Thursday, March 3, 2011

Peace That Passes Understanding

We're on the brink of a new little adventure around our household. New leadership in my husband’s company brought reorganization and his job, along with many others, was eliminated. As of Saturday, my husband will no longer be employed and we enter the now common world of a gazillion other people in this country.

We've known about this for about a month now, and honestly, we are at peace and just fine. Really. Don't mistake that for a peace that comes from knowing what is coming next because we have NO IDEA on that front. This could be a short season or a long drought - Christians are by no means exempt from the trials of this world. (Click here for a post I did recently on that very topic.)

No, this peace we have comes only from knowing WHO is writing the manuscript rather than what's on the next page. This has been a lesson l-o-n-g in the making for me. In fact, I think the biggest evidence of Christ in my life is the change in my thinking over the last 5 years or so and how He has chiseled away at my anxiety and worry.

Although there have been many lessons along the way, there was a clear, defining moment in my journey to full trust in Christ. Can I share?

About 3 1/2 years ago, our oldest daughter was about 18 months old and we joyfully discovered we were expecting again. Since we had struggled with infertility for 2 years prior to our daughter's birth, this was a surprising and welcome event! And although I was beside myself with giddiness, I could not shake a nagging feeling that something was not quite right. (Looking back, I know without a doubt now it was the Spirit preparing my heart.)

At 7 weeks I started having symptoms that alarmed me, but I was assured that I had probably overexerted myself somehow and I should just take it easy for a few days.

Again, I had a restless feeling that I just could not shake. I awoke one night so anxious in my soul that I knew trying to sleep was useless. In the still, quiet darkness I sat on our living room couch and talked with God. Really, I talked at Him, asking Him over and over for peace, for healing, for safety for the baby. No matter what I said, my soul felt like I was grasping at spiritual straws, but coming up empty-handed.

I then realized what I had to do, and as much as I did NOT want to say those words for fear of what it could mean, I told God that I surrendered the situation, and our baby, to Him. That only He knew what was happening and I would trust in Him. Peace immediately flooded my soul and I was able to sleep soundly the rest of the night.

A few days later, I miscarried and lost the baby.

Grief and sadness does not even begin to describe the depth of my despair. Even at 7 1/2 weeks pregnant, I loved that baby as much as if I had held it in my arms. And even though I believe God prepared my heart for the loss before it happened, I struggled so much with understanding why He would allow such a thing. Why allow me to carry a precious little one only to have it taken away? Why us, who loved and wanted this baby so much?

In the following days I continued really struggling with God over why He allowed this to happen. I eventually came to a spiritual fork in the road. I realized I now had two choices: 1) Throw up my hands and walk away from God or 2) Choose to stay with Him and trust Him even though I was angry, sad and confused.

That’s it. There was no more gray area and I felt a very tangible pressing to make a conscious decision. Because I really could not imagine not having God in my life – even in my anger, grief and confusion – I chose to take the path that included Him in the picture. And believe me, it was a choice not a feeling. I didn’t feel like praying. I didn’t want to sing. I didn’t even want to crack open my Bible most days. But when I did, it was out of obedience and He showed me things and grew me in ways I never could have imagined. I can honestly say that my faith today is infinitely stronger because of the deep waters I waded through with God during this time.

It’s not to garner sympathy that I wanted to share this story. I know many of you have walked or are walking difficult paths – it’s part of being human. I wanted to share this to point to the unforgettable lesson God taught me:

I came to learn that when nothing makes sense, when it is unfathomable why God has allowed something catastrophic to happen, it is best to step away from the questions and make the conscious choice to trust in WHO God is: From His Word we know without a doubt that He is faithful, purposeful and the author of unfailing love. That He has promised never to leave us or forsake us. That He knits each of us together in our mother’s womb and knows every hair on our head. His thoughts toward each of us outnumber the grains of sand. (See Lamentations 3:22-23, Isaiah 46:10, Psalm 138:8, Psalm 13:5, Hebrews 13:5, Psalm 139:13, 17-18, Matthew 10:30)

It was this lesson that ushered me into the ability to be at peace in spite of whatever circumstance I find myself in. (And read “ability” as “able to be reminded by the Spirit to pray for the strength to remember and act on this lesson”!)

Which brings me back to this season our family is about to enter. Like I said earlier, I have no idea what is coming next, how long it will last or what the final outcome of this situation will be. But what I DO know now, thanks to a lesson I never would have asked for but couldn’t live without, is that I can trust God 100% because of WHO He is.

And that, my friends, delivers an unshakeable peace in a very shaky world.

P.S. In case you missed it, we have a winner from my last post! Actually, two winners because there were really two big mistakes (Um, yeah. Totally did that on purpose . . .) The "a baby changes everything" slogan is from Johnson & Johnson, not Gerber and I should have written "kryptonite" instead of "Krypton" at the end. Apparently I need to brush up on my Superman knowledge. Yay for Diana and Kimberly!