Thursday, October 25, 2012

Remembering my foundation.

This last week has been hard. It has been a classic example of the cycle of grief: just as you feel like you're regaining your footing from the last wave that hit you, another one comes at you from behind and dumps you, head first, into the sand. When will I ever be able to secure my footing long enough to begin climbing out of this ocean of despair?

The ocean is fierce, as in a storm. The waves are strong and many. As this storm rages my heart is flooded with insecurities and I feel as though I will be swallowed whole by deepest distress.

But then I remember the old story passed down through the generations. The story of two men; one man built his house on the sand, the other built his house on the rock.  I remember the foundation on which my hope rests.

I remember, and so I sit in peace, a midst the turmoil, and wait for the storm to pass. The flood waters are receding and each wave is smaller than the one before.

I am thankful for the reminder He gave me this week.

"When through the deep waters I call you to go,
the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
for I will be with you, your troubles to bless,
and sanctify to you your deepest distress."

"The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
that soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, no never forsake."

Anonymous, "How Firm a Foundation", Hymn #94, Trinity Hymnal (Philadelphia: Great Commission Publications, 1990).

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Word From Dad

Today is three long months since little Hudson left us. I just wanted to share what his father spoke to him at his funeral. I love Hudson, and I love his Dad.

"Hudson, one of the things that I most love about being a daddy, is watching my children as they discover their personality. Their likes, dislikes, the things that make them laugh or that scare them. I love watching your big brother, Jordan, and big sister, Eliana, grow and mature and develop into their own people. But both the other two will tell you that I'm not a daddy who just sits on the sidelines and watches. I try my best to grow with you kids. Hold your hand along the way. I was hoping to do that same with you. As you would of heard as you were listening in on our family from inside mummy's tummy, I'm a long way from perfect. I make a heap of mistakes. But I also think that I've done a fair bit of learning over my life, and I've been pretty keen to share some of the things I've learned with you, so that you can benefit from my mistakes and my successes.

Don't drink coke while you have a mentos in your mouth. Do learn how to make chocolate fondue - you will need this skill when you make your wife sad. Keep your elbows together when under the high ball. And when you're making a run, hold the ball in both hands - you'll keep the opposition guessing which way you're going to pass, and make it harder for them to knock it out in the tackle. A successful man is he who has given his best, learned from his mistakes, and walked with integrity through the good and the bad. Make time to read your Bible daily - it is the only right standard of truth and will give you the surety you'll need to navigate this broken world.

Avocados are not as good as everyone says - in fact they're really yucky. Jordan and Eliana are your best friends, and you are in the best family in the world. However, when Jordan says "Trust me, it's going to work", don't do whatever he's telling you to do, unless he's tried it first. Dance with Eliana. It's a language of love for her, and she'll share her hearts deepest secrets with you if you take the time to dance to her tune.

Mummy is beautiful beyond anything you could ever imagine. She is honest. Gentle. Smart. A little bit crazy. And heaps funny. And she loves God like no woman I've ever met or heard about. Find a wife like her. Never compromise when it comes to choosing a woman with whom you will partner with and share your life with.

God loves you, Hudson, not because of anything you've done, or not done. He loves you because He made you. There is nothing you can do which will make God love you more. And there is nothing you can do which will make God love you less. I know this is true because He sent his Son, Jesus, to be punished for your sin. The pain of loosing a son is immense. God gave his Son in love for you. This is the best thing you will ever know: God demonstrates His own love for us in this, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Buy the extended warranty - you'll think it's a scam until your TV breaks the day after the standard warranty expires. School is not just about learning how to read and write, it's about making the most of every opportunity you're given. On that point, opportunities rarely just fall in your lap. People who make a real go of life, seek out and create their own chances for success.

Today is the day to trust Jesus to deal with your problem of sin. You have no idea what the next hour, let alone day, will bring. Don't kiss your reflection on the side of a hot toaster. Uncle Dave will tell you that you'll just burn your nose, and everyone will know what you did.

