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You Won’t Forget Me?

20120829-184437-3“You’re coming back tomorrow, aren’t you?” Miranda looked at me anxiously, almost daring me to say no.

“Yes, I’m coming back tomorrow,” I reassured her.

“You promise? You won’t forget me?” My heart stopped as I caught a glimpse of vulnerability in her face for just a brief moment.

How could I forget this independent and willful twelve-year-old girl with the flashing dark eyes? Though I had only just met Miranda that day at the Christian children’s home in southeast Asia, my heart was already connected with her.

Miranda had lived at this home for abused and neglected children for a few years already, with her older brother and sister. She tried to give a tough image, boasting about fights she got into with her friends when they made her mad. But in my brief time with her on that first day, as we played Scrabble in the library of the children’s home, Miranda began to let down her guard a bit. Each time she spelled out a new word on the board, she grew in confidence. She even smiled a few times!

But when she asked me to promise that I would come back, I hesitated. I didn’t know how to respond. Though I don’t know Miranda’s whole story, I know that these children at the home have experienced much rejection, disappointment, and hurt in their young lives. The last thing a girl like Miranda needs is more broken promises.

I was planning to come back the next day, but what if something happened and I couldn’t keep my promise? Though I wanted to assure Miranda that I would never disappoint her, that would be unfair to her. The fact is, I’m human. Even with the best of intentions, at some point I probably WILL disappoint others.

The best thing I can do for Miranda is to point her to the One who will never disappoint her. Only God will never break His promises. Even when others fail, He will never let her down. Psalm 105:8 says “He remembers his covenant forever, the word he commanded, for a thousand generations” (NIV).

“You won’t forget me?” Miranda was still waiting.

“I won’t forget you,” I smiled. “I will see you tomorrow.” And I prayed silently that the Lord would give me the words to communicate with this precious girl of the faithfulness and love of her Heavenly Father – the One who will never forget her.

Betrayed

a-pain-66615-mThe call came at about 8:00pm on a Sunday night. It was hard to hear over the laughing and shouting of 30 excited teenagers, at a youth retreat in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. But I could tell right away that something was wrong.

“Your parents’ house has been broken into,” our neighbor said. “Someone shattered the back window and stole the flatscreen TV.” My heart sank. Oh no, I hope it’s not who I think it is, I thought.

My parents were out of town – my dad at a conference in Miami, my mom visiting friends in Arkansas. As I called my dad, then my mom, then my brother to tell them the bad news, all of us had the same initial reaction. We all were pretty sure we knew who it was. And we all hoped and prayed that it hadn’t been him.

“Ben” is a friend of my brother. They grew up together, played soccer together. But as he got older, Ben started getting into trouble – alcohol, drugs, a couple arrests. A few years ago my brother discovered that Ben was staying in a run-down hotel room, living off take-out pizza. He said, “you’re coming home with me.” And so Ben lived with my family for a year. He started cleaning up his act, working a couple of jobs, helping out around the house. Then one night he was caught with drugs in his vehicle, and he landed in jail again.

But my brother kept reaching out to him over the years, and we all kept praying for him. Then just a few months ago, Ben reappeared, asking for odd jobs to do around the house and yard, looking for ways to earn money. He was polite and respectful, and seemed like he was finally getting his life straightened out.

And then this. When the police dusted for fingerprints on the broken glass, they found a clear handprint. It matched the prints they had on file. It was Ben.

What hurt the most was that it was someone we knew. Someone we had prayed for. Someone we had trusted. Someone we had invested so much in.

I was reminded of Psalm 52:12-14 – “If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were rising against me, I could hide. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend.”

Jesus knew what it felt like to be betrayed by a friend. From the moment He chose His twelve disciples, He knew what would happen that night of His arrest. These were his closest friends. His inner circle. The ones He talked with as they traveled from village to village. The ones He fished wish, cooked with, ate with. But He knew that Judas Iscariot would turn him over to be killed. He knew that Peter would deny that he even knew Jesus. He knew that all the disciples would run away in fear.

Yet even at the very end, when He was on the cross, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them.” I believe he was not only talking about the Roman soldiers who crucified Him. He was not only talking about the Jewish religious leaders who had turned him over to be killed. He was talking about Peter. About James. About John. About Judas. About you. About me.

