"I want to be as a child, delighted in life, at peace with God, living in the grace of the moment. I want to live above the pull of depression and cultivate a heart of joy from which others can draw. I want to learn what it really means to be filled with the reality of God, and the joy of God every day, no matter what else is going on in my life."
Since I have become a mother, I have learned so much spiritually. I am able to catch just a glimpse of the love our heavenly Father has for us as I compare my own love for our children. I am better able to understand discipline, and what the Bible means when it says: "For the Lord disciplines those He loves..." (Hebrews 12:6). Just as my husband and I must discipline our children because we love them and want what is best for them, God must discipline us. This past week I learned an important lesson by watching our children.
Our family suffered a loss this past week as we lost a precious child through miscarriage when I was almost 10 weeks along. It is hard to go through trials and a lot of questions filled our minds as we saw a heartbeat at 7 weeks and then learned that it stopped beating a few days later. Life. is. hard. Heartache is not fun, but I am learning that God can teach us through these battles if we will open our eyes and look to Him for our answers. This does not mean we will always understand why things happen, but that He can teach us through them and He will never leave us.
Throughout this trial, I learned something through watching my children. At ages three and one, they do not know or understand that their parents are grieving inside. As I watch them, I realize they have something that I want to have: they have child-like faith. Each day they trust their mom and dad, they don't question everything that happens each day. They enjoy the moments each day, trusting us to feed them, clothe them, change their diapers or help them go potty. In Mark 10:13-16, we see Jesus telling us to imitate children:
"People were bringing little children to Jesus. They wanted him to touch them. But the disciples told the people to stop. When Jesus saw this, he was angry. He said to his disciples, 'Let the little children come to me. Don't keep them away. God's kingdom belongs to people like them. What I'm about to tell you is true. Anyone who will not receive God's kingdom like a little child will never enter it.' Then he took the children in his arms. He put his hands on them and blessed them."
So, how can I have this kind of faith that Jesus is talking about?
- Grieve: What happens when a little child gets hurt? They cry and cry until mom and dad come and pick them up and hold them. I have been fooled into thinking that it's not okay to grieve. As we went though this recent trial in our life, I felt I had to be strong and push my emotions aside. But, I have learned that I was wrong to think that way. It is okay to grieve and to come before God with a heavy heart. By not dealing with our grief, we put too much weight on our shoulders and we try to be strong and carry a load that was never meant for us to carry alone. Another way we can grieve is by talking through our trials. It is a good idea to find a friend of the same sex who will help strengthen you spiritually. It is always reassuring to know that you have other brothers and sisters in Christ who are lifting you up in prayer.
- Look at the Bigger Picture: What do we do when a child gets hurt? First, we comfort them and hold them and let them cry. But, after a sufficient amount of time has passed by, we urge them to get up and move on to something else. Just as it is important to grieve, it's also important to stop grieving and start focusing on the bigger picture. The night before we went to the hospital after we found out our baby had died, I read from Colossians 1. In this chapter, we read about Christ being supreme (verses 15-20):
"Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else,and he holds all creation together. Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything. For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross."
As I read this chapter, I realized that even though I am walking through a dark hour and a hard circumstance, I have to keep my focus on what I know to be true: Christ is in control and He is over all creation. Yes, I need to grieve, but I also need to remember that ultimately life on earth is about living for Him and making His Name known. I must see the bigger picture.
- Trust: I love that children don't question every thing in life. I feel like I am continually scrutinizing every decision, every comment, every circumstance. While it is good to plan and think our decisions through, sometimes I feel like God is saying, "STOP! Just trust me. Lay everything down at my feet and I'll show you when you are supposed to act." Our world is full of sin. As a result of sin, we must suffer loss and pain here on this earth. Sometimes we question why God chooses to heal in some situations but then He doesn't in other situations. It is hard to understand. But, it's time to stop blaming God for the trials we go through in this life that are a result of our sinful, fallen world. We must trust in His sovereign plan, knowing that even in tough situations, He can cause good to come out of them.
"Earth is the temporary place where Satan rules and where all people are sinful and subject to the disappointments of a fallen world, to the longings that come from being separated from God. I can picture ideals and dream of the life for which I was created, but Jesus never promised I would experience ultimate fulfillment in this world" (Sally Clarkson).
- Enjoy Today: When we are only focused on our trials, we miss out on the blessings of today. While our trials can tend to take over at times, we must focus on the gifts we've been given to help combat the negative feelings our trials can produce. If we do not do this, we will look back on our life and be filled with regret because we did not enjoy the gifts God gave us. And, aren't we incredibly blessed to know that even though we are wretched and sinful, God has given us so much to be thankful for each day? Stop and think about the blessings of today.
"Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
As we watch our children each day, may we look for ways to have child-like faith. May we be inspired by their ability to enjoy the moments we are given each day. Most importantly, may we allow our trials in life to make us more like Christ.