Sometimes in absence I see more clearly. Certainly today, as I am out of my routine, and hoping to bless another by being present in her home, I remember more clearly.
The children that once grew in my womb, having been taken up to heaven well before I was ready, are absent from this world. I remember the agony of it. I remember the beauty of their tiny and perfectly formed bodies. I remember the loss of all the plans, hopes, desires, and opportunity to mother yet again. I remember the empty crib, the useless stack of blankets, and the still rocking chair that wouldn't be needed. I remember the absence of oxygen-the writhing tears that robbed me of breath.
What I didn't know then is that for Christ followers, if we yield to His plan, the work of the Holy Spirit, and by mental and emotional discipline taking every thought captive for His cause, that into the absence comes growth. The empty space can be filled with joy. Not the joy that comes from a sweet newborn's fingers curled around mine, but from the understanding that my holy God works for my good and His glory.
In the absence of late night feedings came appointments with God when he ministered to the very depths of me with Psalms, hymns, and the quiet presence of His Spirit. In the absence of busy that surrounds the arrival of a child was the opportunity to wrestle with and come to a sweet understanding of a sovreign and providential Creator God who has seen fit to save me and preserve my life for His eternal purpose.
Don't get me wrong-I'm quite sure the Lord teaches these truths with drooly chins, pudgy legs, milestones, and the gift of children too. And, frankly, I would have preferred that growth pattern if given the opportunity to choose. But I don't see what He sees.
And in not seeing-in absence- He is always present.
His plans are not (always) my plans. His ways are not (always) my ways. I only see dimly. He sees clearly. And in these spaces- the places my vision clouds-He is fully, abundantly, constantly, faithfully present.
Even when I don't feel Him or believe it to be true. His character allows for nothing less. He is always completely who He is.
So, for my dear friend, who today suffers the unthinkable, I thank you for allowing me to share your journey. You do not walk alone.
For those of you who do not know me well, I thank you for your grace as you read words poured out from a raw heart-one reintroduced to her own grief, and walking alongside one who is laboring even now to fulfill God's purpose for her daughter.
And, because I must-in desire and need- the numbering of gifts continues:
A sweet friend giving me the only thing I asked for this Christmas. How you bless my heart and encourage my faith.
A chance to serve, love one another, in time of need -showing practical boots on the ground love and living the gospel in the body of Christ.
Making space in my freezer to take delivery on beef soon-a beautiful reminder of summer's bounty.
Perhaps the most meaningful Christmas service I've been privileged to be a part of concluded last evening. I think the angels sang among us as we raised our voices.
The internet that keeps me connected to my father, although he is experiencing difficult side effects of chemo, we can still "talk"
Heat and a thermostat wired in weekend farmer's office so he can have profitable and quiet work days at his "real" job.
A ton of feed in the barn.
Quiet afternoons to remember, This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.
Linking up here today-don't know yet how to get the button- Techie friends....Help!!??!!