Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Redemption in the Midst of Loss

Over the last few weeks, the concept of redemption has been playing over and over in my mind. When we trust in Jesus, He makes us new. He clears our debt and restores the impossibly broken parts of our lives. This post from last week is one example of God's redemption in my life.

Throughout this month, a few of my friends will be sharing their stories of redemption. I am excited to share their stories with you, and to celebrate with them the work of God in their lives.

First is my friend Ashley. Her story today has moved my heart, and I implore you to take a few minutes to read it. There is some INCREDIBLE wisdom about the character of God in those post. If you are in a season of experiencing pain and brokenness, I encourage you to read Ashley's words. The redemption of God in her life is evident. 
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Hi! I'm Ashley, the wife and mama behind the blog Pencilled Daydream.
Today I am so excited to share part of my motherhood story with you and how God redeems!

I will never forget the joy my first baby brought me.

I will never forget when I first saw two lines on a positive pregnancy test. My heart leapt within my chest as my eyes stared in disbelief. I was actually pregnant. Still in college and having only been married for 8 months, I was so surprised to find out that I was expecting. And I was overjoyed! I practically had the baby’s name, college, and future spouse picked out before sunset. When I told my husband Mark he was thrilled, and we both couldn’t wait to welcome our first baby into the world. 

Sadly, on October 2, 2008 I lost my first little baby. I remember my cheeks were hot with tears as I felt the sting of sudden loss. As the mysterious world of pregnancy slipped from my grasp, I waded through various emotions. I was sad because I wouldn’t be afforded nine months to carry life. I was angry that wouldn’t be able to hold onto the delicate life that had been placed in my womb. Pinpricked by the reality of death, I faced tragedy. What I didn’t know on October 2nd was that Jesus had a lot of things to teach me. He was getting ready to redeem a lot of things in my life. 


First, I learned that Jesus is good at turning tragedy into triumph. He was the only one who could lift my head that was heavily tilted toward despair. He was the one who could take the sadness that clung to me like cobwebs and turn it into joy. He was the only one who could triumph in my situation. 

Second, after losing my first baby, I learned that I had a choice to make. 1) Trust God or 2) Turn away from God. I had to choose to trust. 

Third, I learned that I cannot surrender to my circumstances. And that I can’t let loss dictate truth to me, because hope does not depend on my circumstances. The truth is, “All things will work together for the good of those who love Him and who have been called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). Honestly, at times I looked at life situations and asked God, “How is any of this good?” It wasn’t until later that I realized that God’s definition of “good” was very different from mine. I defined “good” as 1) Nothing bad ever happening 2) Things always going well for me 3) Always getting what I want 4) Succeeding in everything that I do, etc…” My Pastor Nathan Tarr said, “When we hope in a promise like Romans 8:28 that God will work all things in our lives together for good, but then import our own vision of what that good must be, we set ourselves up to be “ashamed” of God and “disillusioned” with God (cf. Phil. 1:20).” I was disillusioned with God, and it wasn’t until I saw God’s definition of “good” that my perspective changed. Now I understand that God’s good means 1) my faith will progress and 2) Jesus’ Gospel will go forth. God will use my hard situations to refine me and progress my faith and my circumstances may be the very thing God uses to show people the Gospel. Hope is not founded in my circumstances; rather, it is founded in the word of God and in the person of Jesus. 

Fourth, Jesus not only gave me hope in the midst of terrible loss, but He also gave me a testimony. And what is amazing is that our testimony is our appointed place of ministry in the church and with unbelievers. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort which we ourselves are comforted by God.” I love this verse and cannot tell you how many women I have been able to pray with and speak to because the Lord allowed me to lose a child. God has redeemed my situation and not only given me eyes to see hurting people, but he has also turned my testimony into my ministry.

 

I have learned so much through losing a child and the Lord is gracious. He has not left my arms empty. And my prayer as I remember this little one’s life, is that the testimony of Jesus will always be on my lips for He is the one who gives and takes away. I will bless the name of the Lord!
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Isn't this an amazing story of God's goodness, love, and redemption in the midst of heartache? Thank you Ashley for sharing your story. If this story touched your heart, will you let Ashley know?

Comments turned off today so that you can go say hello to Ashley at her blog, Pencilled Daydream. 
You can also find her Tweeting, Pinning, and on Facebook
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