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    “I’m so sorry, I can’t find a heartbeat.” The room began to spin. I had heard these same devastating words four years prior. Surely this wasn’t happening to us again! We walked to the car, numb, reliving a nightmare we had already experienced. Why, God? We thought this baby was our promise, our rainbow after the storm. Sure, we had two living children to drive home to, but that didn’t change the feelings of loss and grief we found ourselves experiencing for the second time in four years.

    Over the next several months, I dealt with the overwhelming desire to have another child. I would dream that I was holding a new baby, then would wake confused and, at times, angry. I experienced feelings of extreme guilt, wondering why I couldn’t just be thankful for the two healthy children I was blessed with instead of longing for another. Then one Sunday night my father-in-law preached. Following his sermon, he told the congregation, “Tell God what you need.” I knelt down that night and prayed a simple prayer; “God, if it’s not Your will for us to have another baby, I need You to take the desire away. If it is Your will, then I need You to make a way.” I immediately felt peace come over me, and God put a verse in my heart that night as I knelt at my pew. “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

    A few months later we were shocked to discover we were expecting another baby. Fear and worry overcame me. This was not our plan. How could I go through another loss? How could I face people who would surely think we were crazy for not being content with the two children we already had? I felt God gently nudging me back to the verse He gave to me. “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” I remember where I was sitting in the doctor’s office when I said the words out loud to God, “God, this is YOUR plan. This is YOUR baby. Whatever happens, I will trust You.”

    For the next nine months when fear would overtake me, when I would wait for what felt like hours for the nurse to find a heartbeat, when I would lay awake the night before each doctor visit, trying not to let fear and anxiety overtake me, I would quote my verse. “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” Then, on August 11, 2017, our baby was born. The doctor was shocked to find that his umbilical cord was barely connected to the placenta. What should have been another loss for our family was instead a true miracle from God.

    I held our baby boy for the first time and wept, repeating the words “God, this is YOUR plan. This is YOUR baby. A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.”

    BY BRIANNE BUFORD
    Brianne Buford is wife to Brandon and mom to Zane, Zoe, and Zeke. They live in O’Fallon, Missouri, where Brandon pastors The Lighthouse UPC.

    Reposted from the Ladies Prayer International Newsletter.

    *In loving memory
    Zachariah Buford 5-27-12
    Zion Buford 3-17-16

    We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; (2 Corinthians 4:8).

    Who, Lord am I, that You, the God that created the universewould even care to know my name, to even number the hairs of my head.

    Who am I, that you, God of the universe, would even care to know me, to feel my despair,my sorrow and take time to listen to my prayers and even wipe away my tears?

    Who Am I God?

    Our Identity In Christ.

    We are mortals with an eternal soul. It is in that place of immortality, within humanity’s soul that the God of the universe connects with His creationTo think that God would love such a one as I. It is not because of who I am or for what I have done but because of who He is and what He has done.

    Life is hard no doubt. We could sit and converse about the shortcomings and tragedies of life but God said look up, our redemption draweth nigh.

    We will not find what we are looking for in earthly treasures but rather eternal.

    It will be found in the remote, obscure, most unpretentious and unusual places. In the dark, in the pain, in the brokenness, in the loneliness, in the uniqueness of people. Yes it will be found among people.

    This earth it will pass away and so will our flesh, only those things we do for Christ will last. People have eternal value, there is nothing beyond the lives of people. It isn’t always easy, people are troubled, perplexed, distressed, persecuted, forsaken, cast down and in despair.

    “People are messy; therefore, relationships will be messy. Don’t be surprised by the messiness.”

    -Timothy Keller

    BUT, that little word that changes everything, but, God robed Himself in flesh and dwelt amongst us, not so we can celebrate Christmas, rather, because He could once again have a relationship with His creation, human beings for eternity.

    From the very beginning, it was God’s plan to “plenish” the earth with people. He wanted people to enjoy and live in harmony with God forever, but because humanity was given a choice, brokenness, heartache, death, sickness and sin entered in. It was not God’s choice, it was humanity’s choice and has continued from generation to generation. Jesus came that we might have a new life and be made new forever to live with Him.

    Going into the places of the unknown, with a known God with a track record you can depend on, brings new dimension and height into the purpose of our existence. In a day of complexities we must choose who we will serve. It is our choice alone, and there is power in our choices.

    And if it seem evil unto you to serve the, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)

    BY LINDA BROWN
    http://healingwords247.blogspot.com/

    And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them. (Isaiah 42:16)

    “Where are we going?” one of our children exclaimed. “Are we there yet?”another piped up. “How much longer?” they all wondered.

    For them it seemed like eternity before we reached our destination and at times as though we may never get there, or that perhaps we were possibly lost. Oh but my military trained husband knew the course and he would get us safely to our destination.

    This was back before GPS, when he carefully studied the map before we set out. I remember him sitting down with our elders, his grandpa, or his dad and when we traveled to New York or North Carolina, my uncles. They would talk about the best route and how to get there. They would determine the course we would follow.

    Sometimes we would hit detours, causing us to reevaluate our course. Again my husband would get out his map, and then look to me to help him navigate and at times reset the course.

    We usually traveled at night while our children slept. I would turn on the visor light and look carefully at the highlighted roads trying to acclimate myself to where we were. There were times we had gotten off the route we intended to travel and had to backtrack or turn around.

    Then there were the rest breaks, you know, when one the kids, says “I have to go potty”, and we passed one three miles back, and the next one is fifteen miles away. Oh and the “quick stop to eat”, and quickly we did and were back on the road, we had a date with destiny to keep.

    There are times in our spiritual life like that we get off track, some of us take a detour, sometimes we even lose our way or we become weary and spiritually hungry. There are times that life itself, takes us through detours and we find ourselves in a place we have never been. Now what?

    The path seems endless and we can’t see the light at the end. We ask our Heavenly Father how much longer? Are we there yet? Where is this going? Jesus is saying just hold on, follow the map, counsel with your elders and let my light shine in the dark places of your unknown.

    His Word tells us God will never leave us or forsake us. He promised He would lead us in those unknown paths.

    When all light is gone, darkness abounds, many twists along the path and loneliness sets in, God said, He would never forsake us, and that He will make the darkness light and crooked things straight. 

    I have found over the course of time that there are those moments that I need to just be still and wait on the Lord. I need to be fed from His well of living water and be nourished through His Word. Though we plan, set goals and prepare, there are often times that we are faced with a detour, an unexpected road closure, or a simple bump in the road.

    We may not know where the road leads but Jesus does.

    God has given us the keys to stay the course:
    His Word
    His Spirit
    His Shepherds
    His Light
    His Presence

    BY LINDA BROWN
    http://healingwords247.blogspot.com/