Monday, July 29, 2013

God Guilt vs. False Guilt

We all suffer from guilt. Sometimes it's because we said something stupid in front of somebody else. Sometimes it's that we forgot to get the dogs water before leaving the house. Maybe you have an infant that cries constantly and you've had the "what if" thoughts. Especially if you are a parent, you probably understand most of the world's guilt. We have guilt over what we should have done, what we shouldn't have done.

It was recently brought to my attention that their are two kinds of guilts. There is the guilt from God that is utilized to lead your heart to the will of God. Anything other than that is False Guilt- it's guilt intended to derive you from the will of God. So when I feel guilty because I offered a funny comment that ridiculed another, adding to the notion of gossiping- that is God guilt designed to conform my will to the truth- to whatever is right and noble. When I feel guilty because I forgot to read my bible today- that's God's guilt to correct your behavior- to lead you to the truth, whatever is right and noble.

But when I have guilt because my body isn't cooperating and I can't provide my husband with a child- that BY FAR is false guilt. I have no reason to feel guilty over this, but I do. And it's designed to turn my heart away from what is true.

When I have guilt because I forgot to leave a clean towel in the bathroom for my husband to use- yes, it would have been nice, but it is not guilt that I should dwell over.

Too often, especially us women, kick ourselves for the shoulda coulda woulda's. We feel guilty over little things, and God wants us to know that those don't matter. If they are not intended to lead you to the right cause of God- they are false.

So what have you felt guilty about lately? Do you have false guilt in your lives that you need to allow God to take from you? You gain no outcome from false guilt, but you gain a step closer to God's will when you allow God's guilt to tune your will to his.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

I will sing again: The dark days of miscarriage

I remember the night we realized we were pregnant. I was at a total disbelief and walked into the room with the positive and said "Uh...Nick?". We didn't even want to consider a miscarriage because I just couldn't see how God would answer our long awaited prayers just to take it away.

And still to this day, I cannot understand it. How can people that aren't ready for children, or teenagers that don't need children, get pregnant so easily and carry with no complications whatsoever. Then these babies get aborted, or taken away. Too easy we fall pray to the "why's". And sometimes, for good reason.

When we found out that it was finalized and there was nothing we could do to prevent losing our already loved baby, I had the darkest days I've ever seen. I don't know that I've ever felt so depressed, so alone, and so unloved. I wanted to believe that God still loved me, that God still had purpose for me. But in those days, all I could do was mourn. I'd call on the Lord but I didn't feel like he cared anymore. I didn't feel like he heard me anymore. I felt like he had turned his back on me. Those are some feelings I would never wish on anyone else. Why, when I needed God the most, was he the farthest away? I've never had days so dark before. Days so dark that it hurt to breathe, days so dark that when you called out to God from your heart, it was too silent.

A couple of days before I lost the baby, when it just started and I was in the most physical pain I've ever felt- that's when the answers came. They sounds of redemption and hope flooded into my home once more. I believe it was John in the bible that asked why they had to go through so much pain, and God responded that he shines strongest in our most weakness. John responds "Then I shall rejoice in my weakness for you are strong". We see this again with Hannah, my current favorite model of the bible. It wasn't until her absolute weakest point that God finally gave her a child. That's how he works.

If this was my weakest point, the point where I gave up and gave in to the sacrifice my body was making, then I am assured that there was good that came out of this. I don't even know what it is yet, but I do know that was my weakest, and in it I gained comfort and regained a sense of love. I don't even have to understand why at this point, but God answered why he can't say why. He answered that he won't give me the reason why this happened except to let me know that he needed me at my weakest to be open for what is to come. And I have no idea what is to come, but whatever God needed from me at my weakest state, he got it, and in that I can rest.

I was able to breathe again without being in pain. The days of tears are less and less, and I'm able to speak with people again normally. I'm able to eat again normally, and I'm able to clean the house again normally. Of course, I'm taking it all slow as I'm still in recovery. But the exact moment I lost the baby, all of the aches in my body vanished instantly. All of my stress, all of my sadness- everything was lifted. I felt relieved that my baby got a free ride to heaven, and that he/she is dancing with my mother and Jesus.

