You just never know what tomorrow brings.Â Just a couple of weeks ago I brought little Esther to see my Uncle Vern and Aunt Marylin.Â I had stayed countless nights sleeping in their guest bedroom while Esther was in the special care nursery.Â Now he's dying.
17 years ago, I was 2 months pregnant with our 4th child.Â Little did I know that in just 2 short months I would give birth to Johanna Marie at 19 1/2 weeks gestation.Â She weighed 7 oz. Three days later I watch her being lowered into her grave.Â Never having breathed a breath.
Nearly 12 years ago, my nephew, James, took his own life.Â I loved him.Â He was a troubled kid, but he was a loving person - always ready with a hug for his "favorite aunt"Â I remember changing his diaper - a cloth diaper even!
Just over 7 years ago, I got to see my dear niece, Leah, and her two precious children, at our annual family reunion and she looked great...then just 7 months later attend her funeral and see her new baby for the second and last time (his father won't allow our family to see him), and then her daughter, who I coached into this world, would be moved out of state to live with her father.Â I had no idea that on that day in August, it would be the last time I ever saw Leah alive.Â Just 25 years old.Â Gone...hit and run by a drunk driver....her baby not even a year old...
Just over two years ago my father passed away, alone, in the hospital, before any of us could say goodbye. Long illness, but gone so quickly...
My Uncle Vern is now dying.Â I just got word today that he suffered a massive stroke yesterday and they removed life support late this afternoon.
I had no idea on September 19 that my life would be turned upside down with the birth of our 11th blessing...I had no idea that when Esther met her great uncle, that it would be the last time we saw him alive.
And now I sit here facing an uncertain future for my little baby.Â While the death rate for open heart surgery is very small with today's technology, it is still there.Â There is no guarantee that Esther will survive the surgery.
22 years ago last July, I gave birth to our first son, Jeremy.Â Now as our newest blessing is awaiting open heart surgery, my heart is also trying to deal with Jeremy being deployed to Iraq in March.Â But I can't go there yet....that is in the future and is in God's hands.Â If I take on tomorrow's problems, I'm on my own - God will only give me the grace for today's problems, and I've got a lot of them as it is.Â When the time comes, God will give me the grace to stand under the load of my first born son being in a foreign land and in harm's way.
How can I make sense of these things.Â How can my heart take this...how can my mind understand...
The only way I can make my way through this is by God's grace.Â And claiming the promises I find in His word:
I've been reading Psalm 34 and I find comfort..vs 17- 19 - "The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.Â The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.Â Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all."
And when Esther was born, someone was praying for me using Psalm 42 vs 11 "Why are you cast down, O my soul?Â And why are you disquieted within me?Â HOPE IN GOD; For I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God"
13Â For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my motherâ€™s womb.
14Â I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15Â My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
16Â Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
We don't know the number of our days, or the days of our loved ones.Â God gives us loved ones, but they are still His.Â Our children are given to us to raise up for His glory, and the number of their days have been set by His loving hand.
It comes down to trust.Â Do I trust God.Â Does He really do what He says He will do?Â Do I believe that "all things work together for my good"?Â I have to...I can't imagine going through this life without the knowing that I have a loving heavenly Father who does all things well.Â Even things that just don't make sense and are heart-wrenchingly painful.Â We can't see the future, we can't see what God is doing in other's lives as they see us cling to God through our trials.
Does this trust come naturally? No. Naturally my flesh cries out "it's too much...I'm going to lose it..."Â Then I cry out to God and He hears me.Â Sometimes all I can do is cry out "oh God.......oh God"Â and I know He understands my heart.
Once when I was greiving over the loss of our baby, Joahanna, I was really feeling like I was at the end of me.Â I just couldn't even get off the floor.Â I was praying on my knees, leaning against our couch.Â I just couldn't even pray, just cry.Â Then. in my mind. I suddenly got a picture of myself, leaning against the couch,Â except that someone was behind me and surrounding me with His arms.Â I knew then that God was showing me that I was not alone, that He was right beside me, comforting me and holding me as I went through this grief.
I know He's here now with me.Â He urged someone all the way in California to call me tonight, just when I needed to talk.Â Jill had no idea what I was grieving over my Uncle, and was just calling for an update on Esther.Â But God knew.Â He knew I needed to talk with someone, but at 10 pm, I'm don't feel comfortable calling people, you know?Â Jill really helped me with comforting words, and encouraging me with scripture.Â I loved the verse she reminded me of in Psalm 116 - vs 15 - "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints".
All those loved ones I listed above are now with the Lord.Â My Uncle is saved by the blood of my Savior, Jesus Christ.Â And I know without a shadow of a doubt, that my Uncle will be in the presence of His precious Lord and Savior soon, if he isn't there already.Â That is my comfort.Â Death is only the beginning for those who have found salvation through Christ.Â Death is only a temporary separation, and I will see them all again someday.
So, why do I cry if I know that they are in aÂ far better place?Â Because I love them.Â I miss them.Â They were all a big part of my life.Â They all made me who I am today.Â God used them in my life.Â They are precious to me.
Can I give Esther back to God, if that is His design for her life?Â Not now, God hasn't require that of me yet.Â But I know that if that is His plan, that I will be able to "walk through the valley of the shadow of death, for Thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me"Â I will not go there alone, God will be holding me as He did so long ago, and by His grace, I will bring glory to Him.
Yet I Will Praise.