At the request of a few others, I thought I’d post what I shared with my local Community Bible Study (CBS) chapter recently. CBS is an international ministry that began 40 years ago in the Washington, D.C. area. Click any of the links to find out more. While I’m used to speaking in front of groups of children, adults and peers are a different story! I am happy to say it wasn’t as scary as I thought. When you are passionate about something or have a message to share, it seems that nerves subside and the Lord gives you the peace, strength, and stamina to speak. Although I now fully know what the expression “knees knocking” feels like.
You may be familiar with the cleaning product OxiClean. You can probably quote the commercial: how it gets out set-in stains, even mustard! or how it’s “not like those other imitators.” Several months ago my little guy latched on to this product after seeing a commercial during a home improvement show. He begged to try it, quoting its alleged wondrous stain fighting super powers.
So we bought it. We tried it.
Then my son literally jumped up and down when his white soccer shirt became white as snow after a practice in the rain and mud. You can imagine…
“It really works, Mom!”
That is what I want to share today, how I’ve seen God work in mighty ways this year. I don’t want to reduce our Lord to a cleaning product — but take it as an analogy, an illustration that of how without the tests in our lives we would not have the testimony. Well, we still would but it’s in the rubbing, the fire, the breaking that perhaps we see Him most clearly.
The test, the trial that I’ve been walking is infertility and miscarriage. Yes, we have our son; I call him my sandwich: the meat — the peanut butter (and jelly because he’s so sweet) — between the slices of bread, the years of trying and loss. In October, we finished a bunch of testing and were given a 1-2% chance of conceiving on our own. We told our families and made peace with that. We linked our hands in God’s sovereign hand.
A couple of months later we were shocked and elated to find out we were in fact, pregnant — in the ER, of all places and while my husband was out of town in New York City for his intensive seminary class. They found a small infection and I was closely monitored in the weeks that followed. Everything looked great, the “numbers were good,” then fast forward to February…
We found out that once again, the Lord had given and taken away.
What I find so incredibly interesting looking back on all of this is how it’s possible to experience God’s goodness, peace, and grace smack dab in the middle of sorrow. I’ve shared a little bit about this on my blog — I call them Glimpses of Grace. Basically, the ways God has comforted and pursued my heart throughout this journey. A few of these glimpses are:
- seeing our baby 4 times on ultrasound in 2 months
- laughing in the hospital
- warm blankets
- forehead kisses from my husband
- freedom from bitterness toward women who seem to have an easier time getting pregnant
And these are just a handful of the many ways God continues to surprise me with his goodness in times of trial.
I’d like to close with a quote by Tim Keller, one one of my favorite authors. This is from his book, Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering:
The grief and sorrow drive you more into God. It is just as when it gets colder outside, the temperature kicks the furnace higher through the thermostat. Similarly, the sorrow and the grief drive you into God and show you the resources you never had. Yes, feel the grief. There is a tendency for us to say, ‘I am afraid of the grief, I am afraid of the sorrow. I don’t want to feel that way. I want to rejoice in the Lord.’ But look at Jesus He was perfect, right? And yet he goes around crying all the time. He is always weeping, a man of sorrows. Do you know why? Because he is perfect. Because when you are not all absorbed in yourself, you can feel the sadness of the world. And therefore, what you actually have is that the joy of the Lord happens inside of sorrow. It doesn’t come after the sorrow. It doesn’t come after the uncontrollable weeping. The weeping drives you into the joy, it enhances the joy, and then the joy enables you to actually feel your grief without it sinking you” (253).
This is not a story about a cleaning product, my blog, or me — but about the One, the reason we are all here today: how He has worked, is working, and continuing to work! I, you, are the vessels, and I am incredibly grateful to be able to share the story He has given me with you all and other women.
I invite you to look for the glimpses of grace in your own life: not just the nice things or serendipitous coincidences but true marks of His kindness, goodness, and love in whatever you are going through.
God is definitely not “like those other guys” as the OxiClean commercial goes…He is so much more.
Thank you to our teaching director, Lisa. She has shared so openly and vulnerably about her experience with miscarriage and loss. She came over and brought flowers and a listening ear.