A new week has come and with it the chance for a new start. I found myself trying to have a "good" day today because of the encouragement of another wonderful Sunday. I love being in the house of God. I love carrying the truths I hear with me throughout the week. It encourages me.
So now that it was Monday, I thought, okay Lord; please carry me through another day and another week.
I found myself all day long reflecting back to some wonderful things I had heard the night before... Rick had preached the Youth/Young Adults service and the words he spoke of stayed in my heart.
My Husband is an amazing Preacher all the time, but here lately God has really been moving in his messages. Maybe because we have drawn ourselves closer than ever to the Lord. Maybe because Rick has surrendered everything to God even more so since Madeline's passing. I'm not sure.
I am sure of this. The Lord is using my Husband in a great way. Wow!
As I sat and listened to him preach last night, I couldn't help but be in awe of the words the Lord was giving him. Or maybe I should word it better, the words the Lord was giving me. I needed to hear exactly what he said.
He first read from Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.
Then he read Philippians 1:12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel...
Wow. What. Words.
My sweet husband went on to tell the story of Paul. He spoke of all the trials and heartaches Paul had endured in his life. He talked about how he had been beaten, stoned, imprisoned, and hated. And yet, he preached on. He continued on. And the reason he did so was for the furtherance of the gospel.
Then Rick said this... "I do not want you to feel sorry for my wife and I for what we are going through."
Um what? Wait a second... Don't feel sorry for us? We are going through the biggest heartache of the most unimaginable loss known to man. The loss of a child. Why would he say that, I thought?
Then I listened as he continued.
"I do not want you to feel sorry for us as if the Lord has left us or forsaken us. He hasn't. God's word says I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. Although we have lost our little Maddie, we have gained so much grace."
He went on to discuss this trial in our life. How because of little Madeline, we now have an even closer walk with God. Because of Madeline, prayer is constantly flowing in our lives and in our home. Because of Madeline, we have learned to completely lean on the Lord. For He is the one who gives and takes away. God is in control of everything in our lives. Losing her has helped us to better understand these things.
Then I got it...
And I can agree completely. She has helped me and taught me in so many ways. I feel that I am a better wife, mother and Christian because of her. I feel like I do not take anything for granted anymore and every day I live life to the fullest I can. I take every opportunity to talk about her and the Lord who gave her to me. This is my job. This is my commission. To teach and to preach Jesus Christ.
So... back to Rick's message, (sorry, I tend to get some fire in me as well)
We may not know why God allows things to happen in our lives. We may not know why we have to "bear certain crosses" but we do know that the Lord will help us. He has helped us to bear this cross of losing a child. And though some days it seems too heavy to carry on, the Lord helps us.
Philippians 1:18 What then? Notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, CHRIST IS PREACHED: and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.
One way or another Christ is preached in our lives. It is our decision whether it is for good or bad.
Mine and Rick's desire is that our lives are for the good of Christ.
I hope that others can look at us and say, they made it through that because they have the Lord.
Now I get it. I understand why he said not to feel sorry for us. Lives have been changed because of Madeline. Because of the God in her and the God is us. We have been changed because of Madeline. A world is being touched and changed because of Madeline, our daughter.
I'm honored and I'm privileged to share my sweet Maddie Grace with all of you. And maybe, just maybe her life will help you to lean completely on the Lord too.
...for the things which have happened unto me have fallen out rather to the furtherance of the gospel....
This is my prayer.