Wednesday, December 17, 2014

And Then There Was Hope

Sitting in church on Sunday morning, I was glancing backwards through the notes I had taken.  It's funny, because sometimes, I will just jot down an idea, or something that comes to me totally unrelated.  I remember last year, as the team was preparing for Encounter, God really spoke to me about fear.  It was something I was battling over, trying to fully surrender.  Fear is one of those things that so easily creeps in, disturbing your thoughts without you really realizing it.  I remember writing down the words He spoke to me one January night last year.  Where your biggest fears are also lies the areas of your greatest freedoms.  I remember feeling totally awestruck.  It made sense.  Total sense.  But, almost too simple.  I think I vaguely remember jotting down a few thoughts about that here...  (and let me say, those words totally kicked my tail this morning!)

What I don't remember is writing any other thoughts down.  It really was a personal challenge.  One I felt strongly about sharing on Sunday and just never stopped to do it. 

What areas are you hiding?  What areas do you keep locked inside, knowing your secrets are safe within you?  Because those areas we hide the deepest within us, those areas we cover up with excuses, those are the areas we are bound to.  Forever.  The chains are stronger than anything we can carry, much more, break out of.  Guilt.  Poor choices.  Shame.  Regret.  Fear.  Disappointment.  Frustration.  Lack of trust.  Doubt.  Maybe just one area.  Maybe all of them.  You know what these are?  These are the areas Satan wants to use for your defeat.  Yes, he wants to use your own emotions, your mind, your heart to defeat yourself. 

I am my own worst enemy.  Instead of speaking life over myself, I often speak discouragement.  Defeat.  Doom and gloom.  Why?  I don't know.  It is so easy to just know I can't do it.  Remind myself I am not capable.  Knowing that I will fail is easier than having the hope that I can do it.  It isn't right.  It is something I go through seasons of overcoming, and letting it slowly slip back in.  It is something I choose to hide, because not hoping is not something I want to become used to.  I don't really want to admit it.  So, instead, I trudge along, carefully, in the pit of hopelessness.  It's dark.  It's lonely.  And I'm tired of it. 

After finding freedom filled words Sunday, I opened my devotion up yesterday.  And wow.  Straight to my heart.  Hope filled words.  It's how I know that the connection to my Savior is far more vital to my existence than oxygen.  Seriously. 

I was reading in the YouVersion devotion series Good News of Great Joy by John Piper.  While I won't copy the entire day (God's Most Successful Setback), I will share a few key highlights.  The devotion is centered around the birth of Christ, and all of the pieces that fell into place for Christmas to happen.  I mean, miracle of miracles.  But, it encourages you to really think about it.  It is hard to do.  It doesn't make sense.  Anyway, this devotion talks about Joseph and Jesus, and their similarities.  They both suffered tremendous adversities.  And yet, overcame.  "The way to success is through divinely appointed setbacks.  They will always look and feel like failure." 

Failure.  The way I have been feeling for months.  It is mostly all just me not hitting the goals I really believed were going to happen this year, but the word failure resounds in my heart.  Deep.  Chained up.  Not ready to believe anything else.  Until yesterday.  When I started thinking about defeat.  Failure.  What defines defeat and failure?  Man.  Those at work.  Those around you.  But for me, it is me.  I define myself often as defeated.  I feel like I have failed so many times, at so many different things.  And yet, this word piercing my heart specifically says success is going to feel just like failure.  Divinely appointed setbacks.  How many times do I get to fail something before I throw in the towel, determine myself as a failure? 

This is what hit me:  Jesus, walking down the streets.  Condemnation written across faces.  People spitting on him.  Throwing things at him.  Being called an impostor, a fraud. Definitely not the Messiah we'd all been waiting for.  The crowd slinging insults, unbelief in their voices.  A cross being drug behind him.  What were the thoughts going through Jesus' mind?  Was he wishing he could've done his job differently?  Possibly thinking he had been given one task, and that he failed at it?  Knowing he had come to fulfill prophesy, performing miracles, bringing the earth His goodness and peace.  I wonder if He was weighing the cost.  Determining if the price He was paying was really going to be worth it.  He was a man.  Did He know the millions of people He was dying for would eventually come to know He really was the Savior, or did he walk those streets defeated? 

Jesus was without fault.  No question.  But did He feel as though maybe His mission wasn't as victorious as He had imagined it would be?  Do you think He knew beforehand the pain and heartbreak He was going to experience? 

