Faith E Women

act justly, love mercy, walk humbly

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I love the fresh feeling of a year unwritten, the anticipation of what lies ahead. There is something to be said about the newness that comes with January 1.

Rather than inundate you with my love of new years and resolutions and all the stereotypical rah-rah that comes with this time of year, I am going to keep this post simple and rest it in what matters most this time of year…and all year long.

Let’s start this year strong in truth…so, here are some passages about beginnings, His timing, and His promises.

Ecclesiastes 3:11//He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Jeremiah 29:11//”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

Revelation 21:4-5//He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”

Isaiah 43:18-19//”Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Lamentations 3:22-24//Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.”

Happy New Year, sisters. May 2019 be full of Him.

What am I loving today? Or this month, really? The weather!!! Don’t get me wrong, I would prefer a white Christmas, but I will NOT argue with God about the beautiful sunshiney December He has gifted us. And anyway, it looks like its about to change back to real winter pretty soon. But take a peek–a chance of snow for the holiday!!

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So what else am I loving? Music, my Bible reading plan, walks in the aforementioned weather, and everything Christmas with a preschooler.

MUSIC: The album Chain Breaker by Zach Williams was five dollars well spent. Remember his breathtaking voice at church last month? I knew I liked the song “Chain Breaker” from the radio, but I had never heard “To The Table” until he sang it during the service that weekend. Listen for yourself and you’ll understand!

BIBLE READING PLAN: LifeWay Women put together a concise yet thoughtful reading plan for Advent. Each week they email you what to read daily as well as things to do and things to pray. They even send an image to save to your “lock screen” on your phone with a memory verse for the week. When covered in flour as I bake cookies or reaching for the ribbon as I wrap gifts, a touch of my phone brings His word back into focus.

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It’s not too late to sign up! You can revisit the past week’s readings and get caught up. CLICK HERE!

WALKS: Because the weather is phenomenal and our boys are in awe by holiday lights, we manage to sneak in a “twilight” walk around 4:30/5:00PM most evenings. The sun is getting low, the lights are turning on, and daddy isn’t home from work yet. The boys see everything from Minions in Santa hats to Nativity scenes on the roof and we all get fresh air and exercise. Not always so easy in December!!

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Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

EVERYTHING CHRISTMAS with aforementioned PRESCHOOLER: Christmas is REAL by the time you turn four. As I write this post, I hear him in his room singing “Go Tell it on the Mountain.” Don’t get me wrong, we do Santa in this house, but we also do Jesus. And its pretty awesome hearing him shout “THAT JESUS CHRIST IS BORN!!” We have excitement daily to see whats waiting for us in the Advent calendar, what the tree looks like when it lights up, how we can arrange the Nativity scene, and which song is our favorite today. And of course, there are LOTS of discussions about how Santa could possibly fit down the chimney and which animals were at the birth of Jesus.

Lord, thank you for the beauty that consumes me this Wednesday and everyday. You are faithful and good and may this season continue to be about You. Amen.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:22-23

Oh the irony.

When planning out posts for this month, I agreed to write this post because I thought it would be a good personal reminder for me. Refreshing and joyful even.

God has a sense of humor, doesn’t He?

Because, boy oh boy, do I EVER need the reminder of this post. So, please, pull up a chair and join me as I preach to myself today. You can consider this post all the things Kelly needs to hear (and REMEMBER) on this Monday before Christmas.

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picture via Pinterest

Making space for Christmas. Creating the breathing room for the true reason of the season. 

Something I think we all agree is important…and yet very few of us truly take the time to  do and get right.

I LOVE this time of year. From Halloween on, I just adore it all. The holidays. The traditions. The time with family. The excitement and anticipation of the season and the winding down of the year. It is the best.

Every year, I vow to slow down, to savor, to remember the true reason and spirit behind the season…and every year, I fail to do so. I come close, I make an effort. I still come up short.

