Saturday, December 29, 2007

God paints on a canvas that is bigger than I can see!

Today, I decided to start a blog. I have no idea if even one person will ever read this (besides my mom :) ) but I feel as if this is a good way to share what the Lord has been doing in my life. I don't know if the Lord wants for others to read this or if it is more for me in expressing how the Lord has blessed me. Whatever comes of it is fine with me.

As I am sitting here thinking, my mind is flooded with thoughts, feelings, and emotions. I am so emotional these days and my excuse is that my body still thinks I'm pregnant. I think I am going to hold on to that excuse for a long time, even after all the hormones are gone. But, if you know anything about me, you'll know that I am naturally emotional. I don't know how someone like me could not be emotional with two parents like mine? :)

The Lord has been so good to Adam and I during this hard time in our lives. He has proven Himself faithful to us, showing us how He wants to protect us and provide for us in the future.
He has been faithful in many ways and I want to make sure I take time to acknowledge and praise Him for it.

First of all, he has protected u from many things. It is so easy to look at all the negatives of this situation. It is easy to dwell on all the emotions but today, I am choosing not to do this. Today, I a choosing to praise my God for he is the protector and provider. The first thing I am extremely thankful to God about is that Adam and I never knew we were pregnant. I guess while I am writing and spilling my guts it is ok to say that we had been wanting to get pregnant since June. I had convinced Adam :) to get off birth control last December and then in June he decided he wanted to start trying and so we did. So December would have been 7 months we had been trying. So, imagine if on the 12th of December (the day we found out we had had a miscarriage), we instead had found out we were pregnant, and then a week and two days later found out that instead the baby was in my fallopian tube and it never had a chance of actually making it to be a baby that we could hold and love. I am emotional now, yes, because I still want to have a baby to love and hold but thinking about going through the process of getting all excited and telling everyone and them coming back and having to tell everyone we had a miscarriage would be way harder. I thank the Lord every day that we did not know.

The second thing I am extremely thankful that Dr. Crenshaw found the baby and wanted to go to surgery immediately. See, I had been experiencing bleeding for two and a half months and Adam and I kept going back to different doctors trying to find out what the problem was and no one could tell us. The neat thing about this is that the Lord knew the whole time. I was bleeding and so I did not even think to take a pregnancy test because I thought that was impossible and the Lord protected me from doing that. The doctors and nurses told me in the hospital that they had gotten the baby and the tube out just in time. It could have burst any minute. If a fallopian tube burst it can damage anything and is very painful. Thank the Lord he protected me from that! The Lord knew which doctor I would see and that this particular doctor would be the one that could figure out the problem just in time.

In all these things the Lord has proven Himself faithful. Isn't it weird how it is easy to question God but when we step and look for the ways He has provides for us we can see that He is there with us the whole time.

Before all of this took place I had a underlying fear that I could not get pregnant. I think it was pretty normal from a girl that had been bleeding for two and a half months :) Now, even though it is a typical reaction, it was still doubt or lack of trust in the Lord. The Lord has so wonderfully taken this away from me. I know that one day I will have children and I am no longer fearful. Even in my unfaithfulness, God is still faithful to me and provides me with peace.

As weird as it may sound, I feel as if the Lord has almost been preparing me for this. One of my friends, Devon, and I read this bible-study book called, "Lord where are you when bad things happen." The whole book is about seeing God in times when it is hard to see God's hand working. It challenged us to always remember that God is in control and not turn to doubt or frustration but to run to the cross. I will never forget that book or the things that have happened afterward.

It seems as if almost immediately after reading this book, out of the ordinary bad things started happening. It so so strange and yet I knew that everything that happened the lord was using in my life to show me that He is always there and to trust him, to lean on Him. It was a crazy summer and one day when meeting with my girls from church I told them that I did not believe that God was finished teaching me this lesson because I had not learned it yet and I knew it. I told them that I knew something hard was coming up, something else that was going to test my faith and prove whether I truly was the christian I said I was, the kind that beleived that all things worked together for good (Romans 8:28) and that He understands. I had somewhere in the back of my mind especially when I kept bleeding that it had something to do with all of this. So many things I had learned about affirmed that the Lord was preparing me for a time when He was going to challenge me to not turn my back on Him. Honestly, I can say, only by God's grace, I do not question Him.

