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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Choices






     I wanted to share the quote above with all of you. It has been playing over and over in my mind each day, especially early in the morning. This quote reveals such a beautiful truth for all of us. We do have a choice, each and every day. In fact, I have learned that we have a choice each and every moment of the day. What attitude will you have when you open your eyes and begin your day? What attitude will you have in each situation you face? It truly is up to us to decide how we will approach the new day. 
     Each morning as I wake up, I can already feel the reality sinking in. It takes only a moment to realize that my greatest nightmare is very real. My daughter, my heart, is not here with me. I am alone. When Josh leaves for work I am left completely alone, with only my thoughts to keep me company. 5:30 in the morning gives me plenty of moments to feel the intensity of my grief. The darkness and silence only fuels my pain. So in those moments, I must make a choice. I must decide right then and there, how I am going to respond. It is not always easy. Sometimes I wish I did not have to choose. Often I wish I could just lay there forever, not moving, not thinking, just existing. It would be easier that way. It would not hurt so much. 
     But in those moments where I just want to stop, and where I wish that I never had to interact with the world, I find myself in prayer. When I feel the darkness washing over me, the grief is sitting tightly in my throat, I have no strength left to breathe, I cry out to Jesus. 
     This journey has taught me something so valuable. I have found that it is in our darkest moments of sorrow and grief, where we feel the presence of God most deeply. He has made it very real that when I call on His name, He draws near to me. Even in the moments where I have no strength to call on His name, He comes near to me. I have always had moments in my life where I have felt very close to God. But I have never felt His presence more closely than I have right now. 
     Before going through this journey I could always rely on myself. No matter what happened in my life, there was always something that I could do to help make the situation better, or easier. I did not need to rely fully on God, when I felt like I was partly in control. But losing my precious baby was completely and totally out of my control. There was nothing, absolutely nothing that I could do. I was not in control. Therefore, I needed to make a choice. Since I had no control, I gave it over to my God. The God who gave me life, and who holds my life in His strong and mighty hands. It was only when I could no longer rely on myself, when everything was so far above my understanding, that I could put my complete trust in God. And He has been faithful! 
      But on those mornings when my heart begins to race, my thoughts become cloudy, and the pain is beyond my control, I feel God draw near. Sometimes I can feel Him through the words I read in the Bible. Sometimes I can feel Him whisper His promises in my ear as I pray in desperation.  Sometimes I can feel His arms around me as I cry. But no matter what, He does not leave me alone. He does not just watch over me as I cry.  He does not ignore my pain and heartbreak. I have a God who loves me very much, and He hurts when I am hurting. He holds my tears as they fall, and I even believe that He cries along with me.I cannot even begin to explain what a comfort that comes from choosing to trust in God.  
     On the day that I had to give away Caroline, my daughter, I knew that I had to make a choice. That day I was left as a mom with no baby, I could have chosen to be bitter and angry. I could have searched out someone to blame for this terrible place that I now found myself facing. Or I could choose to look to the one who offers indescribable peace. I could choose to cling to my God who offers hope, even in the darkest of moments. I could choose to accept the strength that He provides when I feel so weak. I could choose to accept that I am not alone, and that everything I am suffering right now in this life, will one day be redeemed. Those promises bring light into my darkness. It does not promise that there will be no more tears, no more pain, and no more sorrow and sadness. In fact, I am walking through the scariest and darkest moments of my life. But by choosing trust rather than anger and bitterness, I have found that there is hope, peace, comfort, and strength that could only come from a God who understands. 
     The truth is that no one is exempt from suffering. We must all face struggles in our lives. In fact, the Bible says that in this life we can expect pain and suffering. What that suffering looks like is different for each person, but it does not make it any easier. Sometimes it can feel like more than we can bear. Sometimes we have nothing left to hold on to, because the pain and brokenness consume our every thought and action. Sometimes we wonder how we will ever be able to move forward. 
     But in that moment of suffering, we have to make a choice. In the middle of heartbreak, at every dark, lost, and lonely moment, we can choose to accept The Truth. Because especially in those moments, we can choose to be held up and held together by the one who has walked here, and who knows the pain. He has always held my story, your story, and every story in His hands. He truly is the author of the Greatest Story. I can choose to trust that He will continue writing my story, and you can continue to choose that He is writing your story. If we chose to accept the voice of truth, rather than the bitterness and anger in our suffering, we will slowly be able to catch tiny glimpses of the hope He has woven into our stories.
     But it all begins with a choice. How will you choose to respond to the pain and suffering in your life? What attitude will you embrace for the day, for the moment?  We can choose to let hatred, bitterness, and anger control our live. Or we can can choose to cling to the God who promises to hold us close, to fill us with peace that cannot be explained, to offer us strength when we feel so weak, and to fill our hearts with glimmers of hope. When we make our choice, it does not mean the road will be any easier. If does not mean that our heart will no longer be broken, or that we will no longer experience intense sadness and pain. But it does mean that we will be filled with exactly what we need to get us through the day, and even the moment. 

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
                                                                                                 1 Peter 5:10
       

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”                       John 16:33


   When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.                                                                            Isaiah 43:2             





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