Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bring The Rain

In "Other" Words Tuesdays hostess is Michelle at Because I Love You...A Life Lived Out Before the Lord. I encourage you to visit her site to see what she and the other ladies had to say on the quote she chose, which is:
“And I don’t regret the rain,
And the nights I felt the pain,
And the tears I had to cry some
of those times along the way.
Every road I had to take,
Every time my heart would break -
It was just something that I had to get through
To get me to you…”
As sung by Lila McCann,“To Get Me To You” [Hope Floats Soundtrack]

The title did come from Bring the Rain, a popular Christian song by MercyMe, whose video I'll share at the end of my post.

"Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." ~ 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NIV)

Paul knew all about praising God when the going got tough. He drew near to God in prayer over a matter of something he chose not to disclose that caused him great pain, and God opted not to remove it. I have a feeling that when Paul asked God three times to remove his thorn in the flesh, that it wasn't just a quick prayer. In fact, he wrote that he "pleaded". He sought God earnestly and begged Him.

But God did choose to provide something else. His grace and His power. Paul accepted that. I truly admire that about him and it's one of my favorite things about him that makes him one of my favorite men in the Bible.

God's grace was called charis in the Greek language. It means:

1) grace
a) that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech
2) good will, loving-kindness, favour
a) of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues
3) what is due to grace
a) the spiritual condition of one governed by the power of divine grace
b) the token or proof of grace, benefit
1) a gift of grace
2) benefit, bounty
4) thanks, (for benefits, services, favours), recompense, reward

God's power was called dynamis in the Greek language. It means:

1) strength power, ability
a) inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth
b) power for performing miracles
c) moral power and excellence of soul
d) the power and influence which belong to riches and wealth
e) power and resources arising from numbers
f) power consisting in or resting upon armies, forces, hosts

I love seeing these qualities at work in my life and in the life of Paul. In fact, Paul's example here has given me encouragement so many times in the past. I have faced rain, pain, tears and going down the narrow road in my life, and like the lyrics above, I can honestly say that I have no regrets.
I spent extensive time with God in prayer, a period of eight years, in fact, over a matter close to my heart. My prayer was to have a child. I drew close to God and received in return His grace and His power. It was there all along, but I was slow to grasp the hand God extended to me. Morning by morning, I began a journey of time spent with Him that led me to experience His grace and power. He saw me through some tough times.
I underwent physical torture trying to have a baby. The medication I took was so hard on my body that it literally wore me down. I was so tired and my body went physically crazy. The emotional aspect of it was hard, too. I tinkled on so many pregnancy test sticks that I should have owned stock in the company! Every time the - sign would appear, the tears would flow and I would snuggle back up to God the next morning. I'd go deeper into His Word, deeper into prayer, and though sometimes I felt like I was walking down that narrow path of devotion to Him alone, I knew I wasn't.

Then one day, when I least expected it, my hopes and dreams were realized and dashed within the same breath. The sign was positive, but the baby was born into Heaven. I went numb. While I was at the hospital, the radiologist asked me if I was okay to be alone for a minute while she ran and conferred with the doctor about another case while he was downstairs. "Sure!", I said, in a voice that betrayed the hurt I was feeling. About fifteen minutes later, the thoughts began racing and I never felt so alone in all my life. I called out to no one, "I'm not okay alone anymore!"

"You're not alone. I'm here." I didn't hear the voice so much as I felt it. It sounded gentle, yet powerful. It felt comforting. It was the Holy Spirit.

The radiologist came back, almost an hour later, and I was asleep. She said it was the pain medicine, but I knew it was God's rest. Where my tears had soaked my gown and pillow, they were now dry as a bone. God had found me in that maze of a hospital and collected my tears for me. He let me feel His grace and power once more and I got the best sleep I had in eight years in the span of less than half an hour. I got comfort. My token of His grace was my dry tears, and the power He gave me was that of strength enough to rest securely in Him through the most horrible crisis I had ever endured.

Throughout this 8 year period and especially after the miscarriage, His grace and His power held me up. Grace under one arm, Power under the other. They were literally carrying me through those years. I cried, I begged, I pleaded, I had 3 surgeries, a miscarriage and finally, a hysterectomy.

I'm not superwoman. I am not a super-Christian who has it all together. I am not anything on my own. God has given me the grace and power not to regret a single thing in my life, because each and every time I have suffered, it's all been with Him by my side and brought me closer to Him.

