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.