Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Peace in the midst of the storm

This past week I started the process of scanning all of my grandfather’s original sermon notes onto my computer for a project I am doing for work. I hadn’t been at it for long when I came across one I felt like I couldn’t put down until I had read every page. It is entitled “Peace in the Midst of the Storm,” and as I read the six main points of this sermon, I felt God speaking directly to me. The sermon is based on the story of Jesus walking on the water that is found in Matthew 14. I want to go through the points of the sermon one by one and share how I felt each one resonate deep within my heart.

I. God Develops Our Strength with His Storms
Boy did this hit home! I have known from the first second that the doctor came in and told me that Poppy’s condition was fatal that I was not walking in my strength, because I felt immediately that I didn’t have any of my own. I just don’t have what it takes to “pull myself up by my bootstraps” and take life as it comes. This was too much and too unexpected for me to even attempt to handle in my own power. That’s why it has been so clear to me that it is God giving me strength each day as I need it. The sermon goes on to describe this kind of storm that we are going through as a “perfecting storm” as opposed to a “correcting storm.” This hasn’t happened because of a consequence to a sin. It has happened because God has a purpose for it, and while I don’t know all of the purpose, I do know that His desire is to change me for the better to be more like Him!

II. The Storms Cannot Hide Me Where God Cannot Find Me
Just as Jesus knew exactly where to find the disciples in the middle of that storm, I am not hidden from Him either! No matter how alone in this I feel, I KNOW that God is with me. He knows every detail of every hurt. “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”

III. With God Timing is More Important than Time.
This is comforting to me as I think about the three long months that lay ahead before Poppy is born, and then the months that are to follow after that. Right now I feel stuck in a waiting game, but this just reaffirms the fact that God is going to use this time of waiting. Papa said “Jesus is never in a hurry, but He is never late.”

IV. The Will of God Will Never Take Me Where the Grace of God Cannot Keep Me.
Wow! This tells me that every part of this storm, even the ones that seem unfathomable to me right now, are not too big for God’s grace. Right now, fear is the most real to me when I try to imagine the moment when Poppy is born. I can’t make my mind grasp how we are going to be able to live with her minute by minute, never knowing which one will be her last. I can’t see it, I can’t fathom it, and because of that I feel so afraid sometimes. But this is a promise that when the time comes, God’s grace will keep me safe, just as it has up to this point. He provides it as there is need, and as the need grows, so will His grace.

V. What Seems Like a Problem to Me is Not a Problem to God.
Papa said “When the disciples saw him walking on the water, what was the obvious lesson? What was about to be over their heads was already under His feet.” Trisomy 18 seems so huge to me. It’s a problem that doesn’t have a solution. There is nothing in my power to do anything to help Poppy, and that can be so frustrating! Knowing that her condition isn’t a problem to God is such a comfort! Even if it is completely beyond me, it is not beyond God.

VI. God is Willing to Accept Responsibility for a Life Dedicated to Him.
This might be my favorite point. Papa said “You can rest assured that He is going to see you to the other side.” My job is just to obey, and God will take responsibility for what happens from there. At first this seems the opposite of an easy assignment because it means I give up control. But, since there is nothing I can do to change the situation, that means I didn’t really have any control to begin with. So, in the end, obeying and letting God take responsibility for what happens to my life is the best choice I have. I am resting in that.


Anonymous said...

I have been keeping up with this blog since I first found out about it. I don't have a wonderful way with words, so I won't even try. However, I can tell you that I commit to pray daily for you, Nathan, Marianna, and your precious Poppy Joy.

Nancy Gray

Especially Heather said...

with tears in my eyes, thank you.

joycerogers1933 said...

Dearest Angie:
We've said so many times, if we only knew what PaPa would say or do. And here he is counseling you and us through you. This is indeed a bad storm, but I've seen you and Nathan repond in faith, when Jesus has bid you come "walk on the water" to come to Him in the midst of this storm. He won't let you go under. How you've blessed my life today!

I love you dearly, Grammy

Laurie said...