The world's biggest setback right there.  That cross.  Also the world's biggest success.  Be careful how you view your situation.  Being human, we can't see how it will end.  All we know is that a divinely appointed setback saved our lives.  Walk this day out knowing that.  Our situation may feel like a failure.  A setback.  But tomorrow, we may realize the cost was so incredibly worth it. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

My Story Does Not Define Me

At some point, you get tired.  Fed up.  Weary. Just over it.  Ok, well, maybe it is just me. But, honestly?  That is where I am.  In the last several weeks, I have found myself so incredibly sentimental.  Looking back, wondering what I could do differently.  Several relationships I could've held onto for just a little while longer.  For some reason, I keep thinking back to where I was four and five years ago.  Comparing years four and five to two and three.  And then looking at last year and then, today.  Who I was then, who I am now.  And it truly amazes me.  God is just good, guys.  Seriously good. 

And yet, some days, I sit back and feel so incredibly defeated.  Here I am, so incredibly close to 30 it makes me wanna throw up.  Not exactly what I expected 30 to look like.  Makes me want to cry, honestly.  Divorced.  Mom of three.  Barely a college graduate, still not able to own my own house.  Not married.  Not even dating.  Part of me knows that is all okay, part of the plan.  I sit back and remind myself again and again, none of those things really tells you who I am.  All it does is tell you what I have done and accomplished, or what I've not accomplished.   Maybe it is the emotional mood I am in, but days like today, I feel like what defines me is my single status.  Not that I withstood pure hell for almost a decade.  Praying for God to fix my incredibly difficult marriage, only then praying for him to fix it in a way that didn't break up a family.  I can tell you God gave me a way out, but that he didn't give me a map, an estimated time of arrival, or even an itinerary.  He also didn't do it the way I thought he would.  His ways aren't always like our ways. 

As I was recounting highlight moments tonight, I am in complete awe.  I lived in terror for an incredibly long time.  Never knowing what I would go home to, or even if I would wake up the next morning.  But you know, something that none of that can express is how deeply my hope is for my future.  That the hope that lies within is far greater than my fear of history repeating itself.  That I am willing to overlook the wrongs done so that I can see a story that redeems marriage in my heart and mind.  I can also tell you that my room is a mess.  Like, I have had three loads of laundry waiting to be folded for what may or may not be the third week in a row.  While that makes me feel pretty crappy and not very good at the whole mom job, I will still tell you I am a (pretty stinking kick-butt awesome) single mom to three little girls, who all belly laughed today, ate three full meals each, and had clean, unwrinkled clothes to wear to school today.  That laughter keeps me going when I just want to run away.  What that doesn't tell you is that I am a multi-tasking, money managing, overwhelmed, praying for strength 99% of the time, mom who is almost at the end of her rope.  I can tell you I am a college graduate.  What that doesn't tell you is the times I wanted to quit outnumbered the steps I took across that stage as I accepted my diploma by at least 5 times.  I can tell you I am a Christian who believes God's promises to her remain true.  What that doesn't tell you is that every morning I pray to God that he gives me the hope I need to keep believing, because this might be the last morning I can keep believing in something I can't see.  That there are so many millions of times I screw this walk with him up and question the promises and peace he gives me daily.  You know, those moments something tells you to make an extra sandwich and then see that poor guy standing in his spot on the corner of the intersection literally begging for food.  I miss His voice completely.  Those moments I gain strength from an incredible portion of scripture, only to turn around and not believe when He says good is coming from this.  I will rise from these ashes into beauty.  That every single day I have to pray that this incredible word He has given us isn't lying when it says His grace is sufficient and made perfect in my weaknesses.  Because looking at the chaos that I feel my life is, I need some serious grace.  Wonder if I am putting all of my trust into something that will never happen.  The laughs, the crazy looks, the mumbles.  Those that you just know think you will die alone, an old maid.  Surrounded my fourteen cats.  You know, that horrid voice that says "You sure that was God?  Not just you wanting it to be God?" 

