I posted some time ago entitled "Butterfly: Affect"; about what an impact small actions, choices, words, etc. can have on our world. It was inspired by a small book written by Andy Andrews; quick, easy, and extremely empowering read... I highly recommend it. I reference it now because I want to tag onto my most recent post regarding our fifth baby who is waiting for us in the arms of Christ.
We had a beautiful memorial for him. Part of me, honestly, wonders why... The logical side of my brain says that was kind of an unnecessary use of our time and resources... No one knew him, he never even took a breath... However, the emotional and spiritual side of me says that every (and I mean EVERY) life matters and we chose to celebrate that. As Dr. Seuss taught us, "a person's a person, no matter how small". God says He has a purpose and a destiny for every life He creates. We knew, even in the moments of our deepest ache of loss, that God had destined for Tobias to "accomplish" something in only 32 weeks worth of heartbeats. Because of the impression Andrews' book made on me, because of the peace that God-given frame of mind brought us, we chose to use butterflies as a theme for the memorial. I used the example of the chaos theory of the butterfly effect in what I shared that day and we finished the memorial with a release of monarchs outside the church. Sadly, one butterfly remained in the box after we opened it but even that was a little "kiss" from God... I took it home, and carefully glued it to a piece of paper that says "You flapped your wings in secret... And changed the world". It's in a small frame on my dresser now.
God is showing us the impact that Toby, our little "butterfly" is already making on the world. The care team at the hospital sent us cards thanking us for the privilege of helping deliver him, friends have shared our story with others to bring them comfort and encouragement amidst their loss, I have people coming to me who need someone to talk to about their own experience, the link for the previous post is being passed, reposted, and shared, and the stats show me that Toby's story has reached as far as Poland, England, China, and Romania.
God is using a tiny baby, who never took a breath of air, to change the world.
He wants to use your tragedy too. He doesn't want us to stay victims; He wants us to be victors. He wants us to see our tragedy through Him, not try to see Him through our tragedy. He wants us to see an opportunity to praise Him, honor Him, glorify Him, and serve Him in that ordeal. Tragedy needs not be tragic. You have purpose. Your pain has purpose. You have a destiny to reach into someone else's life and let them know they are not alone. I can reach out to a woman who just lost a baby. Maybe you can reach someone who lost a spouse. Maybe you're battling a disease or other physical malady. Maybe you survived a violent attack. Maybe you're just... surviving. Whatever you're going through, wherever you are, He has dropped you, like a pebble into a calm pond, with a plan to use those ripples to reach shores you may never see.
There's a family we got to know while part of a church up in Washington for a time. Their 15 year old daughter, Jacoby, is a level 9 gymnast (for those that don't know much about gymnastics, this is just a level or two shy of the "elite" level where the Olympians compete). Almost three months ago she was practicing her bar routine and, in the middle of the double-back dismount she's practiced countless times, she "got lost" mid-air... She opened up at the wrong time in her rotation and landed on her neck. She immediately lost feeling from the chest down. Already she has been through surgeries, a long hospital stay, a lot of rehab, and adjusting to life in a chair. We have followed the family's ordeal via their blog, Get Well Jacoby, prayed for them, and praised God for how He is using their story to reach people. In the first week after her injury her dad said in a radio interview that they can now empathize with a group of people they never could before. They do not know how much motion, feeling, or function Jacoby will ever regain (though she is working as hard as she can to get back on her feet!) but they do know that God has a plan for this and they have, the entire time, continued to praise Him for it.
I cannot remember the exact passage but during a study of Revelation I remember us discussing that there will be two different "judgments" before Christ (we were cross referencing between several books as we studied so I'm not sure the passage was even in Revelation); one being the judgment where Christ determines whose names are in the books of Life and Death; the other is the "bema" judgement. "Bema" was the platform where an official presided over a contest and where victors were presented awards for their accomplishments. I remember us discussing that this particular judgment will not take place at the end of our individual lives but rather at the end of everyone's lives. One reason we pondered for this is because of our "ripples"... Your story won't be complete until everyone else's story is complete whose life you touched. Whether directly or indirectly, your life will affect other lives for generations. You don't need to win a Nobel prize to change the world. God can use you to change the world with even the smallest, seemingly mundane, actions (or, even, INactions if He calls you to not do something).
I know that praising God in the storms of our life runs counterintuitive to our nature. It doesn't make sense to thank God for trials, does it? That's like thanking a cop for a speeding ticket, a patient thanking a dentist for a root canal, an athlete thanking their coach for a brutal workout, or an employee thanking their boss for a heavy work load! However, the testimony we bear beyond our trials correlates directly to how deeply we cling to and trust Him as those storms rage. God wants to use you to change the world... will you let Him?
Today I'm praying for/about:
Today, (in no particular order) I'm praying for...
- Fresh ideas, inspiration and diligence to post regularly again
- My dad fighting mesothelioma too far away for me to hug him
- Children, parents, and teachers everywhere preparing to return to school
- My single friends as they seek God for His guidance in relationships
- Broken relationships; for grace to abound where grace has been withheld
- You; I'm praying for every single person who views this blog.
Thank you for standing in agreement with me for these precious souls!