7.23.2011

Thy will be done.

{if you have your speakers on, the first song playing is the one we sing at church, where I got this title from}

Sometimes my life and my heart feel more like a garden than an actual body. I feel like God has to weed through areas, kill off other areas, start completely from scratch in some areas, and do more day-to-day pruning in most.

Its amazing to me that when I rest in Him, trusting Him as my 'Gardener', as it were, knowing He is doing a perfect and complete work, the end result is going to be fabulous.
When I'm stubborn and want things my way and insist upon understanding the entire garden layout that He's planting, I can so often be like those stubborn weeds that come and choke out the beauty that's growing. A flowerbed and an entire garden do not bloom and take beautiful form in one day. It takes seasons. Lots of time and just the right amount of sun, weeding, watering and day-to-day tending.

I don't want to be a weed. 
I want to flourish and grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ. 
I want to be able to withstand hot summers and torrential downpours and intense wind.  
I don't want to be blown about by each trial. 
I don't want to be defeated & hopeless after each loss. 
I'm okay with feeling sorrow. With going through bouts of pain. With having those moments of thirst quenching desire. Because in those moments, its when I remember I'm a delicate flower and I need the strength and comfort and care from my Heavenly Father. 

God has, this year, brought me to a place where I've gone from resisting and arching my neck and trying with all my might to avoid disappointment. To avoid sadness. To be very careful to keep myself from suffering, in any way. My idol in life is comfort and ease. Did you know that? I've only learned that recently through a series of sermons we've heard at church and through these various trials.
I idolize and need a comfortable life.
Hey, I panic when we're on vacation and there's no place to get coffee close by. Seriously.
I hate being put out. I like to know everything is under good control; my control.
I struggled with saying 'Thy will be done' because I know in that simple phrase, I'm handing control over to God and telling Him He knows what's best for me, even if it doesn't seem best to me.
Funny thing is, the control is His, whether we give it to Him or not. But the garden can flourish one way or be taken over by ugly weeds the other.

He's bringing me to a place of understanding, little by little, His plans for my life really ARE perfect. 
That's easy to say when life feels more like you're floating on a cloud. Its much harder to say {and yet I think its proven better} when we're faced with trials and when we're finding life to be one sorrow followed by another. God still remains good. He still remains true. He still remains faithful and He still remains the giver of ALL good gifts. He is still pruning, weeding, watering and seeding my soul. He's still doing a great work in me.

He's not done just because hard times come.
So after 30 years of His gardening work in my soul :) I'm at a place where saying the words 'Thy will be done' bring me comfort. God's will is best. No matter what. Its best. 
Its what is good for me. Its going to grow me in areas I never could've imagined. He can use trials to help people you don't even know - this is why I'm determined that keeping too much too private isn't always wise. Sometimes we hide our trials because we tell ourselves we're doing something wrong and being punished. Or maybe we worry others will think that of us.
I've been overjoyed to hear how my blog posts about our losing Micah have helped others in ways I never could've planned. Areas and needs I never knew existed and random emails from people I've never even met! But God did. 

To resist trial or loss or sorrow {or all of the above} or to hate it and become angry with it, is to become a weed in my own heart and to choke out what the Lord is doing in me and for me.
I hate sin. I hate that Adam and Eve's first sin are the cause of so much pain. But again, even that is part of God's plan. I love how God can turn even a bad situation into an overflowing spring of His grace. He can and often does change and mold us through some of our bad mistakes. He uses those trials and indwelling sins to point us to the cross; to remind us that His grace IS sufficient, and to help us to see our need for Him. 

