Wednesday, July 21, 2010

He Prepares us for the Trials - Reflecting at six months

Tomorrow Michael would be six months old.

I am a firm believer in the sovereignty of God. Not because it simply helps me to cope, but because it is an absolute truth found in scripture (Job 11:17, 28:24, Jer 32:17, Eph 4:6). He knows all things, past, present and future. He allows all things, good and bad. There is nothing that escapes His attention. And as the Psalmist says in Psalm 139, He knows everything about me, my life, my heart and my needs, mentally, physically and spiritually, because He created me. He is a good Father and like a good father, He prepares me to be able to handle the hardships that life here on earth can bring.

At the very beginning, within days of finding out about Michael's diagnosis, Summer and I set out to create a list of ways in which God had prepared us for this particular trial. Up until now, I have not had the strength to sit down and post these up here, but I believe that a person's faith is strengthened through the testimonies of others and perhaps, like in my own life, the trial of one person is preparation for the trial of another.  While the list is ongoing, here are the ways in which we have sensed God preparing us for loosing Michael:

  1. We were in a better season of marriage and communication than we were a year earlier
  2. Prior to finding out about Michael, Summer had begun a new friendship with a woman who understood and knew grief.
  3. We had both begun reading a book about grief and loss a few months prior to knowing about Michael (the title of the book is "A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Though Loss" by Jerry Sittser)
  4. Rick’s work schedule was light the week we found out
  5. God rose up the right people to ensure ministry stability at church while Rick was unable to fulfill obligations
  6. Our senior pastor and his wife understood grief and loss through their own personal loss of a child.
  7. Summer's sister was physically closer to her parents so that both parties were not alone in their grieving. 
  8. We felt like we had finally developed some strong foundational local friendships, accountability and mentors after living in our community for 3 years.
  9. Little things, like our 2 year old, Will,  had just learned to crawl in and out of bed by himself so that Summer didn't have to lift him while diagnosed with the placenta previa.
  10. God raised up the perinatal hospice ministry within the last decade and brought it to our attention through a newspaper article.
  11. Summer sensed something wrong in the month prior to the diagnosis, which led us to pray in specific ways.
  12. Almost as if preparing us, God led us a few months prior to the diagnosis to follow Angie Smith's blog (wife of singer Todd Smith of Selah) who also went through the same thing we did. 
  13. The incredible nursing staff at Good Shepherd Hospital and how God had prepared them for infant loss.
  14. Summer's mom, a hospital chaplain for many years dealing with child-infant loss, was prepared ahead of time to give counsel and wisdom to us in our grieving process. 
  15. The many people in our lives in the past who have suffered infant loss - we have always sensed a strong bond with them in their process of grieving (sometimes communicated, sometimes not), and now we know why. 
If you are in the midst of a trial right now, I encourage you to take the time, garner the strength that it takes, and list out those ways in which God has prepared you. And then as you are going through the trial, or after you have gone through the trial, review the list and see and know how God is watching after you this very moment and always. 

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