Tragedy & Gratitude

Today in Boston, tragedy occurred. You may be wondering how I can even include the word “gratitude” in this title. How can anyone be grateful right now? While I do not understand why these situations occur, I do know that I don’t see all that God sees. I only have my perspective.

I’ve always been a runner. Even as a little girl, almost every day after school I would race other kids across the field to see who was fastest. I was usually 1st or 2nd place (not bragging… it was a very small private school, so there weren’t many kids to be faster than). As I grew older, it became not just a hobby but a passion. I LOVED to run. I still do. I love the fresh air hitting my face (warm or cold) and the scenery around me (leaves or snow). I love the freedom I feel as I move and the quietness I feel in my spirit.

So it should be of no surprise to you that last year as I began to train for my first 1/2 marathon, I started to think about more challenging goals for the future. The Boston Marathon sounded like a great challenge for the following year and how amazing it would be to be a part of such a large event (if I could even qualify)?

However, it was not long after that I began to have some hormonal imbalances that caused me to quit running altogether. One of the things I greatly loved, and I really could not do it anymore. But you see, it was more than just hormone problems, I mean… most of us deal with that from time to time, right? It started to become a little tragedy in my safe life. This is not something I have shared openly with people, but I decided to be open about it today. The fact is, my hormones got so out of whack that I was having trouble trying to get pregnant again.

Many months went by… No more running, lots of healthy eating, and God knows I cried more than I would like to admit. This is when my other blog Wholesome Healing was birthed. I was searching for answers right and left, wondering how someone so (seemingly) healthy could continue to have early miscarriages. I just wanted the heartache to stop. I can’t even imagine the pain of those who’ve been trying even longer for their first child. Lord, bless them.

Well, clearly, I’m still not pregnant. But I’ve stopped asking questions. I’ve stopped searching like crazy for answers to this little tragedy that I do not understand. I’ve made peace with it and decided that if this is all God has for me, it is enough. I am more than beyond blessed with this 1 amazing, beautiful, and life-giving little girl He has given us. There is nothing else I need, even though people continue to remind me that I must have 1 more (can’t a beagle count??). Oh, the number of times I responded by just laughing or, worse, making up some ridiculous sarcastic remark to cover up how I was really feeling inside… ugh. Nothing hurts us more than the truth we keep inside, hidden from others.

The last few weeks, I’ve been in a new place with all of this though. Mostly because I decided to be okay with it and just trust God. I know that He knows my heart and He knows what’s best. That’s what matters. But just as I relinquished control, answers started to come and I now find myself in a process of healing (more on this coming up on my other blog soon). But it’s beyond a physical healing… it’s spiritual, mental, and emotional, too. It’s gratitude and thankfulness. It’s finding hope, joy, and peace in the little tragedies because He’s given me the ability to see things differently.

Some of you may have already heard this story, but while we were on our recent vacation in Puerto Rico, we had a little tragedy occur. As Josh and I were walking towards the beach, we saw Jayden sitting on a towel, playing in the sand. My in-laws were there next to her, laying underneath a large, old, solid wood cabana. I watched as my mother in law scooped up my daughter and laid her on a chair to change her diaper. She fussed, of course. Within seconds, half of top of the cabana split in half without warning and fell on top of my mother and sister in law (who both happened to be standing over my daughter in that exact moment). It happened so quickly, that I think we were all in shock for the first several minutes. We began to dissect exactly what happened and who was injured where. Both my mother and sister in law suffered concussions and back injuries. But as we kept going over what had happened, the one thing that stood out in all of our minds that kept us ever so grateful was this: what if it had happened 5 seconds sooner? Or what if my mother in law decided not to change my daughter’s diaper after all? That cabana fell exactly right on top of the very towel Jayden was sitting on just moments before the tragedy. What a different story I might be telling if the timing of things had been any different. What a different life I would have right now.

Today was yet another reminder of what I have to be thankful for. Where would I be right now if I had decided to keep running? Would I have continued to train for today’s marathon in Boston? Would I be here at all? I’m not saying that if it weren’t for my hormonal imbalance, that I might be dead or even injured. I mean, let’s be honest… I probably wouldn’t have even qualified to run the race! But thinking about the possibility does put my little tragedy into perspective. And when I say “little tragedy”, I don’t mean to make the issue of infertility a minor one, but in the grand scheme of all the great tragedies going on around us… at least I still have a family to come home to. At least I can still look at my husband and daughter tomorrow and tell them how much I love them. At least I still have my life.

I think sometimes we get so wrapped up in what’s not going right in our own lives that we forget to be grateful for what is going right, and that can put a real damper on our perspective. Not only that, but it cultivates doubt which eventually short circuits our faith. We need to be careful about what we choose to dwell on. Dwelling on our little tragedies does not build faith, only fear. Whatever it is that you have to be thankful for right now, think on those things (Philippians 4:8). In fact, I challenge you to go wake up every morning dwelling on 5 things you are grateful for… I imagine it might change your perspective and quite possibly your life.