So, why is it that we allow a chapter or two in our story to get the better of us?  I just don't get it.  I allow who I was, the decisions I made, that one (ok, well, who is keeping count?) time I lost it at Target and snapped at my child, or the fact that I ate altogether too much today to determine how I feel about who I am tomorrow.  The number on the scale.  The pants that don't zip.  That lady who can't stand me at work.  The child angry that I didn't wash the right pair of pants.  The parent who is disgruntled because their child didn't get the helper job he wanted.  It doesn't matter how many times I read Lamentations 3:22-23, " The faithful love of the Lord never ends!  His mercies never cease.  Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning."  I go to bed thinking God is going to be angry or disappointed in me because of the way I acted at Wal-Mart, or at the ball park, or on the way to school, or because I got tired and frustrated, or because I didn't meet my expectations of what I was supposed to do.  I forget about the glorious beauty in the sunrise.  The unending mercy and grace He longs to pour over us.  I forget He doesn't want my perfect house.  He doesn't want my perfect kids.  He doesn't want my perfect run.  Or those perfect pants to zip.  This is the thing.  We can have the perfect marriage, 2 children, a perfectly behaved dog, and two goldfish and still not realize who you are. 

Do we not think that the God who created us doesn't know what our story is, how it will end?  A few years back, I will never forget the gentle words He spoke to me, reminding me He created me the way I am because He had already written the ending.  As I sit here completely wide awake at well past when I want to be asleep, I try and figure out all of the answers to the things bringing chaos to my world, forgetting all that stuff raging around my head will not determine who I am, how my heavenly Father views me, or even what my tomorrow will hold. 

We forget He created our whole lives before a single day had passed.  These days we are walking out may not seem like the happily ever after we imagined, but they are the story He created us to walk through.  Something that gives me great hope is the fact that He created me knowing the things I would need to make it through His plans for me.  He didn't create me to long for a Godly, secure marriage to be left alone and divorced my whole life.  He created my desires to line up with the plans He already has worked for me.  Not really sure that any of this is making sense.  Guess that's what I get for being up when I should be trying to sleep.  I might be a single parent today.  But that doesn't get to be who I am forever.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Monday Moments

I could say today was a typical Monday.  All those typical Monday things happened.  Hit snooze too many times.  Rushed out the door.  Snapped at kids.  Made it to work to get snapped at by someone who has no right or reason to snap at me.  Drive home.  Dog is really nasty, disgustingly sick.  Still.  After cleaning up the mess for the upteenth time this weekend (now week).  Spent Christmas money to make him better.  Innocent words of a child that make my heart sad.  Laundry to fold, laundry to fold, laundry to fold...  Nothing catastrophic, but not a simple day.  Definitely one of those days that would be easier to focus on all the junk, that is for sure. 

I won't say that I think God doesn't hear my prayers.  I know He totally does.  But today, throughout my day, there were just so many incredible reminders of the ways He doesn't leave us.  I have been out of my classroom for three weeks.  I had an on the job fall that has put me slightly out of commission for the last little bit.  I have two weeks to go, and have been feeling a little out of sorts about it.  It is tough to watch someone else be you in your classroom - tweaking this and that, talking and laughing with the kids you talk and laugh with.  Okay, or just yelling at them.  I digress.  Anyway, as a teacher, I am supposed to say I love all of those kids equally, that they all mean the same to me.  But, I would be lying if I said that.  There are 13 kids in that classroom I am fairly certain don't need me, don't want me there, and I do not feel as though I am changing or touching their lives.  But the other seven...  Those seven need me.  And I have missed them.  On a totally twisted turn of events this morning, those seven got to come upstairs on a field trip.  I got to love on them, read to them, and make them laugh.  I got to see their faces light up when they realized I wasn't gone, I hadn't left them.  They just couldn't see me.  But I have been there, planning, getting ready, and talking to parents about curriculum and implementation. Brainstorming methods of connecting and creating a meaningful atmosphere for them to let go of their home chaos.  Oh yeah, I call this God moment number one.  I can't see Him.  I don't always hear Him.  But He is there nonetheless.

Fast forward to this afternoon.  Because of aforementioned injury, I have to go to physical therapy.  And, oh, it hurts.  It is not fun.  It is not easy.  But, I laugh.  It hurts.  Then there are those people right next to you, hurting with you, making fun of the way you are grimacing over the most normal activities.  They challenge you.  I am on the same rotation as two others.  We come in at the same time, we make fun of each other, and I find myself almost dreading the day when these sessions will be over.  Healing isn't easy, but it doesn't have to be miserable.  I call this God moment number two.  Healing is a process.  One that might just be looked back on with bittersweet memories.  Cherish the ride. 