It's ok to cry. It's ok not to cry. We all show how we're feeling differently. Pray. There is no greater privilege afforded to us than to meet with out God in prayer. Don't eat all the black jelly beans at your birthday party thinking that your friends will think you're cool. You'll just end up vomiting on the doormat, and everyone will know what you did.

Hudson, I love you. Not because of what you've done, or not done. Because you are my son. Thank you for the time we did have together. I'm sorry I didn't get to hold you hand. Or wrestle with you on the lounge room floor. I did pray for you, and with you. You are forever imprinted on my life. You changed me, and I know that God has used you and will continue to use you, to make me a better man. I am so proud of you."

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Beautifully Broken (Part 2)

What makes a person beautiful?

The face of the woman I see in the mirror is not vibrant with the youthful radiance it once held. The face in mirror has warn and appears tired... drained. But the mirror is not the place where beauty dwells in its purest form. So I look deeper beyond the mirror, straining to see the life behind the face. I do not dare gaze long. The life I see is not one of radiant beauty. The innocence of youthful ambition has long been scattered among the ruins of painful reality. The pillars of dreams on which hopes were once held are now reduced to desolate piles of rubble. The quest for beauty here seems hopeless and my heart sinks at the sight of all the brokenness. In humble resignation I lay among the ruins of what once promised to be something brilliant. It is here, among the ruins, where I finally see it.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.... from among the ruins I look up and I see, with more clarity than ever, the One who has held me from the very beginning. There is peace and joy and delight in His gaze. He is not shaken by what He sees. It is as if He doesn't see the shattered ruins of hopes and dreams. He sees only me. And He looks into my eyes with radiant joy in His own.

In His gaze I see love. Perfect love. The type of love that drives out fear. And as I look into His eyes I catch my own reflection. I do not recognise it at first. It is more lovely than I dared imagine. It does not resemble the warn out face from the mirror. In this reflection I see something breath-taking. I see His glory. I bear His image and it is altogether lovely.

With this new clarity of vision I see that the measure of my beauty is not reflected in my pursuit of God, but rather in God's glorious pursuit of me. The power unleashed by Jesus Christ reaches far beyond my feeble comprehension. Therefore, I will no longer try to hide the mess of my life from the God who sees. Rather, I will step aside and invite Him in to the ruins, because I know that He is the God who redeems. He is building something beautiful out of my brokenness.

Resigning to your brokenness and embracing the beauty of your true identity is only part of the story. You see, when I finally resigned to my brokenness and fell into the arms of my Redeemer He did smile at me. He did tell me that I am beautiful. He did rejoice over me with gladness. But this is only the beginning...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Beautifully Broken

After walking through five miscarriages... the grief, the anxiety, the relentless questions with no answers, the brokenness... we had been blessed with a perfectly healthy baby boy. His name was Hudson Charles King. Just now, after three long years of loss after loss after loss, I was beginning to allow myself to feel again. I had been numb for a long time, but now, I could feel joy and hope... revival in my soul. That desolate face of a woman gripped with hopelessness and fear was not looking at me through the mirror anymore. The woman in the mirror seemed vibrant, she had life in her eyes. I was beginning to see the reality of my Redeemer God. He had heard my cries and he was answering my prayers. The pregnancy was taxing on my physical health, more so than with my other two children, yet I rejoiced because I knew that my baby boy was healthy and that I would be cradling him in my arms soon. The nursery was ready, the bags were packed and the count down was on. Hudson was going to be delivered on July 23, 2012.  On July 16 Hudson became tangled in the umbilical chord and in that process the placenta became detached, and my little boy went to be cradled by the Prince of Peace. He was delivered stillborn on July 17, 2012.

The world looks different to me now. To loose a child is to open your eyes, and the world will forever look different. I can think of few things more torturous to the human soul than the loss of your own child. It is torture, and I have been broken by it. I am a broken woman.

