Im(manuel)

I’m having trouble concentrating on anything today other than the giant belly that sits between my computer and me. It’s spring and there is so much new life blossoming outside. Each year, the seasons wax and wane with an untold story of what will bloom and what will remain barren.

Even when the petals vary, the roots remain. Only the roots given over to disease and thirst will rot. Those underground life veins which drink from sent waters will thrive.

Last spring, my heart felt as heavy as the weight of the earth. God allowed my arms to be empty. I thought they would be full this time last year, but the calendaring of the previous July for that spring was cancelled only a month later. The heartbeat of my first child ceased because the number of days God had given him were complete. The weight of what (who) was not placed in my arms, God Himself took upon Himself. It was more than I could bear…the loss. I could have bared the child. But the loss, I could not bare. God took the weight of my empty arms into His own arms.

It didn’t seem right that the child we wanted so badly would be taken from us.

It didn’t seem right that when so many people have discarded life and we have treasured and yearned for it, that we would not be able to see it bloom inside of me.

It didn’t seem right that after waiting so long and having a miracle dangled before us that it was just gone.

In our eyes, it did not seem right.

But we knew. We knew that we couldn’t see it all. After all, we walk by faith, not by sight. After saying you believe that for so many years, it can be really hard to live by that when the opportunity comes your way. Still, we walked by faith and placed our hope in the One who promised that He had plans for a good future for us.

We adapted. Still, we mourned. We keep offering our loss back to the Lord whenever it piled upon our spirits. We hoped. We dreamed new dreams. We planned. We researched. We went to information meetings. We hoped a new kind of hope.

All the while, we grew. We didn’t know how much we were growing because we couldn’t see what was happening underneath the surface at the roots.

The roots were being nourished by the burial of our loss. Those same roots could have rotted out if we let the poison of bitterness seep in. Sometimes it felt like our salty tears might fill an ocean, but instead, they filled the bottle of the One who sent water to our desert. The soil of our lives became richer as the peace and trust grew deeper.

And then one day, when we least expected it, the Lord did a new thing.

All we had to offer was a wasteland, but He brought it rivers.

The blooms were not as fruitful last spring because there was too much excavation work going on underground. The rivers were still saturating the grounds of grief in order to bring about a new bursting forth of life.

Life is blossoming so much more obviously this year. We’ve lapped up the fresh, still waters God has brought to our wasteland after traveling through so many stormy seas.

Sometimes you have to pass through oceans to find fresh water.

Sometimes you have to wander in the wasteland to appreciate the quenching of thirst to the fullest.

Loss gives us more than it takes. Loss introduces us to the need for leadership. Loss is a form of lostness… of wondering and wandering where to go, what to do next, and how to survive the wilderness. Those who are loss(t) need a leader.

The Good Shepherd has loved us and led us through our wilderness. All the places that have been wild and out of control, He has offered peace and stillness…and also newness.

What areas of your life feel wild and out of control?

Where do you feel loss and lostness in your life?

The Lord is your Shepherd, my friend. He is with you and He is with your loss. You may pass through the valley of the shadow of death, but He is with you, because He is who His name says He is: Immanuel. He will lead you to green pastures and beside still waters. Take hope, my friend, because that means He will lead you out of that wasteland you are in to a new thing…not the same thing you were hoping for or what is right in your eyes… but a new thing… His best thing for you.

Do you know what comforts me today? My Manuel is tucked safely inside of Im(manuel)’s arms. He is with him. And He is with me.

I can stand in my backyard this Spring and smile because the Good Shepherd has brought rivers to my wasteland by His very presence.

Are you loss(t) today, friend? Follow the Good Shepherd’s lead.

Immanuel. He is with you.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:1-4

 

 

 

 

 

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