Every week our church has been giving a few minutes to the folks in the audience to do a “shout out”. “Shout out” how you saw an evidence of God’s grace. IE new job after been laid off for awhile, healthy kids, Jesus providing for us financially, what a blessing my husband is to me etc. (which by the way, my husband is HUGE blessing to me and works very hard loving and caring for his family. For this I am very grateful.)
I’ve been thinking about what my “shout out” would be. I’d probably never actually shout it out, but I’ve been mulling it over the last few weeks. When I had figured out what my “shout out” would be, I thought, “If I had a blog, I’d write it out. It’s too long to be a “shout out” and I don’t have enough guts to actually “speak it” in public.” So, I was talking to Mike last night about wanting to write a blog and when he encouraged me to do it, I knew what my first topic would be. My “shout out”! Or in this case, my “write out.”
My “write out” will also explain the title for the blog itself. Bear with me for a few, there’s a bit of history that will be breezed over, but in no way deemed unimportant. In fact, it’s very important and as time goes on hopefully pieces of the story will come together.
We have four children. Josiah (5), Tullie (4), Eli (would be 3) and Ellison (2). Tonight I’m focusing on the middle two. All four have beautiful stories and they will all be written about, but tonight, it’s the two who Jesus has used to teach me the most about this topic. Tullie was a 31 week preemie, and at birth we found out that she had Down Syndrome. Our lives took a big spin from the shock and as we were still reeling and trying to get our feet back on the ground, Eli was born 10 months later at 25 weeks and went into Jesus’ arms the day after his birth. From June 2005-April 2008 I was a mess. A mess that looked very well put together, but still a mess. I would be lying if I was still not affected by all of this, because I am, very deeply, and I think it’s fair to say that our whole family is. It’s a tender subject, but it’s not one that we shy away from.
People told me frequently that I would see God’s glory in the mess later. That it’s ok that none of this makes sense, but that Jesus’ glory would be revealed in time. God’s glory shines through everything even during the darkest moments. I agreed then, but only because I knew it in my head. But when I thought of glory, I thought of gorgeous mountains high into the sky, crashing waves on sunny beaches, marvelous sunsets… Things that were beautiful, not things that were dark and sad. I agree now, because I can see faint glimpses of glory in the pain and suffering that Jesus has brought us through.
The last several weeks, I have seen how He has used something so dark and horrible. Sad and heartbreaking. The uncertainty of Tullie’s diagnosis, and the darkness of the death of our son. I thought that a glimmer of light would never poke through, because it was too black. I struggled with hope. I knew where my hope laid, but my yearning for heaven was strong. Jesus was there carrying us through. Hard day after hard day, He carried us. (He still does.) I am honestly not sure how the years went by and a lot of it seems to be a blur.
I can see a glimpse of Jesus’ glory through Eli’s death now. It’s faint, but I see it. I know that Eli is with Jesus, I know that he is safe, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I would prefer Eli with me rather then seeing Jesus’ glory portrayed this way. I struggle with that. With my selfishness and what I would want rather then God’s ultimate and perfect plan for us. In the past week, I was reminded of Jesus’ glory through Eli’s death. Jesus gave me words to say, when I needed them and I grieved. I grieved and I was reminded that death is cruel and unnatural. Children are not suppose to die before their parents.
Tullie came up to me with her arms wide open and wrapped them around my neck and hugged me with as much muscle as she could muster and I was reminded of God’s glory. He knew what He was doing when He brought her into our lives. Her smile and little shy shrugs light up the room. I was reminded that Jesus is sovereign. He is Lord over all and He is glorious.
I’m seeing faint glimpses of His glory through the pain. Through the sadness.
That is my “write out.”
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Cor. 4:16-18