Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Post I never thought I'd write....

Flower maternity pregnancy pregnancy photography
Dear Lord,

 I’ve been so preoccupied, so distracted, that I haven’t stopped until this morning to do the one thing necessary since the stick turned double pink and we discovered you would be growing us again.

We have been in shock. That’s no excuse for what I haven’t done yet, but it explains my delay. My heart has gone into flat-out “numb mode” at the possibility of adding one more life to our crazy crew.  In my worry of how we will handle another, in my busy mind-racing of how we can fit one more bed upstairs, schedule another set of doctor visits, survive more sleepless nights when our children are finally sleeping past sunrise, pay for higher grocery bills…I have forgotten to fall to my knees and name.  I have failed to stop and thank. To voice my gratitude. To whisper out loud just what this gift means to me, means to D.J. and me. To praise you for your unwavering sovereignty and faithfulness. To thank you for the opportunity to carry and steward another child. Your child.

Then this morning, as I was fresh in your Word, open to the book of Daniel, I was reminded as I read of the necessity of stopping to count the gifts, acknowledging you, the One who gave the greatest gift.

Even at the end of his incredible life, Daniel was still purposefully naming. Chapter 9 is pumped full of him praying that God’s will, already revealed through the prophet Jeremiah, might be fulfilled.

“(vs 4) O Lord, the great and awesome God,
who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands….
(vs 17) Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant.
 For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary….
(vs 18) We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.”

Daniel, once a 15-year-old boy plucked from his home and people to serve in another land, a lost soul who survives and thrives on giving praise. A remarkable man who prays for God’s will STILL as he writes well into his 80’s. Perhaps Daniel would be a perfect name for a baby boy...

We all can relate to Daniel’s plight on some level. They each have different facades, but our individual pits can leave us exhausted and discouraged just the same. Desperate for relief and searching for a long, easy ladder to pull us out.
We long to be rescued.
Thrown to the lions and survived.... a familiar story for an aching soul.  I’ve been in the pit for the past 2 years, a lonely place to be. But the Lord has kept me safe. When I was about to give up, He gently and slowly pulled me out, His promise of hope and reminder of unwavering love helping me climb up one rung at a time.

My recovery is a reminder that God doesn’t deliver us FROM the pit, He delivers us THROUGH the pit.

And that is my story – finding the blessing in the brokenness and offering that as a gift back to God.

According to the great theologians, life-changing prayer is always motivated by the Word of God.  Daniel's prayer is an illustration of what prayer out to be. His prayer is a masterpiece, not to be used as instruction, but as example. (“God’s Word and Prayer Part 1", Dr. David Jeremiah)

 Our prayer, like Daniel’s, doesn’t change God’s will, our God-conversation opens our hearts up to understanding and getting “on board” with God’s will.

And that strikes me deep.

Because I have known for some time now. I have known unwavering in my soul, the secret of God’s will for our family. A truth that He made plain to me one day when I was sitting naked and heart-exposed on the cold, doctor’s table waiting to hear my body’s fate. “God wants us to have at least one more child”, I whispered to my blue-eyed best friend, and he nodded, patting my knee. “I’m not sure Jodi. Let’s just see,” he squeezed me again. “We have to do what the doctor thinks is best. She says if you have this surgery, you should be done having children.”

The tears come and I am sitting, heart exposed again trying to act so tough but brimming with longing. “I want to have the surgery so I can MAYBE have another child. It’s our best chance,” I whispered back.

I knew full well when the doctor said to have no more children, knew when I opted to have a surgery and save my womb just praying there was a possibility I might carry another child, knew when the doctor said my prolapse was so much worse than she thought, known when I grieved and cried and ached for a fourth baby that God’s will for our brood was to stay constantly open to his plan, knew when infection set in and recovery was so much longer than I could have imagined.  Regardless of the warnings, of the fear, of the naysayers, of the urges “to move on and get over it”, the advice the put the baby stuff away – I’ve been so peacefully aware that in the area of child-rearing, God was not done with me yet.

And sister, no matter what area in your life you are wrestling with God right now, He’s not done with you either. He loves you desperately and hears every cry of your heart. I am a witness that he has heard mine. Our tears do not go unnoticed by him. I cried so many times by myself, in the bathroom, in the shower, at my writing desk when the house is quiet. I have stuffed the pain and hidden the hurt and the “what-if’s” and the deep, deep longing for another child.

But I can no longer hide what God is doing with me now.  My heart is expanding more rapidly than my belly (and let me tell you girl, I feel like I started to show the moment I took the pregnancy test!).

He is transforming me yet again and I want to shout it from the roof tops and the mini-van windows! Because that is what true love does. It ignites such a flame that nothing is safe from its warmth.

I have fallen hard for my Savior again and He is desperate for you to do the same. He loves you that much. That much!

I am a messy work in progress. But one thing for which I am certain. I am God’s daughter and my prayer is that my life will continue to be like putty in His hands. There is no other way for me to live and live abundantly. Without full surrender, I would just be a hot mess!

Thank you Lord for the gift of being pregnant…again! Thank you for the nausea and the tight jeans and the crazy pregnant-lady snoring (a first for me!). Thank you for the chance to house a growing child of your kingdom. Bless this baby dear God. If it be your will, may we see a strong beating heart this week. We ask that he or she be whole and delivered safely from both labor and the entanglements of this world. I am your vessel dear Jesus. Use me as you wish.

Love, Jodi
Written on June 2, 2013 (Monday)

“It’s when you count blessings — you see Who can be counted on.
It’s when you count the ways He loves,
that your life multiplies joy.
It’s a life that counts blessings 
that discovers it’s yielding more than it seems.
“The secret to joy — is to keep seeking God where you doubt He is.”      {excerpted from "One Thousand Gifts" }