The third reply

Dear Rachael,

Thanks so much for sharing parts of your own journey. I think receiving letters like yours makes me realise that it’s a shared walk and that we all, particularly as women, struggle with these issues. We’re so inclined to create wonderful, good plans for ourselves and our families (including the timing of our children) and then we sit within the confusion and doubt and grief when it doesn’t work out the way we plan. The challenge for all of us is to go on trusting God in the middle of the season – when we can’t see any answers and when the tears are still running down our cheeks. I think for me, I struggled with the loss of our plans and I wanted to understand what God was doing – thinking that I had to understand it – not only the grief over losing our five pregnancies but also the fear over Darren’s heart operations and my Dad’s spinal accident and also – why would He give us all these opportunities in Nepal and bless the things we were involved with, at work and church and in the community, and then allow us to come back to Australia and have almost everything fall apart? Why would God do that? I think up until then, I’d had a fairly child-like image of God. He’s a God of love, he loves me, he’s redeemed me through his Son, he has a plan for my life and even – he’s going to make that path smooth – the journey not necessarily easy but at least clear. It felt like that’s what he’d done up until that point.

So for me, those years, were all about just being able to sit in the midst of it, tears and all, not knowing anything, but just whispering the words – “Lord I don’t understand … but I believe that in all of this, you’re Lord, even now. And you’re sovereign in my life”. And I think its the hardest thing for us to accept – the hardest point to get to – to somehow realise that he’s faithful because he is, not because he gives us what we want and not because he makes the path smooth – but because he’s the Lord of all and he’s at work in every single season to make us more like him and to bring glory to himself and to grow our relationship with him. And sometimes that occurs through the hardest of seasons, the greyest of times. During that season for me, all sorts of Bible passages came alive in new ways … like Isaiah 40 where it says – he gives strength to the weary. He does give us the strength to walk with him through the hardest of times. He doesn’t necessarily make the path smooth but he walks it with us – which is better than anything – even better than a smooth path … because we learn to cling on to him, and we learn that he’s always with us. And that’s the best thing I’ve ever learnt.

But yes, there’s something beautiful about hindsight, about being able to look back – and catch glimpses of why his plan was so much better. But the hard thing is, we don’t see that in the middle – and sometimes we don’t see that ever. In the middle, all we can do is keep walking, keep clinging on, and keep moaning at a very deep level, “Oh God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you …” (Psalm 63:1).

With my love in the middle of it all,

Naomi