Repost- "Lord, give me the wisdom to not waste all of this!"
Today is a little surprising... I guess you could say it caught me off guard. Even when I woke up this morning, my first thoughts weren't on the fact that indeed today is a Wednesday, that it is the 23rd of the month, and the end to our Bible Study class that began the day that Maddox was born. Those emotions, the memories, didn't resurface until I stepped through the door of the church. Then, like a huge wave, all of a sudden everything was rushing back and I could barely walk. I thought I was going to be physically sick. I felt totally overwhelmed.
In an attempt to be "normal" I made my way upstairs to find my precious friend, one of the few who could really KNOW what I was feeling. She cried with me, and then suggested I take a little time for myself with God. That was just what I needed.
I made my way back downstairs and outside in the courtyard to have some alone time with God. As I sat there, thinking about the last 13 weeks, I was drawn back to the book of Job. As I read it again, I kept thinking about his overwhelming grief. To not just lose all his possessions, but his 10 children! I am mourning my one infant son that never took a single breath... and he lost 10. Talk about heartbreak and loss.
As I reflected on his words and actions after immediately hearing the news of his family, I felt such a sense of awe. Job stood up, tore his robe, shaved his head, and then fell to the ground in worship. Did you get that? FELL TO THE GROUND IN WORSHIP! When I'm in the midst of these feelings, do I fall to the ground in worship? Then those words of brutal truth... "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised." (Job 1:21)
As I continued, I quickly came upon another piece of this story that I had never given much consideration. As Job was covered in flesh wounds from his feet to his head, his wife, surely seeing her husband in such grief and misery, told him to "Curse God and die." His response... "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?" ... Oh my goodness. There it is again. That reminder that I needed... This is an all or nothing game!! This is the point where you are either in OR you are out! Can we humbly accept both the good and the bad that the Lord allows for us, or are we somehow going to push God so far that He doesn't even seem to be part of the equation? In my mind, that isn't even a question in need of a response.
So here I am, exactly 3 months from when Maddox entered this world and quickly slipped from it, and I am still praying, and now living, the words I wrote. The Monday those words were written I didn't know I would be within 36 hours of meeting my son face to face. Those words, this prayer, "Lord, give me the wisdom to not waste all of this..." is still on my lips today and will be into the foreseeable future. I don't know what God has in store for us, but I trust Him, and I trust in His faithfulness. He hasn't let us down...
Written January 21st, 2008:
Tonight in the quietness of my house, my mind is skipping ahead. My thoughts are drawn to this very time in two weeks when Dusty and I will be checked in to the hospital and awaiting morning to meet our Maddox. I keep wondering how I will be feeling... what my thoughts will be. How anxious will I be? How excited, scared, overwhelmed, at peace will I be? I know this sounds ridiculous, insane probably... but regardless of all the questions, I know that we will be okay. The Lord, the Creator of this very child I think so much about, assures me over and over of that very thing... I will be okay.
Dr. Young just started a series a few weeks ago on the book of James. Honestly, it is one book that I really haven't previously spent a great deal of time in, but one that is full of "uncommon sense" (as Dr. Young says). As he spoke two Sundays ago, with a title called "Suffering Produces Character", all I could think of was this is meant for me. This is meant for right here, right now. And he began...
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4
And then he said something that is written at the top of my Bible, and will hopefully remain etched on my heart forever... "Lord, give me the wisdom not to waste all of this!"
For some reason, we have been called to be Maddox's parents. We have been blessed with this child that doesn't conform to worldly standards of perfection or health. We have been given trials of a sort that I could have never imagined before that diagnosis day. And it would be so easy to ask why. Why us? Why now? Why this child? Yet, through the dark days we've walked, and the darker days to come... that is now my prayer. "Lord, give me the wisdom not to waste all of this!"
I don't want to waste a minute of the joy that Maddox has brought to our lives. Not a minute of the time he will grace this earth. Not a minute of time being completely overwhelmed by intense grief and sadness that I can't process. Not a minute of not "seeing the forest for the trees." Not a minute to be able to stand witness to the incredible blessing of His people surrounding us, loving us, praying for us, and ministering to us. I know it sounds crazy... like I'm setting myself up for failure... like it just won't be possible... but I don't want to waste this opportunity to love, to witness to others, to be a living testimony to God's faithfulness, compassion, grace and healing. He chose us for this, and if I'm going to walk through a valley of this magnitude, then you best believe I will not waste this. I will not walk out unchanged, lacking more than when I entered in. I have a long way to go to spiritual maturity, and yet, the perseverance to get up and continue on this road each day will bring me closer to that goal.
Am I saying that I won't be sad and grieving? NO. Am I saying that I won't shed immeasurable tears? NO. But I do know that the Lord is standing so close that I can feel Him and, like the Footprints poem says, I might not be doing the walking, but He is carrying me. He has held each tear I've cried in His Fatherly hands... and I'm sure the tears up to this point won't surpass the amount that are to come. But He knows my heart. He knows that I love this child, more than myself, and that I have already given his life over to the Giver of Life himself. Not because I don't desperately want him here with me, but because that's also what we did with Deacon when we dedicated him to the Lord. We gave him up. ...It's like what Abraham did with Issac, what he was willing to do in faith... and ultimately what God the Father did with his only Son, Jesus Christ. I can honestly say, without fear or reservation, that I know each life here on earth is not our own... and Maddox is no exception. Our Father has great plans for this child's life, whether that means him not taking one single breath here in this world, or that means 20 fabulous years of blessed time with him ahead. Either way, Heaven is still at the end of the road and that is the best promise yet.
"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." James 1:12