On Friday night, the last service of the conference, I made it a point to feed Mia before service and then left her in the nursery with a nice old woman who promised to rock and hold her the whole time. I made her pinky swear to me that she would spoil her.
No really I did.
Judah Smith spoke that night. I'd never heard him because apparently I was either in la-la land when Brandon talked about him, or living under a rock the last couple... years...??..!
He was the youth pastor for City Church in Seattle, Washington and is now THE Pastor for the 6000 member church that his father led. He is only 32. Can you imagine? Such responsibility... such a legacy that he was left by his dad who passed away suddenly just a couple of months ago. But he has such a gifting and is certainly anointed for it. He never expected to be filling the role so early but God did. God is never surprised by what we encounter. He always has a plan and intends to see us through it.
This is what Judah Smith spoke about that night. His testimony of losing his father and being faced with unanswered questions, promises that were unfulfilled and ...sorrow.
Sorrow- that's a word we Christians seldom use, because...well, we're expected to always be full of faith and joy, right? But something I'm learning is that it's ok to feel all of those emotions, including sorrow.
Judah asked the question
"What do you do when promises go unfulfilled."
He didn't have the exact answer. Trust me, I was listening for it. I wanted to know...what DO you do? I clung to every word he said because I needed to hear each one of them.
You see, I struggled and sometimes still do, with the promise I believe I was given after we lost Faith, when God told me I would have twins. That I would receive "double for my trouble." I praised God when we found out we were in fact expecting twins. I shouted it from the rooftops...declared his faithfulness and goodness...Then we lost one of them at 14 weeks... Jett Samuel.
I still continued to declare God's faithfulness. His love. His mercy. His grace. I still believed I served a God that is good...all of the time.
But inside, my heart ached. My mind questioned. My soul was stirred.
With questions. Lots of them. Any many of them remain unanswered.
Part of that promise...a baby... went to heaven. Yes I will be his mommy one day for an eternity...But still....
If I'm honest with myself and I'm honest with you, that is hard for me to be O.K with sometimes. Sometimes that isn't good enough. Sometimes I still get mad.
What?! Mad? "But you're not supposed to feel that way!"
Please don't misunderstand me, I'm not angry with God. The Bible says that satan comes to "steal, kill and destroy"...so trust me, I know where to direct my anger.
And I think God is ok with me being angry about it. I think he wants me to be real and honest with Him.
After we found out we lost one of the twins, I felt like I had to be strong. Because everyone was watching. How was I going to deal with a promise being unfulfilled. How was I going to deal with the pain and the heartache of losing another baby...'surely she would break now, surely she's not that strong'
So I had to be. I had to be strong. I had to fight past the sorrow, past the questions. I had to push down the feelings of disappointment. Because I felt like I wasn't allowed to feel those things.
And because I still had this precious baby girl growing inside of me. Trust me I was so, so thankful. Words I could write on a blog would never be enough to express my love for Mia. I do believe I received my double portion in her. Our promise.
Each day I look at her, I'm amazed. She represents so much to me. She is not only our manifestation of God's glory here on earth...our splendor and bliss of heaven...She is part of my healing.
When you get a cut, it hurts. Sometimes you cry because it hurts so much. Depending on how badly you were cut, you may cry a lot. It might get better and you may not need to cry for a while but one day it may start hurting again and you might need to cry some more.
But it will become less and less.
It will hurt less and less.
That is all part of the healing process. It may take some time. It may come and go...its a process.
Slowly as time goes on, you may not need to cry anymore at all. It may not hurt anymore. But you might still have a scar that reminds you of it all.
The beautiful thing about that is that if you allowed yourself to process through it...to feel it, to hurt, to cry, to heal....that scar is a beautiful thing to you. Because it reminds you of how you found strength in your weakness. How God turned your sorrow into joy.
And it taught you...That what you do when a promise goes unfulfilled is you look to Him. Because in the end, all this life is about, is to point ourselves, our lives, our words, our actions, our heart...to Jesus. My life is not just about the loss I've experienced. I could make it about that... but instead I make it to be about Him...His goodness, His love, His favor....my blessings.
But I think sometimes, especially in our healing process, we need to hear that it's ok to feel sorrow.
It's ok to have questions. God actually wants us to ask him those questions. He wants us to have those kind of conversations with Him. Because it's in those conversations that we grow...that we exercise our faith. We may not get the answers to the questions but just having those conversations with God pushes us to the next level of relationship with Him.
One thing I desire in my life more than anything is to be real. To be honest and to be transparent. It's why I started this blog. So that I could reach out to other people in a real way and share my life. To let them know that though we may face tragedy, trials, sadness, sorrow, disappointments...unfulfilled promises....there is still joy to be found.
I struggled with writing this post. I struggle with even saying that I still cry for my babies. Because I fear that it may be taken for weakness. For lack of faith. But the truth is, I'm human and I do still have my days where I need to cry. I'm still healing. And I can say that and know that it's ok.
I don't know why I've felt so strongly to share this. I can only believe someone needed to hear it. It's ok to feel sorrow. It's ok to feel weak. But know that God is your comforter and your strength....and that though the sorrow may last for the night, joy ALWAYS comes in the morning.
John 16:33 says "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
It doesn't say our life will be perfect or that we will never feel hurt, sorrow, or experience loss. It says we WILL. But the second part of that verse tells us to "take heart, because He has overcome it all."
I choose to see Him in it and I choose to allow other people to see Him through me. Doesn't mean that I don't still hurt sometimes. That I don't miss a baby I never got to meet and that I don't wonder why. But I take heart. Because I know my source of strength--the one taking care of me, the one who holds me in the palm of His hand...has already overcome it.
And...it is well.
"When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul."