Monthly Archives: July 2014

When God speaks…

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So my heart is still so heavy with all the loss, pain and challenges friends/strangers are experiencing. Some of the situations I know personally and others I read through social media and yet they still have impacted me. Their stories have made me cling closer to God and really cry out to Him on their behalf. I feel so many thoughts and emotions that I don’t know what else to do but write. I feel selfish writing about myself in a time like this, but my experiences are all I have. I also feel compelled to take my challenges and use them as an opportunity to encourage, comfort and help those that may need it like I did when I was going through the fire. The blessing of hardships is you learn from them and then can use that knowledge to comfort others. Today, I wanted to share a few specific times God spoke to me…

1. God spoke to me during a dark time in my college years. Did I listen? No. But he was calling me to stop and turn around. He gave me a way out time and time again, placed people in my life that knew I was getting out of control and even punished me in ways that I should have seen the destruction that was still ahead. Sadly, I pressed on and took a lot of hard falls because of it, but He spoke nonetheless. He tried. Later when I fell flat on my face…he picked me up and showed me grace. Amazing grace. God speaks through people and circumstances.

2. God spoke to me on the toilet during my separation. You may know my husband and I separated for two years. One year we lived a part and one year we just ignored each other or argued. Still don’t know how we are standing here today, but praise Jesus we are and celebrating ten years in November! (Yes, we count the two years that were doomed because we were still married!) I remember I kept trying to fix it. I would send a text, write a letter, make a phone call to him or make a phone call to her or just call a friend to see what they knew. I tried to fix it over and over and over again and it was exhausting. Until one day, I was contemplating my next move while peeing (probably peeing..who knows) and distinctly felt God speak to my heart “Stop!” Stopping to me felt like giving up, so I did not take this message lightly, but he said it again…”Stop!” When He finally got my attention he stirred in my Heart “Do nothing.”
What? The marriage will end…
He responded…if you keep doing what you are doing it will end anyway.
I argued some more before finally letting Him win and stopped trying to fix it and let Him take control. The hardest six months of my life followed in that I did nothing. I tended to our home, tended to my work, tended to my personal growth and the needs of others and just let God be God. We are still married today because in the silence God changed my husband’s heart. During that storm of life (by far the hardest thing I have ever endured and I have Lupus and infertility), God reminded me to keep my eyes on Him during the storm. “Watch me-keep your eyes on me.” I love the quote “God might be doing the most when it appears like He is doing nothing at all.” God speaks to your heart and He speaks in the silence.

3. God spoke to me through a Bible verse about my Lupus. Psalms 103:3. I read it one night before bed and it turned on a light that God is in control of this disease and healing in His hands. This gave me such comfort through infertility as well. God is the great physician. This verse was later in a song at church and it gave me such hope and strength during a tough time of feeling helpless. The song is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sG94EKGDcU another powerful one that goes with this verse https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtwIT8JjddM God speaks through His written word and in church (duh)…the trick is you have to read it and go.

4. God spoke through a song on the radio about the direction for my adoption. I had just visited the reproductive endocronologist (still don’t they I have ever spelled that right) and got the devastating news that pregnancy would not be in my future barring a miracle (which is always possible-but I am content that it may never happen.) I was beat down with that bad news because I had still clung to hope of IUI or IVF and we were willing to do that if he thought it would help. In his words “I could take your money and we could try, but it is not likely.” My OBGYN later said it more harshly, “Getting pregnant with your blood levels like these would be devastating to a baby and would possibly kill you.” She later went on to tell me how high risk my pregnancy would be and how I much monitoring would be needed..blah, blah, blah. I get it…no. While I sat in the parking lot of Schlotzky’s ( I eat for comfort) this song came on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yooJzuW8XDA This song spoke to me that God has a plan for my broken reproductive system and to go where He is leading. We began the adoption process the following week. God speaks through the radio.

5. On the day we were leaving to Houston to adopt our child and I was still so frantic and worried that we would get all the way there and the birthmom would change her mind, my devotional that morning (also on the toilet–hmmm???) was from Max Lucado and it spoke about taking risks. One of the lines in the devotional and it is saved in his baby book if you think I am a lie said “Go adopt the baby.” I ran out to Nathan and showed him the devotional and said “This is it. Let’s go adopt our baby!” It was an affirmation from God (and be mindful I am hit and miss when I open my devotionals and I am not even following the dates correctly. For instance my devotional today said December 22nd…I just read them when I can.) But this one was for me and it was for peace and comfort when I needed it most. It was Him speaking to me-I am with you. God speaks in the bathroom–ha just kidding or maybe–but God speaks through devotionals.