Picking up the girls from daycare is always an interesting part of my day.  I typically find three tired, cranky, whiny kids who are just as ready for their day to be over as I am for my day to be over.  We were laughing about our favorite parts, and the light went on.  I am one seriously blessed Momma.  My youngest said everything was her favorite today.  Four months ago, I had to literally peel her off of me, kicking, screaming and sobbing for me not to leave her.  And suddenly, everything was her favorite.  My normally unhappy child said this was her best day ever.  That she really loves the way her teacher believes in her.  Gives her tasks that she gives no one else.  And the last one said her favorite part of the day was knowing Sassy (our elf) was finally back to spread Christmas magic.  It's hard to see the potential for beauty when you are living in the ashes.  So incredibly thankful for this day of rosebuds.  May not be totally there yet, but we are on our way. 

Skipping ahead, tonight at dinner, Jess decided she was really an elf, and was just separated from her elf family.  So instead of using her syrup to coat the pancakes, she opened a small bottle of maple syrup, and drank it right out of the bottle.  Said all she was missing was the spaghetti.  I'm thinking we may have seen Elf one too many times.  Lol, said no person, ever.  I love that movie.  And I've done a great job helping them love it, too.

And this most awe filled moment of the day...  Funny how God uses kids - especially those that are driving you the craziest - to speak straight to your heart.  I was pulling clothes out of the dryer, trying to just get the essentials completed, Cass walks up to me and says, "Hey, Mom...  Can I have something different for Christmas?  At this point, dinner needed to be made, I had a dog kennel that needed a bleach bath, that I needed to bleach myself afterwards, and trying to just fold the laundry.  I looked at her, trying to be gentle, and said, "Cass, first, you are whining.  Second, please just let me get what I have to get done before we talk about Christmas."  She said, "Momma, I need a Bible for Christmas.  A real one.  With verses.  Like this one.  I can read it, really I can!  Look! 'This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, son of David, son of Abraham.'"  And, slap.  Yup, God, you've got my attention. 

This year has not been the easiest.  It has been one of the fastest, but what has felt incredibly difficult.  Last November, God laid Ephesians 3:18-20 on my heart.  This was supposed to be my year of exceedingly, abundantly above all that we can ask, think or imagine.  I would love to say that I see the exceedingly abundant all around me.  But, truth is, I don't.  Work is harder than I ever could have imagined.  I walk away most days feeling so defeated.  My goal of home ownership is still not within reach.  It will be next year, instead.  Special promises God made me have still been sitting on the shelf, covered in dust.  Kinda hard to see why God gave me such an incredibly powerful verse.  Trust me, I can imagine more than this.  Much more than this. 

But, as my middle daughter, in her sweet voice read this phrase, "...Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham..." I was hit so hard I literally had no words.  Exceedingly, abundantly above it all.  Abraham.  Barren wife.  Way too old to have a baby.  And yet, a promise of a lineage as many as the stars in the sky.  His wife laughed.  That's how impossible it sounded.  And yet, right there.  Jesus, descendent of Abraham.  I've read it at least a hundred times.  Never, ever has it sunk in the way it did tonight.

When God promises you big things, He doesn't walk away.  Even after waiting 25 years.  Even when everything else seems lost, no possible way.  Hope is drifting away, people are laughing because you still believe.  You hear the thoughts in your own mind telling yourself you didn't hear right.  And yet, He's still there, your story sitting in the palm of His hand.  A smile contentedly sitting on the lips of the Creator.  He knows how this is going.  While I long so much to turn a few pages so that I can see how this season comes to a close, I am so incredibly thankful for moments when He just so lovingly blows my mind.  Jesus, descendent of Abraham, the man who gave up and tried to make it happen in his timing.  The man who had to lay his own son down to be sacrificed.  The man God made an incredible promise to.  And He loves me just the same.  Pretty sure this story is already written.  May not have a fairy tale ending, but I know He's gonna be with me the whole time. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Faith Bigger Than Fear

Over the last few weeks, I have had several people ask almost the exact same question: "What's your story?"  It has challenged me to think about what my story really is.  Prior to this week, I might have used a few key words to describe me that showed my strength or perseverance in times of difficulty.  I might have started with being a single mom putting myself through school.  I might have said something about learning to trust who God is and what I want to do with that knowledge.  I might have even said that I am not really defined by who I was, but more by who I am now.  I might have said my past is just that - my past.  It was no longer really a defining part of my story, because I no longer live there, it is no longer my present reality.

