10; 1 Samuel 15:16)

So often my mind runs so fast that I forget it is in the stillness, when I quiet my soul that I am able to hear God speak. I am reminded through these verses that it is time to say “enough!” to the world and all its noise and be still before the Lord. Too long have I let the world’s noise run rampant in my mind and in my life and it’s time to say enough and just be still….

3. Step out of the traffic (Psalm 46:10 MSG)

In my bible, I have a split reference from the NIV to The Message. In referencing Psalm 46:10, I glanced over to The Message reference only to find these words in my quiet time with the Lord that day,

“Step out of the traffic! Take a long loving look at me, your High God’ above politics, above everything.”

Wow, what clear and powerful words those were and are to my heart. This world gets us wrapped up into all of it’s traffic that we forget to stop and just see/experience God for who He truly is! The traffic of life is so busy that we fail to realize that we’re swept up into it. As Christians, we are supposed to be the “different” the world is looking for. And until we step out of the traffic our lives are going to look just like their lives. So, what about that looks different?

On that day, my painting that could have turned dark, began to reflect gladness and joy. I can picture God cleaning His brush, smiling as He added some yellows and oranges bursting with happiness as His daughter listened to His still, small voice.

You see, life, as ironic as it may seem, is not ironic at all.

Because God doesn’t see irony, He sees opportunity.

In this trial, I saw His strength in my weakness.

I saw His joy take over my mourning.

I saw His gladness wrap around my sorrow.

It is in these moments that God’s jealous love is more evident than ever.

Not that I am glad this trial was brought into my life, but I am glad that I experienced His love in a moment that seemed so dark to get out alone.

I am so glad God had His paintbrush cleaned, and ready to place yellows where there were blacks.

I can say that I am a work of art, not because “I” have painted anything but because God is still the Painter and I am His canvas.