I had a weird dream on Saturday night. And I woke up in the middle of the night thinking for some reason that I needed to remember it. So I sat up, went back over the dream in my head and then went back to sleep.
This was the dream:
I was sitting in a group of people in someone’s living room. A community group of sorts. And it seemed that the topics at hand were about moving into a new place and finding community and about grieving. I guess those were the things on the minds of some people in the group. And there was a really young girl in the group, naive, but full of good intentions, who was all too eager to give advice to these people walking through these hard times. So she started off with “You know what I think. I think that when you move to a new place, you should put a sign in your yard that says ‘I’m your new neighbor, please come by and let’s be friends,’ and then people will know that you’re nice and you’ll find it really easy to connect and find community.”
A long bewildered pause from the rest of the group…
So she starts up again, “And you know what I heard…I heard that if you spray grape must in your house, it somehow chemically affects your brain to where you no longer feel the effects of grief. (random aside here…no idea where this grape must thing came from…it was a dream you know) I think if you all try those things, you’ll really find that it’ll be easier to walk through these things you’re dealing with.”
And in the dream, I was myself, and in true-to-myself form I said, “I don’t mean to be rude because I understand that you have good intentions here, but have you ever moved and tried to find community, or walked through grief so deep you feel like you’re swimming in it? Because if you have, then I think you’ll understand that these suggestions are not altogether realistic. That walking through these things most certainly gives you insight to walk through them hopefully differently and better the next time, but it doesn’t alleviate the fact that there will be struggle.”
Then a woman with more years and widsom on the couch next to me said, “I agree with what Logan said. There is just something about experiencing hard things that once we walk through them, we are equipped to walk through them again with more wisdom and authority. And because of that wisdom and authority, we prayerfully learn how to walk through the hard places better.”
And then I went back to sleep.
When I woke up again at about 5am with severe cramping and bleeding, I realized just why the Lord gave me that dream.
It’s early ya’ll. Really early into a pregnancy. So early that I’d just told my husband I was pretty certain that I was pregnant and would take a test in the morning to confirm. The signs were all there. I’ve been pregnant 4 times now, so I know the feeling…the “symptoms.” And when I realized that I wouldn’t need to take that test afterall…because this kind of physical pain and bleeding has happened before, I found myself right back in that place of standing at a crossroads and wondering which road to walk down with a fresh wave of potentially paralyzing grief staring at me…begging to overtake me.
And I heard the Lord say to me… “Not this time Logan…not this time. I am good. You can trust me. You can walk this path differently this time. You are wiser, and you have authority to walk this well.”
Something in me rose up yesterday…and I’m gonna call it the spirit of the Living God within me. And I found myself yesterday morning in Psalm 103 that begins with “Bless the Lord oh my soul, and ALL THAT IS WITHIN ME bless his holy name.” I found myself blessing the Lord yesterday…rising up into a place of an almost surreal faith and assurance that this will turn out well. That all things work together for the good of those who love Him. (Rom 8:28)
I know that we have an enemy in this world…an enemy that desires nothing more than to turn our focus from the One who loves perfectly. And lately I’ve found myself in a place where the Lord’s favor on me in several areas of my life is so evident that I have felt almost dumfounded by it. I described it to some friends the other day that I feel like I’m a pancake and the Lord is literally dousing me with this inexplicable syrup of favor…just because he loves me…just to knock my socks off and show me. And somehow insanely, a friend told me yesterday that she thinks it’s contagious…that favor syrup. That since I’ve been sharing some of the amazing things that the Lord has been doing with me, they have begun to see drops of this syrup of goodness dripping off too….flinging off and landing onto others. Faith rising up more faith….and spreading.
So yesterday when I found myself in the midst of another miscarriage, I felt the Lord saying to me….”Do not be distracted from the good things I have in store for you. Do not be distracted from the oil of joy (Ps 45:7) that I have poured out on you.” Somehow I know that this “distraction” is a tactic that has been effectively used in my life twice before. And it worked. Boy did it work. I walked around in a fog of grief spanning almost 2 years…joy fleeting…favor syrup rolling right off of this porous pancake because my eyes weren’t open to even seeing it. And here’s what I have to say to that right now.
Not this time.
And I’m reminded of some interesting truths that I discovered last week…which I’ll share more in depth with you all later. I was doing a study of the words “self-discipline” and “joy.” I spent a few days looking into the meanings of these words and loads of verses about them and what I found was completely new to me. That self-discipline actually yields joy.
So often in life I think we find ourselves in a search for joy. That we’re looking for this emotion, some inexplicable pleasure or satisfaction…and we have no idea how to get it. And last week I came across a verse in Hebrews (12:11) that said that “discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”
Discipline is not always about receiving a consequence…and learning to discipline ourselves (self-discipline) is more about training ourselves in certain thoughts or behaviors anyways. (I’m talking about self-discipline here…please don’t think I’m saying that miscarriage is some punishment from God…I do NOT believe that is consistent with the character of a loving God.) When I read this verse, I remembered way back to grade school when I learned the whole If A=B, and B=C, then A=C concept. So, if discipline seems not to be joyful, but being trained by it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness, then discipline actually does yield joy AND the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Ya following me?
So here’s where I am today. I will continue to walk in self-discipline…spending time with my God who is good. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” And I will discipline myself to the renewing of my mind…to the remembering of His goodness and promises to me. And I will not let my thoughts go down a rabbit trail that only leads to darkness. I will grab hold of the wisdom and authority over this miscarriage that I have been given…and I will walk forward…focusing on the sweet face of a sweet Savior who’s blood covers a multitude of sorrows.
I keep thinking about a quote that Ann Voskamp shared at Relevant a couple of weekends ago where she said “God points to people who disappoint, to point to the God who doesn’t disappoint.” And so that’s where I am. Knowing my humanity, walking in it fully, experiencing the bleeding out right now of life in a fallen world….and pointing ya’ll….pointing myself…and hopefully as you read, pointing towards the ONE who doesn’t disappoint.
“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. ” – Phi; 3:12-14 (The Message)