I wrote that title down Sunday as we drove out of our church parking lot. We had just experienced a very moving service and prayed for healing for a young mother fighting for her life after emergency brain surgery. My heart was breaking for this family and the sudden state of shock and grief they were in. As we held hands and prayed, the pastor said, "If this is your first time here, welcome to the family.” This is what we do as the family of God. We praise, we pray, we laugh, we rejoice, and we cry. There weren’t many dry eyes that morning as we prayed for this family. I know they felt our prayers and God heard them.
That’s when I thought to myself, "Don’t ever get too comfortable." From one Sunday to the next this family’s life had taken a turn for the unthinkable. When these things happen one of my first thoughts is, “Life as they know it will never be the same.”
I go there in my head because I think of the shocker moments in my life. The biggest being the sudden death of my brother. I grieve for others for that reason alone. It is such a big reminder that we have absolutely no control over what happens to our loved ones or ourselves in the day ahead. I don’t like to think about it or dwell on it. That would be living in fear and that is no way to live. But it's still there, you know?
Before church that Sunday morning, I was busy finishing up some of the preparations for my daughter's baby shower that afternoon. I was so full of joy as I wrapped gifts and double-checked my list for the millionth time. After church, the girls were off to the shower and my boys (including the little guy) were going to do outdoor-guy-stuff all afternoon. Later, we would meet up with them to unload the gifts and indulge in some leftover shower food. A perfect day! Any day that involves having my whole family together is a good one in my book.
The shower was beautiful and extra special as my daughter thanked everyone for all the love and prayers thus far in our little goldfish’s journey to get here. My biggest teary moment came unexpectedly later in the day. It was a moment in time you just want to freeze in your mind forever: My daughter and daughter-in law were in the baby’s room looking at the shower gifts together, smiling and laughing. I stood outside the door and observed the moment they were sharing. Tissue, please. I don’t know how to describe it but it was one of those freeze frame moments as I watched.
I said a simple prayer, “Thank you God for these girls and these babies yet to be born. Protect them and I thank you for all joy we are going to have in the days ahead.”
It was truly a good day for our family. Although, it was never far from my mind what another family was experiencing that Sunday.
Monday morning came and I had big plans. I'd set aside the whole day to prepare for a meeting with my editor on Wednesday and complete my blog. It was going to be a cold blustery day for June and I was going to take full advantage of it. I posted this on my SheSurrenders FB page early Monday morning in my quiet time:
“It is well with my soul.”
That’s how I was feeling as I reflected on the weekend. Peaceful.
One phone call can change everything.
Abby was in an accident. She was struggling not to hyperventilate as she panicked about the safety of the baby. We came up with a quick plan about who could get to her first. Of course, I was up north at our cottage and every guy in my family was on a bus heading to a charity event. I made it from Muskegon to Hudsonville in record time and met her at her doctor's office. She was then promptly sent to the hospital to be monitored for a while.
For two hours the sound of my grandbaby’s heartbeat was music to my ears. The best song I've ever heard. She was discharged with some instructions and what to look for, if something should change. Except for some bruising and soreness she was given the all clear.
I took over from there or as we say in our family, “I am the captain now.” For once, my headstrong (she gets that from her dad) daughter didn’t argue. I took her home to pack a bag and of course, we had to feed the baby lamb a bottle before we could go.
(Whose child is this?)
We spent a relaxing girls' night at the cottage feeling peaceful, loved and cared for. Once again it was well with my soul.
Abby was doing surprisingly well the next morning. So while the girls went to work for the morning, I sat down to write. I sat down and had what I would call a good PTSD cry. That’s the only thing I know to call it because it totally took me by surprise. I suppose I'd been holding back until I was alone. Us moms tend to do that. Can you relate? After getting rid of my ugly cry face, I started writing and getting the words of my heart on the screen.
I had been reflecting on Pastor Tom’s message from Sunday for us all week, which was peace. Timely, wouldn’t you say?
His question for us, "How do you find peace in the storm?"
It is perspective and two practices. The perspective we need to have in the storm is this: God is here, peace is possible. The practices we need to apply in the storm?
Prayer and Praise.
I did stay in peace during this whole ordeal. I felt God’s presence through it all. I prayed and praised. I uttered more one-liners to God than I could count. Glad he heard the one, “Please get me there safe - even though I am doing 92 mph.”
I also thanked him for the gifts of protection that morning for everyone. Abby, the baby, the other driver (that one was a little harder to say, but I did it.) I was so grateful for the message I had heard Sunday morning. Little did I know how it would be applied to me not even 24 hours later. I often hear, “I don’t need to go to church to be a Christian.” I can agree to some extent, but there are gifts to be had when you do go. Gifts God has your name on.
I also go to church to praise God. I love to praise God in music even though I do not have a musical bone in my body. The music always brings me to tears. It tugs on the emotions of my heart each time. We sang the chorus of this song to end the service and it has been on my heart all week long:
Oh, it's love so undeniable I, I can hardly speak Peace so unexplainable I, I can hardly think As you call me deeper still As you call me deeper still As you call me deeper still Into love, love, love
- Chris Tomlin, Good Good Father