Friday, July 13, 2012

When You're Up at 3 a.m...


It's 3am, and I may very well be the only person awake in town.  I cannot sleep.  I WANT to sleep.  I NEED to sleep.  But I simply cannot.

So, I sit to let thoughts tumble...

Five years ago, God took my unborn son Elijah home to Heaven.  Soon afterward, He led me into orphan ministry, showing me that the hole in my being matched the hole in an orphan's being when they lose their parents.  Point taken.  I accepted the challenge with determination and passion.  I released my Elijah and walked into God's plan for my life in orphan ministry.

But today, I stepped into the garage to get a breather from our summer's orphan ministry experience.  It had been a rough couple of weeks, and I needed some quiet and space for a few solitary moments.  The door of the garage was open, and outside, rain was coming down gently.  The water was running down the driveway in little currents.  And all at once, as if the walls of a dam were suddenly broken, a hundred little thoughts of my little Elijah came flooding to my mind...the silent heart monitor, the quiet birth, the gaping loss.  

These thoughts had come to me earlier in the day too, and they had caught me entirely off-guard.  See, I had determined from day one that I would NOT be defined by the loss of my child.  I would not wallow in self-pity or pain.  I would never be one of those people who just cannot ever seem to get over a hurt. I would heal and move on.  And I have.  I truly have.  And yet, it's part of my fiber...part of me, as he was part of me.  But why now were the thoughts coming, entirely surprising me?

The exhaustion of the past couple of weeks must have ripped the sleeping emotions by the roots.  And I cried.  I gritted my teeth and prayed, "WHY??"  Here's some gut-hitting truth:  Today I wanted to erase everything...go back somehow...plead with God to not take my son...explain to Him that I'm simply not the right one to serve orphans...ask Him to please give me Elijah and give the orphan ministry calling to someone else, someone who would be better at it.  Today, for reasons I don't even understand myself, I just wanted my baby back...and everything else that I seemed to have lost when I lost him (things I cannot share with anyone else).

Because the reality is this: serving orphans requires suffering.  And today I was weak and tired and entirely sick of suffering.  And there, in that weak point, my mind somehow made connections back to my loss of Elijah.  And I no longer wanted to accept it.  I wanted to undo it, erase it, beg for a different path.  

Then the enemy's words planted:  Maybe I heard wrong.  Maybe I'm not supposed to be in orphan ministry.  Maybe I misunderstood.  Maybe this was some big mistake.  The battle in the mind is the hardest battle sometimes.  We fight not against flesh and blood but against the unseen.  My MIND recognized that this was a spiritual battle, but I was entirely too exhausted to stand tall today.

I wallowed.  I clenched my jaw.  I let tears come.  And I asked, "WHY??"  I just wanted to crawl into bed and come out a few days later when the winds shifted directions.  

Mostly, I just wanted my son.

But, like so many times before, I came back to the reality that I had to release him again.  I had to accept the fact that my life took an unexpected turn that only God understands.  And I had to wipe my tears and walk back into the house and into the next minute of service to Him.

We could have chosen an easy summer.  In fact, we gave up a very anticipated vacation because everyone in our family agreed that, instead of pouring into ourselves, we would pour into one of God's precious children.  We CHOSE to follow Him into service to "the least of these."  And sometimes that can sound glorious and impressive, but the truth is that it's sacrifice, raw and painful at times.  

He suffered for us.  We choose to suffer for His Kingdom work.

Here I am, Lord...even at 3am 4am.

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