Well, here comes a post I can’t avoid much longer, and as I type, I’m never quite sure what words God desires that end up on your screen. However, my prayer is that this testimony of God’s faithfulness will stir your heart and remind you of specific ways you can care for those who are hurting.
But first, the back story…
If you have read my story posted on this blog, you will see in a general way that I went through a tragic and tumultuous time in my early twenties that by God’s grace, turned me onto a new path of deep understanding of His love, His Gospel, and His emphasis on true community. I was lacking in all those areas. I intended when setting out to write this series to share details from those years previous, however as God intended, I would also enter a new dark time, with new stories to tell and glorious reminders of truth in action.
I’ll cut straight to it and say that though the journey to motherhood was hard – the waiting, the miscarriage, the pregnancy and birth – all of it – the postpartum time has been even more wonderful and terrifying. Nothing compares to holding and caring for a little one with everything you have, and desiring to do even more, as your heart is captured by an unexplainable love for someone you’re only getting to know. I have been stretched to my limit, and even for a time, collapsed into the arms of Jesus, with no choice but to allow others to care for me. I don’t want to dwell on all the details of the hardship – at some point I may be ready to share more of that. But I want to call attention to those who surrounded us in our crisis and loved us with a beautiful and healing love.
I can’t begin to thank everyone who loved us during this time, and those who are still reaching out in concern. Tangible acts of service, meals, prayer, gifts, care packages, gift cards, visits, and more fervent prayer, as led by God, even before we collapsed. Wisdom given, words of challenge and compassion, as well. I can’t begin to write enough notes of thanks while still keeping up with little P and his needs right now, as well as caring for myself and my little family.
But what has struck me most is that in my desperation and inability to care for myself or my family – and as frightening as that was – God was there already, providing help and hope in the most beautiful, unexpected, and undeserved ways. We received help we didn’t know we needed, with no fanfare or thanks expected, and learned to humbly accept it.
My encouragement as I end this short post is that you do as our friends and family have done for us – pray, pray, and pray some more – and only then do you act. God alone knows the hearts of those whom you might wish to serve, and deep sensitivity is required to walk alongside them, to offer hope, to know when to provide solutions, but more often, to serve and be with them in the pain. The gift of community in these times is the most beautiful of all. Not pat answers, not careless words, not ‘I’m praying’ but never praying. Many have been available for us at the last minute, and honest when then cannot be – always pointing us to others who can help, and others who can pray.
Our extended family has stepped up as well – providing help and hope, tangible gifts, weeping with us, seeking to understand even when there was no understanding. From the deepest part of our hearts, I say thank you, knowing that only God can repay you for all you have done for us. And though the struggle continues, we know we are loved and surrounded.
Over the past few months I continue to be drawn to Isaiah 30:15 – repentance and rest. The focus was repentance for quite a while, and still is when I am ‘stuck’ in my faith journey… but now it is more so the command of rest. God longs to be our primary source of strength. More on this in the next post, but I’m learning, one step at a time, that in this place alone, will I find peace.
Be blessed, friends. And go forth in the knowledge that you are loved deeply and called to love deeply as well. Let us love one another because He first loved us! 1 John 4:19
More in this series:
part two :: What the darkness taught (and is teaching) me
part three :: Loving well breaks the darkness (and a thank you!)