Friday, July 27, 2012

Divergent paths

Two roads diverged . . .

Lately it feels like my life has two roads--one is the road with a (surprise!) fourth child and all that entails; the other is a road with three children, but with the fourth one mysteriously and suddenly absent.

Sometimes I lie in bed at night pondering each road. I should be halfway through my pregnancy now, wearing maternity clothes, putting on weight and changing shape, visiting my OB monthly, and we should have had the ultrasound to tell us if it's a boy or girl. I should be rearranging the house, painting a bedroom, planning the next few months and asking for help with Ben when the baby comes. I should be buying newborn and size 1 diapers, sorting through Ben's clothes (or asking my friends for girls' clothes), mulling over names and their meanings.

But the road took a sharp turn on April 16 when my baby began his own journey--a new life in heaven with God. The road we'd been on came to a T--the kind of stop where you have to choose which way you'll take next.

Yesterday, the girls were watching the Veggie Tales movie, "It's a Meaningful Life," which is based on the old classic, "It's a Wonderful Life." In it, a train engineer takes the main character, Stewart, to a place where the tracks diverge. He is able to see the differences between what his life is like now and what it would have been like if he'd just caught the football at the final game in high school. On this alternate route, he doesn't marry his high school sweetheart and she's still single. His twins have never been born because he didn't get married. The girl he and his wife adopted is still in the orphanage. The boys from the current football team don't have a mentor and are acting in unkind ways. Stewart realizes through the alternate look at his life that the one event that he thought would have made his life so much better actually would have made life worse for him and for so many others. His life now is full of love from his wife, twins, and adopted daughter. He's a mentor to those boys on the football team. He may be a regular guy, but he's so blessed.

God reminded me through the movie that He has perfect plans for each of us--including me. His plans are so much bigger than I realize, are farther-reaching than I will ever know. And His plans, His route is what is best for me and for others in my life. 

After our miscarriage, God showed me how He had been preparing me for that moment through Bible studies in which I got to know Him and His character better, and through a previous miscarriage experience. Afterwards, He was able to teach me so much about Himself and His sovereignty. He used this awful event in my life to mature and grow me in my faith in incredible ways. It is possible that hurting me in this way made me more open to the lessons He was ready to teach me.

I'm so thankful for the brief time I had with my baby. I wish desperately, at times, that he were here with me, growing in my body. But since I know where he is--in heaven with God as his Father and in a body that will never know pain or sin or suffering--I would never wish my baby away from that life. I am joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer (Rom. 12:12). And all this because I know God has great plans for me (Jer. 29:11). The paths may have diverged, but the path I'm on now has taken me straight to God's heart so I can know Him better. There's no better path for me--or for you.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The first thing I will do in heaven

For many years, I was just sure of the first thing I would do when I got to heaven: I'd find Eve and deck her, right on the kisser! She is certainly to blame for the pains of childbirth (and the recovery) as well as being the second in a long line of sinners. Yes, her hubby was responsible for not leading her, but she was the first gullible female in the world. (Did you know that if you spell "Eve" backwards, it says "Sin"?  Haha!)

Anyway, since I've been reflecting on heaven so much these past couple of months, I know now that is exactly the opposite of what I will likely do when I reach heaven.  I reflected on all I know about heaven, about God, about worship, about the glory and majesty and holiness that will be all-encompassing when I meet Jesus face to face. I now believe that I will not look for my heaven-born children, my grandparents, my friends who have gone on before me, . . . but I will be so busy worshiping and kissing the feet of Jesus, I won't be able to see a single thing else, at least not for the first thousand years or so.

I read this in Isaiah 6:1-7
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:  “Holy, holy , holy is the Lord Almighty;  the whole earth is full of his glory.”  4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” 6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

Can you see His train filling the room, hear the glorious song the seraphs sing, feel the majesty of the moment, and then feel the sting of sin in your heart?  When we come into contact with holiness, we immediately realize the depth of our sinfulness and as believers, we want to do something about it. We know we desperately need cleansing, forgiveness. And God is so gracious to grant our request. He touches our lips with hot coals, cleanses us from all unrighteousness (I Jn 1:9), seals us with the Holy Spirit.  Oh, thank You, Lord, for allowing me to focus on what is the best thing about heaven--You! I'm so grateful my babies are there with You and I will be so thrilled to meet them for the first time; but You are the true, the single reason to want to go to heaven. You are the main event. You desire to be WITH us (Emmanuel), and we will then be WITH You when we arrive in heaven. The coolest part, in my mind, is that we will see You face to face and know you fully as we are fully known.