This year has been no exception. It feels like everything has been set up to get in my way and distract me. Sickness. Bills. Work. Prep for this. Prep for that. Buy this. Go there. This party. That party. White Elephant Gift. Cookies. Christmas program.

Before long, my calendar and to do lists were so full, so swamped. I have no space…some  of it all is unnecessary, simply burdens I (voluntarily) place on myself because I think the season needs it (hint, it doesn’t). A lot of those things though, are good things.

But good things aren’t the best things and, in the season of best things, I want the bestThe best that is not defined by what parties I go to, the cookies I bake, the holiday crafts and things I do, or the gifts I buy and get. 

No, I want HIS best.

His best that is made of the greatest redemption story of all time, the story that starts with a baby in a manger and changes the world and saves me from myself.

That kind of best demands space to take it all in. Space that just doesn’t have room on a calendar full to the brim with parties, errands, and seasonal to-dos.

Let’s pause for a second. Let’s switch gears. Maybe you aren’t in the same boat. Maybe you have all the space, but the holidays are tough for you. The holidays may be a reminder of what you don’t have that you wish you did/thought you would have/had last year and don’t this year. Maybe the holidays are tough because people have passed, traditions have died away, and you are left with the deep sting of loss. Maybe the holidays have good things in them, but they just aren’t what you hoped they would be (for one reason or another)…you feel double the negative at grieving the loss of what you hoped for and feeling bad for grieving. Or maybe the holidays are just hard because you find yourself comparing yours to theirs and you feel like you are coming up short and not doing enough or doing it “right”.

Regardless of the why, it can hurt. Hurt badly. You have the space to remember the season, but the pain is just screaming at you, distracting your soul from His best.

I get it. I’ve been there too.

That is why, in the one of the most joyful seasons, we have to fight sometimes to remember. With an ever increasingly secular culture and our own selves as our worst enemies, we have to fight.

This was never what the season was supposed to be about. Don’t let good things crowd out the best things.

What does that fighting look like? For me, it means getting into the Word. Specifically, the story of His Savior’s birth. It means saying no to things like Christmas cards and white elephant gifts. It means less doing and more quiet, contemplating the beauty and glory  and significance of the simplest and plainest birth story ever.

Sisters, in this last week of Christmas, let’s make space. It is not too late. Slow down. Say no to something. Unplug. Don’t overdo it. Remember the true joy of the season. To put more focus on the best thing instead of good things.

Remember. Make the space. He will meet you there.

Luke 2:10-12//But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

 

I was listening to a podcast the other day and was really struck by the musings of the host and her guest. It has been weeks since I heard it and I still remember it perfectly. For a gal who has trouble remembering what I had to eat last night, that is impressive! …and speaks to the message shared.

The subject of their musings? Buddy the Elf. 

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Before I lose you, please hang on for a sec! Let me explain.

First of all, if you haven’t the slightest idea of who Buddy the Elf is, he is the main character of the movie Elf. Buddy is a socially awkward human who was raised in the world of elves and Santa. Because of his background, naivete, and complete disconnect with reality, he truly believes he is an elf, even after being told about his very human father. The whole point of the movie is Buddy going to meet his birth father, humorously attempting to navigate the real world and spreading Christmas cheer all along the way.

Where does that leave us?

Well, there is a point in the movie where Buddy encounters a department store Santa. Prior to the engagement (which if you’ve seen the movie, you know it doesn’t go well!), Buddy absolutely LOSES his mind in excitement and joy over the announcement of Santa’s upcoming visit.

“SANTA! I KNOW HIM! I KNOW HIM!” is his response. 

He is so excited that he just cannot contain it and has to tell everyone and create a beautiful space for Santa.

And that, dear sisters, is the thought that has stuck with me weeks after hearing it on a podcast.

There is a difference between knowing and KNOWING. One is a matter of head knowledge, the other one of the soul and heart. 

