We've started a new book study in our Girls Fellowship Night group, Grace for the Good Girl. I'm only a third of the way through and it's challenged my beliefs. In a good way, in a quit-trying-so-hard to do this following Jesus thing perfectly. I realize now, it won't happen.
I never thought of myself as a perfectionist (way too many dirty baseboards and thank you notes not written) but I am. I'm a perfectionist in my faith. God has done so much for me that I feel like I need to be perfect for Him, to please Him. How tiring is that? It's a goal that can NEVER be obtained. I didn't even realize I was doing that until I read this book and felt a bit of a "release" of my try-hardness. It's a relief. It's also a journey that I'm on to release it and really be able to lean into the peace that accompanies the grace part of Jesus. It's also that balance thing again: to strive toward Him, but accept the grace when I fail and not beat myself up for not doing it "right."
So it's been two months since my last post.
Since then Caroline turned 6 (Whoa,) Thomas decided to ditch diapers (Woo!) and Caroline has two loose teeth (What?!)
Each one of those events needs its own post, but I'm giving myself grace in that area of my life. Not enough time to document those events because I'm busy LIVING them. (I'm sure when I'm 90 I'll wish I did though...Oh well...)
The roller coaster of life moves on from those family milestones into the last two weeks of my extended "family." I've wanted to write about them so much, but it's also terrifying because I know I can't do them justice. When it rains it pours...
Our dear friend, Kim, has had a long tough pregnancy. We prayed and hoped for a different outcome, but at 25 weeks along two Saturdays ago her sweet baby was born into heaven. To have the honor of watching my dear friend hear doctor after doctor tell her to terminate, that there was no hope, and yet she held on to Jesus' hand the entire time, with grace and glory to God, it has been incredible. Seeing God carry Kim and this sweet baby day after day bringing her peace that can only come from Him was awe-inspiring. Her baby Brynlee brought so much joy and God's story to our lives that her purpose on earth was accomplished in 25 too short weeks. Tears. Blessed be His name, He gives and takes away...
(link to Kim and Brynlee's story)
My precious friend, partner in grief, Kimberly has had a God sized dream of adopting for some time now. Every door seemed to shut tightly. Until her daughter Hannah's would have been 8th birthday. She gets the call that there may be an adoption happening for them. Up and down on her own rollercoaster as paper work and logistics makes it seem it won't happen. Until last Wednesday when she gets the call, you can come get your babies. (Yes, babIES!) On Friday. In two days! Ahhhhhh!
James, Kimberly and big 4 year old brother go to pick up the new additions to their family. Twin toddler boys! Tears.
He gives and takes away, blessed be His name. (Link to Kimberly's blog)
Why do I tell you these things? For you to be strengthened by God's faithfulness. Every single one of you, and every person you see, goes through trials. Be encouraged, grab a hold of Jesus and His promises. He's the ONLY thing that can be relied on. The ONLY person that will not let you down.
Kim's and Kimberly's hearts chose to say blessed be His name. It's not the easy choice, but it's the choice that returns joy to their hearts. It's the choice that we each make every morning when we wake up. He is faithful.
I listened to the song below constantly with Caroline before the accident and it was too painful to hear again for quite a while. After a year or so I could listen again as He returned joy to my life as I handed my grief over to Him little by little. Then some time after that, meeting Tyler and seeing His plan unfold, it took on new meaning. As it has for Kimberly, and in time for Kim. We want to be understood that in no way can our loved ones ever be replaced, there will always be a hole that we fill with God in order to go on and be joyful, but increasing love around us brings peace and hope for the future. And, prayerfully, encouragement for others in their own trials.
"Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name
You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name" Matt Redman
And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” Job 1:21
Ps I'm linking up with a post celebrating women that have encouraged us along our path with Jesus. There's SO many of you who fit in that category of my life. I thought I'd start with Kim and Kimberly today :)