Saturday, December 07, 2013

We Were Designed to Enjoy a Better World Than This.

“Modern Christianity, in dramatic reversal of its biblical form, promises to relieve the pain of living in a fallen world. The message, whether it’s from fundamentalists requiring us to live by a favored set of rules or from charismatics urging deeper surrender to the Spirit’s power, is too often the same: The promise of bliss is for NOW! Complete satisfaction can be ours this side of heaven.....

We are told, sometimes explicitly but more often by example, that it’s simply not necessary to feel the impact of family tensions, frightening possibilities, or discouraging news. [We are told that] life may have its rough spots, but the reality of Christ’s presence and blessing can so thrill our soul that pain is virtually unfelt. It simply isn’t necessary to wrestle with internal struggle and disorder. Just trust, surrender, persevere, obey. 

The effect of such teaching is to blunt the painful reality of what it’s like to live as part of an imperfect, and sometimes evil, community. We learn to pretend that we feel now what we cannot feel until Heaven.

But not all of us are good at playing the game. Those whose integrity makes such pretense difficult sometimes worry over their apparent lack of faith. “Why don’t I feel as happy and together as others? Something must be wrong with my spiritual life.” To make matters worse, these people of integrity often appear less mature and their lives less inviting than folks more skilled at denial. And churches tend to reward their members who more convincingly create the illusion of intactness by parading them as examples of what every Christian should be. 

[But] beneath the surface of everyone’s life, especially the more mature, is an ache that will not go away. It can be ignored, disguised, mislabeled, or submerged by a torrent of activity, but it will not disappear. And for good reason. We were designed to enjoy a better world than this. And until that better world comes along, we will groan for what we do not have. An aching soul is evidence not of neurosis or spiritual immaturity, but of realism." ~Larry Crabb

John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

I have counseled far too many women who keep a smile plastered on their face when their hearts are fighting some fierce battles to believe that any life is perfect. I know two women who are having a nervous breakdown. They couldn't go to their church friends and share because they when they shared just a little, they were judged and criticized. I could go on and on about the pain people are hiding from others. I know, it seems unbelievable that would happen in a church. Many years ago, I was chastised for "self pity" by a Christian family member for crying for the child I had just lost. I am not angry about it, but am still amazed that there was no compassion, no "I am sorry for your loss/pain" or "how can I minister to you," but sharp orders on how I must handle my grief. So, I know it happens and get why these women are hiding their hurts in a place where they should be receiving help.

God said there would not be tears in eternity, but He Himself shed tears on this earth. Stop being so critical of each other and start looking at the needs of the person! Stop competing with each other because all you are doing is tearing each other up and destroying your testimony to the world! When you pretend your life and your faith is perfect, you are dishonest and arrogant. Our Example didn't compete or try to "out Christian" others. Jesus went around helping the hurting. 

It's been seven months today. God's love and healing have been abundant in my life, but there are still moments when my heart hurts. I am not moving on as in leaving my babies behind. I am moving forward and carrying them in my heart. I have never been one to sit around and mope. But, there are those moments when the ache is so deep. Thanks to a godly teacher I am always aware that this life is quickly passing by...and so is opportunity to reach others...we must not waste a moment to do the right thing! God has shown me not to ask "Why me?," but "How can I use this to glorify You?"

Just as each living child I have has changed me and made me a better person (most mothers can relate to this statement), each loss I have had has changed me and made me better (only mothers who have survived and found healing for their losses can relate). For the mother grieving over pregnancy loss: I do not see myself as diminished as a mother because I lost babies. I am a better mother because I was willing to open my heart to having them in my life, loved them so much it still hurts, and consider them each a great blessing even if that blessing will be delayed. This is what God has shown me as I have sought Him for ways to help myself and other women who have lost children. 

Because of my eight losses in childbearing, I am more willing to share my painful experiences with people who are hurting. Where before I'd hesitate or make excuses, now I think, "Lord, because of the hurts you have allowed, I have the understanding of their brokenness, but please give me the words." I had some very incredible experiences ministering to other mothers in CHKD while Caleb was there. I've also had some interesting conversations with strangers while out shopping, and some people I have known most of my life have confided in me about their hurts too. 

Stopping to help someone who ran out of gas, I met a stranger who is a Christian and was going through a tremendous battle at home. She was already so weary, and then she ran out of gas. It was about all she could handle. I was able to build her up by listening and sharing some of what God has shown me. She cried and hugged me and told me I was sent from the Lord to her that night. I noticed the state trooper who used his lights to keeps us visible in the heavy traffic was quietly listening too. God did not allow me to keep my babies, but He gave me experiences that are making connections for Him. He can do the same in your life with your hurts, if you let Him. 

Please pray with me that God enables me to make the most of each opportunity that comes my way. I want to boldly share His love every time there is an opening to do so. I readily acknowledge that even though I want this very much, I am helpless to do it without Him because on my own, I can accomplish nothing.