I don't know why, and I don't have to know why anymore. I know that God still loves me, God will still make me a mother both biologically and adopted, and that God still showers me with gifts. He still cares. I feel fully at peace again with his presence and with the love of everyone that has kept us in their prayers. I feel more normal, though I will also have a little bit of heart ache for my first baby.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The chasm is far too wide

My head knows that God loves me. My head knows that God didn't do this, that sometimes these things happen. My head knows, but my heart can barely stand.  I don't want to be angry at God and I don't want to blame God. And if I'm honest, I don't. But my heart cannot wrap around how any of this can make sense. My head knows that God's plan is infinite, it is right, and he breaks your heart so he can restore it, so he can love you. My head knows that I don't have to understand now, that God made a promise to me to be a mother and that it will be fulfilled at a later date. My head knows all the right answers, but I've never struggled so intensely in my life. I've never felt my heart crack. And just when I think I'm going to heal just a fraction, I fall apart again. I can't eat and I can barely breathe. I feel like I can barely live. And I know this happens to many people, but God knows we've been trying for so long. God knows the tears I have poured out to him on behalf of my child for the last 2 years. And here I am praising because he's given me a miracle and allowed us to get pregnant. And then it goes away? I don't want to question God and I'm trying really hard just to cope. The only hope now is another miracle, but I don't think I have any miracles coming my way. I've held onto this for so long, and all I can do is let go. All I can do is fall apart for a little while. There may be pain in the night but joy comes in the morning- I guess it'll be several mornings later, because I can't even breathe in this pain.

My favorite song right now is "Your love never fails", by the Newsboys. It says "nothing can separate, even if I run away". So I'm holding so tight to God's promises so that I don't run away, but I am so relieved that nothing will separate us. I can't stand to be separate from anything right now. I'm still learning how to breathe.

Nothing can separate
Even if I run away
Your love never fails
I know I still make mistakes
You have new mercy for me everyday
Cause Your love never fails

You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There may be pain in the night
But joy comes in the morning
And when the oceans rage
I don't have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Your love never fails

The wind is strong and the water's deep
But I'm not alone here in these open seas
Cause Your love never fails
The chasm is far too wide
I never thought I'd reach the other side
But Your love never fails

I'm not alone here in these open seas. One of the most powerful phrases of my entire life right now. It's all I can do to not sink right now. 

God, please take away this pain, take away my confusion, and hold me closer than you've ever done before. God, hold me so tight because I'm breaking into pieces and I need somebody to keep these pieces together. I don't think I've ever hurt so much in my life. I feel like all of my desires and dreams are being ripped from who I am, and God- I am still trusting you. Somehow, I am still clinging so don't let me breathe alone here. Don't let the chasm be far too wide.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The song we keep singing

We were very ecstatic to find out we were expecting a baby. Nearly two years of trying and heartache and doctor appointments and more disappointment and the roller coaster of losing hope and gaining hope, we already loved this child. But more doctor appointments showed that things weren't lining up as they should, and today we were presented with the news that we will be losing our baby. It's an ectopic pregnancy, which means that "hopefully" we'll miscarry quickly because that would prevent me from needing surgery. More hopes dashed, more faith tried.

I can barely grasp the concept that this child that I already love and had dreams for will not be with me. I do know that it was a baby, and that it will be waiting for me in heaven. I think I'll name it then.

The funny thing is, I'm okay. Yes, I'm hurt, I'm aching, and I don't know how I'll overcome this. But I know I will. And I know I will be a mother. And I know I've never felt anything like this before.

I don't know why God gives me so many trials. I feel like I am constantly being battered with trials, but I know he wouldn't do it if it weren't for my own good. I know he is teaching me something, and I know it has to do with patience and with finding peace. I will not question God's motives, but I will continue to pray for an overwhelming peace, and for his love to surround me. I feel like I'm about to break, but I know I'm not.