Until yesterday.  Yesterday, I had a bad day.  Like the kind of bad day that starts before you really even wake up.  Before the first cup of coffee kind of bad.  I woke up yesterday morning to a feeling I had long forgotten.  A feeling I thought I had overcome and was far behind me.  I am not sure what brought it on, what triggered it, or what I can do to prevent it from happening again.  But I do know this.  That fear that I thought was no more, was suddenly popping in for a surprise visit.  My fear was real, and it ran deep.  So deep, I didn't even know it was still there.

I can't even pretend it didn't bother me.  I can't pretend I laughed it off as a reminder of who I used to be.  I want to pretend it didn't almost consume me.  But, the reality of my situation was this: this fear used to consume my every moment.  It had the potential of consuming my present and it most definitely had the possibility of capturing a few of my tomorrows, too.  Unless I said no. 

Something I am still learning is that I get to choose.  I get to choose: with God or without?  I get to choose: being sad today or finding something to be joyful about?  I get to choose: yes or no.  I get to choose: ice cream or cake (and we all know the right answer to that one is always both!).  I get to choose: speaking life or death.  The point is, yesterday, I had to choose: fear of man or freedom with God?

Crazy enough, I told a friend on Sunday that God had really been speaking some profound (quite simple, really) concepts about fear and freedom to me and how the two just don't ever seem to work well together.  We can't fear something and it not hold us captive, even if just kinda, maybe, sorta captive.  I remember mentioning how thankful I was that fear didn't hold me any longer.  Thankful that I was free. 

While I don't regret those words, I am pretty sure I would've kept them to myself if I had known what would be happening for the next twelve hours.  One reminder after another of so many fears I thought I was free from.  I thought I was free from the shame.  I thought I was free from the panic.  I thought I was free from the worry.  I thought I was free from the fear.  I thought I was free from the one who created those moments. In one single night, all of my confidence came crashing down.  I had a choice to make.  Be free or be afraid?

And in one single night (okay, and pretty much the whole next day, too), I realized freedom does not happen when we choose to allow fear into our minds.  I woke up yesterday in a panic.  Not because I was afraid of those things ever happening again, but because those weak moments of fear and panic were happening again.  My mind filled with worry that maybe I wasn't as healthy as I thought I was.  That maybe my forward progress had turned around.  Three years of freedom, and it felt like it was all spiraling out of control.  The fact remained that I remembered things and situations that once caused me physical and emotional pain brought a fear that I hadn't forgiven.  The fact that I once was someone I now am not made me fear being worth where God is taking me.  The fact that just the simple knowledge that the nightmares weren't just dreams, but real memories created a fear so painful and so real I felt as though they had just happened to me.

Throughout my day yesterday, I continued to think about fear and how to be bigger or braver or stronger than my fear.  I focused on the fear (which kept me from focusing on my freedom).  While my bigger fear was fear of becoming who I used to be again, and having to live life in a hopeless, dangerous situation, fear isn't always a traumatic situation.  Sometimes it is the supposedly simple act of letting go and letting God lead us where He wants us to be.  Sometimes this fear moves in because we don't really see a way out when we think we need one.  Sometimes, it can be that daunting job application that is eighteen  (yes, seriously, eighteen!) pages long.  When we allow our fear to become bigger than our God, we are pretty much binding our own hands together, turning the lock and throwing out the key.  Something God really laid on my heart Sunday is that whatever it is we fear the most will hold the heaviest chains around us. 

Pretty much, God has given us two choices.

Plan A: We can carry these chains, day in and out, praying the weight doesn't kill us, that no one finds out that one thing we are most afraid of.  Being alone.  Unloved.  Unneeded.  Unimportant.  Feeling weak.  Standing out.  Finding the right job.  Doesn't really matter what the fear is.  What matters is that you can choose to embrace that fear and live held captive by it.  Worried.  Stressed.  Sad.  Lonely.  Uncertain.  Tired.

Plan B (or C or D and/or E, because this really isn't the easy choice): You can take those fears to the one who created fear in the first place.  You can choose to call out that fear to the one who already knows how you will defeat it.  You can make the choice to live a faith bigger than your fears, choosing the freedom God so desperately desires for you to live in.  Fear and freedom cannot co-exist.  Which are you going to choose to exist with?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Transition Wasn't Meant to Be Easy

As a Mom of three amazing kids, I have had the absolute joy (not) of being in the transitional stages of labor three very difficult times.  No, this post is not going to be about the pains of childbirth or any of my birthing experiences.  It is just an easy to relate to sort of experience, I guess.  I have entered this weird stage of life transition.  Not because anything is physically changing, but because I know life as I used to know it is behind me.  I've taken months off.  In my time off, I finished the most difficult courses of my college history (Oh yes, history.  As in past.  As in done!)  I attempted to regain some form of normalcy.  Yet, nothing feels normal.  While this huge goal was completed, it left a sense of change looming.  Nothing looked different.  Still, everything was.  Something great is in the midst.

