Jan 29, 2008

Hold On, Sister!

“Sweet little babies, it’s hard to understand it ‘cause we’re hurting
We are hurting
But there is healing
And we know we’re stronger people through the growing
And in knowing—
That all things work together for our good
And God works His purposes just like He said He would…
Just like He said He would…”
--“Glory Baby” by Watermark

A dear friend gave me the song above to listen to because it reminded her of our first child. Gabriela Faith is my sweet daughter who was stillborn on November 15, 2002. Although I know she is in Heaven and has escaped the pains and trials of this earth, up until very recently, that did very little to comfort me. To be honest with you, the sentiments expressed in the song above not only did not soothe me; they enraged me. I didn’t really believe that healing would come, and I wasn’t so sure God knew what He was doing when He let her slip away. His purposes seemed cruel and beyond any kind of reason.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

After Gabi passed away, I took a long journey through deep depression and fear. The darkest and scariest time in my life to date. As the months turned into years, I began to wonder if I would ever be happy. Healed. Whole. This past year marked the 5th anniversary of her death, and upon reflecting on her life, I realized that I had finally found some joy. Lots of it. My life is now characterized by passion for the Lord, for the life He has given me, and for what He is doing in the world around me. What had happened? What had changed me from a broken woman despairing of life to this gal lit aflame for the Lord?

I had hung on to Jesus for dear life. All I could see in my darkness was His hand gently pulling me forward, and I held on purely out of desperation. I tucked Psalm 119:45 deep into my heart as my promise. “I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought His precepts.” I had to believe that someday I would conquer the pain. Most of the time it wasn’t easy. Many times it was the most challenging thing I had ever done. But I had no choice. Either I hold on to Jesus or give up on life.

I suspect that I’ll never know the full extent of what God has done through Gabi’s life, but He has been so gracious as to show me the miracles that He has performed in me through her.

Chiefly, he has given me REAL joy, peace, and hope. What I had before Gabi was fake. It was what I could muster up within myself. God taught me through my new lack of self-sufficiency that He was the true Source of those qualities. Also, I did not know it, but I had become distant and somewhat unsympathetic to those around me because of my reaction to some experiences in my past. In having to let people help me, I learned to let them in and continue to learn how to love them well. By the way, this is still a work in progress! But, one of the coolest things that Gabi accomplished was God giving me my calling through her. In being stripped of all my pretenses and facades, I found freedom in simply being me. In being real. And God has ignited a passion in me to help other women find that same liberty. Simply put, He has given me all the things He has promised He would. Joy. Peace. Hope. Love. Purpose.

My life before the birth of my sweet daughter pales in comparison to the one I’m living now. Ladies, let’s hold on. Let’s trust God and His plan. It may be painful, and it may be the hardest thing we ever do, but can we hold on long enough to see God fulfill the promises He’s made to us? His word says that all His ways are faithful and loving towards us and that He’s working out everything for our good. Let’s choose to trust that and stick it out to see the miracles He performs.

“He has sent me to. . .bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61:1-3

Memory Verse: Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.”

God, thank you that you found enough worth in me to love me out of my imprisonment. Thank you for Gabi…please give her a big hug and “thank you” for me. It warms my heart to know that she accomplished her purpose in this life. Father, help us to hold on and trust you and your goodness. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Anonymous said...

Wow. I'm so sorry you were enraged by this song that I found to be so perfect! BUT, I must say that this is the most personal blog you've written so far. I mean, I've got tears in my eyes...and I haven't cried in quite a while (thanks, Cymbalta)! And you're right. We either hold on for dear life, or we give up completely!
Thanks, Misti! Thank you for holding on...and thank you for letting Jesus pour out through your life!
Love you - A

mb said...

It is your realness that is so attractive as a friend. "Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknessess, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." You are a bold woman and through your story, Christs beauty is made all the more glorious. Love you!