Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Empty Seat

A few weeks ago we went to our annual family reunion up in Northern Wisconsin. I love it there! It is great to get away from all of the everyday distractions and just spend time together with my family and some quiet time with God. I have a journal that I keep for each of my kids that is kind of a letter to each of them telling them what they are like at that age as well as recording funny sayings or doings. Each year at the lake is one of the main times I write in them. I get to see how much they have changed: how they can now cast their fishing line, swim without a life jacket, build sandcastles, etc. It is also a time to reflect on our family and what has changed in our lives since the previous year. On our way home I had a specific memory from the previous year. All three of our kids were sitting in the back seat and I told Craig, “look there is still a seat open back there and next year it will be filled.” We were hiding our little secret that we were expecting another child. Unfortunately, we lost that little one. It was not the first last year and sadly, it would not be the last. However, this year, I looked back at that seat and it was filled. Beautiful, little baby “Z” was back in his car seat sleeping away.  We wouldn’t have known last year all of the pain and the joy that this year would hold. It was through those losses that God opened our hearts to adoption and foster care. I believe God put several people in my path that would help shepherd us in this journey.
Some of you may be reading this and asking, do I think that God caused those losses so that we would be able to open our home to other children in need. The answer is no. BUT I do believe that God works to redeem those painful places in our lives. Romans 8:28 says that God is working to bring good through all things. That doesn’t mean that everything that happens is good or is even God’s doing but that through God’s grace, even those ugly places can be made beautiful.
Take some time to think over your life and see where God has redeemed those painful times in your life. If you are in the midst of one of those “bad” times, open yourself up to God’s healing and restorative work.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

He Will Carry Me

4 years ago I woke up knowing that it would be a scary and, hopefully, wonderful day. My labor was going to be induced with my son Jonah. I had a history of a partial abruption, so I was scared for my life and the life of my child. In addition, in not quite the middle of my pregnancy, I was accidentally given a medication that could be very harmful to the baby. There were a lot of complications during my pregnancy so there was a lot of fear and anxiety (including just the normal stuff that I would be giving birth!).  Somehow, I was able to sleep the night before. We had set our alarm for the morning so that it would wake us up with music instead of the annoying buzzer. Craig turned over as the alarm came on and said, “Listen to what song is playing.” It was the song, “He Will Carry Me” by Mark Schulz. The peace that surpasses all understanding came over me and I knew that whatever this day would hold, whether it be full of just wonderful blessings or whether some of my worst fears would happen, that the promise is that God will be with me no matter what, carrying me through.
Jonah was born at 3:05 p.m. and with only a little breathing difficulty was perfect. I thank God for this wonderful little boy!
Since then, there have definitely been those “valley” times in my life. I have clung to the promises that this song sings about. We are not promised a life where everything will be easy (and quite frankly there are times when it seems unbearable) but God has promised to see us through the storms. I hope that you will all feel the sustaining presence of God whether you are walking through a time of great joy or great sorrow. 

Mark Schulz: He Will Caryy Me