And after the resurrection, when He saw His disciples again, He didn’t bawl them out. He didn’t say “What happened, guys? That was real smooth, all running away and abandoning me like that.” He didn’t say any of that. Instead He said “Peace be with you.” He came in love and forgiveness.

So what about Ben? Well, my mom had to appear in court a couple of weeks ago to confirm that it was indeed him who had broken into her house and stolen from her. And though she was upset about what happened, though she felt betrayed and hurt, more than anything she felt compassion for Ben. Her heart broke for him, for the path he was choosing which would only bring more heartache.

He was found guilty. And when she saw him sitting there in the courtroom, head bent, shoulders slumped, she walked over to him, put her hand on his shoulder, and said “I’m praying for you.” She didn’t have any bitterness. She didn’t have any anger. Only love and forgiveness.

That’s not natural. It’s not easy. It’s not anything we can do on our own. But Jesus said, “the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these” (John 14:12).

Because He has forgiven me, I can forgive. And that’s the power of the resurrection.

Going Vertical!
MJ

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Hope Deferred

img_3602-2“What’s wrong with your hand, Miss J?”

It’s the beginning of the school week, and this four-year-old with the platinum blonde curls and intensely serious blue eyes is very concerned about the stiff black brace strapped on my right hand.

“My wrist hurts me sometimes,” I explain as I kneel down to her eye level. “This brace keeps it still so it doesn’t hurt as much.”

She takes this bit of information in solemnly, then pronounces with confidence, “It will be better tomorrow. I’ll pray for you, and Jesus will make it better.” And she turns and trots off down the hall to her classroom.

As I straighten up and return to my work at the photocopier in the teachers’ lounge, I massage my right thumb absently, letting out my breath in a long sigh.

“Tendonitis,” the hand and wrist specialist had said. Inflamed tendons in the thumb and wrist, leading all the way up to the elbow, caused by “repetitive movement strain.”

“This is not just going to go away,” he pronounced. “A simple surgery is your best option…”

Surgery is the last thing I want to do. So I ask my students for volunteers to write on the board for me. I try to remember to open doorknobs with my left hand.

Sometimes it doesn’t bother me for days or weeks. But then I pick up a pencil I dropped on the floor, and a shooting pain stops me in my tracks for a few agonizing seconds. And with the pain comes the all-too familiar discouragement.

“It’s never going to heal,” I think glumly. “It’s been a year and a half already, and so many people have prayed for me, but nothing’s changed. This is my reality now.”

The next time I see my bold little prayer warrior, her eyes hone in on my black wrist brace. “I prayed for your hand – is it better now?” she asks eagerly.

What can I say? How can I tell her that I’ve stopped praying? How can I tell her that I’ve stopped believing God will heal me?

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick,” says Proverbs 13:12. That’s me. I’ve given up hope. I can’t handle more disappointment.

I feel like the father of the boy with seizures in Mark 9, who brings his son to Jesus for healing. “If you are able to do anything…” When Jesus confronts the man’s lack of faith, immediately he calls out “I believe – help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:22-24, NRSV).

Even if my wrist is never healed on this earth, even if I have to wear this wrist brace my whole life, even if I never understand it all until I get to heaven, I can still choose to put my hope in God. I can choose to trust Him. He cares about my wrist. But even more than that, He cares about my heart. And that’s what needs healing.

Those big blue eyes of my four-year-old prayer warrior are still looking up at me, expectantly. “Did Jesus heal it?”

“Thank you so much for praying for me!” I tell her, giving her a hug. “I know Jesus is healing it.”

With a satisfied smile, she runs off. And a tiny spark of hope is growing in my heart. Because Jesus IS healing me – starting with my heart.

What about you? Has your heart been disappointed? Have you felt that God isn’t answering your prayers? Have you given up hope? Ask God to begin healing your heart today. He will. But you have to make that choice.

Going Vertical!

MJ

“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.” Psalm 130:5

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YOU CAN BE A BRIDGE

YOU CAN BE A BRIDGE OF GRACE!Golden-Gate-Bridge-flipped-e1424207709817

Building a Bridge of Grace over which the TRUTH can travel…

John 1:17 says, “For the Law was given through Moses; but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

YOU CAN BE A BRIDGE OF UNCONDITIONAL LOVE!

