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Holding On and Letting Go
April 6, 2016
After losing the boys, Andrew in 2011 and Jonathan 2015, both through miscarriages at 12 and 16 weeks respectively, I just assumed the overwhelming grief I was experiencing was normal and what every mom endures after burying a child. "It will always hurt, I'll never be the same after burying my child(ren)." I chose to smile, love and bless every life given to another mom since that day - at first by choice, so that I wouldn't grow bitter, but eventually because I just love babies and the destiny on each life! But He is a God who heals all the way! HE doesn't leave us in our grief. The circumstances may not change, but our hearts and minds can be transformed! (Lesson #1: Our emotions don't dictate truth, truth should dictate our emotions. If I invest my time, energy and thoughts on the truth, my heart will follow! Truth: Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.)
Although I had experienced wonderful times of healing after losing Andrew, I still seemed unable to be still before God. Something wasn't quite right in my personal relationship with the Lord. For a while I was ok with a struggling walk because I was grieving, but after years, I still wasn't experiencing the closeness to Jesus I once felt.
During the four months that I carried Jonathan, through praying and journaling about him, I felt God was showing me his life would bring spiritual transformation and renewal, both to myself and to others. Things didn't work out nearly like I had imagined. After 39 hours of labor and losing Jonathan, and almost my own life, my recovery left me stuck on the couch for a month, generally spending the hours just grieving my loss. It was just God, me, and my pain, for many long days. I couldn't make myself busy, or preoccupy my time with distractions, I had to face it. I cried, a lot. The tears still poured all the time, my heart was so tender, but I just thought that's how it would be. What bothered me was that I still couldn't break through to intimacy with Him, I knew I loved the Lord and didn't want to live without Him - HE was and is my Anchor, but intimacy was lacking since the day we lost Andrew. I even remember saying, "I just feel like a cheerleader". What that meant to me was that I was telling everyone how good He was, and pointing them to Him, but I had no intimacy and almost couldn't feel the truth of what I was saying, then I read 1 Thessalonians 5:18" Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you". This was the answer, I was a cheerleader for the God of the Universe - pointing others to Him because He is God, not because He is some Genie waiting to give me whatever I fancy! HE is Lord of ALL! I worship Him for WHO HE IS, not what I can get from Him! My heart was alive - that's exactly what I had been doing. It is the will of God for me (us, His followers), to give thanks (cheerlead) for Him in all circumstances. Wow, I was doing the will of God even in the midst of the hardest circumstance I had ever been in. It didn't say, be thankful when you feel like it or when all is going well for you, but in ALL circumstances.
(Living out truth is God's will for us! Lesson #2)
About 6 months after we buried Jonathan, I had a dream. In the dream I found a woman named Rachel and asked her to pray for me. When she prayed for me my heart was restored. When I awoke, I felt God had given me this dream and that He would lead me to Rachel. And of course, He did.
One day, two dear women of God who pray for us regularly were talking with me, and I shared how I felt I wasn't having intimacy with the Lord and maybe wasn't completely healed from the loss of my sons. They told me about a ministry that ministered to women and men who had experienced any kind of infant loss. The ministry was called, RACHEL'S CRY! Seriously! Now, just because God shows you something doesn't always mean it will be easy to walk it out! I avoided a couple of invitations to events they held in the following months. My excuses were many: "God is healing me, I'll be fine. It's not as bad as what some parents go through. They need to minister to others, not me." And on and on. Thank God He doesn't heal us on a curve based on other people's pain. (Lesson #3 It's personal - He bore MY grief, carried MY sorrows, and was scourged so that I could be healed! Christians, we may have a season of sorrow, but we don't have to live there forever - John 10:10 He truly came that we might have life and life ABUNDANTLY! It is the devil who comes to kill, steal and destroy - these feelings or circumstances are not what define us! IF we are overcome with such darkness it is not from God!)
In February, we were supposed to leave for Italy, but we were delayed due to Visa issues. So, God being the loving Healer that He is, gave me another opportunity to attend a Rachel's Cry event. This time I told my friend, "pray for me, because I know I can't say yes right now." The struggle was real. For the next three days everything that could come up to keep me from going came up, and every opportunity I had to bail out, I used! But Chad, Linda and Victoria wouldn't let me say no – Chad and my Dad made the details work out and Linda and Victoria prayed me there! But my excuses kept coming... "I have Jesus, I'll be fine, I got this, we're good", etc. and also to be honest, I was afraid I'd have to make a big deal of my pain, crying profusely, loudly and go through a few hours of introspective sobbing.
We finally made it to the event, and as if to reinforce that God felt this healing was important to Him and should be to me - no one was there for ministry except Chad and I...just us and a room full of intercessors. Most of these intercessors were friends from 20 years ago that I had had the privilege of praying with for many years! These women have given so much of themselves for this ministry and I am amazed, thankful, and excited to see their eternal reward! Ladies I am so thankful for you! (Lesson 4 - Be a prayer warrior and change lives!)
As the first song was sung I noticed on the stage, an empty basket at the foot of the cross. I knew right then what God was asking of me. He wanted me to "symbolically" put my boys in the basket. What an incredible inner struggle I had! Had there been others I may have slipped out without every doing this part. But since we were the only one's there, at some point I was going to have to walk up to that empty basket! With the urging of the Holy Spirit, Chad's support, and a lot of intercessors, I gave my sons Jonathan and Andrew to the Lord. Without a lot of fanfare in a quiet room, I handed over the hurt and loss of my boys to Jesus and the wounds that once oozed out at every moment, from every picture of a baby, at the sight of every pregnant belly, at the family pictures missing their faces, a miracle occurred in my heart - I was healed! Now don't get me wrong, I still have sadness - but not grief. There remains the loss of dreams for their lives and ours, but not devastation. I still miss them, but it's so different. It's less painful and has allowed me that intimacy with Jesus I was missing because I had never fully surrendered (entrusted) them to Him.
I didn't know it, but that night it was clear, I was holding the grief to replace the boys I wanted to be holding. Through His loving kindness I held out my hands and gave Him my boys to care for and trusted Him again fully and without reservation. (Lesson 5: He knows what we need! I didn't know what was holding me back, but He did. I just had to trust Him and thankfully His love never fails, He never gives up pursuing us, and his love never runs out!)
This healing isn't just for me to function, its for me to live free! From the beginning God intended for each of us to walk with Him like Adam and Eve in the garden, in the cool of the day without shame, without reservation, without restraint. Paul said it best, "Nothing can separate us from His love!" The truth is, nothing can separate us from His love, but we can convince ourselves we are separated when we believe lies, or choose to keep Him at arms length or choose not to receive what He has for us. Don't let circumstances and lies you invest in come between you and the Lord. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind! There's is nothing better than knowing and enjoying intimacy with God! I am excited to be continually transformed and see His transformation take place in others. And sweet baby J's life is accomplishing exactly what God had shown me during the pregnancy - Renewal and Restoration of the spiritual walk of myself and others!
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!