And because of that grace and power through God, I have learned, as the apostle Paul has, to be content.

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." ~ Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)

So I say...


Melanie said...

Oh, Laurie Ann... such a loving, beautiful post of how God is always with us and never leaves us. Of how we grow and strengthen as we lean more and more on Him. I am so sorry for your difficult years, but so thankful for what God gave you during that time.... and continues to give you now.

Denise said...

Bless you for sharing this beautiful post my friend. I love you.

LAURIE said...

A beautiful testimony of how God never leaves us nor forsakes us. He carries us even when the steps seem impossible to take. Thanks for sharing from your heart today. -Blessings, Laurie

Esthermay said...

The New Testament is full of accounts of women who rec'd a dramatic touch from Jesus. Your's is a beautiful story that reaffirms HIS work 2000 years later. Thank you for sharing this. I have a little one in heaven I've never seen too! GOD's ways are above our ways and although we haven't a human clue the purpose for some of the suffering in this life - HE DOES and it is HIS Glory that we seek. Not our own.
Wonderful and personal post.

LauraLee Shaw said...

What a beautiful post. I love the theology behind the words "grace" and "power," especially this one:
moral power and excellence of soul

Wow, I'd never heard that before. Sounds like we're thinking the same thing regarding the superwoman thing. How funny that we posted that on the same day. Thank you for your comment at the Internet Cafe. Can I just tell you that you really encourage me with your comments. Like a hug from God.

We'll keep facing the rain, pain, tears and laughter together. ;)

Amydeanne said...

I can relate so much to this post.. except I failed my trail... and yes for 7 years of fertility treatments and 2 miscarriages and another after I had #1).. it wasn't until I was totally broken and destroyed that God healed me from my miserable choices... in his time.. not the road I wanted to be on, not the road God wanted me to be on, but we've learnt and grown from it and I pray that God uses my experiences.

Dawn said...

(((hugs))) you're about the only one who knows and understands this pain i've been feeling the past 4 months. i don't know what i'd do without your words and help. you are such a blessing to me! thank you so much for always sharing your heart!

Michelle Bentham said...

Beautifully shared, Laurie Ann. I love me a deep well and you, my friend are a deep well. Your heart reflects the heart of our Father and His precious Son. May His love pour out on you today in a rainfall of mercy and grace as your story blesses the heart of many. His love is all over you.


P. S. The link and the post are up at my place...

Michele Williams said...

Beautiful testimony. Only our Lord can give us such peace after such pain. Bless you sweet friend.

Patricia said...

I love the image you gave me of God:

"His grace and His power held me up. Grace under one arm, Power under the other."

It is an image I will hold in my mind to use the next time I need His strength.

Thank you for a beautiful post, Laurie Ann. Visiting you is like a warm breeze on a cool day (snow's on the ground here...melting, but the air is cold.)

Abigail Kraft said...

Your story is truly touching. I'm so glad I got to read this today! Even when we see a certain road leading to happiness, when Christ has a different plan for us, it will always result in the best kind of happiness that only our Savior can give. We have such a loving Father, don't we? :)

micey said...

Oh if I had only known then what I know now. How many women in the world would have loved the one I couldn't... Thank you for sharing your story... <3

He And Me + 3 said...

Wow, that was so great! This song too is perfect. I love how God is always there to carry us through our tough times. He is so Faithful!

MiPa said...

Wonderful post...and one of my favorite songs. Bless you!

Betsy Markman said...

Wow, what a powerful testimony! There's no greater way to praise God than to say, in the face of tragedy, "He is worth it all!" And I love that verse about God keeping our tears in a bottle. I even wrote a bit of fiction about what I think He does with those tears. Maybe it can be a blessing to you, as a way of saying "Thank you" for being a blessing to me!

Karen said...

I love reading all these fantastic testimonies today of God's grace and strength at work. PTL

:: jamie :: said...

Thank you for sharing so much of your heart. And speaking of your post title, have you ever been to the blog, Bring the Rain?

Ava Semerau said...

Thanks for sharing this awesome example of God's ability to hold us in His hand.

Debra said...

Laurie Ann,

Your post was so touching. I'm in awe of God's love and care of us in times like this. And so thankful for it.

And I'm thankful you can write about it so beautifully. You are such a blessing to many, Laurie Ann.

((hugs)) to you, my sweet sis!