When I was in college, a boy and I broke up. Looking back on it, it seems so trite and I wonder why it consumed a couple of years of my life, but there is one significant thing that I was taught.
One day I was in my room, crying my eyes out, all sad and filled with self pity, when I felt like Jesus spoke to me. He said, “This will not be the hardest thing that you ever endure. You will feel much more pain then this in your life. I’m using this to begin teaching you about pain.” At first, I thought it was me just trying to rationalize how I was feeling, but over time I kept those words in my heart and I didn’t share them with anyone. I didn’t share them with Mike until after Tullie was born and Eli passed away. I didn’t always think about them, but I remembered the small conversation I had with Jesus that day over the last several years. In all honesty, I never thought that those words would hold any type of comfort to me in the future.
After Tullie was born, I had a friend who was asking about her. Her diagnosis, what her life would be like and other questions that were similar. When we were nearing the end of the conversation, she said, “I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t be a mother to a special needs child.” I thought, “And you think I can?!?! I have sooo much experience in this area, right?!?!” I nodded graciously to her, but I left that conversation thinking, that I couldn’t do it either. Jesus didn’t ask me if I wanted Tullie, He gave her to me. He just said that that was what we were going to do. Mike and I were parents to a child with Down Syndrome. He didn’t ask us, He just entrusted her to us, knowing that we would take care of her. It was just the way it was. We didn’t have a choice.
The same thing happened 10 months later. Jesus didn’t ask me to give Eli back to Him. He took him back. I’ve been angry about that. I’ve been sad about that (especially today), but Jesus has taught me much through that. He has broken us in a way that we would’ve never been broken before Him, if Eli were with us today running and playing with Josiah in the dirt.
When people look at my life, and they tell me they can’t do it, I tell them that they could. They could because Jesus told them to. They’d do it because they didn’t have any other choice. They’d do it, because, His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)
With any trial and pain that our Lord asks us to go through, or sometimes tells us to go through, because it’s simply landed in our lap, He grace is sufficient. It’s all we need. Our Lord is enough and He will walk with us through the valley, because He brought us there. He’s not going to leave us there. We will mature and we will blossom if we keep our eyes and focus on Him. He is the God of comfort and love. He is gracious and merciful.
I think about that girl in college who was crying over a boy, thinking that her life was coming to an end and I shake my head at that. I think about how immature she was and trite, but how much that girl learned before she graduated from college. I think about how God blessed her with an amazing husband, who loves her, cares for her and thinks more of the family then he does of himself. This girl has been through much, but Jesus is the one who has brought her through. It’s all Him. Nothing about what she did or how she did it. It’s all Jesus. The pain of loss is there, but the comfort, hope and peace that wraps that pain like a blanket is from Jesus. All glory goes to Him.
“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10