February 8, 2012

For the Good of Those Who Love Him

I’m in that stage of life: baby explosion. Friends left and right are popping out kids. I still have some fellow holdouts (don’t abandon me quite yet, I beg you!), but I’d say the majority of my married friends either have kids or are pregnant with their first.

Since I haven’t yet experienced pregnancy, I can only go by what others tell me. But, um yeah, it doesn’t seem like a fun prospect. At all.

I mean there’s the swollen ankles (cankles, right?). The aching back. The nonstop cravings that plop on the pounds faster than you’d like. And let’s not forget the lovely morning sickness that may or may not strike in the A.M. as the name suggests.

But according to my friends, it’s totally worth it. Every last moment of pain is swept away from a mother’s memory when she holds her baby in her arms for the first time.

But what about pain—whether physical or emotional—that isn’t “worth it”? What about those things that just make you cry? Those experiences so awful you can’t possibly see any good in it?

What if there seems to be NO silver lining?

In these situations, it’s so incredibly easy to get discouraged. To doubt God. To wonder if He’s real or if He really loves us at all. If life will ever be good again.

I’ve been there. From the time I was 15 to the time I was 19, my mom suffered with cancer.

I watched her struggle to maintain her dignity as she used her walker to sweep the floor that no one else could get quite as clean as she could.

As she cried because she was sorry her pain was “interrupting” MY life.

As she lay there in pain, wasting away, trying to eat for our sakes but not able to keep much down.

I was helpless to do anything but rub her feet and give her the next round of 25 tiny pain pills.

And my heart cried out to God: “Why?! What good is there in this? What silver lining?”

I still don’t know exactly why God allowed my mom to leave this world on September 10, 2004. But I do know this: “…in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).  

I’m not sure I could fully, truly say that before I experienced what I did.

And maybe that, right there, IS the silver lining.

Your Turn: What’s the silver lining in what you’re going through today or what you’ve gone through in the past? Or, how has God used something in your life to teach you His truth?

24 comments:

  1. I love that you're honest about not knowing the why behind what happened. I feel that about so many things.

    Silver lining is how God has used me in my family.
    ~ Wendy

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    1. You are definitely a bright spot, Wendy!

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  2. Yes, God does use what you went through but we don't always get to know when or how. He ministered to me today through your voice.
    We are coming out of a rough 4 years of unemployment after we thought we were set for life, sold our home last fall and had to move here to Texas where we know no one to work. It isn't easy. Some days I want to give up. We can't even buy another home now because my husband wasn't working steady. We didn't choose this situation but are choosing how we respond and the only way is through trusting that God does know.

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    1. Terri, thank you so much for stopping by and commenting! I'm so glad God spoke to you today. What you're going through sounds so tough; I can't imagine it. And you're right; we can't control the situation, only our response.

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  3. Oh Lindsay, I can't imagine what you went through. The love for your mom in this post is beautiful.
    I didn't really like being pregnant but there were some very cool moments, like feeling your baby move inside you.

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    1. Thank you, Jessica.

      And yep, I think that would be really cool to feel. Such a miracle!

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  4. Tears...like Jessica said, I just can't imagine. But yes, your love for your Mom and your trust in God are both such beautiful things. Very moving...

    God has really used my nephew Ollie and my sister and brother-in-law to teach me. Ollie was born with two heart defects and Down Syndrome. He's been through three open heart surgeries in his first year of life. Been life-flighted multiple times...and multiple times his medical team told our family to prepare for him not to make it. Watching my sister and brother-in-law through the whole process has been amazing - their trust in God's will for Ollie's life, their patience, it's just been amazing.

    Also, FYI, um, I'm not married yet, so I don't plan to pop out babies any too soon. In fact, the more I hear from friends who have had babies, the more adoption is sounding like an awesome choice... :) (Not to make light of adoption OR having a baby...both wonderful things.)

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    1. Thanks, Melissa. Your story about Ollie sounds so amazing. I have a friends whose baby nephew fought leukemia...and won! There is always hope.

      And good, I'm glad I have at least one more friend on the no-babies-for-now train! Party on! :P

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  5. My heart goes out to you, Lindsay. I can't imagine how hard it had to be to witness your mother's battle with cancer and to lose her so early in life. I'm so glad you knew the Lord at that point and that He was there for you to cling to.

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    1. I'm so, so glad for that too, Keli. I honestly don't know what I would have done otherwise.

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  6. Very moving post, Lindsay. I remember how strong your mom was through those last months. My heart ached for your family.

    Yet, I see you now and know her legacy is YOU and your beauty of words and love of Christ. So, you are that beauty that came through all that pain she endured!