A couple weeks ago, we found out I was pregnant again. We were overjoyed. Anxious, yes. Nervous, yes. A little hesitant to get too excited? Sure. But we were very excited, nonetheless. A new life and a new member in our family is definitely something to get joyous about :) 
But within just a little over a week of finding out, I began to bleed. And we entered down that road we never wanted to be on, again. We began the grieving process of yet another baby lost.
Feeling our excitement turn into heart wrenching sadness. Wondering how we went from having 3 healthy babies back-to-back-to-back and then 3 miscarriages in 2 years.  
Its a feeling of defeat. Its a feeling of our plans - plans we thought were good and right, falling apart.
It was also a fresh reminder of our loss of Micah all over again. Jason and I feel like in many ways, we're grieving him all over again. Just when we thought we had healed {for the most part} and we could actually talk about that experience with others, without completely losing it emotionally, this happens.
That fact in and of itself is not lost on Christ. He knows it. Remember He gave up His only son for you and me? Remember how he watched him die a horrible and wretched death on our behalf? So we could have Eternal life with Him? He knows our sorrows, because He's felt our sorrows. He's tasted the sting of death.
Its not foreign to him that we suffer.
The beautiful thing is, He suffered, so we might have hope! So we don't have just this to look forward to.

Our garden isn't complete until we're dead. The work is still in progress as long as you're alive.
My prayer is that these years ahead of me will be marked with more weeding and less weeds. With more watering of God's grace and goodness and less of being consumed with myself and my wants.
I'd love to have more children, but raising a family is not the reason I'm here. Its a huge blessing God has given to us, but its not my main purpose. I want to glorify God with my life and also to spread the Gospel in any way I can.
I want fertile soil {fertile for healthy babies!} and fertile for the fruits of the spirit to sink in more and more each day. I want God's will for my life; whatever that might look like, however it might unfold.
I am so incredibly thankful for the ways God has blessed me and my family and there's nothing I can do for myself that's better than what He's already done.

To know true joy and incredible peace in the midst of great sorrow, is to me, one of the greatest gifts. 

Isaiah 41:10 "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Psalm 139 is a favorite of mine. The whole chapter. But the verses that give me much comfort are 14-18
"for you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my Mother's womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. 
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake and I am still with you."



11 {comments}:

Nicola S. said...

Oh Stef, I'm so sorry for this life that you will never know this side of heaven. I pray that God will be your comfort and strength. We love you so much and are praying for you. Just remember that our God is in complete control of everything that happens. I hope that comforts you all during this very hard time.

Brooke said...

Very well said, Stef. God has been doing the same gardening in my life and I am finally learning the same things. Crazy how stubborn I am and how slow a learner! I may have to use your words on my blog! They could've come from my mouth! Knowing these truths can make these difficult trials 'easier' to go thru, but no less pain in the momemt. I am truly sorry for your pain and will continue praying for you. Thankful you are 'blooming' thru it rather than growing stubborn weed roots of bitterness!

Volkov Family said...

Thank you for sharing. Your perspective was a good reminder for my struggles.

Melissa Joy said...

Speechless with understanding.
(((hugs)))

Liz said...

Beautifully written, Stef! You have such wisdom. I am so sorry for another loss for your family. I am praying for you. Love you, dear friend!

Drea said...

Thanks so much for this.
We've been there twice btw... in 3 years. One before each of my older two boys.. times like that make you question so much but you are so right in what you said..

"His plans for my life really ARE perfect. "

They are... although not easy , He has a perfect plan for our lives..

Shane said...

Jesus too knew the struggle of faith. Faith does not exist in a vacuum. We may worship God in a sanctuary, but we do not normally find our faith in one. Faith is more often born in a boxing ring of choices - of doubt, disbelief, impossibility and meaninglessness. To adhere to the promise of God in spite of everything to the contrary is to give glory to God. -James R. Edwards (NIV commentary on Romans)

Gina said...

Stef--this is beautiful! I love the garden picture--perfect for God's work. In reading this, I feel both your pain and your peace. The pruning process is terribly painful, but boy do the harvests look beautiful! My prayers go up for you in these trying days. Love you!

Stef said...

guys, your comments are beautifully filled with grace and are blessing me SO much!

wedogmomma said...

So well said! I am reading "There's a Sheep in my Bathtub" by Brian Hogan. While he and his wife were church planting in Mongolia they lost their fourth child to SIDS at 6 weeks old. And through the process of their grief the lives of countless people were transformed. The grace you and Jason are experiencing is not lost even on the unbelieving who may surround you.

I'm just reminded that it's during the greatest times of persecution and trials that the church grows the MOST.
Love you.

Snooley said...

praying

 

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