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The Niece/Nephew I Did Not Meet

Therefore comfort one another with these words

1 Thessalonians 4:18

My dear sister and friend. I do not presume to know your pain and I can not even begin to imagine what you are feeling in this moment. I have been pregnant twice in my marriage and by the grace of God, both of my children are here. They are healthy and they are thriving. I can hold their faces close to mine and kiss them as many times as my heart desires. You may be doing the same with your other children. Or you may be holding nothing more than the memories of the days, weeks, or months they spent inside, cocooned by your love and connected to you as only a child you have carried can be. You may have spent months in joyful anticipation of their arrival or maybe you only had weeks to cherish their lives before the screen went dark.

I cannot presume to know your pain.

What I know is what almost every wife and mother knows. When we are presented with the news that our love for our husband and God’s love for us has created a separate life that will be a testimony to both, hope springs eternal. We plan for the days when they will join us on this side of heaven. We share the news with those whose lives will be impacted and changed for the better along with our own. We are fiercely protective of them, refusing and rejecting anything that will cause even a semblance of harm to their growth and well-being. We forgo our favorite wine and sushi, turn down invitations to activities deemed risky or unsafe and attend every doctor’s appointment because we know their lives depend on it. We pray for them more than we pray for ourselves. We speak into their futures the godly desires of our mother’s heart. We imagine their childhood and dream about them as adults. We love them before we ever even meet them. We show off their little black and white pictures with barely captured eyes, noses, feet and hands. We celebrate with glee when we discover their God-given gender – musing about Mommy’s little princess and Daddy’s little guy.

Or at least we would if we were given the chance.

You may have had nothing more to hold of your children than the one positive plastic applicator that told you they were coming. And as soon as hope set your heart dreaming, your worst nightmare became reality.

I cannot presume to know your pain.

Here is what I know, Sis. Children are a gift from the Lord and the fruit of the womb is HIS reward, nobody else’s. We did not get our children because we deserved them. God graciously gave them to us for our good and His glory. In His giving, He is good. In His withholding, He is good because NO GOOD THING will He withhold from those that love Him.

And God loves you, sis.

I know you know this but I am here to remind you. He is not looking for ways to set you up for the utmost heartbreak. When your heart breaks, Christ is with you because He is a High Priest who sympathizes with us in our anguish; He came in flesh so that He is the one best able to show us the way from sowing in tears to reaping in joy.

The pain you are feeling is unfathomable to me, my dearest friend. But I know a God who knows ALL  that you are enduring and guess what? His grace is multiplied towards you when your pain is greatest. Where grief abounds, God’s grace abounds much more. And even in your mourning, let me remind you of the beautiful promise of God’s comfort. In your mourning, God is giving you His utmost attention because it is His desire that you be comforted. I pray that the God of ALL comfort will be with you, tangibly like never before.

When I think of you, I bless God. Because even in our grief we do not grieve as those without a hope. We have a hope that endures, His name is Christ Jesus and He is The Resurrection and The Life. He is the only one who has conquered death and put the grave to an open shame.He is the ever Victorious One – so do not believe the enemy when he tries to tell you that all hope is lost. Who can conquer a King who conquers death? NO ONE. Death is not victorious. On the last day when the dead in Christ shall rise and we who are alive are caught up to meet Him, you and I will see clearly that death has had no victory.

I cannot presume to know your pain, sis.

But I encourage you to trust God. Trust His goodness so fully that even when evil seems to rear its head, you can confidently say to the enemy “what you meant for evil, God turned around for my good.” Trust God so fully that you can see His hand in every circumstance, no matter how dark. Trust Him so fully that the testing of your faith purifies you rather than breaking you.

I cannot presume to know your pain, sis – so I will never dare to impose on you something I have never had to walk out in my own life. The only thing I know about your loss is the God who saw it coming and is with you even now. God trusts you, not in your own right but God trusts Himself in you. His Holy Spirit lives within you and He has given you and will continue to give you all that you need in order to endure, overcome and prevail in this time of testing. You will not fail. All you really have to do is get through each day, moment by moment. As long as there is life, there is hope.

I do not have the right words to ease your pain, sis. But I am here. I am here to sit with you in the darkest times of your life because I am convinced that Light will triumph over darkness. I am here to cry with you if your pain needs my tears as well as your own because honestly, my heart does break for you. I am here to rejoice with you when the spirit of heaviness finally gives way to the garment of praise. I pray that what you have sown in tears, you will reap in joy in Jesus Name.

I love you.

Yours in Christ,

Omowunmi

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When Perfection Fails

Have you ever scratched at a scar that you presumed was healed only to have it bleeding again? It reminds me of just the other night when I was walking along minding my business. I saw a few people that I use to know but because our acquaintanceship has been raft with ups and downs, make-ups to break-ups if you will, I decided not to intrude where I was not invited. To be honest, I was a little afraid. The rejection that once wounded me should have been healed by now but would wisdom really have me put myself in the line of fire in a moment when I was feeling so vulnerable (alone in an unfamiliar place)?

“I am not saying ____ to them”

The crass thought floated across my mind before I could sensor it. My flesh was on high alert. My natural mind and high voltage emotions remembered what it felt like to be rejected and branded and rejected again. My emotions bucked against any attempts to remember the healing and grace that God has poured out since then or the restoration, if not of relationships, then at least of wholeness. In that moment, perfection failed.

Where was the woman who has been made whole by the redeeming power of God? Where was the on who was bent on being long suffering because her Savior’s love has suffered long for her own case?

She was hiding in the back drop. Weighed down and wearied from the past six hours of caring for demanding, little hands and hearts. It was a busy day. My energy was low and my children were operating on all cylinders. Couple that with the ongoing inability to steal away even just for a few minutes to refresh – and I had the recipe for a perfect storm.

When perfection fails, grace shows up. The fear that gave way to the fleshly response was dissolved by an extended hand of fellowship. After a short moment of polite conversation, we went our separate ways. I wish I had been the bigger person in that moment but I was not. What I could not do, grace did on my behalf through another person.

Perfection fails me regularly.

“Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. ”

(Jesus  as recorded in Matthew 5:48)

The question that drives my life is this. What would it look like if God decided to demonstrate His love to the world by sending a thirty-something year old wife and mother who looks like me to impact her family, her corner of the world and her circle for the sake of the Gospel?

Or to phrase it another way, what would it look like to have the life of Christ lived fully in and through me in my same marriage, with my same children, with my same friends and in my same church?

Because, for too long I had lived with the notion that I could live a more Christ-focused life if I had a different kind of marriage or if my kids were better behaved or if my community was more supportive or if I had different traits, characteristics or personality than the one God has given me.

And it is not true.

I am not required to become a different person in my own life in order to meet God’s standards. By and through the Holy Spirit, little old me can do much to proclaim the glory of God even if my circumstances never change. I do not need God to deal me a different set of cards – I need Him to perfect His work in me so that I can reflect Heaven to those I meet on this earth.

I have not mastered it. But  when perfection fails me, grace steps in.