Oh, friends. What a weekend.
But I don’t have to tell you that. Are you reeling from Beirut and Japan and Paris? From disasters natural and manmade? The world seems harsh and scary sometimes, cold and unforgiving and dark. I don’t understand. I’m not sure anyone can. And we haven’t even touched on catastrophes closer to home. Ugly words, broken hearts, hurt. Maybe you received bad news this weekend or woke up this morning with the weight of the world pressed tight against your chest. Maybe it’s all you can do to just breathe.
One of the hardest things I’ve ever lived through was the year that I was pregnant for nine months with three different babies–none of whom survived. Miscarriage after miscarriage. Loss after loss. The doctors encouraged me to “keep trying” because there was no real explanation for why the children I longed for kept slipping through my fingers.
But I was done.
Hollow, anemic, sad, and broken, I couldn’t understand why God continued to ignore my most earnest pleas. I begged Him to let me have the desire of my heart. I was sure that His answer (no) meant that He didn’t care. Or worse, that He didn’t love me. But at the darkest point of my soul’s deep night, God was writing another chapter in my story… And the plot turn my life took is the source of some of my greatest joy. From the ashes of that sorrow bloomed my beautiful Ethiopian prince, my fierce Liberian princess, and an unexpected blessing: a darling “surprise” baby who I carried full-term against all odds. My gorgeous, extraordinary family was just the beginning. Our non-profit organization, One Body One Hope, was the direct result of our first trip to Africa and the friendship that was sparked during those long days in Addis Ababa. Our love for Liberia, for friends old and new, and our passion for adoption, advocacy, orphan care, and social justice all flowed out of those dark, difficult days when I wrestled so furiously with God. Our story didn’t just take an unexpected turn, it was completely rewritten as a result of that terrible time. We have been transformed. The truth? I wouldn’t have it any other way. And if I knew then what I know now and was given the choice, endure this pain or never know the heartache of loss, I would walk that road all over again. Beauty from ashes, indeed.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) In a nutshell? Everything will be okay in the end. And if it’s not okay, it’s not the end.
Fear and anger abound right now. Closed borders, closed doors, closed hearts. Buy a gun, arm yourself, protect your own. Fight back.
But maybe there’s another way.
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14)
Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t want to get political. I won’t pretend to know what global leaders should do about the scourge of ISIS. The world may very well change in ways that we could never hope to predict right now. Nor do I want to downplay the horrible things that are happening locally and internationally. My miscarriages may be small compared to guns in schools, racial tensions, and the horror of the attacks in Paris, but I do believe that the underlying truth remains: GOD IS GOOD. Even if we pray without ceasing for the outcome we believe to be good and right and lovely, and His answer is “no” or “not yet,” HE IS STILL GOOD. In fact, maybe, just maybe, He is writing a story that is gorgeous and hope-filled and beyond our wildest dreams. Because that’s exactly what He does.
God loves us. He is for us. I pray that we believe that. That we cling to it–that we cling to Him and to each other–throughout all that is to come.
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)