The ever popular social network is faithful to remind me every day of the memories on this date in the past years. Most days, I scan posts between friends I am no longer even online acquaintances with. Some I even have to go look at their profile picture and think long and hard about who in the world that person is.
Most days are boring and uneventful as such is life. But some days bring back floods of memories. Some of these reminders pull warm fuzzy moments from deep within that bring a smile to my face and warmth to my heart. Others swell with waves of painful gut-wrenching grief that threaten to overwhelm me again.
Did you know that you can set dates for this Facebook application so that you can avoid painful reminders on certain days you’d rather just pretend didn’t happen? Tempting, in some cases.
This week, I’ve been receiving reminders about two major events in my life.
A pregnancy announced in February, 2013 that would end in May of the same year.
Visa issues that resulted in a major change of plans as we were not granted access into India for church planting work and changed fields within a month of receiving this news.
Countless prayers for a healthy baby graced the ears of God. Perhaps many more did the same begging God for access to the country which He had placed in our hearts.
A due date. A departure date. Both came and went without the expected outcome.
We planned, we prayed, we hoped. We trusted God as we held our breaths in reckless obedience to His supposed will for our lives.
We were heartbroken, disappointed, and let down when our plans were derailed, our self-sculpted worlds crumbled, and our hands were forced to change. I guess the ball was never really in our court, anyway, but why was it so comforting to think that it was?
In these scenarios when everything fell apart and we were left wondering what just happened as we sat helpless in the debris, we had nothing to cling to but the Cross.
Why would the God of the universe give us an unexpected blessing in rosy cheeked flawless form just to let him rot in my womb for weeks while I dismissed my fears in attempts to fully trust the One who watched him take his last breath?
Why would God impress this needy country, these people lost without the gospel of Christ upon our hearts, allow us to see the need with our own eyes, and raise the support needed to go…only to allow the hands that held the power to grant us entrance to clench them in their unrelenting fists?
I wish I could tell you. Even now, I still wonder about these things, and on the hardest days when the memories I’d rather make sure to avoid sweep around my swimming thoughts, I ask these questions again.
But when I rise above the waves and get a nice big breath of the sweetness of the Lord to this child of His and I steal a glimpse of the grace He has extended to my family, I am in awe of the beauty He has created out of what I once thought was such a heaping mess.
Isn’t that just like him?
I have a perfectly beautiful family only an egregiously gracious God could give me. I have two constant reminders of the miraculous work He wrought inside of my Creator-crafted body to bring two more of His fearfully, wonderfully made masterpieces into this world broken by sin.
I live in a country I knew nothing of exactly a year ago. I speak a language (sort-of) I didn’t know existed. I have friends it would kill me to leave now should He relocate me again and opportunities for life-changing kingdom work on the horizon. This is mind-blowing to me!
We make plans, we move forward, and we trust once more. Knowing He can wreck them all again. But knowing He will carry us through it if He does and will bring about something so right and so beautiful. The growing hurts. There’s no getting around that. And the beautiful is usually real ugly before it is brought to the light.
I would have never chosen to make some of the memories of the past, and the Lord knows they are painful to recall.
And while some days, I wonder what life would be like with my 2 1/2 year old son bouncing around the house I imagined we would live in in New Delhi, India, most days I just bask in the admittedly weird (and inexplicably challenging) but wonderful life I lead looking forward to the memories yet to be made.
Bring on the memories of old. Don’t hold back. Don’t pour on the perfect and protect me from the pain.
And you know what, while I’m at it, I better start adding to the stockpile so I can have the precious and painful memories of a life lived for Christ to look back on in the years to come. Seeing always that He is good, faithful, and kind. And that I have never lacked a perfect gift from His hand. That His plans for me, though not in accordance with my own, are forged in unharnessed hands that work only to bring about good work in my life.
And sweet, sweet memories. Thank you, Jesus.