Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pictures and Puffs




There is an incredible organization called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep that provides free photography to anyone giving birth to a terminally ill child. Photographers nation wide are invited to join the group and donate their time and talents to providing this amazing service to families going through the heartache of anticipating the loss of a child. Lisa, the coordinator for the Memphis area, has agreed to be there for us on December 6th when Poppy is born, and she also offered to come out to our house yesterday to give Nathan, Marianna and me the chance to have our picture made with Poppy just a few weeks before her birthday. I am thrilled with how they turned out, and I wanted to share a few of these with you. I know these will be treasures to us for the rest of our life.

On a different note, I want to share something that’s been on my mind the past few days. Anyone who has ever gone through something difficult, painful, and heart wrenching knows that our need for God is more eye-openingly apparent at those times than any other. There’s nothing revolutionary or profound about that, but it dawned on me at some point this weekend that while the need becomes undeniably obvious during the storms of life, it doesn’t actually increase. I don’t think I’ve ever really gotten that before. I’ve pondered over this a little, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I have been living under the unconscious assumption that I needed God more right now as we walk through these deep waters than I do when life is not shadowed by crisis. For some reason, the faulty reasoning of this rationale suddenly struck home. After all, how can my need for God grow if I am totally helpless without Him? I think it is only arrogance—even if it is unconscious arrogance—that allowed me to live with that mentality. Operating under the idea that our need for God is less when the road is smooth and more when the road gets bumpy is so absurd because that assumes that we have what it takes to make it on our own strength under "normal circumstances." Yet, this is what I’ve done. I’ve lived weeks and months at a time, not exactly ignoring God, but certainly not living with realization of my profound need for Him.

I’m glad I see that need more clearly now than I ever have before. I hope that the longer I live and the closer I grow to Him, the more my realization of my need will increase. I feel silly thinking about how often I have handled the “small” or “trivial” problems of my life in my own power. What a waste! However, I know that I will inevitably do this again, because I realize that I fall back into old patterns so easily. This is a lesson I will no doubt be re-learning my entire life. But I do hope that I will move forward from this point on in light of the fact that I need God’s strength, wisdom, and power in my life every single day—not just the ones that pour rain!

This weekend as we were eating with several of our friends, one of the babies in the group was over to the side in her high chair, contentedly gobbling down some Gerber puffs. For those of you unfamiliar with this relatively new food item, this is a snack similar to Cheerios, but with more of a melt in your mouth appeal to them. Anyway, we were all eating when suddenly Savannah began to choke on the puff. After just a few seconds, we realized she was fine (I think it would be virtually impossible for a puff to lodge in a throat for more than a few seconds before dissolving), but it had taken us off guard because puffs seem to be the ultimate in easily digestible foods. After witnessing this little episode, it struck me that there is a spiritual correlation to my own life.

I’ve been wondering over the past months why God doesn’t reveal larger chunks of His plan. I know I see such a limited portion of the big picture, and this leaves me frustrated at times. But seeing Savannah struggle over the puff made me think that maybe the reason God doesn’t give me more substantial things to “chew” on is because I sometimes struggle on the little “puffs” He does give me. The fact is, God is so far above my ability to comprehend, that even the distilled bits of revelation and insight He gives can be too much to fully digest without a little gagging or choking. In addition to that, I was reminded just this morning that sometimes, like in the case of the apostle Paul, God chooses not to let us see the whole picture just so that we have to depend on Him and trust Him by faith. Whatever the case, I’m thankful for what Jesus has shown me through this experience and for what He will continue to show me as we travel the remainder of this journey, but at the same time I accept the fact that I will not ever fully understand it all. Some of the secret things are simply not for me to know. But He has given this promise found in Isaiah 45:2-3. "I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through the iron bars. I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden wealth of secret places, so that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name." God will clear our path and He will show us as much as we need to see as we forge ahead to the remaining 17 days before Poppy's birth and the days that will follow. He has called us by name, and I want to answer,"Yes!" to whatever lies ahead.

18 comments:

Devin said...

Beautiful...the photos and the lesson. Thank you.

Linda said...

What a beautiful post. The pictures are wonderful and it is so true about handling the "little stuff" ourselves. I came across your blog through little Copleland's mommy's blog and the remarkable thing is that I live right here where you do and your sweet, godly Papa was my pastor for 12 years. Thank you to you and your family for sharing him with the world so that he could share the love of Christ. I will be praying for you and your sweet immediate and extended family during this time. I absolutely adore the name Poppy Joy.
Blessings

Laurie said...

Those pictures are priceless. You all look so happy. The lesson here is one I am sure so many of us need to learn about our faulty reasoning. Your faith is so sweet and you do trust the Lord in this, as hard a road as it is for you and your family, you know God has a perfect plan. I continue for His sweet peace and protection to be all around you as you are ready to meet this amazing little miracle. And that your time with her is pure joy. He will bring you through this time.

Love, Laurie in Ca.

DandelionSeeds said...

This was a beautiful post... the pictures are gorgeous! My heart is aching for you and your family. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I am praying for you as you face these days ahead.

Anonymous said...

The pictures are fabulous....and a testimony to the fact that you "consider it all joy." I am continuing to pray for you all as the countdown to Dec. 6 continues.

Jeanne said...

Sweet tender photos - loved them. They are treasures. You're so right about our needs and levels of need for God that we perceive...ugh! We are so helpless all the time.

Livona said...

The pictures are beautiful and show what a beautiful familly you have. I know you will always treasure these. Thanks for sharing them with us. Much Love Livona

Amy said...

The pictures are beautiful. What a treasure they will be in years to come.

I am praying for you as Poppy's birth draws near.

Brandi said...

You truly are your Papa's granddaughter. I'm amazed at how you can take the every day happenings of life (Savannah choking on a puff) and turn it into a lesson of eternal significance. Thank you for sharing with us.

Kim said...

Those pictures are so precious!

Anonymous said...

you have said in words, things I have been pondering for a while. Thank you

jena baker said...

The pictures are beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing with us all. I will continue to pray as Poppy's birthday draws closer.

Jena Baker

Emily said...

Those pictures will be among your greatest treasures your whole life through. What a blessing! Thank you for pouring it out and sharing with us, once again. Lifting you up!

So Blessed said...

What a beautiful family...
I will keep you all in
my prayers in the days to
come as you await Poppy's birth.
May you continue to rely on
the many precious promises of
our loving heavenly Father.

Kim said...

Angie, I have never heard anyone explain that truth so well. It really humbled me to realize that my need for God is constant, even in the easy times. Your faith is astounding...so grounded in Scripture. What a testimony! It struck me when reading one of your earlier posts about Joseph from the Old Testament - that he probably didn't think of himself as a faithful man, worthy of the title "role model" - just as you, in the middle of your struggle, don't realize just how you are being used of God. Thank you for sharing your life and your pictures with us. Your family is beautiful and so joyful! We are praying for the arrival of Poppy to be a blessed and precious time.
With love,
Kim (Boothe's friend), John Calvin, Izalou & Asa Morecraft

Lisa LaFarlette said...

It touches my heart to see how strong your faith is - and it is so genuine. Thank you for sharing!

Lisa

Emily said...

I can not tell you how much your faith has touched me. I have fallen in love with your beautiful family & I will be praying for you all as Poppy's birth draws near.

Mandy said...

I am so happy you know about NILMDTS photography. I had photographs made when Madeline was born that I treasure more than anything. I check in on you often and pray for you as you get closer to meeting Poppy. Your strong faith and sweet words speak to my heart. Happy Thanksgiving. We indeed have much to thank God for.

Mandy
GA
www.madelinegracehopkins.blogspot.com