Saturday, December 6, 2014

Help Me See the Beauty

Sometimes all I see is the pain and the questions.

The pain of losing Lily and the heaviness of living the rest of my life without my first-born. And the questions of why it happened to me, to my baby.

I recently heard someone share her story about going through an unintended pregnancy and how at one point early in the pregnancy, she almost lost her baby. This person said how she talked to her belly and told the tiny baby growing that she had to fight to stay alive... and then she said her daughter is now almost 19 and the reason she fights for the unborn...

As I listened to this story, burning tears came to my eyes and I felt the jab in my heart, why God? Why did you save her baby, but let mine die? Why did my sweet daughter go fullterm and die for no apparent reason?! While other babies who are born micro preemies survive?

In that moment of pain and questioning, it was as if God put this whispered prayer in my heart, please help me see the beauty in this... because right now I am blinded by the pain.

I know God has a plan and purpose. I am just wondering why a part of His plan had to be Lily dying??

My grandmother found two VHS tapes for me at the thrift store where she is one of the founders of in my hometown in Virginia. The series is called "Suffering Is Not For Nothing" by Elisabeth Elliot. There are six 30 minute segments. It has been bringing so much peace and comfort to my heart watching this series. My faith is being renewed. I firmly believe God puts books, movies, sermons, etc. into our path at just the right moment. In one of the sessions, Elisabeth Elliot even talks about a couple who lost their baby daughter. I couldn't believe it, but then I could believe it because I know God brought this series to me for a reason. This is what Elisabeth said:

If we learn to know God in the midst of our pain, we come to know Him as one who is not a High Priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He is one who has been over every inch of the road. I love that old hymn from I think the seventeenth century by Richard Baxter: “Christ leads me through no darker rooms than He went through before.” I love those words.
I have some dear friends who are missionaries in North Africa. He was one of the many seminary students who have lived in our house. I had a letter from them about a year or so ago to tell me that they had just lost their baby girl. I think it was either at birth or just within a few hours after birth. Their letter was filled with the anguish that that cost them. And of course, I wanted to answer the letter. But I never lost a baby. I only have one child who was ten months old when her father was killed. So I couldn’t write to Phil and Janet and say, “I know exactly what you’ve been through.”
But I’ve read the wonderful letters of Samuel Rutherford, that Scottish preacher from the seventeenth century who seems to have been through just about every imaginable human mill and he had lost at least one child. I had his letters in my study. So I looked up one of his letters to a woman who had lost a child. This is what he wrote to her, and I quoted these words to Phil and Janet after saying to them, “I don’t know what you’re going through, but I know the One who knows.” I sent them Samuel Rutherford’s words. He had lost two daughters; I have here in my notes. This is what he said:
Grace rooteth not out the affections of a mother but putteth them on His wheel who maketh all things new, that they may be refined. He commandeth you to weep. And that Princely One took up to Heaven with Him a man’s heart to be a compassionate High Priest. The cup ye drink was at the lip of sweet Jesus, and He drank of it.
And Janet wrote to me these words: “The storm of pain is calming down and the Lord is painting a new and different picture of Himself.” I saw in her experience that the very suffering itself was an irreplaceable medium. God was using that thing to speak to Janet and Phil in a way that He could not have spoken if He had not gotten their attention through the death of that little child.
Now, I don’t mean to oversimplify things as though that explains it, that God had to say something to those two people because if I know anything about godliness, I know that Phil and Janet Linton are both godly people.
That raises another painful question, doesn’t it. We often say, “Why did such and such have to happen to her. She is such a wonderful person. Why did he have to go through this? He’s such a wonderful person.” Well, again, the word is, “Trust Me.”

Sometimes I think God is the most glorified in the midst of suffering... in the place of unanswered questions and pain where a heart still points to Heaven and says, I trust Him and know He is good always.

God is speaking clearly to my heart that I am to trust Him. I am reminded of a quote that I love that I can't remember who said it, "When you cannot trace His hand, you can always trust His heart."

There are certain things the Lord can teach us only through suffering. Suffering is not for nothing. And Lily's life and death was not for nothing. Some of the beauty that I am finding is in the suffering.

I know that somewhere deep down, hidden beneath the seemingly endless pain, is the beauty. I see glimpses of this beauty and know that one day, in Heaven, the fullness of the beauty of Lily's life and legacy will be revealed. When the sorrow and suffering is no more. And my beautiful blue-eyed baby girl will finally be in my arms.... forever.

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