Romans 5:8 says, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

YOU CAN BE A BRIDGE OF PURSUIT!

Luke 19:10 says, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

YOU CAN BE A BRIDGE OF KINDNESS!

Romans 2:4 says, “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?”

YOU CAN BE A BRIDGE OF PATIENCE!

2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

YOU CAN BE A BRIDGE OF HUMILITY!
Building a Bridge of confessing your wrong and asking the other person to forgive you.

James 4:6 says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

You have probably heard it said, “people don’t care what you know, unless they know that you care.”

… care enough to extend grace before you extend truth… care enough to extend unconditional love… care enough to pursue… care enough to express kindness… care enough to express patience… care enough about the relationship to confess your wrong and ask for forgiveness

YOU CAN BE a BRIDGE of influence for men, women and young people to have a fresh start for their heart and to experience what it really means to be forgiven, forgiving and free!

And when they are FORGIVEN, FORGIVING & FREE… They can be a BRIDGE to others!

And, remember, IT’S NEVER TOO LATE FOR A FRESH START!

Pastor Steve Peterson
Executive Director
www.freshstartforallnations.org

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The Cat Whisperer

20121203-113517“That will never work,” Hanna declared decisively. Before her husband Jeremy could even finish the explanation of his newest dream for their business, practical Hanna proceeded to expound upon why it was a foolish plan.

“Could you just listen to my idea?” Jeremy pleaded, looking crushed. “But I know it won’t work,” she said simply. “You always have crazy plans, and you don’t think about the potential problems. That’s what I’m here for.”

Sharp-tongued and critical, Hanna was constantly berating her husband, squelching his excitement with her “realism.” Where Jeremy was all enthusiasm and passion, Hanna seemed to be all prickles and spines.

But below the surface of Hanna’s “porcupine personality” were deep hurts. Rejected by her mother for not being as pretty as her sister, she’d always felt unwanted, unloved, and not valued. It was hard for her to believe that anyone could really care about her. The pain of childhood wounds that had never healed caused her to bristle when anyone got too close, unknowingly sabotaging her relationships.

Hanna came to mind this weekend as I chatted with a woman who calls herself a “Cat Whisperer.” She’s a volunteer “foster parent” for abandoned and traumatized animals from the SPCA. Many of the cats who come to her are aggressive, hissing and clawing when she brings them food or tries to pet them.

“I have to ask myself, ‘Why did this cat scratch me? Is it scared? Does it feel threatened?” the “Cat Whisperer” explained. “Then I have to get down on his level and show him that I’m not going to hurt him.” Eventually she builds trust with the skittish felines, overcoming their fear through gentle persistence.

In the case of my friend Hanna, the persistent love and affirmation of friends began to break down the walls of defense around her heart. She was finally able to identify those deep childhood wounds, and to forgive those who had hurt her. The prickles and spines began to fade away, and a softer side was revealed – more of the true Hanna, gentle and loving and compassionate.

Are you a “porcupine person”? Have past wounds made you prickly and spiny? Like those traumatized and abandoned cats, do you claw and scratch people who get too close? Stop and think about why you are responding this way, and ask the Lord to help you identify those wounds that need to be healed. He’s a true “Heart Whisperer” and He’s whispering His love to you right now!

Going Vertical!
MJ

“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”
Ezekiel 36:26 (NLT)

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Soak Your Stress Away

“I couldn’t wait to wrap your Christmas present,” my roommate says, handing me a heavy cylindrical object.

Soak your stress away…” the label proclaims. “Ooh! Bath salts!” I squeal.

“Please forgive her,” my roommate says, with a knowing smile.

Immediately I know what she’s referring to.

It was maybe three years ago. Maybe four. I had just received a Christmas gift from one of my students – aromatherapy peppermint oil bath salts – and I had been looking forward to using them over the holiday break.

But before I had a chance to open the jar, I loaned it to someone who said she’d had a hard week at work and needed to relax. Though she earnestly promised to return the bath salts, she never did, even after I asked several times.

Resigning myself to it being an unintentional “gift”, though disappointed, I soon forgot about it.

But every once in awhile, when I think of taking a relaxing soak in the bathtub, I remember the jar of bath salts I never got to try. “I hope she’s enjoying them,” I think darkly.