Now, you might have noticed a trend that God speaks to me most in my hardships. Sadly, that is often the only time I am listening. I pray for you and for myself that we listen in the good times too, during times that we don’t feel like we NEED him. (But hey, if a trial brings me closer to God then bring it…not really, I am good.) But, if you ever question if God speaks-he does. Stay near to Him and in His presence and you will hear it. Through a song, a hymn, a verse, a person, a text, a blog post, a peace in your heart. It happens.

The good news is: I don’t want this post to me about me and my problems, but it might offer someone out there encouragement when they need it most. Some day soon, my posts will be more light hearted and fun, but for now, I am grieving, praising and praying for the people that need it most. I pray that you are listening to what God is speaking to you because in all of these situations God has spoken to me. Your trials have drawn me closer to Christ; they are not in vain.

When God Doesn’t Make Sense…

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My heart is heavy this week because I have had dear friends and even some strangers attacked by tragedy. Unexpected death of a parent, contracting an illness while doing God’s work, stillborn baby, failed cycles, adultery in a Christian marriage, birth defects in the womb….pain after pain after pain. Some of these tragedies I cannot directly relate to (Praise God or maybe just not yet), but they all fall under the big umbrella of “Why God?” Being confused with God is something I can relate to very well. When I speak with people directly going through the storm, I can look back and reflect that I have been there…that lonely, angry, and confusing place. Even as a Christian, hearing the words “This is all part of God’s plan” stings. It burns in fact. How could God want my child to die? How could God be okay with the death of my father? How could God see a baby suffer?

The truth is He doesn’t. I think people often confuse this. He is just as angry as we are that we live in a fallen world. God is grieving the utopia He intended it to be with us. God grieves with us and that is the first truth I share with people hurting: Let God cry with you. He understands every pain we feel-especially betrayal. He can hold every tear, so let Him-let it out because it is needed.

The next truth I share is “It is okay to get mad.” As Christians, we feel guilty if we are angry about our circumstance. I mean who promised us a pain free life anyway? After all, God knows best and this is part of God’s plan so we must accept it. But, I don’t know about all that. I think God is angry too about the injustices of this world and I think He is powerful enough that He can take our rants. Hiding them from Him won’t work–just be careful that you do not forget you are talking to God. And remember as angry as you are-He still loves you. I stood in my hallway and wailed at God. I screamed, cried, hit, and complained. I let it be known that I have had enough and I was over all this—He listened. Later, he comforted and then put people in my path that could pick me up. I tell people that what you are feeling is real and meaningful and it is okay to be mad that bad things happen because it is hard.

I share with others to take the time you need to grieve. I took a day off and just was still. I allowed myself to be numb and separate from my surroundings. I needed to embrace the pain. Take a vacation, take a day or an afternoon, but grieving is not a bad thing and being still can actually give you the best chance possible to hear God’s voice and feel God’s presence. In that stillness He will say “I love you” and will give you the wisdom you need to move forward, but often we get so busy trying to fix it that we fail to let God take control. Let him.

Finally, tragedies like these and many others that I have not named or experienced are the best reminder that we are not home. This Earth and all its beauty is not the end. Sadness, sorrow, grief, tragedy, death, sickness etc. should make us more homesick than ever. It should make us eager to be home in Heaven. I saw a poster recently asking if you could speak to anyone from the past, while here on this Earth, who would it be? My first thought was my grandparents, but then I rethought it. Why would I take them away from Heaven to be here? How selfish to pull them from paradise! This place may feel pretty great, but they get to experience perfection every day…so keep them there-they are home.

My heart hurts for you if you are suffering during this season of your life. I pray that you will be reminded it is a season and seasons change. Sorrow will endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Even if you (like me) suffered in part from your own sin, knows God’s goodness is even bigger than your shortcomings and God’s grace is larger than we can ever fathom or deserve. Although, God does not place horrible things in our lives…He does bring good from them. Somehow or someway…maybe not immediately, but good will come from it eventually. It might be a connection from a blog like this, an opportunity to encourage or comfort someone in pain, a foundation or organization to help others that was birthed in the pain of loss, an adoption of a child that would not have come any other way, a birth of twins after many failed cycles…the list goes on. But God’s promises are true and He is good even when He does not make sense.

The good news is: I can say with certainty that the trials that have been placed in my life have given me wisdom and built my character. Through faithfulness, God has redeemed every mistake or sin I made and brought beauty from ashes. I am also thankful that I have been spared from a lot of hurt that I probably deserved. Just remember that-we all hurt at some point and no one (not even Christians) are exempt from pain. During these times of deep sadness, I can also declare great victories. I can rejoice and celebrate with new births, new families, healing, reconciliation, promotions etc. Often times the hard times bring an appreciation of the good times and victories come from defeat.