I’m an organizer. My administrative skill set is a big part of who I am. So, spontaneity is not my strong suit. My husband has joked that I need to plan to be spontaneous. When you’re married and have kids, doing things “on the fly” elbows its way into your life, whether you want it or not. So, when our single daughter came to us with the news that she was expecting a child, I had a decision to make. With my mind reeling in that moment, would I trust the grounding truth that God could work it out for good?
Well, the “could He” question is a bit ridiculous. In my head I know the doctrine of God’s omnipotence. He can do anything. But my heart often feels conflicted. My feelings tend to lean upon their own understanding. So in situations like these, that act as a match and light the bonfire of my emotions ablaze, I have to step back and gain perspective. I needed to ask God, as David so often did, to instruct my heart.
This life requires so much more prayer and walking in the Spirit than we ever imagine we need…until we round a bend and meet a challenge face to face. Initial response is so important. It was clear to me that our daughter felt the weight of shame and isolation that bearing this heavy news was pressing upon her. To “lose it” helps no one. And honestly, to “lose it” is more about me anyway. It’s about hurt, disappointment, the consciousness of the opinion of others, the dashing of our Perfect Parent hopes. I’m grateful that God calmed and kept my heart so that what issued out was grace. That’s not something you can scrape together in 30 seconds…it comes from trying to weave His truth into the fabric of who you are. I’ve always admired women whose words were full of God’s Word. I have asked God to help me do that for years. Long years. Hard years full of hard things I’d never have chosen, but served to make me lean hard on Him and recognize His voice. I’ve still got a far piece to go on that journey. Erin needed a safe place for her heart, and I’m so grateful I could provide that.
For Erin, this has been a sort of epiphany … an “intuitive grasp of reality through something (such as an event) usually simple and striking.” It brought into focus for her the struggles of her heart through the past several years, and turned it back toward her Savior. You can read her “announcement” here.
I confess, in those early days after the news was brought to light, I struggled. Mostly in mourning for the life I’d imagined for our daughter. The good life that I now imagined to have been derailed. I couldn’t stop the tears as we sat in the waiting room of the crisis pregnancy center, and she filled out the paperwork. I’d become forgetful of how God works and short-sighted regarding His purposes. But not long after, God began to do a work in my heart.
Who of us would live the good life God has for us, the abundant, growing, leaning, trusting, victorious life He wants for us…without trials? We think we know what Job meant, when he stated in confidence that he would “come forth as gold” after his life was rocked to the core and he lost pretty much everything on this horizontal plain but the air in his lungs. We don’t know, until we know. Hindsight is 20/20, they say. The “good” in Romans 8:28,29 linked to above is to be conformed, molded, and changed into the image of the Lord Jesus. To become more like Him. That “good” is definitely not out of Erin’s reach. Not at all. He is a God of hope and healing. As a matter of fact, realizing how empty we are without Him makes us desire it more.
In our first discussion, I told Erin I was so thankful that she’d made the first right choice: to keep the child. Life is precious. I assured her that, no matter how life comes to be, it is God who allows a heartbeat–and therefore I was sure He had a purpose. At that point, it was hard to really read what else was going on in her heart and mind. She told me days later that she wanted to make a public announcement so that everyone (because especially in these situations, everyone will hear eventually) would know the whole story. I told her she needed to take it slow, pray over her words and choose them carefully…because she’d get one opportunity to put it “out there” and we wanted God to use it for good. I’ve done much the same thing for the post you are now reading. Erin crafted a draft and sent it to me. I was so proud of her courage and how well she articulated her feelings and wove them together with relevant scriptural truth. We received so many responses, assuring us of love and prayers and support. I also received numerous private messages from friends who said they were so grateful we allowed them into this story. If the past several years have taught me anything, it’s that trials come into our lives for the sake of others who are looking on, as well as for what God wants to accomplish in us personally. We need to ask Him for the strength and bravery to embrace that and not hide away in a corner. Satan wishes to paralyze us. God wishes to empower us. So many are hoping for someone to show them how to live victoriously and grace-fully.
So now, I try to offer hope on this new road while I’m simultaneously trying to figure out what it’s supposed to look like from day to day. This kind of multitasking is on a whole new level for me; but I know that, with her heart leaning upon the Lord, and with His help, Erin will be a wonderful mommy. She’s always had lots of love in her heart for children. This innocent little life is to be cherished.
I sent Erin an early “nesting” Mother’s Day gift that I had custom-made for her …something to remind her that she’s not alone, and although it may be a challenging road, it can still be a very sweet one.
You can know this too. If you are feeling paralyzed in a hard place, please message me so I can pray for you.