    And, even though some pregnancies are rough...believe me, I know...it is all worth it in the end. You will see your mom in that sweet baby's face and personality and you will SMILE. Then you will know how much she loved you and how much the Lord loves you.

    There is a silver lining. :)

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    1. Ruth, you are making me want to cry with your sweet words. I hope I make my mom proud. She certainly engrained in me a love for God.

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  7. I still don't understand why God took my father, especially before he got to see his long awaited Grandson! He would have been such a proud Grandpa, but that is neither here nor there. God took him and I am happy he is not suffering. I am at peace with it.

    I waited till my 30's to have a baby. Like you, I didn't think it sounded all that great of an experience- weight gain, pain, feet swelling, possible stretch marks and on the list goes.
    But I also think I tried to tell myself it wasn't great because the doctors said I may never be able to have a child. I think I focused on the negative because it was too painful to think of the joy I might miss.
    God had a plan though and he gave me a healthy beautiful baby boy! Words cannot express the bliss I feel just knowing he is mine. The pain of labor disappeared the moment he was laid in my arms. The tears of wonder fell as I held him in my arms. He is a miracle, not just because I was told I couldn't have him, but because each new life is a priceless work of art made by Gods own hand.
    I love my son more than I could image or express. I am finally in the right place in my life. I am finally centered. He is my silver lining.

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    1. TC, your description of what your son means to you is so beautiful. I definitely know that when we do have kids, and the Lord blesses it, it will be wonderful.

      I'm so glad God has given you peace. That's such a precious thing.

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  8. Very touching post! My mother-in-law died of cancer less than a year after my husband and I were married. Her life was full of tough challenges and she died fairly young, but she taught us a lot as she endured with grace and cheerfulness and love.

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    1. Welcome here, Stacy! That must have been very difficult for you both. Isn't it interesting how much you can learn about someone when you watch them suffer? I'm not sure I would have half the grace and dignity my mom had if I was in a similar situation.

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  9. I knew I kept this blog post from yesterday open until today for a reason. (Whew! Long sentence.)
    Here's one of the reasons I come back to your blog: I love your honesty.
    Other things too -- but I value honesty highly.
    Thanks.
    And I know that doesn't answer your question ... but maybe it does.
    One of the "silver linings" from pain in my life is a desire for honesty and truth.

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    1. Thank you so much for coming back continually, Beth. Your words encourage me more than you know. And yes, going through difficult times most definitely bring us a thirst for truth.

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  10. I'm so sorry you had to watch your mom suffer, and I totally understand her heartbreak. Some things we'll never understand this side of heaven, so in the meantime we press on and trust. Silver linings aren't always easy to find, but if we try to look at it from God's perspective it sometimes makes a little more sense. I might not like it, but it's not my call :)

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    1. Exactly, Susan. God is in control. He is sovereign. There is such peace in knowing I don't have to have all the answers.

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  11. Lovely post, and I am truly sorry about your mother passing. I can only imagine the pain and heartache you experienced through it.

    For me, I had to wear a big metal back brace during my first 2 years of high school. Talk about being a nerd and social outcast. Looking back, I know it was good for me...and not just to keep my back straight. It helped me have compassion for those on the outside of the circle. It has made me be an includer. And that's a good thing, I think.

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    1. Sherrinda, I've seen you "around" on other blogs. Welcome here and thanks so much stopping by and commenting!

      Thank you for your kind words. It was hard for sure, but like you, I learned for compassion for those who were hurting. Once you've felt pain, you don't wish it upon anyone else, and want to do anything to help others get through it. That's so awesome that God gave you a compassion for the outcast. There are so many more outcasts than I think we know.

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  12. Lindsay,
    Finally got around to reading your posts...and had to comment on this one. I'm am so sorry that I never knew your Mom here on earth, although I prayed for her and your family many times. You have grown so much through those difficult years and have drawn nearer to God. You have become steadfast in your faith as you persevered. God has prepared you for your life today. I could not love you more if I had carried you in my own womb for 9 months like your Mom had.
    By the way, pregnancy is the most amazing time in life! You have another person inside of you , entrusted to your care by the almighty God. Each day God is "knitting" that child in the serenity of your internal incubator. Your child is truly the handiwork of God. The inconveniences of pregnancy are insignificant in comparison to the eternal value of that child you carry. Nine months is a pittance in light of eternity. I cherished each day because I knew that I was truly doing God's work.

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    1. Nancy, you are the sweetest mother-in-law anyone could ever ask for! And I totally agree, even though I haven't been pregnant before...it's all worth the inconvenience and pain to have a miracle growing inside of you.

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