Monday, March 29, 2010

In Other Words Tuesday

Faith saith not 'It is good for me,
so God must have sent it' but rather
'God sent it, so it must be good for me".
Phillips Brooks

I've been seeing a counselor off and on for several years. More on, of course, since Seth went to Heaven. In the past year, I also started seeing the nurse practitioner in his office (for anti-depressants). She has a basket full of quotes on little pieces of paper and every time I see her I get to pick a "thought for the day." I usually go through the basket until I find a thought/quote that resonates with me. Last visit I picked the quote you see above.

It's a hard quote to wrap your brain around, isn't it?

(I am going to be fair to myself.. I need to go to bed. I'm posting this as is, so others can link up and will edit in my thoughts Tuesday as soon as I can. Sorry for the delay) (Grateful for the break I took as it helped me get my thoughts more together on this!)

I think it is important to acknowledge that part of faith IS recognizing the good things from God. I talked about that in another In Other Words Tuesday post - Messages from God. I know people, good God-loving people, who admit that they aren't always quick to acknowledge God in the little "coincidences" in their lives. We recently did Something for Seth. I told a friend last week (prefaced with "I know this sounds ridiculous to you") that when I put that request for items on my FB page and my blog, I was secretly afraid there would be no response. Saturday evening would find Leland, I, and the paltry few things we could gather, up at the hospital. I need not have worried. God used my many friends and family to BLESS our socks off (and consequently the hospital staff) with an AMAZING turn out. (Blog post to follow soon with pictures). I think it's important to have faith for and acknowledge God in the "good" things. But that's not the meat of this quote is it?

"Faith saith.....'God sent it so it must be good for me". Think about that for a moment. Regardless of what it is, God sent it, so it must be good for me. Wow. I can think of lots of things where "it must be good for me" is not the immediate reaction; cancer, death of a spouse, infertility, miscarriage, loss of a child. So let me address how that has fit into MY life, in the past and recently. (You might want to get a cup of tea, I think I'm going to get long winded).

Fourteen years ago, more or less, Leland and I decided it was time to start a family. (Did you catch that? WE decided. Neither of us was in relationship with the Lord at that point.) We got pregnant fairly quickly, found a doctor, things were swimming right along. At about 11 weeks, I started spotting. Our doctor was fairly reassuring but ultimately 10 days later an ultrasound diagnosed a miscarriage. To say I was devastated would be an understatement of pretty good proportion. I literally felt like the world tilted on it's axis. For weeks, I felt as if I was walking around upright and the rest of the world was at a 45 degree angle. And I was angry. Boy, was I angry. I don't do anger well so after that, I was depressed. I was a mess, for a YEAR. I couldn't understand WHY God would let us get pregnant right away (good!) and then take our baby away (good????). But, here's the crux of that situation; somewhere in that year plus of being angry at God, I started seeking God, and more importantly, finding Him (good!). I now look back and directly credit that miscarriage experience with bringing me into relationship with God (VERY good!). "God sent it to me, so it must be good". Okay, so I can see that fourteen years ago, what about two years ago?

A little more than four years ago, our 3rd child, our first baby girl was born. And I remember looking at her, the first time I held her, and thinking "Our family could be complete now". (good!). A little less than three years ago, we found out we were pregnant again! (Unexpected, but still good!). Then we found out something was wrong with the baby and, almost exactly two years ago, Seth was born with half a heart. Good?? Hard to see but I could find it there. Seth struggled after his first open heart surgery but he did okay. I was able to be a friend to a new mom whose baby had a heart defect. I could pray that the nurses and doctors saw God as our strength. I could see good in that.

Seth only spent 200 days with us before God called him home. (Good??????) This time the good was hard to find. It's been hard to find. So I've done a few things.. I've realized over the course of the last fourteen years (and especially the last three) that God's definition of good and mine are not the same. For one thing, God created the world and "saw that it was good" (Genesis 1). God has a WAY bigger perspective than I do. That's one way in which the last fourteen years have been a blessing. Because of that miscarriage, horrible as it was at the time, I can look back and SEE God's good in it. I have a teeny bit of big-picture perspective. Granted, that doesn't go a long way in helping me see good in not having Seth here with us. But that's where FAITH comes in. I don't in my own power and will have the ability to see everything as good. I do have the faith that God is good and "we know in all things that God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28). I don't quote that glibly. I have struggled.

One of the things I have had a tendency to do is weigh the good I've seen against the bad I've seen. For instance, while Seth was recovering from an open heart surgery he endured at only five days old, I was able to minister to a new mom. I can see good in that.. That ones a bit easier because Seth came home at the end of that time. I've met and been able to be a friend to and with other moms who have lost children. Okay, well.. I've been able to do good by sharing Seth's story with nurses and student nurses.. We did "Something for Seth".. And you know what, in my humanness, those do NOT outweigh the bad of losing Seth. I'm glad for those small goods but I would trade them in, in a heartbeat, for the big good miracle of having Seth healed and here. But you know something that should be obvious and took me a ridiculously long time to recognize? I DON'T GET A CHOICE.

It doesn't really matter one way or another if I think the good is enough, it's all there is. So again, enter FAITH. If God reigns in my life, then things in my life are exactly as they SHOULD be. God does reign in my life. And "God sent it to me, so it must be good". God sent us Seth with half a heart, God knew, FROM THE BEGINNING of time, that Seth would have 200 days on this earth. And because he came from God, it must be good.

Don't get me wrong here; I do NOT have this all figured out. Many days, I know this in my head and struggle in my heart. Many days I can't see the good and I just want my baby back. God is gentle with me and we'll get through it together. THAT is faith.

We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Romans 5:2-5)

I miss Seth every day but I DO have hope. I have greater hope partially because of Seth's heart defect, because I know that I can, with God, persevere until we can be together again. And THAT is the BEST good of all!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Happy 2nd birthday, Seth!

Seth would be two today. We sang Happy Birthday this morning; Cary, Kayleigh and I. Sean is at a Bible Quiz meet out of town and Leland was already working. Kayleigh laid out a spread of cookies and pop and strawberries and sugar snap peas and baby carrots at 7am. Later today Leland and I are taking the "Something for Seth" items up to the hospital, visiting nurses, and going out for dinner.

I wanted to share more, but I just can't right now. So I'm going to leave you with a couple of videos FB friends of mine have graciously made. (I hope the links work).

The first video uses select pictures and begins with the song I used to sing to Seth:

This one is almost Seth's life in pictures!

We miss you sweet boy and love you very much!

Something for Seth

(This is a "sticky" post. Scroll down for more.)

I wanted to be able to share a pretty flyer, etc but I'm behind the 8 ball yet again, and I don't want to not do this because I got hung up by my perfectionism!

Seth's 2nd birthday would be March 27th. I really wanted to do something to remember him this year (I didn't last year.. still too out of it, I think). So I'm doing a Donation Drive for our local Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). I figured out the other night, we had Seth for 200 days and he spent 86 of those in the hospital.. almost 80 in PICU. The nurses were a huge support and I want to somehow give back.

So on Saturday, March 27th, I'm taking supplies up to the PICU. I'm collecting the following:

Onesies, in all sizes
Socks, newborn to teen sizes
Pillow cases & Blankies
Bath & body type items for teens

If you would like to help donate "Something for Seth" (and I hope some of you will!), please leave a comment with contact info (or set up your profile so I can email back to you, see here if you don't know what I'm talking about.)

Thank you for your help! Please spread the word.