To use the Buddy perspective, there is difference in knowing Santa. For me, I know Santa. I know he is a heavyset, jolly old man who wears a red suit and has a delightful white beard. I know he drives a sleigh and brings presents. But that is pretty much where it stops. I don’t know his favorites, his deepest hopes, and dreams. I don’t know what he likes and dislikes beyond the canned response of “be good, kids”.

But Buddy, he does know Santa. He was close to Santa. He had personal experiences, times spent with Santa. He even knew what Santa smelled like. He KNOWS Santa.

My experience is knowledge driven, surface level. Buddy’s is relationship driven, deeper. Know vs KNOWING.

So where on earth am I going with this?

There is a HUGE difference between knowing God and KNOWING God.

And that difference? It makes ALL the difference. One speaks to knowledge only. The other speaks to a transformed life.

Please do not get me wrong. We need the knowledge of who He is, what He says, those foundational things about our faith. But if that is where our Christian walks start and end, we are in trouble. We cannot just know Him casually.

We have to KNOW Him.

Our words, our actions, our attitudes…they all should speak to that KNOWING. Because that kind of KNOWING transforms lives, makes an impact. It is the light in a dark culture. That is the type of faith to which we are called.

Where are you at, dear sister? Do you know God? Or do you KNOW God?

My prayer for all of us is a relentless pursuit of KNOWING Him and a life that sings the beauty of it.

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One of my biggest hopes for this blog is to share testimonies of women in our own community. I am always encouraged by hearing how God is moving in real lives and I believe there is value in sharing our stories. So we set out to offer Thursday Testimonies and I have been mulling over what to share for several days now. In no way do I think that God is somehow obligated to prove Himself faithful to me, but time and again in my life He has done just that. Yesterday He gave me a little reminder of just how faithful He is and how creatively He weaves our stories together.

As I was walking down the hall at church, I ran into a friend from my high school years. This kind woman was a Young Life leader at the camp where I first entered into a true relationship with my Savior, Jesus. As a young married woman, she opened her home to a group of high school girls and I opened my Bible in a new way to experience God’s Word. All I knew is she invited me in and I thought I should show up. If I’m honest, I suspect that she wondered a time or two if her efforts with me were making any connection at all.

As I reflect on the ways she impacted my life, I specifically remember two things. First, for high school graduation, she gave me a book, “Six Hours One Friday” by Max Lucado. I devoured it and the sacrifice of Jesus became more real to me. I started to really believe that Jesus loved me. Second, when I returned for the summer after my first year of college, she invited me to a weekly meal at a friend’s house where I was challenged to memorize scripture. I vividly remember the day when that group prayed over me, asking God to give me a godly husband. At the time, a husband was not on my radar and I nearly laughed out loud. Now I have tears trickling down my cheeks because I am grateful for God’s answer. Both of these are relatively small gestures in the big scheme of life, but they were amongst the first seeds planted in my spiritual journey and God continues to deepen the roots and bring forth seasons of fruit.

Our paths don’t cross too often, but I am thankful they did yesterday. It reminded me that God will continue to water the seeds we are allowed to plant in the lives of those around us. God used my friend’s humble offering of her time to plant seeds in my life and I am ever grateful that she shared her Savior with me. So, when we find ourselves wondering if our efforts will ever bear fruit, let’s remember that our offerings don’t have to be grand to have a lasting impact. We can share Jesus in the simplest of ways and He is the faithful One who will water and tend to the roots.

I’d love to hear about the simple ways you’ve been encouraged along this journey.  Whose obedience and love for Jesus impacted you? What small seeds did God plant in your life?

One last thought … you may be thinking that I could have chosen a more applicable scripture image to accompany this post. Normally I would agree, but this is the verse I was challenged to memorize all those years ago and it is a delight to my soul today!

I don’t know about you, but the days post-holidays are usually a slump for me. I am a big holiday girl so I often have to fight for the joy once the fun and excitement of the holidays have passed.

To do that, here’s a quick reflection on what I am loving, listening, and reading lately.

