Glory Baby

Seven years ago I was newly pregnant and excited that we would have our third child. Maybe a girl this time? I was leading a ministry to women and it had been a tough few months with the team. I decided not to tell them about the baby until the December meeting when we made those kinds of announcements. What a fun surprise!

The Monday before Thanksgiving I started to spot. We packed up the kiddos and ran into the doctor’s office. A good friend watched my boys. I had an ultrasound right away and we found out that we had lost the baby. Eight weeks and this child was gone. A blighted ovum they called it.

No. It as a person from the moment of conception.

We had no insurance and decided to wait for my body to ‘deliver’ naturally. It took four weeks. Four weeks of knowing I carried within me the death of a child and all the dreams that die with it. Only a handful of people even knew I was pregnant. How do you tell people you have miscarried when they didn’t even know you were expecting?

I finally told my gals on the team through an article in our newsletter for our meetings. Cowardly? Maybe. Heading into our final Christmas meeting I got a disturbing call from my church. We were to reschedule the meeting. Seriously? Find a new place in five days to move 40 women and about 80 kids? Impossible. I ended up on the phone with my pastor. I respect him greatly and on that day I let loose. All the grief and sorrow of this baby combined with the holidays and stress of a difficult season in leadership and now this? I let him have it and then quickly apologized. Then I shared that we had lost a baby and hormones and grief might be amplifying my anger.

We worked things out for that meeting to everyone’s satisfaction. It was a tough meeting with great strains and heavy demands on me personally. One perceptive woman came up to me and asked me if I was okay. Bless her heart. I shared about the miscarriage. Seven years later I still remember her kindness to me. She sent me a huge bouquet of flowers. Extravagantly beautiful lilies with bright colors. Not the kind of flowers you find in Wisconsin in December.

Every day I looked at those flowers in my kitchen and felt God’s extravagant love – to me.

I was scolded by some for not sharing my pain. “How dare you not tell me you lost your baby!” Really? This was a team member who had not made the last few months easy.  I then called a friend who I knew had miscarried to whine. “Am I wrong to expect some compassion from people?” Her response: “Yes, you are.” Needless to say I never called her again for support in my grief process.

Still there were the flowers. As I reflect back on seven years ago and all the grief and pain and loss and the lack of support from so many people, even my husband. (“It wasn’t really a baby,” was his comment. He’s lucky he’s still alive today himself.) I try to focus instead on the flowers. One person, who barely knew me, extended such amazing love to me in my time of grief.  I think I’m going to send her a note today to thank her again.

It’s a reminder to us all. Sometimes it is simply a kind word. Or a letter. Or maybe flowers to someone you hardly know, that might make all the difference in someone’s pain and grief and the trials and struggles in life, even years later. In this day and age we often forget the power of those simple expressions of care.

My baby is in heaven. We call it our “Glory Baby.” He or she is safe in the arms of Jesus. Free from a sinful world that reared its ugly head in my time of loss. Yet God still shone through in the understanding of my pastor when I melted down (we still work together and it’s great!), and in my memory of that one woman who I have not seen in years, who loved me right where I was at.

My heart goes out to any of you who are remembering lost loved ones during this holiday season. May you have good memories and even if you have tears, may you experience the love and kindness of God in amazing ways.

Blessings,

LGB

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A Faithful God

While I know that Thanksgiving is a great time to meditate on all God has done that we should be grateful for, I am seeking to find daily more and more ways to recognize and live in the light of His faithfulness to me.

There are a multitude of attributes that we can seek to praise and worship God for. One of the ones that seems core for me and foundational in my relationship with Him, is His faithfulness. It’s funny to me with years of singing, that when my son was born, the only song that I could remember in the middle of the night was “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”

Maybe it’s important to me because others around me have not been faithful to meet my emotional or even my physical needs. Yet God has repeatedly, through the years of my walking with Him, provided in amazing ways.

I am not always fond of His timing, like when it comes to checks arriving (or not) in the mail. It is humbling to admit that sometimes my emotions fluctuate with my bank balance. However, God doesn’t want my security to be in finances. As He continually leads and affirms my step into the world of writing, I am blown away by the words of affirmation He brings to me out of the blue. It is humbling to admit how easily discouraged I can be and how quickly the enemy can try to convince me that I have nothing worthwhile to bring to you, the reader. It’s only words and not very good ones at that, he will tell me.  Then someone will post a comment on a blog or my fan page or in an email that tells me that what I am doing IS making a difference – to them.  Or when loneliness overwhelms, and a friend calls or I get one of those priceless letters in the mail filled with affirmation. Or someone gives me a hug at church or thanks me for ministering to them when I didn’t even realize I had been doing.

This week something happened that surprised me. This fall I got a free tickets to three different events/conferences and somehow the money appeared for me to go.  My wi/fi on my laptop was repaired I won a contest through facebook that blew me away with the extravagance of God – toward me. Totally unnecessary – but the very fact that it was so out of the ordinary, reminded me again of God’s faithfulness.

I remember years ago studying the book of Ephesians at church. I have written in my Bible, at the beginning of that book that the word charis means “extravagant grace love.” It appears repeatedly throughout this book of the Bible.  Okay, Lilly, but I thought we were talking about faithfulness here? Stick with me.

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you , remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might (Eph 1:15-19)

The word “grace” doesn’t appear in these verses – but can you hear it?  What can be more faithful than a God would give us knowledge of Himself?  To be honest, this verse is truncated. There is more before and after and I would encourage you to read the entire chapter and ask yourself – how does this tell me God loves me and is faithful to me?

Faithfulness is an expression of God’s extravagant grace love.  I am not always faithful. I can be self absorbed, angry, and at times doubt that God can and will come through for me.  Then I consider how God has saved me from my sin and how Christ has walked with me through so much throughout the years, and continues to do so even now.  When I see that God has sustained me and even been able to use me to serve Himself and minister to others, I’m blown away by His faithfulness to one such as I.  Extravagant grace love is shown with every unexpected gift, every word of affirmation, every day I find that I am alive and able to get up and care for my family.

I want to offer you today a taste of God’s faithfulness. If you go back and read that verse, imagine me praying this over you (because I have done so!). Where the “you” is bolded, insert your name.   I may not know your name – but God does. It’s a part of His faithfulness that He can transcend the computer technology and take this prayer from His word, and my heart – and birth extravagant grace love in your life.

Great is Your faithfulness, Oh God my Father!

There is no shadow of turning with You,

Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not,

Great is Your faithfulness, Lord unto me.

 

Blessings,

LGB