Sunday, December 15, 2013

By My Wounds

I haven't really struggled with the "why" of Rachel.  In the early days, I asked a few questions of the doctors, assuming they would know why she had anencephaly.  I wanted to know for much of the same reason I believe others consistently inquire about the 'why' of tragedy....

To avoid it in the future.

After the initial shock of her diagnosis, I became surprisingly at peace with the not knowing.  I've never in my life ever been - or since been - so content with not knowing something.

When I tell people about Rachel, they will without fail always ask me why it happened.  In that moment, I almost always feel like I am watching the conversation from above - and I see myself shake my head and watch as they respond with a look of pity.

As if knowing why would change a thing....

This morning, church was cancelled because of snow.  I was working in the kitchen when a song came on Pandora...  I turned it up and as I listened to the words, I started to cry as God whispered to my heart the 'why'.

I know I've mentioned it before, but I'm not sure anyone really understands the depth of it.

I was completely against God until I was 24 years old.  I knew NOTHING of Jesus at all, unless you count using His name as a cuss word, which was part of my every day language.  When God first got a hold of my heart, I sat in church week after week and bawled through every sermon.  I didn't even know why I was there, I had only been to church a handful of times in my entire life. The first 3 years I went to a woman's retreat, I sobbed my way through the entire thing.  Was it because I was depressed? No, it was just the opposite.  I had never felt the unconditional love I was receiving and the one thing I continually said through those tears was "I'm not worthy of this." 

Now, I fully understand that if you have not been saved by Jesus, that last line just rubbed you wrong.  You are probably wanting to tell me all the reasons why I am worthy of love.  You probably want to give some line about having self esteem or knowing I deserve good things.  Believe me, I used to think that way too, but let me say it again...  I'm not worthy of His love.  Trust me on this one.

That's what makes it so amazing.  A Holy and Righteous God who knows EVERYTHING I have ever done/still do.  Every deed, every thought, every sin... and He loves me anyway....  I do believe that for me, knowing exactly how 'bad' I was and the dark and shameful life I lived makes this even harder to believe.  But the truth is that, to God, every sin equals death if you do not believe in Jesus' sacrifice for you on the cross. 

By the time I got pregnant with Rachel, I had been a Christian for about 6-7 years.  I had gotten married, had 2 more beautiful children and made it through a miscarriage.  We were planted in our church and I had a group of girls that I considered my friends for the first time ever in my life. I stayed home with the kids, homeschooled Des, baked and made my own wet wipes and used cloth diapers and did all that domestic stuff I always wanted to do.  I loved my life and was proud of it. And I guess maybe what happened is I forgot about where I came from... I'm not sure.  But what I know is that even though I still read my Bible every day and even though I was striving to live a 'good Christian life'... I was dry.  I was doing all the 'right' things, but not truly living for God.  And if I'm really honest, pride was taking root in my heart and I thought I needed God less and less.  I planned my life out and expected Him to follow the blue print. 

Rachel's diagnosis was not on it.

Yet in those moments, when I heard the worst news of my entire life, He was there.  He walked us out of the ultrasound room and up to the doctors office and after we heard she would die, He peeled me up out of a puddle of tears and He carried me through until I could walk again.  He didn't remind me that I had my own blue print and tell me to fend for myself.... which leads me to believe something about the closeness of God...  it wasn't Him that moved closer. 

It was me.

So this morning, as I listened to the words of this song, it hit me like a ton of bricks... 

He used her to bring me back to Him.  That's the "why".  That's why the doctors don't have it.  Because its much bigger than medical text books.  I always knew her life had purpose.  I always knew it has impacted thousands and grew God's Kingdom.  I always knew that I was revived in my walk with the Lord though my heartache.  But I guess I have kind of always thought that everyone else that has been touched by her life were the beneficiaries.  My 'benefits' always seemed like a blessing I got along the way for being obedient to God's call on my life with Rachel's life... but not something I viewed as part of the why. 

I'm not suggesting that God punished me with Rachel's death.  I believe that she had anencephaly and died as a result of sin in this world, not because God was teaching me a lesson so that I won't stray from Him.  But I've found great comfort in knowing that God says He uses all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28 - that was on our wedding favors...)  and I know that Rachel and her death have been used by God for my good and His glory - and His great eternal purposes. 

I know it sounds crazy to say that I needed God more before Rachel than after her... but what should it benefit me if I gain the whole world, but forfeit my soul?  I was a lost sheep... His lost sheep...even though I appeared as though I was with the flock... and he came after me.  He pursued me with such determination and love.  He let me experience on a much smaller scale, what it means to love unconditionally.  I love Rachel with all her 'imperfectness' more than I knew was possible... and it's just a small picture of how God loves me in all my imperfectness as His daughter.  He takes my diagnosis of being "incompatible with life in heaven" and he says My love is too big for that to be the end of your story.  He says I love you no matter what.  He says I'll do anything to bring you home.  He says you are my daughter and I will carry you to Jesus. And as He helped me to be and do all of those things for my daughter, I came to know Him much more intimately than ever before.

And it hurt.  It still does.  But I'm back.  I'm back to total reliance on Him.  My pride has been stomped on and I've been humbled.  My trust in Him deeper than ever before.  My surrender real.  My faith proven genuine.

The last 1 1/2 minutes of this song brought me to a very sweet place of worship over a cup of coffee this morning.... tears flowing out my closed eyes...

What restores our faith in God?
What reveals the Father's love?
What can lead the wayward home?
What can melt a heart of stone?

And there it was.... He led me to the cross.  I'm not sure it would have happened without my heart being so wounded that I couldn't make it through on my own.  I had nowhere else to go.  Nothing else to rest on.  He used my girl to bring me to my knees.  As I carried that cross, He restored my faith... He revealed His love... He led me home... He broke through the hard shell I had around my heart....and rescued me from a lukewarm Christian life.  By my wounds I surrendered.  By my wounds I loved again, trusted Him again.  By my wounds I clung to Him like never before.  I clung to the Power of the Cross... the Truth that I will see Rachel again...because of His wounds... and how He used mine. 
Thank You for the Cross, Jesus.....

"Mighty Is The Power Of The Cross"
Chris Tomlin
What can take a dying man and raise him up to life again?
What can heal a wounded soul?
What can make us white as snow?
What can fill the emptiness?
What can mend our brokenness?

Mighty, awesome, wonderful
Is the holy cross
Where the Lamb laid down His life
To lift us from the fall
Mighty is the power of the cross

What restores our faith in God?
What reveals the Father's love?
What can lead the wayward home?
What can melt a heart of stone?
What can free the guilty ones
What can save and overcome?


It's a miracle to me [2x]
And It's still a mystery [2x]
It's a miracle to me
The power of God
For those who believe

Mighty, awesome, wonderful
Is the holy cross
Where the Lamb laid down His life
To lift us from the fall
Mighty is .......
Mighty is.......
Mighty is the power of the cross

Thank You for the cross [2x]
Love the cross [2x]
So Powerful...... ohhhhh yeahhh
What can take a dying man?
And raise him up to life again?

Worship You Jesus
By your wounds we are healed
By your wounds we are saved
Mighty is the power of the cross [2x]
Thank You Jesus for the Holy cross

Here's the video... listen to this when you have time, it's an amazing song.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We so appreciate your words of encouragement!
Thank you! ♥ The Aubes