Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Eight Years.

Eight years ago this month I met Stephen. I had planned to blog about this the entire month of November, but here I am, the day before December, finally getting around to it! I can’t believe I have had Stephen in my life eight years, but on the other hand I can’t imagine my life without him.
Eight years ago, I was a junior in high school. On November 8th, I found myself attending a football game I did not want to go to. My high school (Union County) was playing a rival high school (Bradford County) for their homecoming (yes, that is how pitiful our football team was that year). My two best friends were going “guy hunting,” and I really did not want to go. But, for some reason, I made a last minute decision and went.  That was the night that my friend Kristyn introduced me to Stephen, with whom she had attended elementary school.
I remember he was wearing a dark blue Unionbay sweatshirt.  I also quickly noticed the True Love Waits ring he wore on his hand. Our first conversation consisted of all the normal stuff, plus talk about church and Christianity. I also learned that he was a singer, which I thought was awesome! I remember thinking that this is the kind of guy I should think about marrying.
During the rest of November we began dating. Our first date was on a rainy Saturday to lunch at Larry’s Giant Subs. He came to my door with an umbrella and escorted me to his gold Cavalier. I remember singing a Third Day song together with the radio as we rode in the car.  I knew I had found someone special. Our second date was to play pool at the bowling alley. I beat him handily. I was so proud until 6 months later I figured out he had let me win!
As I think back to that November 8 years ago, I smile.  I am so blessed to have met a man that truly seeks after God.  I am blessed that I have been a part of what God is doing in him and through him for the past 8 years.  Little did I know November 8, 2002, would be a night that I would forever remember as the night I met my best friend and husband.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

For the Sake of Steadfastness

James 1: 2-4 Count is all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
I had plans to blog after our doctor’s appointment on Monday (November 8), but I had no idea that I would be sharing sad news. And, I must say, I am not sure how to even begin to blog about this, but I know that I should.
I have meditated on the above scripture and others like it to find strength.  Before I continue, I will acknowledge the danger in using this passage in James to speak to my trails, when these Christians were facing actual persecution for their faith, not just the trails of everyday life. I do not wish to rip this text out of context, or to elevate my situation to the trial of persecution. However, I believe that we can glean truth from this passage about facing those life-trials.
Monday, November 8, Stephen and I were to go back to the doctor for a regularly scheduled appointment. I was 10 weeks pregnant. However, Monday morning I started experiencing some concerning symptoms. I called the doctor’s office and they encouraged me not to worry, they could be perfectly normal. That advice and the statistic that only 5% of pregnancies experience miscarriage after hearing a heartbeat calmed my nerves. (We saw and heard a heartbeat at our first appointment.) However, when we got into the ultrasound room and they began to look for the baby, they asked me to go empty my bladder, because they could not see past it. When I returned to the ultrasound room, my face was streaked with tears; I knew something was wrong. As they continued the ultra sound, and looked for the baby, their silence and grim expressions began to confirm my fears. I could see the still shadow of my baby, no heartbeat and much smaller than it should have been.  They told me that the baby had not developed past 7 weeks and there was no heartbeat. The symptoms I had experienced were my body beginning to miscarry.
They left us alone in the room for a few moments and my wonderful husband prayed over me. He thanked God for being good and gracious and asked him for strength.  I took this news much harder than I would have imagined. I did not realize that I would actually grieve so strongly.
As I sit here today, I am not trying to act like this is not a big deal, because it is. I am not trying to act like it does not hurt because it does, immensely. But, I am trying to remember as James says, “The testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”  Steadfastness is perseverance.  Trials teach us how to persevere and perseverance actually matures our faith.  Steadfast faith is faith that does not give up, is not shaken, and is strong enough to stand by others as they suffer. I have to want what God has for me more than anything else, even a child. God wants to produce in me steadfast faith, and he uses trails to do so.
I am grateful that God does not spare me from heartache. It is through this heartache that my faith is made steadfast. It is through this heartache that I learn how to better minister to hurting people. It is through this heartache that I learn to lean on God’s strength.
So, here I find myself, broken, empty, lonely, confused, and grief-stricken, all for the sake of steadfastness. And, because I know my God has a plan, I would not have it any other way, for the sake of steadfastness.