Saturday, December 15, 2012

Brasstown Bald and reflections on suffering

In 2007, I miscarried a baby at 16 weeks.  It was a terribly difficult time for Steve and I.  We heard a healthy strong heart beat early, at 11 weeks via the doppler.  I thought for sure we were out of the woods at that time.  So at the 16 week visit I was so excited to get to hear the babies heart beat again!  The midwife moved that thing all over my belly trying to find it and then concluded the baby was being difficult and we went over to the ultrasound room to see the baby via ultrasound.  She wasn't worried.  I'll never forget looking at that screen and seeing our little baby, perfectly formed, in a prayer position, and the tech saying, "there isn't a heart beat.  I'm so sorry."

I went in to the hospital to deliver the baby and he was a boy.  We had his little body cremated and for the longest time I had his ashes on my desk---pushed to the back.  I hated having the ashes but I didn't know what to do with them.  A dear friend suggested we let them go on the top of Brasstown Bald, Georgia's highest mountain.  This seemed like a good idea so that is what we did on the babies due date, June 30, 2007.  We named him Adin Jedidiah and we are certain we will see him again.  One of the ways God gave us assurance of his care for Adin was through these prints.

I had a really neat nurse assigned to my care after Adin was delivered.  She was a Christian and she encouraged me so much.  She said God was going to be teaching me through Ecclesiastes.  I didn't know how at the time but looking back at the journey I've been on since them, I truly am learning that God "makes all things beautiful in his time", Ecclesiastes 3:11 and there truly is a "season for everything", both to be born and to die.  What seems so short to me, is only the slightest bit shorter than a lifetime, because our lives are but a breath.  We are here today and gone tomorrow.  What matters is eternity!

A fear that followed me after Adin's delivery was that I would have no more babies.  I felt death surrounding me like a shroud.  To give more weight to my fears I was unable to conceive for 6 months after Adin's delivery.  Eventually, it was discovered I had hypothyroidism.  This could have been the cause of Adin's death, we can't be sure of that though.  Adin's life was no longer, nor shorter, than God planned.  I'm convinced "all the days ordained for him were written in God's book before one of them came to be."  And this is the vulnerability we have, being created beings.  Beings who are subject to a King who has all power in his hands.  The question then becomes, is He good?  Can we trust him?

All I have to do is look at the Cross.  Then I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He IS trustworthy.  Jesus Christ was and is the exact representation of the Father God, God Almighty.  When we see Jesus, laying down his life for us, being our substitute, taking our punishment, that is our God.  That is who he is.  And this world is his dominion.  

 "...for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations."  (Psalm 22:28)

"Dominion and awe belong to God; he establishes order in the heights of heaven."  (Job 25:2)

This is us...  "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way;"

And this is Him....  "and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all."  (Isaiah 53:6)  "He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth..."  (Isaiah 53:7)

Yes, I can trust him.  So can you.  For so long I lived in fear of painful circumstances coming into my life.  Steve dying, one of my children dying, more miscarriages, persecution, tornadoes hitting our house, someone breaking in, you name it, I've feared it.  I think I've come to accept that, yes, God may have some of these difficulties in store for me and my family, maybe some that I've not thought of.  In fact, I'm pretty sure he does.  But, I don't know what or when, so why worry about my own speculations?  He won't give me the grace or the courage to go through the trials he has  planned ahead of time, but he will give it at the time it's needed.  It's having gone through difficulties that I can look back and see that He does indeed, carry you through.

"The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms."  Deuteronomy 33:27

We went back to Brasstown bald in late October.  Five years and 2 more sons later!  God is good and he is faithful!

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