Sunday, January 20, 2008

Blessed

So much sorrow and pain
Still I will not live in vain


These lyrics are from a Ben Harper song that has come to mean a lot to me lately, because the thought expressed in these two lines is the exact sentiment I have felt reverberating in my heart since Poppy has gone. The more I am exposed to the world in all of its harshness, the more I see the devastating reality of pain. Whether it is unavoidable, like Poppy’s illness, or a result of human depravity, both have the power to leave people laid open to the heart, altered irrevocably. This is not how I want to be! I have witnessed more pain and heartache—and not just my own—over the past months than maybe I have in the rest of my life combined, and I continue to be left with the strong conviction that the greatest tragedy that can come from each terrible situation is for the person to be left empty and stripped of any sense of meaning in life.

The chorus of this song is simple. It says
I am blessed
I am blessed
I am blessed
I am blessed
I am blessed
I am blessed
I am blessed to be a witness

I’ve been listening to this in my car since Poppy died, and somewhere along the way, the truth of those words penetrated my heart. I realized that this is the attitude I want to claim as I think about what my eyes can give testimony to as a result of this valley we have walked through. There are so many things... I am a witness to the unrelenting nature of hope, to the beauty and sanctity of life despite its length, to the power of prayer to relieve the fear that longs to consume, and to the ability of sorrow to refine and strengthen instead of destroy. Above all I am a witness to God’s power and faithfulness.

For the most part, thinking of Poppy no longer stabs me with pain. The hurt hasn’t been erased, but the intensity has eased to the point that it is no longer dominant. Instead, the many good and wonderful things that her life represents to me rise to the surface when I think about my baby. She gave me renewed meaning and a clarified purpose, and pursing those things in my life is where I want my focus to be.

This is why I am throwing myself completely and totally into the adoption process. It is something that God has placed on our hearts as the right path to pursue at this time, and that is exactly what I want to do. Refusing to follow the leading we feel because of some need to remain sad seems so opposite from what God wants for us. It seems like it must also be opposite of what Poppy wants for us. I imagine that if she has gotten wind of our plan, her little heart is filled with nothing but joy. Because sorrow doesn’t need to put the brakes on life—it needs to encourage me to pursue what is important in life with a renewed passion. My starting place will be to begin working hand in hand with Life Choices (yes! we did make our decision), and to take advantage of opportunities God places in my life to be an encouragement to others who are walking through dark valleys of their own. "Passing through the valley of Baca they make it a spring; The early rain also covers it with blessings." Psalm 84:6

13 comments:

milehighmom said...

I have prayed for you and your family for many months and although we may never meet, I feel as though I know you to some extent simply because you are so willing to share so much of yourself. Your heart is beautiful, and as you continue to honor the sweet life of Poppy Joy, it encourages me. I can imagine her rejoicing that you are pursuing adoption, and I rejoice with her. May you be blessed with a child through adoption, as you clearly have much to offer! God Bless you! - MJ in Colorado

Laurie said...

Hi Angie,

Can I tell you how much you bless me as you continue to live life to the fullest by the choices you are making? I am so blessed to see how blessed you are at this time. And I am sure Poppy has already heard of your plans and knows who this child will be!! I just know Jesus shares everything with the children:) I am praying for the mother of this child that the Lord will bring to you. And for the child. And of course for you and Nathan and Marianna. God is so good and I can't wait to meet who He is preparing for your forever family. I love you guys and pray daily for your joy and lives to be full in Him.

Love and Hugs, Laurie in Ca.

Marlina said...

Thank you for this. My life has had some harder times recently, and I agree with you about not staying sad. God wants us to have joy! I am so thankful for that!

Jen in Al said...

ABSOLUTELY AMEN!!! Thank you! blessings on your journey, jen in al

krista said...

Thank you for this beautiful truth.
You have chosen joy, and it has blessed so many ....including your next child.

It has been very uplifting to see how the Lord has worked in your heart, along with your choices to choose joy.-and not believe the devils lie.

In prayer-krista

jennyb said...

Blessings to you on your journey toward adoption. We will be praying for you all along the way!
Jenny B

Kim said...

Makes all kinds of sense to me! I am SO happy for you (and a little jealous, as it will be at least a couple of years before I can consider adoption, although it is most definitely on my radar!!). I am so glad to know you'll keep us posted!

Kenzie Stanfield said...

Angie-

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4

I know that you know these verses well... and yet they seem so appropriate. It is exactly what you are doing... pure joy, allowing Poppy's life to refine you, to mature you, so that the Lord can continue to bless you though things you might not have considered before~ a sweet baby waiting to become yours from a mother who just can't keep him. God has known all along and I am so blessed to watch you as you faithfully walk this road with Him.

Love you and praying,
Kenzie

Cathy said...

As I was looking at a mail order catalog today, I saw a print of a poppy. I don't think I will ever look at a poppy again without remembering your precious Angel, Poppy!
CAthy & Annabel

Andy and Clare said...

"Only by the grace of God go I"

That song, like so many of Ben's, strikes a chord in my heart. Good choice of listening material! *

Our purpose in life is to be God's witness and give glory to Him. Although, he blesses us abundantly as we do this, sometimes it means that life is very hard. At the end of the day, it is His glory, more than our happiness, that is important.

Well done for your incredible witness. We will continue to remember you in our prayers
Andy and Clare

* If you can get hold of Ben Harper’s Live at the Hollywood Bowl DVD, it’s got a good version of “Blessed to be a witness” on it, complete with quite a triumphant percussion-based outro. (or you can find bootlegs You Tube if you prefer!) Enjoy!

Candi said...

I am so glad that you visited my site and left a post. I have been praying for you and your family for a while now and I am so excited for you to begin the adoption process. I too know that we will adopt although we may have to wait a few years. Please keep us up to date on the process and how everything is going. I know that Poppy is very proud of you and your decision.
On a different note I want to thank you for your blog. Your words have touched me so many times. I wish I could write as beautifully as you do!
Candi

Brandi said...

Angie and Nathan, I am so excited for you that you have made the decision to adopt. I'm sure as soon as a birth mother sees your profile in the book, she is going to want you two to be the parents for the child she is carrying. It'll be a race to see who can snatch you up first! I can't think of a better couple for the job. You are filled with so much love, and it pours out into everything you do. I have a feeling that it won't be long at all before you'll be getting a little bundle of joy. I just love seeing the Lord at work in your lives!!

Court said...

Angie ~ you don't know me but I found your blog through a friend of a friend of a friend...and around and around we go. Thank you for sharing your heart in the midst of your journey. What a blessing!

I wanted to encourage you in your pursuit of adoption. My husband and I are in our final stages of our adoption through the foster care system in Texas and the Lord has revealed Himself in ways unimaginable....He will carry you and be with you along this next journey! I'll be anxious to see what the Lord is going to do.

God Bless from Houston, TX!