Since learning of Evie’s fatal diagnosis in the summer of 2012 I felt a sense deep inside that this story was so much bigger than myself and the sweet baby girl I carried. And when I started blogging about my heart and what was going on inside my head as I walked this impossible road I realized that my story was indeed, bigger than myself.
As people read and were touched by how Josh and I decided to carry our broken baby and love her with all of us they saw Jesus. As people read my words of contentment amidst difficulty, of joy within pain, of tears and groaning intermingled with rejoicing, they saw Jesus. As people read how, above all else, we had the hope of heaven to carry us through, they saw Jesus. As Big Daddy Weave proclaims in their song, My Story, “To tell you my story is to tell of Him.”
Because of Jesus I was able to survive a journey that many would find completely incapacitating, and I did it twice. It was a strength completely outside of myself that I can indeed call supernatural. And because of how unbelievably life-giving that strength was I feel compelled to share it.
If you saw someone being tossed around in stormy sea water, barely able to keep their head above the waves to gasp in tiny bits of air and you held a life ring, wouldn’t you feel a sense of urgency to throw that life-saving device to them and pull them to safety? That’s exactly how I feel about what Christ did for me – I want to throw out this life ring he gave me, this device that kept my spirit and my hope afloat when everything around me seemed to be overtaken by the depths of the ocean.
So today I am doing just that. I am walking onto this online platform, standing behind the mic, and proclaiming God’s truths that were, and continue to mean, survival for me.
1. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made.
My babies, Evie Caris and Charlie Alan, were broken. On the inside they were missing some parts that are crucial for survival outside of the womb. By the world’s standards, their lives were worth less than that of a healthy infant with no developmental issues. But this is what God says about those two precious souls:
For you formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows vey well.
There are so many aspects of myself that I’d love to change. I’d love a smaller nose, a less child-like voice and definitely, better hair. Sometimes I have conversations with God about why He made me so sensitive or introverted. I’d love to be bolder, friendlier, more outgoing. But this is who I am. And God says I am wonderful this way.
Maybe you have a long list of things you’d like to change about yourself too. Maybe they’re more painful though, like an inability to conceive or a true physical limitation or disability. Can I be so bold as to tell you, God says you are beautiful, wonderful, perfect, just the way you are? Can I tell you that the God of the Universe who hung the stars and spun the clouds and painted the mountains against the deep blue sky also used His gentle, loving, and creative hands to form you, just as you are? And He doesn’t for one second wish you were different. You, me, my sweet broken babies, in all our weaknesses and imperfections, are all fearfully and wonderfully made by a Master Craftsman who makes no mistakes.
2. God wrote a story for each one of us, one that was custom-made by a Creator who loves us. A little later in that same Psalm, it says this:
… and in Your book they were all written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. Psalm 139:16b
Both Evie and Charlie spent 37 weeks inside my womb. Evie lived for almost four hours before the breath left her lungs and her soul flew to Jesus, Charlie for maybe about thirty minutes. These seem like such small numbers when considering the impact a person can have on the world and what they can do for God’s kingdom. But I know that, even in the short time they were on this earth, Evie and Charlie fulfilled everything God had written for them to do. These were the days God fashioned for them, and I take comfort in His sovereignty over it all.
But not only did God write these days for my children, He wrote them for me too. He put them into my story, and me into theirs. I don’t pretend to know why, but for some reason our stories are intermingled and that’s how God wrote the grand story of the universe. And I can trust that the Author who wrote us into each other’s stories also wrote the ending. The glorious, happy, joy-filled ending.
Do you have parts of your story that you don’t understand? Parts that seem confusing or even cruel? Again, I don’t pretend to know why God wrote those awful things into your story, but I do know He did it for a purpose. He is the Author who knows what it takes to make your character exactly what it needs to be and who knows that, in the end, it will all be redeemed for those who are in Him. God can write painful things into our stories. But He can also use those things for good and to bring about good in us.
3. God is good and everything He does is good. Psalm 119:68 proclaims just that:
You are good, and what you do is good …
Certainly though this begs the question, what about bad things? What about when things are really, really bad?
Remember those logic puzzle thingies we had to learn in math class? If a and b, then c must be true? Ok let’s try one out …
When life presents us with really difficult things, we tend to think like this:
God is good and everything He does is good.
This situation is bad.
Therefore, God must be bad.
I think this logic goes all the way back to the garden when the snake malevolently hissed into Eve’s ear, “Did God really say not to eat from that tree?” And with that entered man’s deeply rooted fear that God really is not as good as He says He is.
But what if we changed things around a bit?
God is good and everything He does is good.
This situation is bad.
Maybe this situation can be called good …
Now God will never love evil and evil will never be called good, and death included. God’s whole initial plan was that man would never die and when that one fell through, He developed a plan wherein His only Son would give His life so that man would once again have the opportunity to not die. So I don’t think God will ever call death or sin or evil good. But I do believe God can bring good from any situation.
The oft-quoted Romans 8:28 states that all things work together for good for those that love God and are called, according to His purpose. Some people use it blithely when at a loss for words over the painful situation of a loved one. I know, I’ve been there myself a time or two. But what that verse means to me as one who has endured some very fiery trials is that God is using my pain for the good of His kingdom and if I never see it this side of Heaven, I can trust that I will come to full understanding one day in Glory.
God is good and the things He does are good, even when seem bad, and one day we will see how these bad things were indeed working for our good and the good of God’s kingdom.
Some people are ablaze with the story and the message God burned into their hearts. I think this is mine. I tell you my story because it tells of Him. And I want you to know Him this way too.