So for now we'll go on singing our song, praying our prayer, and hoping. For somehow God will help me, and I will be okay.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Nothing can separate

I have a song that's been playing in my heart for the past couple of months, so below I am posting a link to the song if you want to listen too.

The lyrics say "Nothing can separate, even if I run away- your love never fails".

We sing these lyrics or read these scriptures, but do you ever think what this is saying? NOTHING can separate. That is probably one of the most powerful statements in scripture. Nothing. God will not separate from us, and we cannot separate from him once we've accepted our savior. EVEN if we run away. Even if we don't read our bibles as we should. Even if we don't have a quiet time and really need to. EVEN if we do not make wise choices. EVEN when we make the biggest mistakes and our friends or families cannot forgive us. God is NOT separate from us. He will not budge, he will not move. How can someone not love a God who although he cares what we do and hurts by our decisions, his love is no less? It's magnificent!

Once, when I was a new believer, I was so tired after fighting the demons of my past. I came home from school and that night I didn't read my bible. The next day I said "God, I promise tonight I will read it or you never have to forgive me again". That night, I did not read my bible. As a newer believer, I struggled for months if not years by the fact that I made a promise to God, I broke that promise, and I thought God could hold me accountable since I said he never had to forgive me again. Satan used that as an attack on my soul and I walked around thinking that I wasn't worth forgiveness, that God never would forgive me and that it was a done deal. That it was over.

But that was me running away, but God showed me that I can't separate him from my life. His love NEVER fails, even when human tendencies would say otherwise. Because God is not of human nature like us. God is capable of loving us, even at our most unlovable state.

The song says "The chasm is far too wide, I never thought I'd reach the other side". The truth is, we'll NEVER reach the other side of God's love, because it is endless, it is profound, and it is forever. We will never be at a time in our life that we are not IN God's love. Consider what it means that his love never fails. Have you ever been in a situation where somebody got so mad at you that they stopped talking to you? (Or vice versa). That's a love that fails. Were you ever in love with a man (or woman) but that relationship broke off and you never spoke to them again? That's a love that fails. But our simple minds cannot comprehend the complexity of the degree to which our God loves us. If you struggle with alcohol, or drugs, or pornography, or self infliction, homosexuality, or eating disorders, or false religions, or  lack of intimacy with the Creator of our universe, his heart breaks but he will NOT move. He will NOT stop offering you a loving hand in his plan. He will hold a spot for you- wait for you. But you have to choose it. You have to stop running away.

This is the link to the song. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Why are you waiting?

I know we are working on adoption, but our adopted child we are praying for comes from the pool of fostering. You always hear that the need is so great, and maybe you've even thought to yourself that you'd like to do that someday. When your kids are grown, when you change houses, maybe after you have a child of your own first. These are all legitimate concerns. Afterall, the point of fostering is to give the best opportunity for that child to thrive while they are away from biological families. But I'd like to pose the question: Why are you waiting?

I hear so often that people want to get involved, or they'd like to someday. Heck, I've said that plenty of times in my life that one day I'd like to foster or adopt. What stopped me were those same reasons: housing, timing, wanting a child. And that's okay for a time. But I'd like to encourage you if it's ever been on your heart- consider it sooner. Consider taking the courses and then deciding whether you feel called to it. Consider taking your first child, and then consider whether you'd do it again. (More times than not, foster parents say that it might have been a lot of heartache, but they'd do it again in a second!) I just want to encourage you to take the journey- to start the process if God has ever laid this upon your heart. Because there are SO many children out there that don't feel loved, that feel abandoned, and they are scared.

I never felt such a strong urgency for this until I took this training portion today and they gave us numbers. Statistical numbers that show how many children are being abused, how many are being neglected, and how many are suffering at the feelings of invalidness and lack of want. Did you know that 1 in 8 children placed in foster care are STILL being abused? Christians unite!,  and CHANGE these statistics. 1 in 8 is more than I want on the data!!! Oklahoma ranks in the top states for children in government custody. The more children that need temporary homes means that we need more Christian parents and single people willing to love a child for a season but pray for them for a lifetime.

