Posts Tagged ‘baby. mother. mom. God’

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The Gospel

June 13, 2011
The Gospel is not some pithy catch phrase to gloss over our lives and make them whitewashed with goodness.  The Gospel isn’t some bumper sticker we place on our car as we join a club.  Instead, the Gospel is an invading force of light that penetrates every pore of our being until we ourselves become light so all the world might see.  It is my greatest pursuit that more of Jesus live in me today than yesterday.  That is only made possible by the provision of the Gospel.  You see, I use to SAY I believe, like some still do, but then live our lives as if the Gospel has no power.  It doesn’t.  Not in a life that believes but doesn’t embrace.  One of the scariest verses in the Bible for me is James 2:19- “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.”  What is this faith then, that saves us?  It is the faith that chooses to allow Christ to transform us by HIS grace and not by our own attempts.  From death to life.  From darkness to light. From brokeness to wholeness.  From sinful to holy.  All made possible by the Gospel by which we live:  Christ lived perfect, died a sinner’s death, rose to life, and ascended into Heaven.  It’s simple… yet simply life altering.For me, the Gospel is everything.  It not only saves my soul from hell, but gives me everything I need for life and godliness.  When famine comes, it is my sustenance. When doubt comes, it is my truth. When fear comes, it is my peace.  I know that in the Gospel, I am nothing, but Christ in me is everything.  What a relief!  What a joy!  What a promise!

Sometimes I am scared at the reality of the Gospel.  As a believer I skim over the grotesque nature of sin so that I can live a comfortable life, not consumed with the depravity of others in order to penetrate my light in a way that will lead them away from darkness.  The questions we are faced with today with the ever-increasing wickedness around, the dissolution of morality, the severity of sickness and catastrophe;  I don’t have the answers for, so I often remain silent.  I excuse my responsibility by thinking “I don’t know the Bible enough, I don’t know their situation enough, I don’t want to damage our relationships.”

Well, the real only foolish thing is to remain silent on the one thing I do know.  Christ is life.  What that means in the places of sickness and poverty, I wish it could magically erase these devastations now (it will some day when Christ returns!).  But I am learning that the hope of the Gospel, the transforming nature of the Creator working in the lives of the believers; is available for anyone, even an awful sinner like me.  It’s not for the faint of heart, but for the brave.  It meets all of us where we are at and gives us the hope and purpose for it all … the good and the bad.  For the adventure He has me on takes me to uncomfortable places within my self and within the world.

The Gospel is not some pity catch phrase to gloss over our lives and make them whitewashed with goodness.  The Gospel is to die to myself so that others might live.  The Gospel gives me life… the Gospel is my life.  He died so I might live… and the life I live, I live by faith in Jesus Christ so others might live.  Yes, it’s sloppy.  No, I am not perfect.  But I desire to be changed from the inside out.  No whitewashed tomb here… just an overhaul in process…. thanks to the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Suffering and Pain leads us to Life

July 24, 2010

In the quiet moments of my soul my thoughts reflect upon the suffering so bountiful in this world.  I still question in absolute trust why the Lord allows such pain and sorrow.  My spirit quivers at the thought that the Lord is restraining the boundaries of sin and death.  I thank the Lord for His grace in my life.  If He did not restrain evil, I would be consumed.

This week He brings to mind some truths from scripture and the world that begin to help me understand the way of the universe in this season of life and death comingling.

First He instructs me from Christ’s own sufferings.  His death was necessary to bring about redemption.  Suffering proceeded victory. The pain lasted a day, but joy came three days later.

Then I think of creation itself.  In this imperfect world, affected by the fall of man in the garden, pain and/or death precede new life.  Seeds must die to bear a new crop; mothers must experience pangs to birth new life; the darkness of night leads the way to the light of day.

Another example comes from Jesus’ teachings to His disciples.  He uses the cycle of death and life in nature to illustrate what must happen in our own bodies to experience eternal life that He offers. John 12:24-25 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.

Paul also uses death and life to teach us about Christian living.  Romans 8:13 “for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”

From these thoughts I ascertain that physical death comes before spiritual life.  I am to put to death the deeds of the sinful flesh to live by the Holy Spirit.  I also see that I must die to myself in order to live for Christ.  The battle to destroy sin and death comes before the victory dance.  Tribulations and trials are here and will continue to come before Christ’s return in glory (Mark 13).  Sorrow lasts for the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).  Praise the Lord that we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:37)!

I simmer in with these thoughts as I watch Kavin nap in his pack ‘n play.  I almost forget the pain of childbirth as I watch the glory of this little life dreaming away.  Yet, I do not forget the suffering of his time in the hospital.  I do not forget the pain I felt in my heart not being able to hold him, watching him squirm in discomfort from the needles and tubes.  I do not forget petitioning the Lord on my knees in the bathroom at the Ronald MacDonald house late into the night, “Lord, please spare the son of Your handmaiden!”  I do not forget the Lord telling me to “offer Kavin to Me.  Lay him on the alter of sacrifice.”  I still do not understand why.  Why the Lord allowed our family to experience such pain. But I know that through the pain, through dying to my unbelief and clinging to Christ, through sacrificing my understanding to trust in Him… God brought about new life.  New life in Kavin’s physical body, yes, but even further, a new depth of spiritual life in me as I walked through the valley of the shadow of death.  His rod and His staff comforted me.

Suffering leads to life, to fruitfulness, to new birth.  I don’t understand why, but I just know it does.  I wish there were another way, but Jesus even Himself asked the Lord, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39)  May we all be strengthened to endure the evil of this present age, knowing that we look forward to His blessed hope.

