The Beautiful Pain of Remembrance

Beautiful Pain of Remembrance

From time to time, I will share memories from the past as a way to preach truth to myself and each of you in the present.  Just like the frequent commands to the nation of Israel throughout the Old Testament to set up ways to remember the past works of God, we too are prone to forget how forgetful we are.  That is why it is important to often look back  and see God’s sustaining grace carrying us all the way through.  That remembering may sometimes bring about the beautiful pain of remembrance,  but its redeeming effect is to ultimately turn our focus from the temporal to the transcendent.

How could I not but share this memory from Sarah’s journal one year ago today!  Our God is so very, very good to allow her words then to live on in their impact now.

“Today is 1 month since I had emergency surgery in the middle of the night…after having spent 9 days in the hospital in almost uncontrollable pain – unable to eat or drink, on so many IV medications I lost count…and then after all that, I was told I needed surgery or I could very likely die of septic shock.

This has been both the shortest and longest month of my life.

All of this came after over a year of battling extreme hormonal deficiencies and feeling like my body was failing in every way.

It came after 4 years of desiring to be parents and instead having God choose in His wisdom (that we may not always understand – but can trust fully) to take our 3 children straight from my womb to Heaven, instead.

While I laid in my hospital bed I would often hear the lullaby music they play when a baby is born. I remember fighting back tears and thinking “I’m 31 years old…I should be here having a baby, not battling a perforated ulcer”.

But really – it doesn’t work that way. God has a different plan for all of us, and He uses suffering and trials to grow us. I don’t “deserve” anything, but He has given me everything in salvation.

Thankfully, that pity party didn’t last long as the Holy Spirit continually reminded me of God’s perfect love for me, His perfect sovereignty, and His perfect timing in *all things*. He’s not done with me, or with our family. We know He has a plan. I don’t know what my health will be long term. I’m always going to battle the hormonal issues, but God has given us so much hope that if He’s given us a love for children, He will add to our family through adoption, and equip us to be able to care for a child/children….and He may choose to give us a biological child too – He can do whatever He desires to do…and whatever He does, will be perfect.

Recovery is difficult, I have good hours, and then I maybe do too much (which isn’t a lot) and will feel pretty miserable for a few hours. My legs and feet are still miserably swollen and the doctor says it will get better with time…which is hard to hear when you want it to be resolved immediately.

Well, I guess I said all that in order to share that this article spoke to my heart so strongly, and I honestly feel like I could have written so much of it.

If you want to understand where I’m at in my heart/emotions/thoughts/struggles/spirit/etc – her words sum it all up quite well.

Again, I never want to miss an opportunity to thank all of you who are praying so faithfully for us. We are so thankful for each one of you  …and thankful to God for so many answered prayers and His overwhelming provision and peace during this entire time.”

Have You Felt Forsaken by God?

Resurrection Sunday Reflections

It’s amazing even how my perspective on Christ’s death and resurrection is so much more real to me this year than ever before! How I long for the day when we too will conquer death – because HE LIVES! I have known deep pain, yet even all that cannot compare with the crushing affliction my Savior bore for me. His love is stronger than any pain as the God of all comfort, but also comes from the heart of the Man of sorrows who was acquainted with grief.

Flashback to some of what I said in Sarah’s Celebration of Live service. It’s even more true to me today. This is the full impact of what we celebrate today – the resurrection changes everything!

Trials often shake people’s’ belief that God is all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing, and all-sufficient. Yet, I know each of those to more real today than ever before. Paul said in 1 Cor. 15 that if Christ is not risen then our faith is in vain and we as Christians ought to be pitied. However, Christ has risen again so we have absolute assurance of His promises of our eternal home and our own resurrection one day. As Christians we can view death very differently. 2 Cor. 5:8 reminds us that when our soul departs our body it is present with the Lord. Because God saved Sarah from her sins, she faced death confidently knowing that her citizenship was in heaven where she now is with her Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Phil 3:20) 1 Peter 1:4 also describes it as “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for [her].”

“All this, because of the finished work of Christ we celebrate today. We have joy that transcends circumstances! Jesus does not promise only joy though. As we celebrate the resurrection, we also look to the gift we now have of the Holy Spirit. “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Take heart indeed! How can we not! Not only has He overcome the world — and hell and the devil and death — but He remains with us and in us like a mighty warrior against all our foes. “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

So, yes, there will be tribulation. Sorrows of so many kinds in this fallen world we can’t count them. But the world that makes us so sorrowful will not have the last word. Therefore, the watchword of the Christian in this world is “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10). Through every grief, we are being kept by the power of the Helper. Therefore, “you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials” (1 Peter 1:6).

You may be tempted to cry out, “Oh, that I could go back and see him as he was in the flesh!” But remember, you see more of him now by his Spirit in his word than the disciples did during his earthly life. And you will see him again. But not the way he was. His face will be “like the sun shining in full strength” (Revelation 1:16). Take heart from Peter’s words: “Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and glorified” (1 Peter 1:8–9). This is the joy that cannot be taken from you.” – John Piper