Hello lovely readers! Today I’m doing something a little different. I have a story to share. Not just any story–it’s a really good story! I originally shared this at Live Beyoutiful and I decided to share it with you too!
Some people say God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.
I completely disagree with that statement. It’s not true. That’s not what happened to me.
About 6 years ago, I watched death and life happen within the same week. My father passed away and I gave birth to a premature baby just three days apart.
It was way beyond what I could handle. The fact that I can’t do it on my own only points out my desperate need for God.
Yet through it all, God was there.
God has proven to me over and over again that no matter what happens, he will be there and I can trust him. I may not always get what I want but he knows what’s best for me. He is my hope!
For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11
Hope Came Shining Through
In 2009, my father was battling cancer. He had always taken great care of himself by exercising and eating a healthy diet. To see him get super sick, lose his hair and wither down to skin and bones was heartbreaking.
I was pregnant with my first child at the time. I hoped and prayed Dad could live long enough to meet the baby. Little did I know my father’s death and my daughter’s premature birth would happen within days of each other.
I couldn’t handle either one of those things on my own. I had to run to God for help and the strength to put one foot in front of the other.
I prayed simple prayers and God showed up to answer those prayers in real ways. He showed me that even though it felt like my world was crashing down, I don’t have to fear because he is my constant source of hope no matter what is happening.
I will never leave you, nor forsake you – Hebrews 13:5
The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him. – Nahum 1:7
Through that difficult time, God directed people and events to give me hope. Here are some of those stories.
A Moment I’ll Never Forget
When my dad was put on hospice and we knew he didn’t have much time left, my boss encouraged me to take time off so I could spend time with him. Because of my boss’s generous heart, I was able to spend some precious last moments with my dad.
I’ll never forget the last time I saw him. He was just a shadow of the man he used to be. He was very thin, weak and not very responsive as his body was slowly shutting down. I was getting ready to leave (which was always gut wrenching because I knew this could be the last time I saw him)
As usual, I told Dad “I love you” before I left, not expecting much of a response.
He took a moment, gathered up all the strength he had left to lift his head, look up at me and say “I love you too”.
I cherish that memory. He didn’t want his failing body to prevent him from saying those precious words. It wasn’t just the words he said, but it was the effort he took to tell them to me that mattered.
That was the last time I saw him. He passed away soon after.
Had it not been for my boss encouraging me to take time off, I wouldn’t have heard those sweet words from my father. I know God was working through my boss to make sure I’d be there for that moment & I’m so thankful for that!
A Little Miracle
Dad passed away about a month before the baby was due. I remember being afraid of not being mentally strong enough to give birth if Dad died close to my due date. I even talked to my doctor about it. I tried not to worry and figured I’d have some time to grieve before having to switch gears and jump into motherhood for the first time.
I didn’t get what I expected.
A couple days after Dad’s passing, my water broke unexpectedly and the next thing I knew I was in labor about to give birth to a premature baby.
This is not what I wanted. I didn’t think I could do it. It would be too much.
I was right.
Even though the events happening were the exact events I was afraid of, God showed up and gave me strength I didn’t have on my own.
my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness – 2 Corinthians 12:9
I was weak and not strong enough to face this. When I asked God to come and help, he helped me face my fears and give me the strength I didn’t have on my own.
My daughter was born later that next day and she was 4 and 1/2 weeks premature.
Most babies born that early have to spend some time in the intensive care unit. I was preparing myself for that and imagining my precious baby with tubes in her nose and in an incubator. We prayed she would be born healthy and strong enough to breathe on her own.
When she was born, she was perfectly healthy! The doctor was amazed that she didn’t have to spend any time in the intensive care unit. Not one minute.
That’s not typical. God showed up in that hospital room and gave my daughter strength to breathe on her own.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak – Isaiah 40:29
Every Sunday I love to raise my hands up high and sing songs to God during the worship part of our church service. During the following weeks after losing Dad and having a newborn, worship was really hard. I couldn’t sing without completely losing it. All I could do was cry and raise my hands up to him like a little girl reaching for her father.
God reached down and comforted me. He taught me that it was okay to be mess of emotions all at once. It’s okay to be grieving one moment and then joyful the next. He helped me feel joy at my new baby daughter even in the midst of suffering.
“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble” Psalm 9:9
God used people at my church and in my small group to love on me during that difficult time. Friends stopped by to bring us dinner, pray for us and some came to support us at my father’s memorial service. Those were all little acts of love that meant the world to me. God was working through each and every one of those people to make sure I felt loved.
My best friend from childhood dropped everything & flew on a plane to come support me. She spoke at Dad’s memorial service sharing kind words and fond memories of him. Seeing her sacrifice meant the world to me.
The people in the neighborhood I grew up in were like a second family to me. Several of my neighbors traveled over 5 hours to support my family the week of Dad’s memorial service.
A friend loves at all times – Proverbs 17:17
A Living Hope
Even if a difficult situation lasts my whole lifetime, it will still be temporary. God gives me hope for now & something to look forward to.
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. – John 14: 1-3
No matter what I face in this life, because I’ve given my life to him, he is preparing a place for me in Heaven and I’ll get to be there with him. THAT is the hope I look forward to!
He is good. He is faithful. All the time.
Are you in a situation and feel overwhelmed? I have plenty of stories to share about the crazy things God has done in my life. Like the time He provided a down payment for our house out of the blue, answered a prayer with a helicopter, encouraged me when I was on a downward spiral.
Where can I get that shirt?
A huge thank you to Debz Fotography for the awesome photos!
This post shared at: Motivational Monday.