I said a perfect world. Don't we all know that a perfect world doesn't exist. Of course, most of you probably have the world I'm describing above already. Maybe you have that life and you think it is mundane and boring, typical and ordinary. I long for your ordinary.
Finding joy, gratitude and thanksgiving in the middle of your mundane is hard. Waiting upon the Lord for something that is not even guaranteed is sometimes where He meets us and tells us again, to trust him and turn our hearts back to him again. If you were to tell me, a few years ago, that I would have 2 children and one was going to die, I would have snickered, because God is good and He has my best interest in mind. Right? Don't we all say God is good, He knows the plans he has for me, plans for a hope and a future. Those words don't always seem true do they. If I were to look back a few years, I didn't think we would still be in our starter home, Nick still driving the car he has for over 10 years, etc. Life doesn't always happen the way we plan, the way we want, the way we hope and dream.
He hasn't left. He sees you. He knows.
I sat at church Sunday morning and was weary. Weary of the struggle to always budget, always have to repair things on our home, not always getting to go do fun things or buy new toys for the family, etc. It gets weary being responsible with our money. We sacrifice to allow me to stay home with Ava and we are seeing benefits and amazing blessings because of that sacrifice. There are days when it just bears down so heavily that we break and say "ok Lord, I'll go fix this. I'll go get a job, put Ava in day care, live in the same little house for the rest of our lives, never travel, never enjoy ourselves again, all on top of dealing with the death of our child." "here is my obedience Lord" *eyes roll, as I go lay depressed and whiny in my bed and let the tears roll* All these events of Saturday evening coming to mind and then all of a sudden, feeling the need to scribble words down in my notebook, I began to write those words. He hasn't left. He sees you. He knows. over and over. He cares. He loves you. He hasn't forgotten. He didn't leave. He has a plan. WAIT. Wait on Him. Don't let go. Keep on looking ahead. Sorry, Matt, I might not have heard the last few minutes of your sermon, I finally had a moment with the Lord that I have been needing for months though. So thanks for ushering in an environment for me to listen to Him.
Somehow, grief begins to plant seeds of entitlement. It can be scary and hard to keep them from growing. I begin to get the attitude that "my son died, so surely we get to catch a break on plumbing repairs, or other expenses we weren't expecting" "our son died, so surely we get to find that perfect house, get that random check in the mail or whatever." Life isn't easy, whether your child died or not. Life sucks, sometimes, even when you have everything you could ever imagine. Nick and I have always tried to remind each other to never be "happy when", but to be thankful and see what we DO have in the moment. Experiencing the death of a child, DOES put things in perspective though. Does all the fluff really matter, as long as I have what I need and God provides that, always does.
Does God really listen to my pitty party moments? Yes, of course he does. Does he honor them? I'm not sure, but I really don't think that my whining has ever gotten me what I want. It sure didn't with my parents. God listens, he cares and he knows better. My timing is never his. Obviously. Somehow he knows what I need, when I need it. There are so many things He is doing behind my view and the point of faith isn't just to know it will be ok in the big times of life, the deaths, the births, the job change or the big move, but in the mundane, the daily grind, the boring and sometimes gutter cleaning feeling days. When the budget is exactly where it needs to be, but no more, there has to be gratitude, not complaining. When we are all cozy in our little 2 bedroom home, when it is 30 degrees outside and raining, there MUST be thanksgiving and not whining. To be content, is not to settle, but to be so sustained in the provision of who God is and His character, that the worldly and earthly things aren't such a big deal.
So, if you see me or Nick driving his old Monte Carlo around, thank God for us, that we have 2 vehicles and no car payments. If you see me wearing the same outfits for a few years, it's not that I don't want to be fashionable or "in style", we just have other responsibilities that mean I don't get to go shopping every season. We spend what God gives us in the places he calls us to, and don't get me wrong, we spend some frivolous dollars, but rarely are they there to spend. Ava wears hand me downs, our lawn looks pretty dreary, the house needs painting and there isn't enough room to have many people in it. It isn't spectacular, but it is ours, it is home and it is shelter. We are NEVER WITHOUT though. Ever. We are so rich in the eyes of the world.
Entitlement can be a large idol, that we may not even know is there, but when we start thinking we deserve any of what we have, then we become god in areas of our life, that we can't be. There can be no places of our hearts or minds that take the place of Him.
That means, here I am, publicly confessing the fact that I have felt entitled, I have felt that I have earned my dream home or my dream life, because I have endured the death of a child. It is wrong, it is not how God asks me to respond to my grief, and so here I am saying "Lord, this life is precious and everything we DO have is yours, everything I WANT to have is up to you and yours. My children are yours, obviously we have given them to you in different ways, my marriage is yours, our life ahead is yours. Giving it all back is the only way that there will be room for Him to work, move and bless. So get out of your own way. Quit being the stumbling block of your mind, of your family, your dreams. Let the one who has given you those dreams, be the one to make them come about.
If you ask where we live, I would tell you the ghetto. haha. If you ask where I want to live, I can tell you, today, I want to live where God calls me to live, because for 5 months, I lived in 4 different places and some days I wish I was living that life again. I just want to be where He is. It will always be ok.
He is STILL good. He will always be good. He will always see me. He chooses to know me and desires that I know him. That is grace for the day.
I looked at one of Noah's doctors the day before he died and asked, "God is still going to be good right?" He answered yes. I knew the answer, but sometimes we need someone else to tell us what we already know. So, I'm saying that, 8 months later, He is still good. He may not seem near, always, but I can say, that He will always be good.
Thanks for loving us. My prayer is that God uses my weakness. Be blessed
More than blessed.