LOVING//It goes without saying, but I am L-O-V-I-N-G the holidays! For me, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year. I love traditions, snow, food, and family. I also love reflecting on the humble beginnings of Jesus. This season just begs me to slow down and remember (even though I am not so good at that!). It is such a special season in every sense.

LISTENING//I am so tempted to make this entire post dedicated to the holidays and say I am listening to Christmas music on repeat, but I won’t. Some of my favorites that are gracing my ears lately include Lauren Daigle’s newest album, Annie F. Down’s podcast That Sounds Fun, and Christy Nockel’s podcast Glorious in the Mundane. I also LOVE IF Lead’s Spotify playlist – SO GOOD. Love it even more that my son asks for his worship music at bed time!

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READING//I always seem to be reading something, but my favorite favorite right now is Lysa TerKeurst’s newest book, It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way. It is GOOD. Good because it is raw, vulnerable, and relatable…and GOD. I love reading and hearing the stories of others and how God is moving and working and this book definitely is one of those. If you know Lysa’s story, this book speaks to the hurt and redemption she has been walking through and is so, so moving. It is an incredible read and I am not even halfway through. Highly recommend!

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I’m loving the book of Daniel! No wonder. It’s filled with history and that history is centered with the Middle East, present day Iraq, Iran, Syria, Egypt and Israel, as the setting. I’ve always been enamored with history! After just returning from my first visit to Israel (!!!), I’m trying to convince my husband to sell out, pack up and move to a little apartment in the Old City of Jerusalem!

old city of J

The Middle East had captured my attention long ago before I read Michener’s “The Source” or Leon Uris’s “Exodus”. As a little girl hearing Bible stories, I imagined a beautiful, orphan Jewish girl being chosen by the King of Persia (Iran) to be his wife and was sent into a daydream land.

The first chapter of Daniel is a set up for an ADDer to fall off the wagon! Can you begin to comprehend all that kid, Daniel, went through as he was ripped away from his sobbing, maybe screaming, mom and frantic dad? Just gathered up with a bunch of other young guys and transported 900 miles away! The strange language, dress, food, surroundings…he had to think it was a nightmare he’d wake up from in a few hours.

But it wasn’t, and he never saw his parents or family again. He never ran thru the streets of his city or thru the door into his cozy, warm home. He never walked up the Temple steps to enter into worship of the One True God with that community of believers again.

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Every component of life had changed overnight. From love, privilege, comfort and community he moved into a world of manipulation, compromise, intrigue, isolation, power plays and petty envy. He had the makings of a man at 15 or 16 years old and kudos to his parents for taking seriously their job description—- “Boys will be boys” was never part of their vocab!

From the first moments of this cruel fiasco, Daniel had resolve. He stood firm, he set his course, and he made up his mind that he would not compromise himself to appease any opposing entity for the sake of any favor or ease of life. He was devoted to living an honorable and principled life, but not because he had to check in every night with a committed mom or dad who waited up for him.

It was because he had a compassionate God whose eyes were looking down on him and whose power was working behind the scenes in the dim unknown on his behalf. He knew his God and was determined to do what was right and honoring to Him no matter the cost.

These few paragraphs introduce you to this man of God, Daniel. He is the author of this compelling Old Testament book. History and prophecy (some already fulfilled to the T!) are mixed almost equally in this book as far as genres go.

Daniel (of course inspired by the Spirit of God as all Biblical authors are) was a literary genius as far as his ability to describe the out-of-this-world visions he and others had. He was obviously a brilliant man with intellectual acuity and emotional maturity. He kept his head when others about him were losing theirs (as Rudyard Kipling wrote in “If”).

His security and identity were well-formed and imprinted into his person. He knew who he was and whose he was. He knew who loved him and wanted him versus who courted him and used him. He showed respect for authority that tried hard to usurped his Holy God’s authority. He practiced being courageous and developed that courage, when faced with death sentences by the sword or sharp claws of lions, that didn’t whimper or beg. Many begin strong but few end without scars of compromise and regrets over foolish decisions and self-centered sin.

