Are you elated to put 2016 behind you convinced 2017 has to be better simply because things can’t get much worse? That was 2011 for me, so when this post showed up as a memory in my Facebook feed this morning, I relived not just the disappointments of 2011, but the faithfulness of God. Seeing the reality of His word lived out in the pages of my testimony encouraged me today as He reminded me of the irrevocable truths He taught me that year. I felt as though the proverbial other shoe kept dropping and dropping when the Lord showed me it was His loving, sovereign hand. I am reposting this today with links to the other two blogs in this series in hopes that it is an encouragement to you this New Year. And my prayer for every one of this is this: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).
Two pink lines. There they were, plain as day. I must have done something wrong. Let me try that again. Wait, did they turn pink faster that time? Are they actually darker and more pronounced? How could that be? (Don’t answer that, because I really do know.)
Exactly one year ago today, this is the conversation I had with myself standing in my water closet wondering how in the world I was going to let my husband, James, down easy. You see, our oldest of four had just turned twenty-two and our youngest nine. James’ favorite daydream involved some form of us, all by ourselves, traveling and enjoying life while our grown children started families and gave us lots of adorable grandkids. All I could envision was me stabbing his empty nest balloon with a gigantic epidural needle! Trembling with fear, unbelief, and excitement, I held my tongue all day until he came home from work. Apparently, it had not been a good day, but there was no way in the world I could hold my mud for better timing. I invited him to our room, shut the door, asked if he wanted to sit down, and dropped the bomb: “I’m pregnant.” It was the first firework of the New Year! My husband took the news very well. We agreed that if God gave us life, we would embrace it, and then I proceeded to tell everyone we know. My children literally would not believe me, and the most common response from friends and family was, “Is this a joke?” I remember with a smile on my face. In January, we jetted off on our family vacation, and when we returned, I had my first doctor’s appointment. That’s when the shoe dropped.
The ultrasound screen showed a little sac, but it was empty. I must have looked like a deer in the headlights. My previous pregnancies had been free of complications. The thought had never even entered my mind that this one would be any different. James was waiting for me in the waiting room. All I had to do was pull it together enough to get from the exam room to his arms. And there I fell apart. Convulsing sobs made my speech unintelligible. Even though we weren’t planning to conceive, the moment we learned I was pregnant, that child became a part of our family. Now that child would never be? I literally couldn’t believe it. We talked, and I looked on the internet and found hundreds of stories of women who had received the same diagnosis of a blighted ovum and later found out the diagnosis was wrong. Filled with hope, we put our faith in God and not in the doctor’s reports. Here are excerpts from an email I sent to friends and family for prayer:
This was the beginning of a journey that threatened and strengthened my faith. The doctors never found a baby. But I’m here to tell you, God gave me victory. In the midst of walking through one of the most difficult, heart breaking times I’ve ever experienced, God made Himself and His word alive to me. It’s one thing to hear His truth, but when He makes it real in us, we receive something no man and no doctor and no bad report or rotten circumstance, sickness, or disease can steal away. The irrevocable truths He instilled in me are forever mine, and in His omniscience, He knew I would need them throughout the year. Stick with me on this. I pray you find it worth your time to read a bit longer of a post today.
IRREVOCABLE TRUTH #2: Weak faith requires the faith of others to survive. We MUST join our faith together to survive the testing of our faith. I’d like to share the story as I tell it in my book, Holy His: Hope for a Life and a Nation Wholly His, in the chapter titled “Power-Packed Prayer ∼on Coming Boldly to the Throne”:
I’ve also experienced times of testing when the prayers of others have given me the strength to keep going and made the difference between winning and losing a battle of faith. During the writing of this book, I found myself taking a stand of faith against the reports of doctors who told me I was pregnant, but there was no baby. My family chose to believe the report of the Lord over the reports of the doctors, and it was an unprecedented test of my faith to stand, and then having done all, to stand. Without the prayers of my friends and family, I would have failed. We must hold each other up when we can’t hold up on our own, just as Aaron and Hur do for Moses in Exodus 17:8-13 when Joshua and the Israelites are fighting the Amalekites:
Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said to Joshua, “Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.” So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
Our battles may not be in fields against enemies with swords, but they are real, intense, and deadly nonetheless. Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” As we’ve already seen, one of our mightiest weapons is “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18). This means seeking, asking, and entreating God for one another! When we do, we are holding each others’ arms up so we can win the battles of faith!
Anchor yourself firmly to the faithfulness of God today. My blighted ovum was the beginning of a year when the other shoe actually did drop. Several times. Maybe you’ve had a year like that. Maybe you, too, lost a baby, or someone close to you received a cancer diagnosis. Or your husband lost his job. Or someone you love died. Or you lost your home in a fire. Or your child is wayward or moving far away. Perhaps you’ve been devastated financially, or your marriage is falling apart. Maybe you face criminal charges and legal troubles. Whatever circumstance you face, I pray you will put your faith in the power of God and allow others to join their faith with yours until victory becomes your reality regardless of your circumstances.