One of the most precious things that has happened to me through all this is that one day some of the girls in my Sunday School class (I teach 7th and 8th grade girls...they are crazy but I LOVE them!) anyway, a girl called and asked me why I was not at church on that Wednesday night. The answer was because I was having very bad back pain related to all of this stuff. I tried to tell them that I was sick and then I was going to be done with it but they kept asking me questions so I eventually told them that I had had a miscarriage. One of the girls, said in a very sincere voice, "You know Ashley, God paints on a big canvas and we can only see a little bitty part of it. He is in control. You know that right?" I immediately asked her, "Where did you hear that?" (because I say that in Sunday School all the time when teaching about going through hard time and circumstances) She said, "I heard it from you." I do not say this to say anything good about myself but instead to say that again God is faithful. I love the fact that God used that 7th grader from my class to remind me of something I had said many many times about the way God works and He used it in His perfect time. I believe this is a testimony to how good God truly is.

Another thing that particularly blessed me was this little book I got in the mail called "Beautifully Pinned Promises" by Mary Grace Birkhead. I received the book Christmas Day from the woman who are in charge of my Monday night class. I wrote this in an email to one of the woman who sent it to me:

Christmas day was a little rough because I was on all the pain medicine and had trouble having a good time, but I got the little book in the mail that day and when I got up from a nap, I started to read it. I got to the page that says,

"He i your Salvation." Psalm 27:1. It says, "The Lord is my light and my salvation-whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of y life-of whom shall I be afraid?" "You don't have to be fearful. The God of the Universe will protect you. When things don't make sense, trust Him. When you have been wronged, know that He is doing something bigger that you cant see."

This promise from God that He is and forever will be my light and my salvation and that He sees the big picture of life was exactly what I needed that day and at that time! I wanted you and Mrs Thompson to know that God used your gift in His perfect timing to be an encouragement to me.

This again shows how perfect God's timing really is, He knows me; He knows what I need and when I need it and want to give it to me.

I want to leave you today with some thoughts about how amazing God is and how He works in wonderful ways for them that love Him!

The first list is from my notes on a sermon that Louie Giglio preached at Student Life camp this summer.

"6 things that hold us together when the bottom drops out:"

1)God loves us and His cross is proof of that.
2)God allows freedom yet maintains control.
People can choose to do the wrong thing and bad things can happen. This is not
explainable, but God has not lost control for even one single second.
3)God uses evil for good.
The worst thing that has ever happened was blameless Jesus being crucified for out sins
but God turned this into the most beautiful thing that has ever happened!
4)God does not always change the circumstances, He can, but He doesn't always do it.
He did not with Jesus.
5)God paints on a canvas that is bigger than I can see!!!!!!
6)God understands
He endured his perfect Son dying for the sins of the world.

The cross is the only place to run to during hard times. Let it be your anchor; let it hold you together until there is a glimmering light of hope. "

There is freedom in giving it all to Jesus and letting Him just take it. Trusting Him is so wonderful, you have nothing to carry anymore.

Another lesson God gave me was through my Monday night class and a lesson that LeAnn Allen was teaching about Ester waiting on the Lord. Ester had gone to Mordecai and told him and the Jews to fast for three days and her and her servants would to and at the end of the three days Ester would go before the king to ask him to save the Jews. In asking Him to do this, she could be killed. It was almost even likely that she would die. LeAnn gave this lesson about waiting on the Lord:

Isaiah 40:31
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

"When we wait:
1) We gain new strength from God
We exchange the littel strength we have with God's strength.
2) It helps us get a better perspective
We can mount up on wings like eagles and look at things in a new light, a supernatural
perspective from God
A mother birds push a baby out of the nest to teach it how to fly and when the mother sees the baby is not going to be able to fly she swoops down and catches it, giving it a new
perspective and showing that she doesn't want her baby to die just to expand and be
challenged.
3) We store up extra energy
We will run and not grow weary for things in the future and walk and not grow faint.
4) This depends on us
Are we going to hope in the Lord, and let Him build strength in us as we wait on Him."

I have no idea if this is the end of all of my troubles as far as these things go but I do know that the Lord has taught we so many things through these hard times. He has developed a true faith in me, a faith that knows that He is in control and does not have to question the circumstances. I know that I love the Lord and I know that since I love Him and seek to follow Him with all of my heart that He will work things together for good. God always keeps His promises!