Most of all, Daniel played to an audience of One. He cared first and foremost about his Father—the Heavenly One. Above all the kings he served, he obeyed and adored the Eternal One. He knew how to prioritize. Only one person gets to be “king of the mountain” at a time and Daniel knew who would never be pushed off His place as King of this world and the world to come.

On Wednesday mornings you’re welcomed to join the last week of our Daniel study. Its never too late to start! December 12th from 9-10am we’ll do a summary of the book of Daniel and from 10-11am we have a treat—-a local, lay astronomer will share her insights. We may even have some Christmas treats to compliment our coffee and tea! Remember child care is available!

 

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Love INC, or Love In the Name of Christ, is the last of our local impact partners to introduce. If you haven’t learned about our other partners—Child Bridge and Family Promise—check out posts from November 5th and 11th to learn more about these ministries and how to get connected and serve.

Love INC‘s mission is “to mobilize local churches to transform lives and communities In the name of Christ.” Many churches find themselves being constantly contacted for need requests from individuals, families and groups. While each church seeks to meet these needs the best they can (if at all), they may not have the resources to do it well.

Instead of every church putting forth a makeshift effort to meet each need that knocks on its door, why not collaborate across the city and across denominations to serve people with our strengths? And know that resources we can’t provide are being offered by someone who can? Thanks to Love INC, bridges have been built between the people with the needs and the churches with resources.

For example, one Billings church has a system in place to repair automobiles–the space, the help, the tools. Another Billings church offers classes on budgeting and finances. Another church collects diapers, while another houses a food pantry. Why spread our resources thin when others can go above and beyond to do certain things well? Again, thank you to Love INC!!

So how does this all work? Love INC is a clearinghouse. People in need call Love INC. With patience and prayer, Love INC volunteers listen and respond with Christlike compassion to the situation at hand. After referencing their database of resources, they can refer the caller to the most appropriate place.

How can you help?

  • If you are made aware of needs, refer to Love INC! 406-206-5896
  • If you have a skill you’d like to share, contact Love INC and become a volunteer! http://loveincycmt.org/how-it-gets-done/volunteer/  These skills can be nearly anything—computer programming, shopping, yard work, haircuts…

FaithE is filling a specific gap for washer and dryer needs. If you or someone you know is updating their appliances and willing to donate their used washer and dryer, please let us know! We have a relationship with a repair shop who can get them in best working order and ready to donate.

Also, if you would like to help contribute a “blessing basket” to accompany the appliances, this is another area of need! Individually or together with your family, coworkers, or life group, consider donating laundry items. We have previously blessed families with a laundry basket, detergent, dryer sheets, hangers, a devotional, journal, and cookies. There is room for creativity here! Contact me at frannieshaub@gmail.com

Christlike relationships can be transformative. While the receivers of these resources may not know Christ, they are able to be in relationship with those of us who do. Please consider how you can bring Christ to our community!

“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:15b

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Last week we began our series on FaithE’s Local Impact partners, starting with Child Bridge. Today we will continue the series as we highlight Family Promise (FP). FaithE has had a relationship with FP for many years as a “host” church, which you may be familiar with. In this role, the church provides a safe, non-judgmental place for families to stay to help FP fulfill its mission “to help homeless families achieve and sustain independence through a community response to homelessness.”

These families stay at the church for a week at a time, typically every 2-3 months. While these weeks are spearheaded by two amazing coordinators, many volunteers are needed to make this happen—to help set up beds, make or serve meals, lead activities with the kids, and just make the families feel known and welcomed. There are 25 other local churches helping to fulfill this mission, but as a selected “partner,” we want to go above and beyond for Family Promise.

Before going into specific needs the organization has, I think its important to paint a picture of how FP is nurturing homeless families towards sustained independence. While churches provide basic needs during the week to families in their emergency shelter, they spend the majority of their time at the Day Center. They wake early to start their days as they receive case management services and do things such as apply for jobs, receive mentoring, and look for housing.