Sometimes, it's not your calling and that's okay. There are other ways to get involved. Volunteer at shelters, love those children that think they are unlovable. Go to the Waiting Child of the Heart Gallery of OKlahoma website, look at those children and pick one to be in prayer for every day. One you will never see in your life, but you can intercede for their souls.

You can still make a difference.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Adoption and the Waiting Game

Today we had our home walk through for the adoption. It wasn't the home study which will question our habits, likes, and backgrounds, but it was a simple walk through to see our home and point out any hazards or areas we need to have taken care of before the home study. (But everything was a go!)

It was a simple walk through....that lasted 2 hours! We signed papers, answered questions about our home and safety measures, established our emergency contacts and vacancy routes for fires and tornados, and then even more paperwork.  And then we were finally able to ask questions. I have waited very long to ask questions.

Some things we need to think about is whether we want to take the initiative to look through files of children, or whether we want to attend adoption parties. Or wait. Whether we wanted to read the adoption handbook beforehand, or wait until there is a possible child. And then keep waiting.   It sounds so complicated, but so...adventurous. I feel like we have no idea what we are getting into, and yet, I feel so led to continue this journey. THis is right for us.

One thing she did bring up was the strain on marriages. I feel so blessed to share such a privileged and communicative relationship with my best friend and love of my life. One thing we do know is that this relationship is the priority, and without it we could never add children to our equation. We thank the Lord daily for his gifts and his blessings he has given our marriage. Barren or not, he has called us to be parents of a child somewhere (and in this he continues on my life lesson about His timing. This lesson goes way back to childhood!). Now all we have to do is...wait. Fingerprints, wait, home study, wait, paper work, wait, trainings, paperwork, wait, approval, sign offs, wait. And wait and wait for that call that we will receive one day that will say "We have a child for you!" (Or children!! :)  ).

So it becomes more paperwork and patience. But I'm ready!

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Odd Duck Out: Lessons in Righteousness

I have always felt different, out of place. Friendships come difficulty, and I am just not a people person. Much of it could be attributed to the middle child syndrome that I suffered from as a kid (and let's face it- much into adulthood). But I've always longed for friendships, longed to fit in. But I don't watch the movies others watch. I don't listen to what others listen to. I choose a quiet night at home with yarn (don't judge!) over attending a weekend party with booze. Out of place? Probably so. I hold myself to higher standards and choose not to participate in local conversation. Does that make me a lone duck? The odd one out? Kind of.

But then it becomes evident even within the christian circle. I don't have children, so again I don't fit in. I"m not very tall, so again I don't fit in.  Sometimes it feels like a never ending circle- that it doesn't matter how hard I try or how broken I feel, I'm just the odd one out.

And over time I've learned that that's okay. I don't have to fit in, and I don't have to have friends. I overhead a talk show a few weeks ago and there was a phrase that struck me: Loneliness goes with the spiritually led. This stopped me in my tracks.

Those that are choosing to follow the Lord, those that are seeking his will- will he really lead them through loneliness? And I think the answer is yes. It appears that many of the Lord's servants went through a state of loneliness in their lives. Sometimes longer than most, sometimes shorter. My favorite example is, of course, Elizabeth. She was barren, and prayed to God for a child. She was swarmed in loneliness, even with the love of her husband trying to console her. So much that her husband even said "am I not enough?". But it was just for a period, for God consoled that loneliness that ached within her for a child. Granted, it was a VERY long journey of loneliness.

We see it again with Job. His friends left him, his spouse left him. He had nobody. But his example shows us that in our great loneliness, God does amazing works. God takes the most glory out of loneliness, whether it be suffering from a disease that separates you from the ones that love you, or whether it be that you just aren't clicking with your co-workers. It could be that you are forever suffering from middle child syndrome (or baby syndrome!) and sometimes you forget that in your deepest loneliness, righteousness comes forth. Loneliness follows you for a season, but out of that surface the greatest of life's lessons: the will of God that leads to Righteousness.