Now, examining this new gift, I realize that I haven’t forgiven for this incident. It seems like such an insignificant thing. But bitterness can be subtle. And unforgiveness can start small.

Laughing, I open the new jar of bath salts and sniff the “ocean breeze” scent. “Ok, ok,” I tell my roommate. “I give in. I’ll forgive her. It’s time to let it go.”

My roommate gave me the best gift this Christmas. The opportunity to forgive. The chance to start this new year with a lighter heart. A heart with a bit less bitterness and a bit more grace. What a gift.

Are there any “small things” that you may be holding on to, “little things” that you need to forgive? Start this new year with a clean slate, a FRESH START!

Going Vertical!
MJ

Work at getting along with each other and with God. …Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. (Hebrews 12:14-15, MSG)

 

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Goal-Phobia

20130304-222533“So, what are your writing goals for this year?” My cousin Nathalie turns to me expectantly, pen poised to take notes. Jennifer looks up from her laptop and smiles encouragingly.

It’s a simple question. But I can already feel the rising anxiety.

We’re on a weekend writers’ retreat at the Outer Banks of North Carolina – brainstorming ideas, reading portions of our stories or articles aloud, critiquing each other’s work. It’s completely natural to talk about our writing goals for the upcoming year – this is why we’re here! So why in the world am I suddenly tongue-tied and nervous?

“Well, Michelle? Do you have any specific goals?” My cousin isn’t one to give up easily.

The whirring of the dishwasher seems unusually loud. My stomach twists in knots. All at once, I’m seven years old and standing in front of the blackboard, trying desperately to solve a difficult subtraction problem, feeling a dozen pair of eyes boring holes into my back. I wipe my sweaty palms on my jeans.

“Goals… Yeah, you know I’m not much of a goals person,” I respond slowly. “I don’t know why. I just hate making goals. Guess it’s because…”

Suddenly it hits me.

“…Because if I make a goal and I can’t meet it, that means I’ve failed.” The words tumble out before I can stop them, my voice trembling. “So it’s easier to not make goals than to risk failure.” Embarrassed at my tears, I wipe my nose on my sleeve and rub my eyes with the back of my hand.

Fear of failure can sneak up at the most unlikely times, in the most unexpected places. At the root of my fear of failure is the fear of disappointing others. It’s saying, “What everyone else thinks about me matters more than what God thinks about me.”

“You know, just because you make a goal doesn’t mean you HAVE to accomplish it,” my cousin is saying gently. “It’s just something to aim for.”

“Start small,” pipes in Jennifer. “Baby steps.”

I know they’re right. I can do this.

“Can I put, ‘drink 3 cups of coffee a day’ as one of my goals? I’m pretty sure I can meet that one!”

Laughing, the three of us are able to come up with reachable goals – for today, next week, this month, and this year. Once I’ve typed them up, I let out a sigh of relief. That wasn’t so bad.

“And even if you don’t accomplish all these goals, you’re NOT going to beat yourself up, are you?” asks Jennifer, cocking her head.

I grin and shake my head. It’s ok to fail sometimes. It’s ok to admit I’m not perfect. Because HE is perfect, and HE never fails. Taking a sip of my latte, I mentally mark ‘drink coffee’ off the list with a big check. Next on my list – trusting God to help me overcome my fear of failure, one small goal at a time – CHECK!

Going Vertical!
MJ

“He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.”
Deuteronomy 32:4 (NIV)

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Called by Name

20130709-162243“As I watched my father’s mistress put her suitcases in his car, an animal rage came over me. I felt I could tear her apart with my hands.” Yagmur, tall and elegant with perfectly styled blond hair, spoke evenly to the audience in the church, but the pain of that childhood memory was evident. “That day I made a decision to hate my father for the rest of my life.”

Yagmur’s mother was also angry, and took out her anger in the form of physical abuse toward her daughter. “As a young girl, I had scars and bruises all over my body from my mother’s beatings. I hated my father for his unfaithfulness. And I hated my mother for her helplessness.”

“Every day my mother told me I was ugly and stupid,” Yagmur continued. “Faith comes through hearing. And I started to believe in what I was hearing.” Escaping to her room and pulling the blankets over her head, Yagmur would dream of being a beautiful princess in a long, sparkling gown. And she would imagine her mother and father smiling at her, proudly. She longed for their love.

