Vacation was good! The first week we spent at Blue Lake in Eastern Washington, where my family has vacationed every summer since I was little. Our time was full of inner-tubing behind my parents’ boat, fishing, campfires, reading, floating on floaties in the lake, and much laughter. Then we flew out to Chicago, where we attended the most fantastic wedding and reception I’ve ever been to – thanks for such a great party, Jessica (well, Uncle John and Aunt Kathy, really)! We also had a wonderful time visiting with family, and even spent a day at Six Flags!
It really was great…but I think I expected it to be an escape…an escape from the heartache. I realized quickly that it’s not possible…this burden/responsibility is heavy and thoroughly exhausting to carry. There is no escape and little reprieve these days. I feel very weighed-down. And right now, life is full of what I’ve heard termed as ‘secondary losses.’ Every time I see a baby boy or a toddler, I wonder what Zachary would have looked like, if he would have liked trains or sports, if he would have carried a blanket around or a stuffed animal, how big he would have been…it’s the loss of a big dream. Last week I didn’t even know how to answer people when they asked me if Shaun and I have children yet.
I keep praying Psalm 139:23-24 – “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting,” and asking the Lord to show me areas in my life that He wants to transform. But, I ask and then, secretly, I hope that He doesn’t have anything too big to show me. Change hurts…it’s uncomfortable..it usually requires sacrifice…and surrender.
And lately, God has been showing me another big area of my heart that needs to be remodeled. He’s teaching me what contentment needs to look like in my life right now. Coming home from vacation is always difficult, but coming home to an empty baby room and no jobs, among other disappointments, was so draining and unsettling.
At one point after we got home, I just cried to Shaun that all I want right now is some stability…something I can bank on…something to be excited about. I had just read Psalm 40, where David says, “I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.” I kept thinking, ‘When is it going to be my turn for God to pull me up and give me a firm place to stand?’ As I cried on my husband’s shoulder, God gently whispered, ‘Have you ever thought that maybe I already have? That stability has nothing to do with employment or your plans? That contentment in no way depends on life’s circumstances? That having your feet planted on a rock has to do with being in the safety of My arms and having your heart aligned with My will?’
That’s hard to hear…and much harder to choose to live out. But even when life comes crashing down around me, Who God is does not change. And if I’m going to pray Psalm 139 and I really want God be pleased in my life, I sign myself up for this process, painful as it may be.
So I will praise God, with everything I’ve got, for His limitless provision…for the certainty of His love…for molding and shaping my heart to better mirror His Son’s…for placing me securely on the rock of His truth. I will choose to be content, even though life is full of disappointments and heartache right now, because I know that God doesn’t change and that He has brought me to this place for a reason. And I will praise Him for what He’s already done and wait patiently for Him to continue His work.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:3-8