Dear Angie and Nathan, Your blog is such a blessing as it is an honest look into your trusting hearts. God be with you on this journey as you are taken into the storm that is ahead. Your words you share here bless my heart as you face this time with such honest faith in Poppy Joys creator. She is perfect, I agree with you. She is a gift and she is perfect. Your Grandpa sounds like such a wonderful man and his spirit is with you in the wonderful view he had about life. The Lord will not fail you and He is preparing the way for you every moment of every day. He has brought this to you and He will tenderly bring you through it. I pray that He will give you the desire of your hearts and give you joy for your sorrow. My prayers continue for you in the weeks and months ahead. Bless you guys, Laurel in Ca.

Laurin said...

Angie, how I can tell that you are holding onto Jesus with a "bulldog grip" (that is one of my most favorite of your Papa's sayings) !!! And with what joy you are holding onto Him as your respond to His holding onto you!

Danny Sinquefield said...

Dear Nathan & Angie,

Thanks for sharing your journey with others. What a wonderful treasure you have in God's abiding presence and abundant peace. We commit to pray Zephaniah 3:17 over your family. It is a great honor to serve as your pastor.

Danny & Rhonda Sinquefield

dumbfounded said...

We love you and we are continuing to lift you up...
Rob and Vicki

Mary E said...

My heart and my prayers are with you and Nathan as you walk through this storm--the hardest days any parent would ever have to live. I have not walked your road, but I have experienced the stormy midnight of my life when my precious baby was forever left mentally retarded because of a sudden, terrible disease. Although she is 28 now, she will always mentally be a small child. But one of these days, she will stand beside me totally whole as we worship our King. Through all of my questions and even doubts, I can truly say that His grace is sufficient; His strength is made perfect in my total weakness. I don't know the whys, but He does.
I used to think that if we only had enough faith, God would do the miraculous for us. . . and truly, He is able. But I think now, all these years later, that sometimes the greatest faith comes when even if my prayer doesn't get answered the way I want, I can still know absolutely He is there, He is sovereign, and He is pure Love.
May the things you share on your blog touch the heart of some hurting mother, to let her know that even when bad things happen, God is more than enough.

jeweljannie said...

Dear Angie,
How scary to go through the storm, to wonder if we're going to make it to the other side, but oh how exhilarating to walk on the water that at first seemed to overwhelm you and suck you under!
Back during our dark days together, I wonder if you remember the flash flood that happened right as we were driving away from Bellevue. We were going to El Chico as usual, and you and Rache were driving with Papa. I was in our tiny little car, and Papa was following me.
All of the sudden, after I had just gotten out onto the road, the bottom dropped out of the sky, and there was a torrential downpour. Already, I was fearful to drive at night( I suppose because I couldn't see that well at night),, but I was much more fearful about driving in the rain, much less a mammoth storm that turned into an immediate flashflood situation!The water began to rise very quickly, and it was too late to turn back.
I began to see many larger vehicles stranded as the water kept rising up to the doors.
Here is the crazy part! Here I was , the most fearful little weakling that you can imagine, and I actually was tingling with exhilaration as I drove through the deluge! I began to shout out Scriptures to the Lord such as " When I walk throught the waters, You will be with me , and the Floods will not overflow me.!.
And it seemed to me that God spoke to my heart and said ,"You're going to make it to the other side, and you're going to get there first!"And I did! I passed many larger cars that didn't, but God took me and my little car safely through, and we reached El Chico first. Papa had been following someone that he thought was me, and he didn't know where I was and had been trying to find me.
God spoke to my heart that night that He was going to take me, Much Afraid through this terrifyingly dangerous storm victoriously! That was so He could get all the glory, because when Janice drives through the storm strangely unafraid, You know that it was totally God that got her through.
And God will also take you through and you WILL come safely to the other side! Love, MOM

Anonymous said...

Dear Angie,
Any response that I can think of to write here seems trite. I feel so badly having asked you Wednesday, at the doctor, if you knew the sex of the baby yet. I had no idea then what you probably had just gone through at your visit.

I won't pretend to understand what you and Nathan are going through. I will however say that I know that the woman that YOU are will use this experience to help others throughout your lifetime. I just pray for God to give you the strength to go through this experience. I will pray for your family daily. Your writings here have already been a blessing to so many!

Blog on....Clare Campbell