Early in the morning of October 23rd for absolutely no reason at all, I opened my laptop and typed these words in a fresh new blank document.
I am not done yet.
Early in the morning of October 31st I was ecstatic to tell my beloved hubby the news of two positive pregnancy tests driving it all home with a picture of one wee tiny extra punkin. But as the days went by, we realized something wasn’t quite right. I was ordered to complete several rounds of bloodwork and finally a sonogram. Fear began to creep into my heart and soul with words like levels dropping, not out of the woods, etc., etc. It is amazing the bond you can feel with something after only knowing about its existence for a few days, how much your heart can yearn for its safety and well- being regardless of size or state. It is because God loved us first.
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." Jeremiah 1:5
I began to panic but simply would not let my brain go there. I believe one of my most special gifts in this life is mothering. My family is my life. I do not drink. I do not smoke. I am genetically blessed to be as skinny as a rail. I exercise. I go to bed before 9:00 p.m. even on Saturdays. I have zero health issues and my last two pregnancies were flawless. So it just wasn’t possible that this could not work out for me. But fear, especially in the dark hours of the night, just won’t rest, just won’t let go, just won’t give in. Fear, in spite of all efforts to be positive, keeps knocking at your heart’s door...tap, tap, tap. Fear is the devil.
On the same day I found out things were in a very fragile state, I received this note from a former teacher and fellow church member. Someone I have admired and respected my entire life. Someone who means the world to me.
Dear Grace, the unexpected passing of Jill caused me to wonder if she knew how very much she meant to me, so I have vowed, in her memory, to make sure I let other special people in my life know what they mean to me and you are one of those people! I have admired you from afar these past few years. You are so very beautiful on the outside and that is because you are truly God servant with a loving, kind and generous heart. You have overcome and triumphed some personal battles, and I so admire the way you haven’t let any of these battles defeat you. You & Ashley are committed to God and each other and your example is encouraging to others. You have embraced motherhood with your whole heart and that thrills me. I want to encourage you to continue fighting the good fight you are the hands and feet of Christ. I will always be one of your biggest fans cheering you on. You are so very special to me.
And with blinding hot streaming tears I turned away from myself towards God. I began backpedaling from that anxious, terrified person and I jolted towards that someone who is so much bigger than I. I decided to fight and I knew that no matter what the future held, we would triumph. With each obstacle, with each unexpected fork in my path, I have slowly and surely made a turn. I imagine myself as a dial, as a ticking clock edging closer to Him with each tock. Those ticks, those life events, are not always what we imagined for ourselves. They are not always self- inflicted pains either but they are the shutters that draw us nearer to Him.
My testimony is this dear friends: I HAVE been through some personal battles, some ugly, messy, nasty, personal battles. Some, just the cards life has dealt me, but most, I have waged upon myself. There is a mascara stain on my pillowcase at this very moment. I have layed in bed thinking I will not recover from this. I have felt punished. In spite of EVERY attempt to dismiss that feeling, I have felt punished. I have surely hurt others and made some really detrimental decisions. I have swept those transgressions under my cloak hoping no one would ever recognize who they belonged to. I am, as we speak, going through a battle I never thought would be mine but the encouragement from a sister loved by God caused a TURN in my faith. I decided at that moment I was going to own every single battle whether won or lost. Those mistakes and scrapes and scars and deep wounds that have shaped my very existence would be covered up no longer. As I walked through the halls of BSA I envisioned myself with boxing gloves on, fighting the good fight.
“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12
I would not let the devil steal my faith. I would not be afraid of the news we might receive and I would not cower in the shadows. I would NOT waver. I am a child of God.
I am not done yet.
We all have the chance to make a difference in someone else’s life EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. We are charged to encourage one another and lift each other up.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Being kind is free. Pursuing love takes little effort. Listening, helping, sharing, opening our hearts, PURSUING LOVE. It is all simple really. On that day, in that moment, God knew I needed kindness. God knew I needed to be reminded of His armor and His strength. He knew I needed to be reminded of my own witnesses cheering me on. He wanted me to quit being ashamed and stand TRIUMPHANT, win or lose.
We did not receive the news we wanted to hear. I did spend time down and I am still not 100% back to normal. I wailed but I GOT UP. RISE UP. GET UP. GET UP. I dug deep and I remembered things that have been harder than this. I would survive and the perspective of that loss was cast in a new, softer, light because someone else encouraged me. Raw words, honest words, resonating words. A simple reminder that God is a faithful God. God is a loving God. GOD IS GOOD. God is on our side. If you are suffering, if you are going through a divorce or have lost someone you love or if you are consumed by depression or if you are afflicted by addiction or maybe you have lost your job or if you never got to meet your baby, do not be defeated. Do not give in. God loves you and with Him we are never hopeless.
“Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for HE WHO PROMISED IS FAITHFUL”-Hebrews 10:23.
Beth Moore states, “Life can be painful here. Loss is inevitable. So let us grieve when we must, but God forbid that we grieve as the hopeless do. In His hands, we find solace. In His heart, we find rest. In His time, we find meaning. In His eyes, we are blessed. In His strength, we’re made mighty. In His light, morning breaks. In His Word, He has promised. In His coming, sleepers wake.” I can promise you one thing through it all. Through the loss and the grieving and the tears and the pain. Through the bad decisions I have made and the second chances I have been allowed, one thing is certain. I will shed this cloak and let God’s light shine all over me. I am going to be showered in His blessings and believe in His plan for me. I am going to be the hands and feet of Christ because
I AM NOT DONE YET.