“I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I’ve gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You”
Lyrics from “Bring the Rain” by Mercy Me
The last time I wrote a blog entry, I documented how the Lord had worked in my medical journey in miraculous ways to remind me that He can open and close doors at any moment and in any way that He wanted. If in the future He chose to keep doors closed and answers hidden, I needed to trust His purposes.
Not long after storing this rock amongst the other spiritual stones of remembrance, our family found ourselves transitioning from one season of tumult into another. The Lord met us in my six month medical uncertainty, with gentleness, love, strength and healing. That stretch of time seemed like a slice of eternity, although it was only half of a year. Walking out of that storm, we felt a bit water logged, but also renewed in spirit. Our clothes were barely dry before our daughter’s health began unraveling. We weren’t even six weeks into her medical debacle before it felt more suffocating that my six month journey. One of the biggest struggles is that we have not been gifted the luxury of quietly navigating her journey, as we were with mine. Her journey has been much more public because of her inability to control when a seizure will ensue. As we walk in and out of doctor offices, scoop her up off the floor in public places, watch the things she loves being momentarily stripped from her, such as a basketball championship game, a season of softball, track and the last stretch of her 7th grade school year, we have been tempted to cave under the heartache.
However, what we remember from my experience is that if the Lord is temporarily keeping doors closed and answers at bay, it is because of His greater plan. Therefore, we look around this “waiting room” and say thank you. Thank you, Lord that you are teaching our girl, at a young age, the value and strength of Scripture during grueling times. Thank you that I only have five more years before she turns eighteen and you are gifting me with extra one on one time with her. Thank you that she has had opportunity to see where and how I minister alongside a group of women in Bixby and that she has met the many faces of women, I serve alongside there, who have fervently prayed for her. Thank you that she is getting a glimpse into the world of pain, confusion and struggle that she might be empathetic to others who walk a similar path. Thank you for surrounding her with friends and family who love her, pray for her, encourage her, call her, and keep her company. Thank you for teaching her the value of solid friendships and the importance of church family. Thank for the war-worn friends that you have brought into our family’s lives to empathetically comfort and hold us up in ways we have needed. We have so much to be thankful for-the list goes on.
Most of all, thank you for taking these ashes and making beauty out of them. Your Word not only promises that you will make beauty from ashes, but you also promise that you will work all things out for good for those who love you and are called according to your purpose. Sitting in a room of 30+ women, the question was asked, “Have you ever observed someone being faithful under pressure? If so, what did that look like, and how could that example inspire you during a tough time?” One woman answered, “Amber and Addison.” Shortly after her response, multiple hands lifted into the air, heads nodding in agreement. Relief consumed me from head to toe and I looked at the woman next to me and whispered, “Thank the Lord. If we have to go through something so arduous, I am relieved to know that He is using it to draw others unto Himself.”
The reality is that our circumstances do not dictate who He is. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Our circumstances simply give us the opportunity to let His light shine in our brokenness.
2 Corinthians 4:7-12 The Message (MSG)
7-12″ If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best!”