There aren't words to describe how grateful I am for Luke. I would imagine it is pretty obvious that he is the biggest joy in my life and in John's.
But unimaginable joy still leaves room for one's heart to hurt. For others and for myself.
I know there are many, many people who, in the face of tragedy, find comfort and take solace in the following:
God is in control.
God's will be done.
Everything happens for a reason; one day we will know why.
I'm just not one of those many, many people.
I'm sure this surprises some. While I doubt many even read this blog much anymore (and I really don't write as much as is swirling in my head anymore), the ones I know do usually tell me how strong my faith is and how I'm really inspirational because of my perseverance and endurance.
I should really be clear. I am, without doubt, a believer of Christ. I am a follower. I do not believe a single, solitary thing happens on this earth or in this universe without being filtered through His hand. I believe in His complete omniscience and omnipotence and I believe in His sovereignty.
I just don't believe that every.single.thing on this planet happens because He wanted it to be just.that.way.
I know this makes people bristle. I have been a good little Baptist girl for about 35 years. Trust me, I am very fluent in Christian-ese.
I recently heard a sermon about enduring...persevering because we only see a part when God sees the whole.
This sermon though...it was done in such a way that I found myself getting really aggravated. Marriage on the rocks? Press on. Finances difficult? Press on. Single and lonely? Press on. Death of a loved one? Press on.
I really try very hard not to judge anyone because I know that being judged is rough on the soul. More, we are called NOT to judge. Not our place.
But to place the death of a loved one in the same category of 'struggling' as rocky marriages and financial difficulties?
Well, it was obvious that the gentleman speaking had never struggled like I have.
Begging God to show Himself and explain to me how He could love me and still let my sons die.
Desperately clinging to God's goodness while reconciling it with my human feelings of betrayal and disappointment.
Press on? Easier said than done.
And then to see and hear so many of the cliches..."God let/didn't let this happen because He's got something better around the corner," or "God has a plan," just rubs salt into certain wounds.
At least, mine.
I remember not too long after Matthew died, I asked one of my dearest friends, when she told me that God was in control and had a plan, "So do you think He did this? Do you think He purposely let Matthew be conceived, grow, be healthy and perfect all to just die tragically in John's arms? Do you think that was the plan?"
I was not being hostile when I asked her that. I was desperately seeking her counsel. I needed to be able to put myself in a box that gave me some security. While I'd have some other issues to work out with God if she said, "Yes, I do." and I allowed myself to believe the same, at least there would be some security in Him being in control.
There being a reason...a purpose, if you will. Something I was chosen for.
She got that 'deer in the headlight' look for a minute.
Because really....who tells one of their best friends, still fresh on the heels of burying her only and cherished baby, "Yes. I think that's exactly what happened. Before Matthew was even born, He planned for him to die."
I guess some do. She didn't. She said, "Well...I think God's plans for us and what happen sometimes aren't always the same."
I absolutely agree. And I know that was hard for her to say, because she, like I and so many others I know and love, stand firm in God's sovereignty.
Most of us would define sovereignty and direct control similarly. Somewhere lately I read something that said something like we can plan all we want, but God's will will be done. Like, "You can do or say whatever you'd like to but the reality is, you are not in control of your actions because God will make you do or say whatever He wants you to."
This is where, in my humble opinion, God being sovereign and in control gets confused with everything happening because God made it happen that way and God controlling everything like a celestial puppeteer.
To a mother who has lost her child? Big, big, big differences.
So I just cling to scripture. His ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts and I'll never understand.
Do I think that Matthew dying as he did, or us losing Trey as we did was because God purposely planned it that way? No, if honest, I don't.
Do I believe it could be? Sure. My pastor once reminded me that if we knew if things happened because God made them happen or God allowed them to happen, we'd have the mind of God figured out, and that's just not meant to be. So, I keep my mind open knowing that I don't know the mind of God and I never will. There is no doubt that God allowed Matthew to die. He allowed Trey to die. He IS sovereign. But to tell me, or any mother who is grieving over loss that it was part of God's plan or God's will is, to me...
And to expect her not to grieve or mourn because it's all part of God's plan and He's got it all under control? Not Biblical. He comforts those who mourn. He calls them blessed. He weeps with us. Why? Because there are things in this world He doesn't want for us to have to experience, and yet...we do.
The Bible is very clear. 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
And we all know that doesn't happen, does it? People die every day never knowing Him. His will was for ALL to know Him, but in His sovereignty, He allows what He wants for us to not happen.
His plans for us are to prosper and not be harmed. This world doesn't always support that. In His sovereignty, He allows that.
I recognize these things divide entire denominations. I sure as heck am not competent enough to hammer them out. I just cringe when I am told, "Everything happens for a reason," or see another mother being told not to grieve because their sorrow is all part of God's plan.
And I struggle. Often I am on my knees just begging God to make it clearer for me.
More, though, I am overcome with gratitude. Grateful for the people He's given us these last few years to help us through. Grateful for the attitude He's given to me in it all. While I don't know much, I do know that I am blessed beyond measure.
This child he's given me...my joy renewed...
There is no doubt this little boy was purposed. There is no doubt that He was given to us as a precious redemptive gift. That in my struggling and my confusion and my weeping, He's right there with me, reminding me that I'll never figure it out on this earth and though I shouldn't waste my time trying to, He knows I am human and I will struggle.
That's when He lets Luke tell me he dreams of Mama and butterflies.
Even in the struggle, God is so good.