Do you remember how you first stumbled across this page of mine? I know some of you started reading because you actually know me and I sent out an email, nearly 18 months ago telling you that I was going to chronicle Poppy's journey on this page. But many, many more of you came across it some other way, and if I was a betting person I'd bet you came because you were following somebody's story of heartache, and you just happened to link over to my spot. I've noticed there is an interconnectedness between blogs of those who are going through similar types of suffering, and so it's no coincidence that many of you are well acquainted with other babies who have left this earth prematurely to be with Jesus.
But even if that net doesn't catch everyone, I feel pretty certain that no matter how you ended up here, you were able to connect on some level because you know what it means to go through a time of suffering, and I don't necessarily mean that you have lost a baby or know someone who has. Rather, I feel like most of you connect more generally to the fact that I've been through a time that was harder than anything I ever thought I could handle, and so have you. Months ago I wrote about the different "clubs" that we find ourselves in, whether it be divorce, cancer, death of a spouse or parent or loved one, illness, depression, infertility or any other number of heartaches. Nobody wants to be in their "club," but you are there none the less and the only real choice you have in the manner is how to respond.
That's what I want to talk about today. Maybe you've dealt with something hard recently or maybe you're living in an ongoing struggle. I also bet that some of you are just entering into a dark season, and you feel like the roof of your life is beginning to fall in on top of you, pinning you down under the weight of whatever it is you are dealing with. Maybe you have just lost your job. Maybe you are in the throes of fighting a losing battle with illness. Maybe your marriage is on the brink of cracking and you don't know what the answer is. Maybe you have tried every way imaginable to get pregnant, yet nothing works.
And as you are in the middle of your crisis, doing everything you can just to survive, you feel like all of the heart wrenching pain, all the anxiety, all of the frustration and anger, all of it is for nothing. A waste. Sometimes you probably feel like you are experiencing pain just for the sake of pain, and you wonder why God doesn't reach down and put an end to it. You wonder why He let it happen at all. Does any of that sound familiar?
I know when we first got Poppy's diagnosis, the weight of it seemed crushing. It seemed so senseless to me, and walking the road ahead of us seemed unbearable. I didn't want to do it, but I knew there wasn't a choice. All I could do was choose how to respond. I was going to suffer regardlessly, but what I realized was that I didn't have to suffer for nothing. That was so huge to me. To know that all of the loss and pain and heartache I went through wasn't profitless, that it could actually be used for something! I couldn't see what that "something" was right away, but I felt the promise deep in my soul that there would be things that came of Poppy's life that I really couldn't comprehend. Amazing things! God showed me that a trial given completely over to Him can be used for His glory. Did I want the trial? NO. But I didn't have a choice about that. So I did the only thing that made sense to me. I made the decision to lay everything about Poppy and her life at Jesus' feet. I decided to trust Him when my heart was breaking and to believe by faith that He would use this for His glory.
Now, over one year later, I see that God did not waste my suffering! Praise Jesus, I see that it is true. It is impossible for me to see my life apart from what happened, and it is just as impossible to miss the rich, amazing ways God used my heartache to bring about so many incredible things. My pain was not in vain. It was not for nothing! You want to know why? Because I know that I am stronger in my faith, more confident in my God, and more filled with joy than I have ever been before. Because I have been able to help people who are experiencing grief in a way I NEVER would have been able to otherwise. Because I have been able to share our amazing story of adoption, giving hope to people who long for a child. Because I am a better mom to my girls and a better wife to Nathan for having walked through the fire and survived. Because God is giving me avenues to share His story of how He worked in my life. Praise Jesus. God is so wonderful. He redeemed my pain.
Do you want to know how? My part all boiled down to a single choice, the choice to give my suffering to Him to allow Him to use it. You have the same choice in front of you. God can use your particular crisis if you let Him! He wants to do it. He wants you to use your grief to comfort others who going to follow after you. He wants to use your grief to make you stronger than you've ever been before. He does not want your grief to amount to nothing more than a broken life, filled with anger and bitterness. Don't ever think that God enjoys our pain, because He does not! He hurts as we we hurt. But knowing that pain is a part of our journey, He has given us a most beautiful promise that it can be redeemed. Grab hold of that promise, and don't let it go.