Dear Brave One, (from Someone Who Loves You Series)

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Dear Brave One,

It’s so hard to watch you hurt as you struggle to grow. Your face all red and grimacing reveals the battle going on inside you. Your body is fighting to get rid of the things that don’t belong in there. Be strong, Little One, and let them go. I know it hurts sometimes but you don’t need them.  And you will feel so much better once they are gone. Can you feel my hand on your back, supporting and encouraging you? Probably not, but that’s OK. I’m here whether you know it or not. I’m not going anywhere.

Always,

Someone who loves you

 

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

These letters have double meaning. On the surface they are letters I’m writing to my new granddaughter. But deeper down I hear God telling us the same things.  As you reread them, replace the greeting with your own name, and the closure with God’s name – and get to know the great love God has for you!

Plans:  Do I Believe… or Not?

I had planned to be there when my daughter had her first baby. Both my mother and my mother-in-law had been there when my babies were born. And I wanted to do the same for my daughter.

But I was 500 miles away when I got the call. “Mom, don’t panic, but they want to take the baby now…”

I knew my daughter had struggled with high blood pressure throughout her pregnancy, and that they were planning for an early birth. But that was a month away! Surely the doctor could wait twelve hours before inducing, giving me time to drive over there.

But before I finished  packing, a picture of my newborn granddaughter popped up on Facebook. Proud daddy and adorable AJ. An awesome shot of the two of them together moments after the birth.

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I knew I should be happy. I knew I should be thankful for both mom and baby doing well.

But all I could feel was disappointment. Which quickly turned to bitterness as I added this event to so many others in which I didn’t get my way. Why couldn’t I be there with them at this incredible time? Just one more example of the bad luck that followed me my whole life? Another dream that was not allowed to come true?

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But was it luck? Did God really have control over every detail of my life? If He was in control, then it wasn’t luck, it was His plan.

Grieving over my broken dream, I wailed out at Him: “Why didn’t you want me there?” He let me cry, but He didn’t answer me as I struggled with questions that rose up from deep within. Why was I denied what so many other grandparents got to have? Didn’t God love me as much as He loved them? Was I inferior to other people, as life had convinced me I was since I was little? Always second class, never first? Never worth enough for God to bother with fulfilling my dreams? Always dealing with second best answers?

I knew God loved me regardless of what I felt at this moment. I tried to choose to believe His word over my feelings. “God, I don’t understand this. But I know You are good and that You love me.”

I wish I could say that peace flooded me or that light filled me or some other wonderful result of my prayer. But nothing changed. I still hurt. I was still 500 miles away. And I still had questions.

An hour of packing turned into three, and an eight hour drive turned into twelve. I couldn’t figure out how getting to my daughter took an extra six hours. There had been no incidents that would account for that much delay. Where had the time gone? Was it more bad luck – or God’s plan?

I didn’t want to get into that again, so I ignored the pain, put on a happy face, and went up to the third floor of the hospital. At least I would be able to spend time watching my grandbaby through the nursery window.

But that was not to be either. Baby AJ, being six weeks premature, was in a special ward where visitation was very limited. I wouldn’t be allowed in there without my daughter or son-in-law, and then only for a very short time.

Eventually, I did make it to my daughter’s room, And meet my new granddaughter. And watch with pride the strength of my daughter and son-in-law as they dealt with the curve ball God had also thrown at them. They hadn’t planned on such an early birth either. In fact, their curve ball was much larger than mine. My daughter could hear the other full term healthy babies as they passed in the hall on their way to visit their moms while she was denied her own baby due to medical concerns. Her husband also had to deal with the stress of closing on their new house, which should have happened months ago but kept getting delayed, and packing/moving/unpacking pretty much by himself. Were they questioning God’s love for them also? Were they also feeling inferior to others who’s plans always seem to work out?

“Count your blessings.” “Focus on the good, not the bad.” I can hear people saying as they read my words. I know it’s good advice. So many years I have walked with Him, learning of His love and faithfulness. Time after time I have seen Him intervene in my life in one form or another. Yet evidently this whole experience has revealed that I still have deep issues that need healing.

I know that God is in this. My husband and I were both able to leave at a moment’s notice and drive through the night without an accident despite how sleepy we became. And I am able to stay here with my daughter indefinitely, helping with the move, and later with the baby. Hearing my daughter’s story, it’s amazing how many things “just happened” to happen at just the right moment from the time her body went into crisis and continuing even as I type this.

The bottom line? None of us got what we wanted. God had a different plan. Now we have to decide whether or not we truly believe God has full control over our lives like we profess, and whether His plans were made with our best interest in mind. Are we going to believe our circumstances – or – are we going to believe God’s Word?

The struggle is real.

Wrestling with God (continued from You Want to be a What?)

IMG_20180420_033725515(If you haven’t read  You Want to Be a What?, you may want to read that first to provide the context for this dialogue.)

God, we need to talk.

I’m listening.

Did You send my friend over here today on purpose?

Maybe.

Is she right? That I need to release him to You before You can work in our lives?

Hmmm…

Does that mean You’re planning something for both of us? Or is this just for him?

What do you mean?

If you take him to serve You, You have a plan for him.

Of course.

Then what about me? I’m involved too.

Yes, you are.

I need You as much as he does.

Yes, you do.

I want Your perfect will for me as much as he does for him.

That’s nice to hear. But what are you really saying?

I don’t want to be left behind.

Ah.

And I’m upset. You told me it was OK to go out with him. To talk to him. To let my feelings grow.

Yes, I remember that.

So why? Why tell me that just to take him from me?

(silence)

Did you plan this to show me I can love again? If so, You could have shown me that when You gave me someone to keep.

(silence)

Did you call him away to show me how much I love him? If so, You could have let me discover that on my own.

(silence)

If this is to show him something, then that’s even worse because that’s using me. Downgrading me, like I’m not important. You love me and promised to take care of me. You can’t just use me like that.

(silence)

If You’re doing this to push him in a different direction, then I want some definite guidance, too.

(silence)

If You’re going to split us up, then I want a reason. It makes no sense to put us together, encourage us grow close, just to separate us. That’s mean, and You’re not mean so I can’t believe that’s what You are doing.

Whew. I was worried there for a minute.

Why are You doing this?

Trust

Trust?

Do you trust Me? You’ve been saying you do. Do you really?

(pause)

Well?

I’m thinking about it.

I’ll give you a moment.

Trust is hard but I believe You love us and want what’s best for us. So yes, I trust You.

Here’s another question: Do you really want My perfect will?

Definitely. You’ve already shown me many times that Your will is better than mine.

One more question. Will you really give Me everything?

I’ve already given You everything.

Everything?

OK, not everything. Not him. You want him? He’s Yours.

Good.

Wait! Don’t take him just because I’m giving him to You.

(laughter)

Lord, here’s the bottom line. I will accept whatever You want for me – for us – with one condition: that I know it’s Your will. I don’t have to have a reason. I just need to know that it’s Your will and not our misguided decisions.

Are you finished? Is it My turn to talk?

Yes, Lord.

I love you and want what’s best for you, just as I love him and want what’s best for him. Trust Me. Keep going out with him. He’s OK. It’s OK. You’re in my will.

Soooo… do You want him to be a priest?

No.

Then what in the world is this all about? What do You want me to do?

Continue what you are doing. Listen to Me. Relax. I know what’s going on and I’m in control. I will take care of you. I’m on your side. Will you trust Me?

to be continued