With assistance, families save enough money for both a housing deposit and two month’s rent. After achieving this, they “graduate” from Family Promise’s intensive services, though follow-up can still occur through their transitional housing, Partners in Housing, and aftercare programs. 

It is in all this work that Family Promise focuses on providing compassion and accountability. Isn’t that the love our heavenly Father shows us? He pours out kindness and love while not neglecting to hold us responsible for the life He has gifted us. With this in mind, let’s look at the many ways FP needs us to help extend this compassion.

**Adopt a Family: with your life group, group of friends, co-workers, or family members, commit to a family nearing graduation from emergency shelter for a 6-month (or longer) period. What could this look like? Buying essential items for their new home, sending birthday cards, praying regularly for and with them, celebrating anything from holidays to job offers and other successes.

**Adopt a Room: when families become homeowners through the Partners in Housing program, help furnish/decorate/supply a room in their new home.

**Donate: contribute $20/month in their recurring donor program. (A perfect option for the time-crunched, busy family!!) Their website can help you with this. 

If you want to learn more about how to connect with Family Promise, you may contact me at frannieshaub@gmail.com.

Please prayerfully consider how you can make an impact with Family Promise. The opportunities don’t stop here! Other needs include childcare, organizing donations, helping families move, making “birthday bags”…one church’s youth group even brings their video game systems to the Day Center to play with kids and offer an opportunity they wouldn’t otherwise have. Again, just consider what gifts you have to share.

I’ll leave you with a video to give you a glimpse into the beautiful work Family Promise is doing. May we remember to “keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels” (Hebrews 13:1-2).

 

 

 

 

 

Hello! We are so excited to share our newest series, Testify Thursdays. Normally, this would be coming to you on a Thursday (hence the name!), but a chaotic week threw everything for a loop for me. That being said, the purpose of Testify Thursdays is to highlight the stories of our community, what God is doing, what we are learning, and how we are changing and growing. The stories may be hard, the stories may be deep, and the stories may be lighthearted. Most importantly, the stories are real and speak to the glory of our very real God.

On that note, here’s a part of my story.

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“For everything there is a season, a time for every matter under heaven…” Ecclesiastes 3.

I must admit, this passage has always been one of those “glass half full” passages for me, a favorite even. Let me elaborate.

Growing up in the church and in a Christian school, I have had many run-ins with this verse. For as many times as I have heard it, I’ve always seemed to conveniently pass over the hard parts.

A time for war? More about a time of peace.

A time to weep? Give me a time to laugh!

Oh! And that whole time to mourn? I’d rather have that time of dancing.

It wasn’t that I hadn’t noticed the harder parts of the passage; it was just easier to focus on the positive. The feel good parts. The parts that show the glorious parts of life.

To believe that no matter what, there would always be a time for those things that are just so lovely.

Like a buffet line. All about the seconds of desserts and only a skim over the steamed veggies.

I was “buffet lining” this passage.

Mourning is hard. War is hard. Weeping is hard.

Why focus on those when God so obviously tells me there is a time for those, but, even better, there is a time for dancing?!

The only time I ever really gave those hard time portions of the passage a second glance was when I would attempt to offer them up as comfort and peace to someone who was living in a time of hard…as if silver lining their grief with promises of better times made it any easier for that person.

It wasn’t all that long ago that life handed me one of those dark times. One of those times that demanded me to grapple with what it means to live in hard times, uncertain times…the not so fun times of not dancing and no peace and no laughing. The time of waiting. The time of mourning.

Flashback to June 2016. I had recently found out I was pregnant with Baby #2 and was over the moon thrilled about expanding our family and having our precious Noah become a big brother. Because I am one of those women who are hyper aware when something is off, I found out super early on about the baby.

And, because it was so early, we decided to keep quiet for a bit, just to be sure.

I had only known about the baby for a few days when everything fell out from beneath me.

It was a Saturday night.

