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!


Lucy and Ethel said...

What a terrific quote!

Hope your days ease up, even if slowly. It takes such a long, long time to feel 'good' again after a substantial loss, and the grieving never really ends....


Tami Boesiger said...

I anxiously await your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

My heart is with you my friend.

Karen said...

You take care Kathryn and don't worry about needing to go and rest. We can all use our rest at times like these. When I had epilepsy and fought stress seizures I used quotes to hold on to and see me through. Sometimes they were hard to grasp but they said something to my heart and grabbed my attention. Bless you for your participation in this wonderful Tuesday saga we have going here and get the rest you need.

Nic said...

Oh, honey, my heart overflows with love and tears for you. I can't imagine the lingering pain of the loss of a precious child, but hold fast to the comfort that you WILL be reunited in heaven and then you will never be parted again.

That is a very powerful quote that you chose and it really spoke to my circumstances these past several months.

Praying for you, sweet friend, with all the love and hugs in the world!

Denise Hughes said...

This is, indeed, a powerful quote you shared with us today. What I love about this quote, and about what you shared in your post, is that it says, "Faith saith..."

It doesn't say "Faith fully comprehends," but rather, "Faith says."

Faith declares that God is good even when the fullness of understanding is not there yet. That is, by definition, faith!

Thank you for sharing your powerful testimony today. My prayers are with you.

Tami Boesiger said...

Because you are so close to it, I bet you can't see your progress, Kathryn. You are a witness to everyone who reads your words, who listens to you, who watches. Thank you for showing the rest of us how to do it.

May God continue to heal your hurting heart.

Anonymous said...

Kathryn, your words are a pathway to Jesus.
You have written an absolutely beautiful and real-life post.
Thank you for sharing your heart.
I lack sufficient words to tell you how much your journey and your ability to write about it, has meant to me.
I hug you across the internet miles my friend ~

Kathryn said...

I still struggle with all of these things. Romans 8 has been my chapter recently, but largely for other reasons. Our pastor tends to indicate that he doesn't think many (or many of "us") will make it to heaven, & i find Romans 8 contradicts all of that. I want very much to be in the presence of God, & to a smaller degree, to meet my daughter.

Hope for the coming life rather than hope for here on Earth is hard to hold out for sometimes.

Thank you for sharing, Kathryn. I appreciate it so much.

Rachel said...

Thank you for sharing your heart. Your realness is beautiful and inspiring.



Holly said...

Wow. What a quote. Not much to say other than that!

Kimberly @ Raising Olives said...

Just wanted to let you know that I was thinking and praying for you today (because I was thinking and praying for my friend who lost her HLHS son after 4 months).

I also don't understand and you're right, that's where faith comes in.

Karen said...

Thank you for sharing your struggles and victories. I have written about my son who has been with Jesus for 14 years. It helps me to write the things God shows me about that experience. God bless you and make His face to shine upon you and give you peace.