Immediately after college, she married a charming and passionate young man, desperate to escape the abuse and pain of her home life. But soon another nightmare began. Her husband began beating her too, accusing her of unfaithfulness, demanding to know why she was a few minutes late coming home from work.

Then one day her husband held a knife to her throat, insisting that she jump out of an eighth-story window. Yagmur clung to his ankles, sobbing and pleading for her life until he let her go.

In desperation, Yagmur fled to the U.S. to start a new life. But when her second husband’s drug abuse got out of control, she found herself becoming more and more hopeless, wanting to end her life. “There is hatred and pain everywhere I go,” she thought in despair. “I can’t escape.”

Eventually Yagmur found a job working for a Christian company. Wanting to impress the boss, she joined the early-morning Bible study at the office. They were reading the story of Jesus’ encounter with the adulterous woman. Yagmur couldn’t help blurting out, “Why did he forgive her? She was not worthy to be forgiven!”

“None of us are worthy,” a co-worker explained. “But Jesus forgives us because he loves us. Even if that woman had been the only person on the earth, Jesus still would have come to earth for her and died in her place, because he loves her.”

“I was that unworthy woman,” she recalled. All the shame of her childhood, the memories of being called ugly and stupid, the feeling of being worthless, the abuse of her marriages, the abandonment and emptiness and thoughts of suicide – it all culminated one day in a desperate cry in the office restroom. “Help me, God! Have mercy! I need You!” As she dried her eyes and walked to her desk, she wondered if He even heard her.

Before she could even get back to work, Yagmur’s boss called her urgently to his office. “I’ve never done this before,” he explained hesitantly. “But I feel Jesus prompting me strongly that I need to tell you something. He says that He has heard your prayer in the bathroom. He saw you when you were a little girl. He’s been with you all this time. And He loves you and forgives you.”

Yagmur crumpled to the carpet, weeping. “Do you want Jesus to be your Lord and Savior?” Her boss was asking kindly. “YES! YES! YES!” She sobbed. Finally she had found the love she had been searching for.

Eventually Yagmur was able to forgive her father and mother for all the pain they caused her for so many years. And today Yagmur has a ministry of bringing hope and healing to girls and women around the world, through TV programming and radio broadcasts. “You are loved. You are valued. You are beautiful,” she tells them. “God has a plan for your future. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a future and a hope.” She knows it is true – she is living proof.

Going Vertical!
MJ

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, you are mine.”
Isaiah 43:1b (NRSV)

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Hard Things

running-1090940-m1I hate running. Sorry, but it’s the truth.

When I hear friends talk about the “adrenaline rush” of running a half-marathon, I’m convinced that they’re not fully human. What normal human being would willingly put themselves through the punishing physical torture of pounding the pavement mile after mile? It’s not right.

Now I consider myself to be in pretty good shape. I rarely eat fried food, desserts, or red meat. I enjoy biking, or walking forest trails, and I have even been known to jump “double-dutch” with my students at recess! But recently I was appalled that my favorite black dress pants have started getting a wee bit too snug. So with the motivation of fitting in my bridesmaid’s dress for a friend’s wedding next month, I drag myself out of bed this Saturday morning, put on my tennis shoes, and head outside for some exercise.

There’s a refreshing hint of fall in the air, and I fill my lungs deeply as I start off on a light jog. After just a few minutes, however, I’m already panting for breath. I tell myself, “I’ll only go to the next lamp-post, and then I can stop.” But at the next lamp-post, I decide that I’ll go to the lake. “I’m almost to the end of this street,” I think when I get to the lake. “I’ll just round the corner and go a bit more.”

By this point, old ladies walking their poodles could easily overtake my painfully slow pace. And I avoid eye contact with any serious runners I encounter, embarrassed at my wheezing and puffing. My lungs feel like they’re going to explode, and my legs feel like jello.

Around the bend, I finally see it – the river pier. Out of somewhere deep within me comes a sudden final burst of energy. I find myself picking up the pace. “I’m almost there! I’m actually going to make it!” It seems there should be a marching band and helium balloons in honor of my accomplishment. At the end of the pier, I pause for a moment to soak in the morning sun sparkling over the still water. For one who despises running, I’ve just proven that miracles do happen – I CAN run.