I have been reflecting on my brokenness the last few days. The more I bring it to the Redeemer, the more I see how beautiful my brokenness is.

In the midst of walking through all the miscarriages, it became clear to me that I was broken. I know that many of you have the unfortunate privilege of understanding the anguish of miscarriage. I felt like less of a woman and I felt alone in my grief. Insecurities had free reign and I questioned my self worth and my value to those around me. I was ashamed and embarrassed by my brokenness. I made other people uncomfortable and I felt like I didn't belong. I had become that person who makes everyone around them feel awkward because they never know what to say. So, I did my best to hide it. I built up little walls in my heart to hide the mess within, desperately trying to fit in with all the "together" people...

Something shifted when I lost Hudson. The brokenness was all consuming. It was as if my heart had been ripped out of me with such force that all of my little walls were completely wiped out in the process. I was left utterly broken and totally exposed. I have had to accept it. I am a broken person and I cannot hide any more. I can no longer pretend to be stoic and brave, the good little Christian girl persevering under trial...

Resigning to your brokenness leaves you with only one place to go... into the arms of the Redeemer. I have never felt more free in my life. I am broken and exposed... and honestly I think this is the most beautiful thing about me.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.         
                                                                                    Matthew 5: 3-9

I am not ashamed of my brokenness anymore. The colours of my life and the lives of everyone around me seem so much richer from the arms of my Redeemer. I no longer fear the mess because I see it being redeemed day by day in countless ways. From the arms of my Redeemer I see that I am beautiful. I also see that at my fundamental core I am no different to anyone around me.

I want to be careful here not to diminish the pain of my experience, or the pain of anyone else's experience. Suffering has many forms and some are called to suffer more than others. Some people suffer horrific things that none of us would hope to imagine. God will never belittle your suffering. He knows your pain and it hurts Him too. Likewise, we should be very careful that we do not diminish one another's experiences of suffering. We are called to share in one another's burdens, not to compare and contrast them, and certainly not to ignore them.

With all that I have lived through, I'm not really any different to the next person. Even all the "together" Christians are every bit as broken as I am, at their fundamental core. Its just that for me, the walls I had built up to hide behind have been damaged beyond repair. I can no longer hide the mess of my heart behind the neat and tidy life I had built around me, that life is long gone. We are all equally affected by the fall and a broken relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Do not fear your brokenness. You are still beautiful. Do not fear the brokenness of others, at their core they are the same as you. Do not be afraid to carry one another's burdens. If you carry them to the arms of the Redeemer you will know what it is to be blessed as I am blessed.

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
                                                                                              Zephaniah 3:17

Did you hear that?   He is in your midst. He will save. And He rejoices over you with gladness, as you are, broken and beautiful...

I am Daddy's little girl. He rejoices over me with loud singing.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Rainy Day.

It is raining today. There is something beautiful about rain. The thick heavy blanket of grey consumes everything all around, and the colours of the world appear different as they dance in the rain. There is something about the rain that draws you to seek out comfort. The strong and steady song of rain on the roof, the firm hum of the wind... their chorus puts an end to your plans of going to the beach with your kids. Instead you retreat to the lounge room with popcorn, movies and pajamas.

You cannot see clearly on rainy days. The view from the window does not display the glorious Pacific horizon that I know is there. All that is visible is a small patch of the grey covered world being tossed around by the wind and the rain. The world looks cold and bitter outside my window. But the beauty of the the horizon is not lost forever, it is just hidden by the clouds today. I know that somewhere above the grey blanket the sun is still shining in all its glory. And I know that I will see the sun rise over the Pacific again soon.

What a mirror to my heart...

It is raining today...   But the beauty of the the horizon is not lost forever, it is just hidden by the clouds today. I know that somewhere above the grey blanket the Son is still shining in all His glory. And I know that I will see the Son rise over the Pacific again soon.

Psalm 27: 13-14

There is something beautiful about rain.