It’s a strange experience to have two children graduate to Heaven in just six months time. When we lost Timothy Luke, people were brokenhearted with us, gathered around us and many tried to offer encouraging words. When we announced we were pregnant again, many people said, “we’re really praying with you this time”. Again, they were attempting to encourage and reach out. Upon announcing the death of our Evelyn Ruth, we’ve encountered more silence. Not the kind that says people don’t care, but the kind that says they’re shocked, stunned, and scared. I walk through the halls of my church or the stores in my community and as I pass people, I see their faces. Faces give a lot away. They don’t know what to say and look half terrified to speak at all. It leaves me almost wanting to comfort them, ironically.
I don’t say this to shame anyone or point a finger. Rather, I had an epiphany with the Lord yesterday that brought me great comfort, and I want to share from my vantage point: Please do not pity me. Having to say goodbye to two of my beloved children this year before I even got to hold them in my arms has been agonizing, heartbreaking, and painful beyond belief. But this is the thing- the devil is not going to get the final say here. God made me a covenant promise back in 2009 (one He’s made with all of us in Romans 8:28) that He will work all things for my good. God didn’t kill or take away my babies, but their early graduation to Heaven will be something He uses for His, and my, good.
The trials we have faced in 2015 are not Brett and my first rodeo. In 2009, we nearly destroyed our marriage through selfish, horrible choices. We brought that pain on ourselves and made it easy for the enemy of our souls to come in and bring destruction to our family. However, when I asked God if I should stay with Brett or leave, He promised me that He could work all this for good. This seemed like the most stupid promise ever at the time, but that’s because I had no clue how good God is at what He does! God came in and completely redeemed and restored our marriage as He changed us as individuals from the inside-out. This was truly a miraculous work.
In 2010, we faced hardship with moving all over the country multiple times in just 4 months with two toddlers in tow. In 2012, we faced job loss, homelessness and being completely broke financially for months as we closed the door on Brett’s football career and started anew. We’ve spent the past 3 years enduring growing pains as we’ve developed roots here in Nashville and sought Jesus and His plans for us. None of this has been easy, all of it has come with real cost and hardship, and I have been brought to my knees again and again. I don’t list any of this for sympathy but all of it for His glory. No matter the trials we have faced, when we have found ourselves in the position that we cannot do anything to “fix” our situation ourselves, Jesus has shown up and shown off working it for our good. So as I sift through another trial of life, the premature death of two of my beloved children, I turn to Him with genuine hope for the future. I know He will walk me through this, and somehow, as only He can do, He WILL WORK THIS FOR GOOD.
So don’t pity me. Cry with me, stand with me in prayer, and even be angry with my for the injustice of my children’s deaths. But don’t pity me. I will make it through this because through Jesus I can do all things, and He will strengthen me and make me even more beautiful on the other side.
Romans 5:2-5 New Living Translation (NLT) Bold added by me 🙂
2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.
3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.