Monday, January 24, 2011
Why have I been so blessed? Why have I lead what seems to be a charmed life? Why at my age do I still have both parents and all of my siblings? Why is my health good? Why am I blessed to live in such an amazing community, in a house that is complete with all of the necessities and even comforts of life? I have not buried a child. I have never really gone without. And on and on and on.
I share all of this, not to boast. I watch the news and see the atrocities happening in our world. I ache when I see scenes of weeping mothers carrying their dead babies after a horrific natural disaster or the grieving parent who doesn't know to where their beloved child has disappeared. I shed tears for those who live in third-world countries in severe poverty and illness never even knowing the possibilities of the bounteous blessings that this amazing world has to offer.
Some turn their eyes Heavenward and lean on God to sustain them and pull them through. They allow their faith to grow and find blessings amidst the turmoil and chaos of their situations.
But I have also seen the opposite. I have seen people turn against God, their spouses, other family members and even their children as they have questioned the "Why Me?" in a more negative or dark sense.
I have shared these stories before, but it is with great reverence and respect that I share these two accounts of two unbelievable women with you again.
The first is a lovely lady, Ms. C whom I have grown to love and adore. Her husband and father of two of her children, was accused (he claims falsely and I tend to agree after hearing and seeing all that I have) of sexual abuse of his daughter from a previous marriage that ended badly with a lot of animosity. He was thrown in jail a little over 8 years ago and would be out by now of only he would plead guilty and take the required sex offenders class. Yes, he would be a registered sex offender, but wouldn't that be better than being away from your wife and other two children? Not if you listen to the humble grace of this amazing woman when she speaks adoringly of her love, faith and commitment to her husband and also her God!
She has stated numerous times that she and her husband are actually GRATEFUL for this entire ordeal! Can you imagine?? Grateful because they have grown in their love and faith in their Heavenly Father who, for whatever reason, has allowed this attrocity to transpire in their once peaceful and calm lives. Their love for each other as husband and wife has grown in a way that she testifies would never have been possible any other way. She is happy! He is happy! Certainly they are working on proving his innocence, but in the meantime (and let's face it, that's where we almost always live) they are finding ways to, not only cope, but to grow, thrive and really live during their unfortunate circumstances. I am in awe...
Then there's Ms. A. Her husband and father of her children has suffered tremendous depression...to the point of complete despair that has ended him up in psyche wards of mental institutions and heavy medication to aid in the prevention of something unmentionable. She has worked day and night to provide a realitively stable and "normal" home for her precious children while keeping a positive attitude about the hopeful outcome of her marriage. He, on the other hand, in his darkened state, has wanted out. He has felt smaller than small and unworthy of anything even resembling "good". He wanted to end his marriage. But her love for him as well as her faith in who he REALLY is, gave her the strength to endure and remain by his side. She has spent endless hours sitting with him just "being" with him, showing her support, faith and total unconditional love for the cherished union they entered into many years before. She has seen beyond the "now" and has looked into the "future". She knew the honorable man and son of God her husband really truly is and has focused all of her time and energies into helping him to come back and see his true potential as a man worthy of great love. During this entire crisis, she has attended her church meetings, serving in whatever capacity she was called to, and praised the Lord for all of the goodness and blessings that have come into their lives...He's now home and beginning to thrive in the real world...Again, I am in awe!
I look upon these two beautiful women and those I love who have suffered enormous challenges with great respect. I have been uplifted, inspired and edified by their ability to endure such trials with so much grace and dignity. Their growth and strength is awe-inspiring and I have actually felt a touch of envy, not in their sufferings, but in their class and elegance of receiving divine insights as a result of their immense pain and suffering because they have truly become "women of God".
So as I reflect on my life, I can see that the challenges and trials that I have endured were custom made for me! Some seemed to be unbearable at the time, and some came and went in a blur. I have beat myself up so many times for not always handling them in a gracious and dignified manner. I have felt small and insignificant as compared to these two previously mentioned women, but I came through them and that's good.
I found this from "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis:
We are perplexed to see misfortune falling upon decent, inoffensive, worthy people—–on capable, hard-working mothers of families or diligent, thrifty, little trades people, on those who have worked so hard, and so honestly, for their modest stock of happiness and now seem to be entering on the enjoyment of it with the fullest right. How can I say with sufficient tenderness what here needs to be said? It does not matter that I know I must become, in the eyes of every hostile reader, as if I were personally responsible for all the sufferings I try to explain……But it matters enormously if I alienate anyone from the truth.
Let me implore the reader to try to believe, if only for a moment, that God, who made these deserving people, may really be right when He thinks that their modest prosperity and the happiness of their children are not enough to make them blessed: that all this must fall from them in the end, and that if they have not learned to know Him they will be wretched. And therefore He troubles them, warning them in advance of an insufficiency that one day they will have to discover. The life to themselves and their families stands between them and the recognition of their need; He makes that life less sweet to them. I call this a Divine Humility because it is a poor thing to strike our colors to God when the ship is going down under us; a poor thing to come to Him as a last resort, to offer up “our own” when it is no longer worth keeping. If God were proud He would hardly have us on such terms: but He is not proud, He stoops to conquer, He will have us even though we have shown that we prefer everything else to Him, and come to Him because there is “nothing better” now to be had.
I have no idea why wonderful, hard-working and deserving people are challenged in such seemingly monumental ways. Why the women in the two stories I have shared have been tried and tested as they have, but I do know this; they are both strong, vital, loving and humble women who have taught me more about strength than I ever realized was possible. They have stood as witnesses of God's divine love for them. They are examples of women of faith. They are the women I hope to one day become.
Whatever lies ahead for me is just that...for me! I only hope and pray that I will cultivate a love and respect for my Father in Heaven that will sustain me through anything I am asked to endure.
"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." ~Isaiah 41:10
Need I say more?