If you have ever doubted the power of faith, this blog entry is for you.
If you have ever doubted the presence of God, then you need to read this.
If you have ever wondered if the Holy Spirit really has an influence in our daily lives, check this out!!
December 14, 2011....easily the Worst Day of My Life.
For those of you that are not familiar with this day, let me explain. Emily was 28 weeks pregnant. And our little Caroline was diagnosed with a fatal neural tube defect by the name of anencephaly (I highly recommend that you do NOT search for anencephaly images on google, yahoo, or any other search engine. The images are gory and are not a true representation of what most anencephalic babies look like). December 14th was the day Emily went into labor, 12 weeks before we expected. We were prepared, or so we thought, for the worst. The pain, suffering, loss, grief, anger, denial, depression....you are never prepared for having your child's life ripped from you, never to have again on this earth. At 1:58 a.m. on December 15th, after 18 hours of labor, Emily gave birth to our Caroline. She was immediately with the Lord. We held her for several hours to say our goodbyes and to have closure. But the reality is that she was already in Heaven.
I do not mean for this blog entry to be dark and dismal...there have been plenty of those already :-)
What I want to do today is share with you how awesome God is!! And how important it is to have a daily quiet time with Him, pray to Him, and have the faith to know He is in control every day, every moment. Just talk to Him...much like you would with your best friend. Because God is BEST best friend you will EVER have!
Life is hard sometimes....maybe most of the time! It's like running a race everyday. There's a start, finish, and definitely a middle. And if you don't pace yourself, you'll definitely feel out of breath, exhausted, and you might not finish so well. Running a marathon is even harder! It's best to train yourself for such a long race. You build up muscle strength, learn how to pace yourself, toughen your mental state, and gain confidence in your training. All of this training is necessary so that, when the marathon race day comes, you'll be prepared to finish strong.
Well, think of your spiritual life in the same way. Your spiritual life is also like a marathon. If you haven't trained yourself to have a strong walk with the Lord Jesus Christ, then you will stumble, falter, and lose the race, IF you finish at all. We must train ourselves to believe in His redeeming power as face life's problems, and even the most mundane circumstances of each day. So, we must spend each day (on a regular basis at least) praying to God and spending time reading the love letter that He wrote to us (ie, the Bible).
Take a look at the worst day of my life...December 14th. There is no way that I could have endured that day, much less the coming months, alone. If I had not prepared myself spiritually to have a strong faith for Him to carry me through and relied upon God to give me the strength to persevere in the darkest moment of my life, I convinced that I would not be alive today to write to you. You see, God carries us when we are weak. He wraps His loving arms around us and tells us "it's gonna be okay! I'm in control!!!" He reassures us in the book of Philippians that "I can do all thing through Christ which strengtheneth me" (KJV).
I know that God was with me that day...December 14th. And every day leading up to December 14th. And every day since! And I believe in prayer. I believe in God MORE now because of what I have endured with our loss of Caroline. And I believe prayer works MORE than ever!!
You might be thinking I'm crazy. Maybe not. But how can I have a greater faith in God after He took my daughter from me???? How is that?? This doesn't make sense, does it?
You see...we have a God that loves us despite our inner most evil desires of our heart. Despite the deepest, blackest, most hateful thoughts and sins, he loves us!! We don't deserve it! He knows that! He knew we would fail Him before He even gave us life. But He created us anyway. His love is perfect!! He loves us and cares for us even we are oblivious to His presence in our lives.
Check this out....I woke up at 5:00 a.m. on December 14th. I went to the dining room table. I got out my Bible and my devotional book, "My Utmost for His Highest" by Oswald Chambers. I read from the book of John that morning, meditating on the words of Jesus in John 14:27: "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." Then, I read my devotion from Oswald Chambers: "Whenever we experience something difficult in our personal life, we are tempted to blame God."
Whoa! Really? I didn't know what December 14th had in store for me that morning. I just thought, "this is just another day. I'll eat breakfast, get ready for work, go to work, come home from work, spend time with Emily, eat dinner, and eventually go to bed." Sure I was struggling with the thought of losing Caroline, but that was much later on down the road...probably late February or early March. Haha. But God had other plans. And those plans included preparing my heart with peace for that day...December 14th.
My devotion that morning continues: "...Our attitude must be one of complete reliance on Go, "ad's mark of approval, whenever you obey Him, is peace. He sends an immeasurable, deep peace; not a natural peace, "as the world gives," but the peace of Jesus." Wow!! I had no idea. This was the PERFECT devotion for December 14th!!!
In my prayer journal, this is what I wrote (exactly...not ad-libbing, exaggerating...this is a word-for-word quote) on the morning of December 14th: "I come to you, Lord, tired and weak this morning." I am over-burdened about Caroline and feel sick at heart. I know I am not capable of this journey without you. And I know your Word says to give up my burden to you. But I don't know how. Teach me, Master, so that I can have your peace. Oh God - - please! I need you more than ever."
I have re-read that devotion and my journal entry several times now. And I am in awe. I am amazed. Just amazed! I cannot believe exactly how much God was preparing me for the next 24 hours and upcoming months.
After I wrote in my journal and finished my coffee, I went upstairs to get ready for work. I took a shower, got dressed, grabbed my keys, told Emily "I love you. Have a good day," and was walking out of our bedroom.....probably 30 minutes after finishing my journal entry. That's when really woke up. She got out of bed slowly, stood up hesitantly, and said, "somethings wrong. I've got to call the doctor." As God would have it, December 14th was not just another day. It was a day that I did not go to work. Instead, we spent the rest of the day in the delivery room waiting for our Caroline to be born into Jesus' arms. God was in control the whole time. Never once did He leave us. And we needed Him "more than ever."
As I said, we serve a mighty God. He is THE Almighty. ALL authority in all the world belongs to Him. And He is definitely in control. Will you let Him have control today? Right this second? Please pray to Him right now and tell Him how much you love Him.
He is waiting to hear from you :-)