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Walk by Faith… Not by Sight

May 29, 2010

In the early days of Kavin’s life I saw tubes everywhere, poked into the little newborn bloated body, his chest struggling to expand with his intestines invading the lung cavity.  This was nothing like I imagined my little baby to look.  I don’t remember questioning my trust in God, nor my faith in His existence or goodness… but I lacked much faith in regards to believing in Him to heal Kavin as the doctors filled our minds with risks upon risks and unfavorable possibilities.

Jesus led me to several passages in the Word.  The first, John 9… the man born blind did not receive that infliction because of someone’s sin, but so God’s glory might be revealed.  So too, Kavin’s trial came to display God’s glory.  God’s glory through His power to heal the sick.

Another passage in John 11.  Jesus said about Lazarus, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified.”

I knew in my heart, through the confidence of the Spirit of God in me, that Kavin’s sickness would not end in death.  Then why did I despair and cry as if my God is not able to deliver on His promises?  Because what I SAW and what I HEARD did not compute.  I SAW my baby boy connected to a breathing machine, a tube down his throat to feed him, lines in his veins to administer medicines… and bags and bags of fluids pumped into his blood.  I saw a very sick little guy and God called me, by faith, to believe for a healthy baby boy.

In James Chapter One it says that those who doubt are double minded… and that if I doubt I should “not expect that he should receive anything from the Lord.”  Yet every time the doctors gave us the “worst case senerio”, I consciously fought to choose belief over dispair.

Faith… “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11) I looked to Jason to remind me daily, “we walk by faith, not by sight.”  As I grasped the truth of God’s Word and the strength only His love provides, He took my feeble mutard seed of faith and began to grow a tree where all the birds of the air can nest in its branches. (Mark 4:32)

Another mom in the NICU told me, “we just need to hold onto our faith.”  I understand her encouraging sentiment, but faith is not something to hold onto.  We can place faith in the wrong direction, such as in ourselves or in false teachings… rather, we need to hold onto Christ, “the author and protector of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2)  He alone leads us beside still waters and restores our souls (Psalm 23:2-3).

I have yet to understand all the reasons God allows the affects of sin in the fallen world to cause us so much pain, but one thing I learned through my baby boy… faith in Christ can move mountains.   Like Abraham believed God’s promises for Issac, although He told him to sacrifice his son; not until I fully placed my assurance on God’s promise to heal Kavin, and surrendered my plan of how God should fulfill His promise, did I see the waters of sickness reseed and healing waters of life pour out.  Only by walking by faith, not by sight, do we lay hold of the promises of God.

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Diamonds in the Rough

March 16, 2010

I have been avoiding writing posts.  Not because I don’t like to write.  I am a writer at heart and writing is what I do.  I just don’t really like what I have to say right now.  I would love to report that my heart is all a flutter at the wonder of this new season; that I can’t wait until the little guy comes.  Yes.  There are parts of me that feel that way.  Then there are other parts.  Other parts that don’t like change and new seasons, especially when this current season is painted with many joys and blessings.  My dreams come true, or so it seems.

As I seek the Lord, He reminds me, once again, that in order to enter into the plans He has prepared for me, I must let go of the plans I have prepared for myself.  “But they are good plans!” I retort.  “Yes, but my plans are the best.” He tenderly replies.

Yesterday I confined my mind into a rut; a rough, dark, yucky rut; and I stewed in this rut all day.  Until I saw the diamonds.

A few months before Jason and I started dating, I ended a relationship with a man that I planned to marry (here we go again with my plans).  OH MY!  What turmoil I experienced as God clearly showed me the guy was not in His plan. Knowing that marriage is definitely something that needs to be appointed by Jesus, I literally said “no” to a beautiful diamond ring.  My dream starred me in the face and God said, “no”.

About a month after that “no”, I traveled to Europe.  I visited family and a few missionaries in Austria, then ventured off on my own with the Lover of My Soul to one of the most romantic places on earth: Venice, Italy.  One afternoon I took a water taxi from a small island off the coast back to Saint Mark’s Square.  As the sun set on the ocean water, light glistened off the surface like millions of diamonds.  God’s still small voice said, “You surrendered one diamond for Me.  I have all the diamonds in the world for you to enjoy.”

Fast forward six years.  I now am married to the man of my dreams who is worth more than a million diamonds to me.  The Lord has shown me more of His goodness and allowed me to see Him move in places on the earth I never imagined I would see.  Yes.  His promise is true.  He has given me all the diamonds in the world.

So, as I stewed in my rough spot yesterday, once again gripping onto the past, afraid to let go to walk into the plans God has prepared, Jason invited me to go to Balboa Park, a beautiful public park with rolling green hills and a calming lake.  I enjoyed walking along the path at the water’s edge and clearing my mind; just talking to the Lord like a crazy person (seriously, who talks to “themselves” in public).  At the end of my walk, I sat on a bench overlooking the water.  The sun started setting… and there they were.  Millions of diamonds shimmering right in front of me.

“Remember the diamonds,” I heard the Spirit speak in my heart.  “You may be letting go of a few, but I have all the diamonds in the world for you to enjoy.”

Every time God asks me to surrender something precious in my sight, He faithfully replaces it with peace, joy, and blessings that I would not even know to ask for. Yet, like a little child, I often throw a temper tantrum before I allow myself to surrender to Him in trust.  Yet, I know… He is the creator and provider of all the diamonds life will bring.

So, when people ask me, “how are you doing?  Aren’t you so excited?”  I smile and nod a simple, “yes.”  Even though it is hard to say goodbye to yesterday, the promises of tomorrow bring sparkling hope.