("Do what? Aren't you going to tell us what IT is?")
"It" is living through as many deep, heartrending trials as this woman has - and coming through them with a faith not only intact, but deepened and made even more vibrant and alive than before. I am in awe.
Take a few minutes to read this story - it is absolutely amazing:
What Can Be Gained Through Heartache?
In an age when losing even one child post-birth is an unusual event, this mama has been called to surrender three of her children to the grave - all due to completely unrelated health concerns - two within a week of birth and one child at an older age.
I love how this mama recognizes God's hand in her life, and His sovereignty. She writes of her son's death (due to anencephaly):
"We missed our precious baby, but we thanked God for a life that taught us to depend on the God we were learning to adore. We praised God for teaching us to value life and family in a way we hadn’t before. (Psalm 128:3) We delighted in God for showing us that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made and that before he placed us in the womb, he knew us (Psalm 139:13-18). Samuel was no mistake. He was planned by a sovereign God that uses all situations for our good when we love him. (Roman 8:28)"At the end, she closes:
"Watching my children suffer heartache was worse than suffering my own heartache. But that is how it is with God too. He isn’t happy about our suffering. He hurts with us and for us. That is why he is ever so near to us through those times. He will not let us hurt without his loving arms around us and without a purpose behind it. He will not let us suffer without hope. He will not leave us comfortless. (John 14:18) I’m so thankful for my heartache, because “I’m confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in me will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6)
"I’ve since given birth to another precious and healthy son, Harrison, and I find myself satisfied, completely and utterly satisfied. Why? Because I’ve lost and I’ve gained. I’ve suffered and I’ve recovered. I’ve mourned and I’ve laughed. I’ve learned to be content. If Harrison would have been born unhealthy, I would have hurt, but because of my trials, I would have been able to endure the affliction with more confidence. I would have known how to survive. Through our suffering we gain patience, experience and hope. (Romans 5:4)
"Trials and afflictions (that are not sin trials) are not the enemy, they are God’s way of teaching us and we should be grateful for the opportunity to learn to serve him and minister to others because of them. (II Cor. 1:4) I think about what my life would be like, had I not experienced these trials. I’m so happy to have a story to tell; a story that can not only help others who are hurting, but a story that reveals God’s character through the way he cared for me and my family down our road of challenge, heartache and victory. It’s an exciting life to walk with God, a life I’m excited to share with others."Absolutely amazing.
On a personal level, I have noticed that my experience with physical suffering through hyperemesis gravidarum has immeasurably enriched my life and my character. I have learned so much since that time. But it's been a journey - a long journey - and almost six years later, I'm still not to the end of it (if I ever will be in this lifetime).
I very much admire this woman's willingness to let the trials given to her be a source of deepened faith, rather than the bitterness which is so much easier to summon in times of intense suffering. I'm so glad she has shared her story!