Each of my “off of work” days, allows me to take a few steps closer to JustDoToday.org, what it will be, who it will serve. Those are the days that are spent thinking, reflecting and remembering, finding ways to filter what is stored in my head and heart and then pouring that experience into other persons. I’m learning to leave those spaces open, without an agenda, so the task list can be created by someone greater than myself.
Lately, there are times when those that surround me push up against my surrender, lessening the importance of listening, wondering when I will do the next thing. Today, my “to-do” list blinks in the back left quadrant of my brain screaming to be sort and recorded and completed. As, there are terrifying yet, fulfilling steps upon me. However, I’m going to ignore that urge and instead, share a book I once read.
Circumstances in my community press upon me. A tragedy has occurred that stings the souls of some of those I do life with, as well as myself. “What do I do? What is the best way to help?” , “I just want to share with someone that knows.” are the string of texts that have been typed.
In those quiet hours of today, I stared at my bookshelf and knew what to share,
Angie Smith was eighteen weeks pregnant with her fourth daughter. Audrey Caroline, when her doctors discovered conditions leaving Audrey “incompatible with life.” Faced with the decision whether to terminate the pregnancy, Angie and her husband chose to carry Audrey for as long as she had life. This began what turned out to be three months of loving and carrying a little girl that was not expected to live more than a few minutes.
Beth Moore, best selling author and speaker, summarizes, “This is a beautiful and tender book that would touch any woman’s heart, no matter her age or realm of experience. It is about a relationship so intimate with God that it carves a safe place for crises of faith, for faith proved genuine, and for divine callings willed, sealed and fulfilled.”
Some of Angie’s thoughts tucked into my heart :
She doesn’t explicitly tell Him the solution (the story of Mary, Martha and Lazarus) she is looking for but rather states the problem and waits to see what He will do about it.
As I read their words, it occured to me that this is not the way I approach the Lord with a crisis. I run to Him with a laundry list of suitable responses and beg Him to accommodate me.
“Heal her heart, Lord.”
“Make her kidneys work.”
“Let her live.”
I am pretty comfortable saying He is in complete control until the ground grows weak beneath me. At that point I tell Him what He should do to fix it. While I know there isn’t anything wrong with asking God to intervene, there is a gentle surrender that I was drawn to in this story.
Recognize who He is – kyrios (the early Christians confessed Jesus Christ as their Lord, Master instead of emperor, derived from kyros, power might) – and tell Him the problem.
Leave the rest to Him.
As we will discover, there is always room for doubt wherever God has made a way for faith. Yet in this moment Mary and Martha simply called out to Him.
I sat, humbled, as many I love spoke wisdom over me, and I admitted to myself that I was going to need help to get through this season of life.
And so the rain fell, the wipers wiped, and the Lord listened, I let Him into a place I had never fully invited Him before. A place of communion where I could rest knowing He heard me. A place I would reside for months to come.
What an atrocious club to join.
People constantly ask me how it is that I am not angry with the Lord. My honest answer is that I have been angry, and I have been disappointed. What I have not been, and what I refuse to be, is disbelieving. However easy it may be to allow myself to wail over my loss, it is a far more satisfying thing to believe that all of this is a brief season. The Lord I have placed my trust in tells me that I will see my child again, and while He stands besides me, He weeps. He doesn’t weep at the barren ground, nor does He weep the browning branches. He cries because I can’t see what He can. And in the fluttering of the breeze, with my heart pressed to His, I can hear Him whisper, “Spring will come, my love.”
I was going to have to make some hard choices about my walk with Him. i couldn’t go on living it out the way I wanted to, the safe way. It was time for me to let down my hair, give it all away, and spend spreading word of the glorious riches with which He had blessed me. But she died right? She did. And to be truthful, I wish it handn’t been this way. As a Christian, I know that I am called to glorify the Lord no matter the circumstances, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to make sense.
He gives and takes away. Have I moments of genuine questioning where I blamed myself and anyone I could? Yes. But when those thoughts come, and they will, we must make a choice about who we will be from this day forward. Either we will go through life as bitter servants, or we will make Him famous with our love. I want Him to be famous!
Exclamation marks, underline and written thoughts are scored in the sidelines on just about every page. Remembering, as I read how many of Angie’s thoughts I shared and gaining wisdom through the others I hadn’t had. While searching for hope through the stories of scripture Angie reads the account of Lazarus, bringing a sweet balm to her hurting heart. Hence, she weaves her faith-filled story of Audrey Caroline with a biblical story about the truth of Heaven. By writing about what she experiences, Angie is helping us to understand how better to cope with loss and disappointment.
May you read the book and be blessed!