My husband, Joe, was at a baseball game with some friends. Noah was sleeping peacefully in his crib. I was cleaning up the apartment, preparing for a visit from my mom who was coming to town the very next day.

I had been working hard all day and noticed that it was starting to take a toll on my body. My back was really sore and I started cramping. I felt spent and tired.

Simply thinking I had overexerted myself, I decided to relax for a bit and take a bath, treating myself to some peace and quiet.

I got out and put on my Netflix show of the moment when I noticed it.

Red.

My heart sank, panic setting in. I called the Family Birth Center, already knowing in my heart what was likely happening and what I had to do. They confirmed I needed to go to the ED to be seen, to confirm what I felt was the inevitable.

I called Joe, barely making out the words, “I think I am losing the baby.”

Without missing a beat, he responded, “I am on my way home.”

Packing up a sleepy Noah, we made our way to the ED.

The whole way, my panic mounted. I could barely think straight. All I could think about was losing this future I had just started dreaming of, this baby who I newly discovered and already deeply loved.

I was praying for everything to be okay, for our baby to be okay, but in my heart, I believed it was already over.

Hours of anxious waiting revealed that I was having a threatened miscarriage, a diagnosis that meant while I wasn’t actively miscarrying, my body was acting like it was. I was told it’s common in very early pregnancy to miscarry…I was so early on that they couldn’t even tell me how far long I was. The ultrasound had simply revealed a teeny bubble, the teeny bubble of my baby who I loved, who God had fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14) and who I was afraid I’d never get to know on this side of heaven.

We were sent home, told to follow up with my OB, and basically just wait. If I was going to miscarry, there was nothing they could do…but they would be there if it happened.

The days that followed were some of the heaviest, most mentally and emotionally draining days I have ever had.

My symptoms continued, sending me once again back to the ED. I was told that, at this point, a miscarriage was becoming the more likely end result.

Where were my times of peace? Of dancing? Of joy?

I was supposed to be celebrating the life of baby #2 cooking away inside.

Instead, I was living each day in complete uncertainty, fear, and anxiety.

This continued for over a month. In hindsight, it really doesn’t seem that long.

But in the moment, it felt like a lifetime.

Isn’t that how it always seems to go in the dark times, the hard times, the times of mourning?

Those days were one of the hardest times of my life.

Everything about that time was completely out of my control.

I couldn’t stop my symptoms. I couldn’t make the physical pain go away. I couldn’t save my baby.

All I could do was pray and abide.

Saying that now, I feel like I’ve said the most dishonorable thing I could have ever said about my heavenly Father. Really, that’s all I could do?

Because you know what I learned through the whole experience? When you are in the thick of those dark and hard times that is when God shines the brightest. When you are at the point where you, in your earthly, broken body, cannot do a single thing to impact the outcome and prayer to the Maker of the entire universe is THE option you have, that is when He shows up in mighty ways.

I found that from the darkest place, came my greatest peace.

No matter how dark the season, God is still God.

No matter how hard the season, God is still good.

No matter how desperate the season, God is still good to me.

As I began to grasp the truth of these words, I was reminded of Romans 8:28…“That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good” (MSG).

I may not have known what the outcome was going to be, but for me, the peace of knowing God was there, working for my good, not leaving me out alone to dry, was enough. In that moment, I did not know if God was going to show up in the ways I wanted, but I did know, He was there. Always.

I am beyond grateful and happy to say that God kept His hand over our precious baby and I am joyfully a momma to two beautiful boys.

However, I am even more grateful for the lesson I learned. Yes, the times of joy, dancing, peace, and laughing are great and make life so sweet. Yes, it is those times that make our days memorable and full.

But for those sweet times to be so sweet, you have to go through the tough times.

 The tough times to make you strong, to make you fully know just how good and faithful our God is.

No matter what, God is God. God is still good. And God is forever good to me.

Even in the wait. Even in the mourning.

Especially in the wait. Especially in the mourning.