The past few months have been filled with a wide range of emotions. We find ourselves viewing our world, our lives, and our friends & family through seemingly new eyes as we are acutely aware of the fact that I am blessed to be here on this earth, and yet we also mourn the death of two of our children. And I have felt a bit like a ping-pong table as I range between extreme gratefulness and deep pain: finding myself holding my children with a refreshed sense of wonder at the gift I have been given to be a part of their lives, and yet at the exact same moment feeling the loss and seemingly obvious fact that there should be two other little bodies I am wrapping my arms around. Even as my heart has begun to heal with time, and periods when I thought I might never stop crying have become fewer and farther between, I have struggled with anxiety, fear, and sorrow that seem to sit just under the surface, threatening to break through at any moment… even moments that don’t seem to make sense or be linked to anything that should make me feel anxious. As one friend put it, we have been deeply reminded how fragile life is.
At first I remember being desperate to make sure we didn’t just try to pretend it all away (as if that could ever happen – ha) and bring life back to “the way it had been before;” now I realize that we never will be the same again… nor would I want to be. Because even though my heart will never be quite complete on this earth, this whole experience has brought Heaven close like never before! And it has burned deep into our hearts the Truth that really this earth is not our home. And I am forced to wonder… is that not maybe exactly how we should feel as we walk through life – as Hebrews says – “as foreigners and strangers” on this earth?
Because when even a glimpse of all that Heaven is comes close, every single thing that this earth offers pales in comparison… and all we want is to be with Him.
And there are moments when I even find myself thanking God for everything that we have walked through. My babies are being perfectly taken care of and are doing just what they were created to do – worshipping and communing with the One who created them. And I will see them again some day sooner than I realize. And I cannot deny that all the loneliness, anxiety, and fear draws me and pushes me to my Savior like never before… that I gulp down His Words as if my very soul will wither up and die without them. That His completely perfect love is literally the only thing that will calm those underlying fears and anxieties that threaten to overwhelm at any given random moment. That my heart has learned to hold so much more loosely to all that this world offers… and yet – in this seeming irony – I have found that the very letting go has given me a deeper desire to love those around me and an almost desperation to be found faithful in the assignments God has given me- and only those assignments – here on this earth.
The truth is, a month fresh out of the hospital, the last thing on earth I wanted to do was dig back into this education project. And a couple months out of the hospital, tears pouring down my face, I begged God to make it clear that this was what I was supposed to be doing; that if it was, I would be faithful… but that if it wasn’t, I wanted nothing to do with it. And in a way that only God could, He lined up pieces to where that very weekend as we were in the City, a woman that Aaron met one time several months ago ended up at the exact same hotel at the exact same pool at the exact same time as us with a word from God for us. And as she humbly expressed her newness and hesitancy at speaking out the words that God lays on her heart for others, she explained that as I had walked by her chair earlier, she had felt the Spirit tell her that she needed to speak His words to us; and the words she spoke were just the confirmation that my heart needed to know that we were on the right path.
And even more-so, the words she spoke reminded us of the higher purpose that this education project holds… that one day there will be lives in Heaven because of this school! That chains will be broken off, that blind eyes will see, that dry bones will be brought back to life… because, dear friends, is there anything on this earth greater than the fact that the Almighty Creator of ALL, the great I AM whose understanding and wisdom far surpasses the greatest minds that have ever lived still chooses daily to pursue us with a perfect, redeeming, hope-filled, heart-healing and so-much-more love and relationship? A love that has conquered even the earthly death that we all face… and a relationship that promises to not only walk through this life with us, but into eternity itself!
How often I do not realize the magnitude of the gift that we have been given… and the responsibility that comes with it.
And so we continue to move forward one step at a time, praying and trusting that God will and is changing lives here with His great love as He moves among the mundane and the difficult. As this education project has exploded beyond what we could have ever imagined (we opened up a new CNA level nursing course this year!), we are continuously aware of the critical role that you all play in this as well. For those of you involved in what God is doing here, we hope you truly understand the impact that your prayers and support are making! If you would like to be involved or are interested in knowing more, you can contact us directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the blog headings for more details.
For anyone interested, we also have a newsletter we are sending out roughly every two months. Please contact me by email with your address if you are interested in being placed on the mailing list!