Something I feel coming into this new year is just this sense of amazing things happening in my life.  Has God directly spoken new plans and purposes and snapped it all into place?  Nope.  Can I see His mighty hand preparing the way? No, not really.  But, just the same, I know it is happening.  While I don't really like this time of transition, I know it is developing me for something greater.  Nine years ago, I experienced a transition period that led me to becoming a Mom.  No greater joy than what I experienced that Wednesday evening.  But, let me just skip the yuck and say it was not an easy, pleasurable experience.  It was the most intense pain I have ever been in. 

Transitional times are never easy.  They are a time of great expectancy, knowing something huge is getting ready to happen, yet typically a time of growth, pain, despair or hopelessness that the miracle will just never get here.  It hit me tonight, that it is through the most insane pain of our lives that the most amazing miracles will occur.  If we suffer nothing, the gift we receive means little.  Kinda like no pain, no gain.
Waiting on something exciting, a new car, a new baby, that amazing cruise to the Bahamas, whatever it is, it isn't easy.  We get excited at the beginning of the process, knowing we get to plan the experience of a lifetime.  The wait is easy at the beginning, because the excitement outweighs the length of the wait.  As time progresses, we may waiver between nervous anticipation over stretch marks, leather or cloth seats or if motion sickness will get the best of you - again.  But, in the end, the excitement still wins out.  As you wait a little longer, you may get frustrated at the inability to find the perfect name, make and model, or if the cost is seriously worth it.  We start to doubt it is going to happen when and how we want it.  We get tired.  We get cranky.  Our dreams become a little less clear, and way less fun.  We start to wonder if the days could possibly pass any slower. 

Then suddenly, it appears.  Labor starts (or the new car is available in just the right shade, or even better, that cost of the cruise was just reduced 75% off).  Emotions get a little crazy.  Excitement.  Anticipation.  Uncertainty.  Pain increases.  That car bill comes.  Clothes get forgotten at home - or worse, sunscreen.  There comes a point in most things that it just doesn't seem fun anymore.  What you are going through just doesn't seem worth the wait, worth the cost, worth the sacrifice.  You just want to be done.  And you just can't be done.  You have no choice.  If you really want what it is you are expecting to receive, you have to finish the process. 

It is in those hours (whether they be real hours, or hours that stretch into months or years) that we learn what real pain feels like.  We have no choice but to wait as something incredible is going to happen.  Now, we can force that something to happen sooner.  We can elect to have that C-section three days sooner.  We can buy that car that isn't exactly what we wanted, but it'll do.  We can go on that cruise ship, even though you doubt it's ability to sail.  But, when we do this, are we really getting what we want or need?  Do we learn what we were supposed to learn for the season we were in?  As a very pregnant, first time momma-to-be, those were the longest hours of my life.  You know what I learned?  Those moments of the most insane pain of my life were worth it.  Those moments I wanted to give up and flee from the room because of the pain would have allowed me a way out, but could have caused major harm to the little girl God was blessing me with.  Those moments of pain were soon forgotten when the miracle bloomed forth, and a baby was placed in my arms.  We forget the difficult moments when we get to hold that promise in our arms. 

When we wait out those moments of pain, seeking God in the midst of them, we learn a lot about life.  We learn about this incredible God who doesn't always ease the pain of the moment.  We do learn He is the greatest Comforter we could ever have the possibility of knowing.  We learn about this Creator who has the ability to bring forth something that is completely worth the wait, the pain, and the tears.  This Creator who does, in fact, work for our good, and for no greater reason than because He loves us and we are His. 

We show God that waiting on Him has never felt more right, despite the pain and frustration.  We fail.  We falter.  We mess up.  And we realize, He is still there, waiting for us.  Preparing us for the greatness He created us for. Transitioning us for the greatest times of our lives.  And, then, when we are finally ready, we hands us this promise, reminding us He never forgot and had it planned perfectly all along.