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“Will Work for Compliments”



 -PSALM 118:8

When we see ourselves how God sees us, we have no room to criticize ourselves or others. When we believe lies and not God’s truth, we try to find ways to lift ourselves up or get others to speak something positive about us. That is called pride. Whether intentional or not, it is pride and it is not how God intended us to function. He desires us to spend time with Him to discover who we are and who He’s really called us to be. When we are operating out of insecurity, it is difficult to be humble. Although that may sound contradicting, it actually makes perfect sense when you think about it. If I am constantly unsure about who I am and am looking to others for some sort of validation instead of looking to God’s word, there is no doubt that I will constantly be let down or discouraged. Not because we try to hurt each other but just simply because we are human and no human can give another the true validation they need. Only God can fulfill that; only God can truly satisfy that need. So, if I am constantly being let down by others, of course pride will creep in at some point, because I feel offended that others do not value me or see me the way I think they ought. There may also be a time of self-pity before reaching that offended stage. A time where you start to begin those lies in your head… you think, “Well, if they aren’t thankful for all my hard-work, I must’ve not worked hard enough to earn their compliments.” So you work harder, just to be disappointed again and again and realize that it doesn’t matter how much you do, no one ever really appreciates you the way you think you should be appreciated. Again… pride. True self-confidence comes from God. It comes from knowing what He thinks about you and believing it. When we operate in that way, we don’t need validation from anyone else because it doesn’t matter. So we are no longer working for compliments; we are confident in who we are and in who God says we are. We feel fully loved and don’t allow the disappointment of others to rule over our thoughts or feelings. This is called freedom, and it’s where life begins.

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In Strong Pursuit of a Whole-Hearted Trust in God.

Sometimes you just have to smile and choose to believe that all will be okay. He knows what He’s doing. He trusts you.

I have been blessed with the privilege of becoming a mom to this beautiful, creative, and smart little girl, who has the gift of a sensitive spirit and strong leadership. I’m not being sarcastic here. I am blessed. Completely and undeniably blessed. But there are moments when that little sensitive spirit and those strong leadership qualities really test my inner strength. As cute as this picture is (I mean, really, let’s be honest… this kid is adorable, even when she is teething), this was not a day that I was feeling particularly confident. It was an exhausting, draining, and frustrating day full of teething and sickness. If you’re a parent reading this, I know you get it. This is just a small picture of the journey I have been on since day 1 of Jayden’s life. And although I have been loving this amazing opportunity, there are times when I just want to run into a closet and scream. I want to be the toddler for just a few moments… throw a tantrum on the floor, hit and kick a few random objects, all while I angrily yell several unrecognizable words (or just really, really terrible ones). I just want to throw a fit at God because I can’t seem to understand why in the world He would trust me to be the parent of a such a strong-willed child. I mean… really, God? But sometimes you just have to smile and choose to believe that all will be okay. Yeah, He kind of knows what He’s doing…. and, remarkably so, He actually trusts you. (Although, I do have to admit, it does help to picture yourself acting out like a complete, out-of-control idiot. If anything, it will bring a smile to your face…. and a smile to others if you choose to act it out.)

This is not an unusual scenario for me. These moments of trying to be strong in the midst of chaos, feeling like I’m falling apart on the inside but trying to look confident on the outside… no, they are not new to me. It’s something I’ve struggled with my entire life… and I think many of us do. It’s part of the human experience, really. To wrestle with that inner question, “Do I have what it takes?”. Yes, you do. How do I know? Because the God of the universe created you for this time and this place; to be responsible for the tasks you are and to be surrounded by those who love you. He trusts you with the task at hand. He created you for it. So, if the God of the universe trusts you…. shouldn’t you trust yourself?

I say all this to make the point that the root of our self-confidence is in Him. If, even after failure, we can still look inside and see that He did choose us for this time and He did so believing in us, then we indeed have some sort of self-confidence. But sometimes, a little doubt creeps in… or maybe a lot of doubt. And that really just messes things up because not only are we no longer trusting ourselves, we are choosing to not trust God. And that is a road that leads to many frustrating avenues. I know a little bit about that one and I’m thinking you might, too.

I am not saying that it’s all about us or our confidence in ourselves, for without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). We only have what it takes when we choose to remain consecrated to Him, and only then can He cause us to produce amazing things. He chose to create us, to love us, and to believe in us. And every day He chooses to pursue a relationship with us simply because He’s God and He wants to. I’m so grateful for that.

So the foundation of it all, really, is to be continuously pursuing a whole-hearted trust in God. That is where I want to be. To fully confide in Him at all times, without a doubt in my mind, so that I can live life to the fullest and experience complete freedom in my relationship with God and others. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? If this is something that resonates with you, I invite you to join me in this journey of being in strong pursuit of a whole-hearted trust in God, so that you can walk in complete confidence, taking on the task He has given you. He trusts You. But will you choose to trust Him?

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