Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy Dependence Day

Yes, I know. Happy Independence Day! I love July 4th! The parades, the community, the cookouts, the fireworks. Patriotism and flag-flying at its finest. We celebrated this year with DH's family in Oklahoma, good old-fashioned, down-on-the-farm celebration. Perfect memory making for the kids.

And yet, as I considered what I wanted to write for the blog, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for my dependence on God.

See, I am not by nature a dependent kind of person. I am a stereotypical first-born child. I can do it myself. I do not need help. Calm in the face of challenge. Just give me a minute. I've got this. Self-reliance is a good thing; right? IN.DE.PEN.DENT.

And even though I became a Christian at a young age, I did not understand depending on God until well into adulthood. I am so thankful that God took the time to bring me to my knees so that I understood, "In my weakness, HE IS STRONG."

When DH and I had been married about 3 years, we decided we were ready to have children. A year later, when we still were not pregnant, a doctor decided to run some tests. And just before Christmas, we found out we would not be getting pregnant without medical intervention. We spent the next year going through more tests, more challenges, more procedures. And as Christmas season rolled around again, there was still no baby, no promise of a baby.

There was other stuff. My grandfather having major heart surgery. My sister facing serious personal challenges. My best friend's daughter being born with a serious illness and barely surviving her first few months. And tons and tons of Christmas brag letters from well-wishing, young married friends, who were all, all having babies.

I had had it with the brag letters. I sat down at my computer to write the anti-brag letter. I was going to tell all our friends and family exactly how awful my life had been over the last year. Seriously awful. As I wrote and cried, throwing what was truly a grown-up version of a temper tantrum, I typed these words, "Some say God has you go through things like this to make you stronger. I am not stronger. If anything, I am weaker." At that moment, God laid a hand on my shoulder and said, "Yes!" I collapsed in tears. Sobbing before God. Confessing my complete and utter weakness. For the first time in many months, I allowed him to wrap me in His arms and comfort my soul. I found my dependence on God.

I found my self at my Savior's feet, broken and empty, completely lacking any ability to do it myself. Shattered before Him was the best place I could find myself. He did not intend to leave me broken. He intended for His Strength to SHINE through my weakness. Out of the ashes, God was creating something beautiful.

Now, I would love to tell you that with this great revelation and spiritual awakening accomplished, we were blessed with a child in the next year and lived happily ever after. But, no. It was another four years before our first born came along. There were many more lessons to be learned, more dependence to be gained. "The Joy of the Lord is my Strength" became my daily mantra because I knew that I did not have the strength on my own.

And bless, how God blessed us! Three precious children here on earth, two I will meet in Heaven some day. My family picture looks nothing like I would have imagined it. But then, God does give exceedingly, abundantly more than we can ever imagine.

Romans 8:26-28

The Message (MSG)
 26-28Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our waiting, desperate condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

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