Now this isn’t one of those underdog stories where I suddenly am able to compete in the Ironman triathlon. I doubt I’ll ever really ENJOY running. It still seems like cruel and unusual punishment. And it’s definitely not in my nature to keep doing something that’s painful and uncomfortable.

But I hate to say it – running is actually biblical. Paul writes in I Corinthians about “running to get the prize”. He says he “beats” or “punishes” his body, because it’s all part of his training (I Cor. 9:27). I can relate to that. Multiple times during my short run, I came very close to stopping. I started to feel sorry for myself, and felt like I “deserved” a break. It would have been so much easier to just stop.

Don’t we often feel that way when we’re faced with hard things? That nasty co-worker who seems set to make your life miserable. The difficult child who tests every boundary you set. The family member who knows exactly which buttons to push to get you riled up. Jesus never promised us that life would be easy. In fact, He assures us the opposite – “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NIV).

Life is tough sometimes. But we can’t just sit it out because it’s too hard. So we press on. We forgive those who have offended us. We confront in love. We ask for grace in our difficult relationships, not responding out of anger or hurt, but out of a heart of forgiveness and freedom. Not because it’s easy. But because our Coach, our loving Heavenly Father, has already run the path ahead of us. He’s cheering us on. And it’s His whisper in our hearts that says, “Just a little bit more. You can do it. You’re almost Home.”

Going Vertical!
MJ

“Like an athlete I punish my body, treating it roughly, training it to do what it should, not what it wants to. Otherwise I fear that after enlisting others for the race, I myself might be declared unfit and ordered to stand aside.”
1 Corinthians 9:27 (TLB)

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Private Grief

 

20130501-133140Dabbing at her eyes with a tissue, Bella apologized for her tears. “I’m sorry for unloading on you. It’s just been so hard recently.”

Two miscarriages in the last few months had left her raw. And as the wife of someone in church leadership, it seemed she had no one to talk to about it. “Unless you’ve lost a baby, you can’t understand how how much it hurts,” Bella explained. “And well-meaning people can say such insensitive things.”

All I could do was listen and cry with her. “It’s so hard to trust God in all of this,”
Bella confided before we said goodbye. “But I just have to believe that He’s doing something good in me in the process.”

Here’s the rest of the story, in Bella’s own words.

I hit bottom on my first baby’s due date. I felt so discouraged. Nine months, two lost babies, and still empty-handed. And now I was scared that not only would I have to deal with losses, but would I now have to deal with infertility again?

I remember one day having a very honest conversation with the Lord. I told Him that I was angry, frustrated, and tired. I felt that I was coming to a place where this burden of pain and loss was more than I could bear. I wanted this season of pain to be over. And I told Him I was so disappointed that I didn’t get pregnant, and to please have mercy on me.

And in that moment I felt His presence so strong with me. I heard Him tell me to just hang on a little longer, that this season would soon be over, and that He was holding me by my hand and would not let me go. I also felt Him say that I didn’t conceive because He was answering the very thing I had asked Him, and that was to not allow it to happen until it was His time. But then I heard Him say that my time was coming very soon and to just be patient.

I felt such a peace come over me about having another baby and the timing. Even the way I felt about the babies I lost… God gave me such a peace about that. There is no way to explain what He did. It was completely effortless on my part. I just felt different. I felt such a healing work from the Lord. It was like although He knew already what I was feeling and thinking, I needed to be honest with Him and myself first.

That night that we spoke, I didn’t know yet, but a few days later I found out that I am expecting again! Naturally I am nervous, but I must say that I feel different than with the last pregnancies I lost, especially the second one. With that second one I lost, I was in a constant state of anxiety, panic, and worry. I knew something was wrong, and I felt completely helpless to save my baby.

So here I am now, expecting again. Hopeful, but cautious. I know I have a long road ahead of me before I can feel completely at ease about whether this baby will make it. But I am trusting in the Lord. I know He is with me.

Do you have a secret pain? A private grief? Your secret pain doesn’t have to consume you. Give it to Him today. Let Him hold you and give you His peace in the midst of it. And trust Him to do something good in you and through you in the process.

Going Vertical!
MJ

“You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”
Genesis 16:13 (NIV)