Boast In The Lord January 19th, 2023

Philippians 4:6-7 “…Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 8:6 “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”
1 Corinthians 14:33 “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.”
Joshua 1:9 “Do not be afraid. Do not lose hope. I am the Lord your God. I will be with you wherever you go.”
In the last year and a half, we experienced two devastating miscarriages…one of which was the second-trimester loss of our son only a few days before Mother’s Day. Those losses also came with a vicious cycle of physical, emotional, hormonal, and spiritual illness. These two miscarriages also followed two prior miscarriages along with the crushing loss of my little brother, the loss of my grandmother (who was a very big part of my life), the loss of Scott’s father, and his grandfather, and many other hardships…all within only four short years. 
I was raised in a household where no matter how perfect you tried to be; you were still never good enough, and I still struggle in what I expect and accept of myself. After the loss of my brother, I felt almost insane with grief and rather than taking that to God, I poured my grief into personal accomplishments. I learned how to surf, got back into rock climbing, ran a half marathon…all six months after having my third son. And while these were physically healthy distractions, my emotional and spiritual health were aching, and it frustrated me that I couldn’t quickly heal them on my own. 
Things began falling apart and I was losing the control I so proudly gripped. I couldn’t bypass my grief anymore, and in my frustration with that, I became short with my husband and children. Bitterness and resentment began to take root in my heart. I would rally for church, school events, or other social occasions, but inside I was suffocating and drowning in pain, despair, and defeat. I recognized my need to run to the Lord, but it felt like a failure to me. I felt like He was as disappointed in me as I was in myself, and I locked everything inside. 
After suffering a small hemorrhage following the loss of our last baby, I collapsed into a deep darkness believing I deserved all my suffering. Everything I had been told as a child about my worthlessness filled my present mind. I knew I had fallen so very short—according to my own measures—and felt I deserved to lose my babies, deserved to suffer and be punished, because I just couldn’t attain perfection. 
I knew I needed to rely on the Lord, because I was unable to work through such vulnerable feelings in my own limitless control. I was forced to look past the devastating events and focus on some of the victories I had overlooked. My husband had another clean bill of health and is 7 years cancer-free. My boys are still growing into healthy, strong, Jesus-loving, beautiful young men despite all my many shortcomings and failures. I woke up 365 days last year, and even on the hard days that I did cry out to God, I was able to do so with breath in my lungs and face another day. How very blessed am I? 
I was reminded of one of the songs I sang over my grandmother as I held her hand in her final hours “No power of hell no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hands. ‘Till he returns, or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I stand…from life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.” How I long for the day when I will not only meet my Savior face to face but will also embrace my brother and grandmother again, and finally be able to hold my four babies I was never able to meet. What a picture of hope to cling to! But while I am here on earth, I still have work to do. My goal for this new year is to finally move forward in peace and joy; to stop focusing on what the thief has taken and focus more on what the Lord has given (John 10:10).

Grief is so complex. Those who are deep in grief know that healing isn’t a destination. It’s something to work through and learn how to live alongside over a very long period. I have come to learn and discover that it never truly leaves you. I don’t believe in the notion that “everything happens for a reason”. We live in a fallen world. I do believe God is faithful and He will use painful situations to reach others and bring them closer to Him. I believe he can take the ugly and create something beautiful if we allow Him to. But we must be vulnerable and humble and rely on him and we must fight not to lose hope and not to be discouraged. And we must be patient in the process. 
The only times I’ve moved forward in healing are the times I’ve admitted defeat and completely surrendered to the Lord. The times that I’ve wept to Him and apologized for not being enough are the times I felt His presence more profoundly than when I was trying to do everything on my own. I think of my own precious children. My heart aches when their heart does. I long to support them, uplift them, help them with problems as I can. How much more does our Heavenly Father long for that relationship with each of us? I know if I remain faithful and if I dig my heels in and keep my eyes upon Him then I believe He will bless that—if not even in my lifetime, then certainly in the lives of my precious children.
We are the sons and daughters of a King. A perfect, all-knowing, yet loving and merciful Creator who walks with us through our trials and waits patiently for us to come to Him. Fall on Him, crawl to Him if you must, or in the moments when you can barely breath and you can’t take a step forward then dig your heels in and fix your gaze on Him.

Heavenly Father, help me to remember who You are and who I am in You. Direct my path and help me to use my brokenness for Your glory and in a way that glorifies You. Help me to fix my gaze on You. Thank You for Your loving and merciful ways. Open my eyes to all of Your goodness, and help me to be the person You created me to be.

Nicole Rebholz

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