Monday, September 8, 2014

Retrospect, Lessons in Trust

Yesterday our sweet Evangeline Rose turned 4. As I flipped through her baby pictures, my mind drifted back to the days when I was pregnant with her.

After four miscarriages in less than a year, I enter into my pregnancy with her with a hesitant heart. I wanted to rejoice, but I was afraid that I would miscarry her too. I found out I was pregnant with her on New Years Eve, the same day I had found out I was pregnant with her brother, Keagan, three years previous. I had no idea that the year 2010 would be one full of trial and beauty.

One Spring morning, a Sunday as I recall, I woke up not feeling so great.  Merikalyn was sitting at the table playing, or maybe eating... possibly both.. and all the sudden half of her face started twitching.  She looked at me with fear in her eyes.  Her eye twitched, her mouth moved, and she was not able to control it. That night we would find out that our oldest child had a brain mass, and several days later, she would undergo surgery to remove it.

It was only a week or two later that we went in for an ultrasound to see our little baby and find out the gender. After the ultrasound, I received a call from my midwife.  I knew it was difficult for her to share the news since we had just gone through so much with our oldest daughter.

"The ultrasound revealed that your baby does not have all four chambers."  Later we would find out that Evangeline also had a mass on her brain.  My midwife told me to schedule an appointment to see a specialist, "But," she said, "More importantly. Don't start freaking out.  Pray. Talk to God about it."

The specialist began telling us about Trisomy 18, which all evidence pointed to on the first ultrasound.  He spoke briefly of labor and delivery options, life expectancy, and such and then began the ultrasound.

And our baby was whole. Complete. Perfect.

I can't even describe the relief I felt.  We were still nursing Merikalyn back to health.  I was still feeling the pain and loss of four miscarriages. I was so grateful, so grateful.

I think that season of my life was a clear message that control is just an illusion.  We think we have control of our lives, that we can have children when we want to have children, that we can keep our little ones healthy and safe, that we can order our days the way we want.... but the reality is that our area of control is very small. Very. Small.

My Father continues to open my eyes to that reality, not just in the difficult trials, but the good times as well. The building of our home was yet another revealing that God brings all things together. He accomplishes what I am unable to accomplish.

Truly, my children teach me that lesson over and over.  I need Jesus Christ. I need Him more than I can ever imagine, and you need Him more than you can comprehend.

There's nothing like parenting to really send that message home. Again and again.  I love each one of my children deeply. I want to keep them safe physically, mentally, and spiritually, and while I am responsible for them and have a big role to play in protecting them, ultimately, they are in Father's hand, and I have to trust Him with their lives.  I think it's sometimes easier for me to trust God in the big, dramatic events of my life when things are very obviously out of my control, I know I have no where else to go but the Father. The problem is that in the every day mundane, I often fool myself. I think I have it under control. I believe I can control my life better if I find the right method, the perfect curriculum, the most efficient routine.  At various times in my life, I have believed things would be perfect if we just had more money, if my husband had a different job, if we lived in a different house, if they had more land to play on,  I have placed my trust in life's goods rather than my God, in my situation rather than my Savior.

I love this quote from Jerry Bridges:

 “Trust is not a passive state of mind. It is a vigorous act of the soul by which we choose to lay hold on the promises of God and cling to them despite the adversity that at times seeks to overwhelms us.”
Trusting God is not just checking out. It's not a passive statement of, "Oh, well, the Lord's got it."  It's an active belief, and often it takes real work to truly trust and believe that God loves me, is for me, and is in ultimate control. (He isn't wringing His hands, wondering how He's going to work out this situation or that.) It takes work to trust that He is good, even when the circumstance doesn't seem good, or the outcome isn't what you wanted.  It takes effort to believe and trust because often there seems to be evidence that says not to (based on our limited view).

I realize that my default is to either choose to be oblivious (just check out) or to trust in myself (which often looks like worrying and the emotions that come with trying to problem solve in my own strength).

The weaving of our lives is such a strange thing.  Evangeline would not be here had I not miscarried. One day I will meet those babies in heaven, but if I had not lost the first, I would have had a different baby, not my Evie baby. And while I would have loved that baby, I am grateful for Evangeline, and look forward to meeting my other babies.  It's all... weird, and confusing, and difficult.  I'm not saying it's easy to explain or all makes sense.  But thankfully, I don't have to make it make sense.

And now I'm done rambling. :)

Thank You, Lord, for Evangeline Rose's life. Thank You for the precious gift we have in each of our children.  I'm so grateful You watch over them and love them more than I can imagine.  I want to trust You with their lives.  I want You to use them in mighty ways for Your kingdom, and that often requires risk and the sacrifice of the appearance of safety, but Lord, we know that You are for us. You love us. You will not forsake us.  I pray my children would firmly believe that as well.

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