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Not for A Moment... Even the Bathroom Floor Moments

October, 2003 - This can't be happening. Am I really riding in the front seat of this ambulance right now? Is my husband really in the back on the stretcher? Did I hear them say they couldn't find his blood pressure? God, it's too much! Where are you? Please don't let him die! I can't handle anymore loss right now. I will not survive it.

My mind flashed quickly back over the previous five months, remembering all the awful details...finally getting pregnant after eight endless years of trying-the miscarriage at work in the bathroom on Mother's Day -finding out I was pregnant again three months later- losing both twins, one at nine and one at ten weeks--watching my baby drop into the toilet in my bathroom-the blank screen during my ultrasound....

That was only two weeks ago, Lord! Now this? My husband is having some bizarre anaphylactic reaction and I'm going to have to watch him die...I can't do this. I cannot do it. Jesus, HELP ME!

Have you ever had those moments? I call them "bathroom floor moments." I find myself in my bathroom on the floor when devastating grief and pain overcomes me. I don't know why I go there. It feels private, I guess (although I don't know why-one of my kids always seems to be in my bathroom!). Because of an Epi Pen, my husband survived, but my three children did not. It all happened in a few short months. When we left the ER that day and my husband was asleep in bed, I laid down on my bathroom floor and sobbed. The tile felt like my heart- cold, hard, dead. The loneliness I felt was oppressive and dark. The loss felt like something I would not bear: the anxiety of the events planted fear deep in my soul.

There are times when the truth we know in our minds from Scripture and from the wisdom of others just cannot seem to penetrate the darkness and despair that surrounds our hearts. I knew Psalm 30:5 says, "Weeping may remain for a night, but joy comes in the morning." I didn't know if I could hang on till morning. Waiting for morning is excruciating and unbearable.

I longed for God to comfort me. If this was His will, then why wasn't He comforting me through it? I did not feel His Presence. The pain and loss felt compounded because I couldn't feel God's comfort in it. I felt alone and abandoned. I didn't want to get out of bed in the mornings and I had no energy to do anything. Prayer and reading my Bible felt hollow and empty, and God felt far away and uncaring. I knew God's Word was true, but I couldn't see it, couldn't feel it over the pain and hurt of so much loss, and over the death of a dream.

And the questions...the questions about God's purposes and plans for my life ran through my mind constantly. Why the miscarriages, Lord? After so much (and for so long) heartache and disappointment because of infertility, why would you allow us to lose all three babies? I had thousands of questions. Questions that a good Christian who trusts in a Sovereign God should not have, right...?

God is not surprised or taken off guard by anything that happens to us. I find that truth to be both comforting and disturbing.

I think it's important to note here that Satan doesn't wait around until you have had time to grieve your loss to attack. He attacks at our most vulnerable and darkest moments, and he delights in doing so. He shows no mercy. Luke 4:13 says, "When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him (Jesus) until an opportune time."

One of the problems in America is that we don't like to "dig in" and really look at our suffering, to confront it. We like to use money or medicine to come up with a "quick fix," to try to slap a tiny bandaid on a gaping wound. It takes more than that. We have to go below the surface to find the real source of the wound.

Why do we try so hard to hold back our tears at a funeral? Why do we hide our pain from each other? Why do we say things to make others who are grieving feel like they should hide their pain too?

God uses our tears to help us heal and to let go of some of our pain. If we are constantly trying to hold back our deep and raw emotions, how will that help us to heal?

It won't.

God used a book I read recently to shed some light on suffering and loss for me. It's called, "Suffering and the Sovereignty of God" by John Piper and Justin Taylor. It is an amazing book: it is not light reading.

Here are a few of the thoughts that helped me most from the book:

The pain that Jesus experienced going to the cross helps me see how deeply He understands and relates to our suffering. In Gethsemane, His sorrow was so deep it was like death (Mathew 26:38). His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground (Luke 22:44). Jesus cried out to the One who could save Him from death. God heard His cries, but Jesus still died. "God heard His prayers, but rather than save him from pain and death, he chose for Jesus to walk on the road of suffering so that he might receive the greater joy of resurrection." (page 185, "Suffering and the Sovereignty of God"). Jesus died on a cross, one of the most excruciating forms of execution there is. He took the sins of the whole world, and the wrath of a Holy God upon himself. He cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mathew 27:46). The Son of God, who the Father deeply loved, was forsaken. The pain of this moment is greater than we could ever know. "There has been no greater pain in history" (pg.186, "Suffering and the Sovereignty of God").

Jesus can sympathize with us in our pain.

"We do no have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin." - Hebrews 4:15

Jesus is our hope. There is no other hope.

God is Holy and loving and powerful. He is merciful and compassionate. He is only good.

Sometimes I cling to God simply because there is no one else to hold on to. And I believe that is okay. God wants me to know there isn't anyone else like Him to hold on to when I'm in pain.

God isn't uncomfortable with our questions, doubts or even our anger. He is a big God. He can handle it. He still loves us after we ask our questions and share our doubts.

Where else would I go except to God? Who else would I turn to?

There is no hope anywhere else.

God can help us overcome hopelessness.

And just some practical thoughts here: give it time. Explore your questions and doubts. Keep taking them to God. Ask Him to show you what you need to know to heal, and trust Him with the rest. Look at your wounds. Cry about them. Bring them into the light and let God be God. He wants you to be whole. Be patient with yourself. God gives unending grace. Remember to extend a little grace to yourself too. It is not a fast process. Please don't run from the process. This I learned from experience. Trust Him. This is where God teaches and restores and heals. He "binds up" the brokenhearted (Isaiah 61:1).

I also believe a huge part of the healing process is that God uses your story to help and comfort others. We can love and comfort others by not pretending it isn't that bad or giving a "quick fix" answer. We love by crying with them, by sitting with them in the silence (our silence is okay!), and by holding their hand. We can bring comfort most when we are changed by what they are going through, and when we let ourselves feel and see the depth of their pain.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. - 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

God uses our experiences to help others who are experiencing similar pain. As Beth Moore says, "Only God can turn our misery into ministry." It is redemption to take our pain and wounds and use them to help someone else.

I found several amazing and encouraging Scriptures as I researched this difficult topic. I encourage you to look them up, write them down around your house, and say them out loud. Satan runs away from God's spoken Word.

God's Word heals and it changes hearts.
Here are some of my favorites:

Lamentations 3:22-25
Psalm 46:1-2, 10-11
Isaiah 53:4-5
Hebrews 13:5
Isaiah 43:1-2
Psalm 126:3,5-6
Psalm 27:13-14
Psalm 34:18

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. - Philippians 3:10-11

But my most favorite are these:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘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!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. Revelation 21:3-7

There will be no more night. Revelation 22:5

There will be no more night! The end of darkness forever. An eternal morning.

Joy comes in the morning. Praise the Lord!

This song by Meredith Andrews called, "Not For A Moment," gives me such encouragement and hope. I hope it will for you too.

God, You are our hope when there is no other hope. You not only want us to find victory and healing when we are hurting, but You want us to know You are with us in and during our pain. I love Meredith's song that says, "You were singing in the dark, whispering your promise, even when I could not hear. I was held in Your arms, carried for a thousand miles to show, not for a moment did you forsake me." You are awesome and I love You, Lord. I praise You for the miracle of You healing my wounded heart. Amen.

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If you are an imperfect wife, mom, daughter, or friend, struggling to stay focused on God in the craziness and find joy in the heartache, then we have something in common. I am a recovering perfectionist and daughter of the King, slowly learning to fully trust the One who sees me just as I am, and is already pleased. I’m so glad you are here.

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