Every Good Thing

My tired, end-of-the-day eyes squinted painfully as I read
the news.  My sweet friend had miscarried
at 14 weeks, and was pleading for prayer covering over email, as,
understandably, she didn’t have the emotional energy to rehash the story over
and over again with her closest family and friends.
A flood of emotion rushed over me as I grappled with this
fresh reality: shock. Disbelief. Raw grief at the thought of what this
gut-wrenching loss must be doing to my friend’s heart. Bitter disappointment.
More disbelief—I was feeling the blow at a whole different level, beyond the
initial shock and sadness. I couldn’t help feeling (however pretentiously) as
if I had helped to pray that sweet soul into her womb, after fasting and months
of petitioning, for a precious baby girl,
nonetheless, which the Lord had so specifically, so graciously made a
reality…and we had all rejoiced.
A frail human through and through, my faith reeled in this
moment. Hadn’t we fasted as a community—as
a women’s ministry, on my friend’s behalf and a few others, pleading with the
great Giver of Life to open their wombs?
Yes, I felt the
Lord answer. And I realized in that moment, or re-realized, as it were, that
God had answered those prayers. He
had been faithful to give life…and He had taken it away. But He had given life. And for that we had
celebrated! Nothing causes a believer’s heart to swell with sheer joy like an
answered prayer, as the heavens open, raining down blessings, and we sing His
praises, unfettered! And you still
I felt Him nudge. “The
Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”
Job 1:21 (NIV). How can I possibly
encourage my brokenhearted friend to praise You, Lord? Even
I don’t want to praise You right now, I
Then, as if in agreement, He knowingly took my hand, and
brought me one step further—into the catacombs of myself, to a perpetually raw,
painful place, which was my own
aching womb. It had been a tough journey, from about 18 months and on, with my own
baby girl: my first-born’s strong will, her propensity for destructive drama
within our home, and her bafflingly different makeup from my own had rocked my
world, broken me repeatedly, and drawn me to my knees daily since the day she
had uttered her first adamant “NO!!!!!”
He convicted me that I had largely forgotten, in the midst
of all the trouble, all the screaming (from both sides of the table), all the
painful discipline, all the feelings of failure as a mother, all the years of
wondering, Why, God? to praise His
name for the gift that she is. The good and perfect gift that she is, from
above. The knife plunged and twisted right then–into my already-aching heart–breaking
it to pieces. Oh, Lord! I repented,
sobbing, and felt love (afresh) in my heart for my little girl, bursting from
every seam, just like it did every night, when I kissed her sleeping head; the
troubles of the day dissipating in a gracious glimmer of heavenly perspective.

Our mother-daughter relationship was not all that it could
be in Christ, and I knew it. I had grown weary over the years, and joyless, and
cold, when it came to connecting with my daughter’s soul–and I could see in her
face that it destroyed her. And that, in turn, destroyed me. True, I asked for
the Lord’s help in dealing with her cantankerousness almost daily, but I had
neglected to truly thank Him for her,
just the way He had made her, so starkly, beautifully different from myself.
A few weeks after this raw encounter with my Creator, my
little girl (who is not so little anymore—growing wildly and weed-like, bigger
everyday, as my heart swells full and painful with the bitter-sweetness of it
all) came down with a stomach bug, forcing us to slow down, skip church and do
the couch thing. As I watched her beautiful face peacefully sleeping, my heart
wept–for the lost time spent over the years in frustration, with tears and
shouting and screwed up, miserable countenances. And yet I was overcome in
that moment by the Lord’s mercy and the hope He extends to us—“Because of the
Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are
new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)

Photo by Abby Hart www.abbyhartphoto.com

Thank You, Lord, that
it is never too late to begin truly living in Your abundance, in gratitude for
all that You have so graciously given us. Thank You for every good and perfect
gift, even when it takes us years sometimes to realize them for all they are. Help
us intentionally live in a state of thankfulness for Your good gifts.
Come to the River…
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from
the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like the shifting
shadows.”  James 1:17 (NIV)
“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.” Psalm 40:3 (NIV)
What good and perfect gift have you neglected to thank God
for? How can you begin afresh today to do so?

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