Happy Birthday, Kari!!!! I love you. May the next years be as blessed as these first were!
“It has been well said that ‘earthly cares are a heavenly discipline.’ But they are even something better than discipline- they are God’s chariots, sent to take the soul to its high places of triumph. They do not look like chariots. They look instead like enemies, sufferings, trials, defeats, misunderstandings, disappointments, unkindness.” Hannah Whitall Smith
I chose this quote several months ago for TODAY. Yesterday was one year since we kissed our youngest son goodbye and he was ushered into Heaven. It hasn't been an easy year. I stumbled across that quote reading a book, I'm disappointed that I can't remember which book it was, but it may have been Heaven by Randy Alcorn. When I found it and reserved today, I was hoping that I would SEE more evidence of it in my life. You see, I KNOW the above to be true, I believe it, even when I don't feel it.
Several years ago, when my husband and I were just starting our parenting journey, our first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. I was crushed. Disappointment doesn't even begin to describe what I went through at the time. While my husband and I were not walking with the Lord, I had been raised in a household that believed in God and I knew that God was a God of miracles and hope. I couldn't understand why we would be given this glimpse of joy and have it snatched out of our lives. I began seeking in earnest.
Ultimately, I wound up at the office of a Christian counselor and reading many christian authors. The one year "anniversary" of that date found me at a local cemetery that has a "memorial to the unborn", reading a letter I had written, pouring my heart out, and giving my life back to God. But it took a year. And a big disappointment. At the end of that year, I realized that God was simply waiting for me to open my heart to Him. If THAT wasn't one of "God's chariots", I don't know what would be!
Not having Seth here with us has been a suffering, a trial, a defeat, a misunderstanding. I stop short of calling it an "unkindness" because I believe strongly in the benevolence of God. However, unkindness have been endured because of the situation incurred by being a bereaved parent. And still, God shows up. The comfort that I have received, from the Lord, and from people who love the Lord, has been nothing short of amazing (especially yesterday). I'm learning the "heavenly discipline" of seeking comfort from the Lord as it's pretty difficult to find it in earthly ways.
I wanted to be able to write this post and share the many LARGE victories and triumphs I have experienced since "losing" Seth. By worldly standards, my triumphs likely seem small. Sometimes by MY standards I am disappointed that the Lord hasn't brought me further along (by now, etc). (Still learning that "heavenly discipline" of patience!). But triumphs HAVE been experienced. I grieve with hope! I more readily than before Seth, turn first to the Lord for comfort. In seeking answers, I am learning to wait on the Lord.
But here's the biggest thing. A friend took me to lunch yesterday. We shared some memories of Seth. I cried a little. And then I laughed a little. I still laugh. My family still laughs. That we still find joy is a testimony to the Lord's reigning in our lives, and a triumph of the soul!
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