We must learn what doesn’t come naturally.
Choosing the fruits of the Spirit as a meal to satisfy your soul is difficult in the midst of loss. Usually when making our way through crippling emotional pain, we snack on those fruits and toss what’s left aside. We are never fully satisfied because we don’t consume enough nutrients.
At the beginning of my battle, the days were nasty to me. I would go to church or to the grocery store and see baby girls. Everywhere I went I saw pink, precious joy radiating from everyone but me. The only object in pink that I had left was a headstone at the cemetery.
On day one I talked about the battlefield’s soil being rich in mercy. So how do we find mercy when our eyes are blinded with pain? We dig. Deep.
In our angriest moments, we dig. In our saddest moments, we dig.
When my battle started, I didn’t dig as deep as I should have. Over time I learned that I had to – if not, I might not survive. I had to open my Bible and go to work in order to arm myself on the battlefield.
When I study my Bible, I write notes next to scriptures that speak to me. I usually write the date beside them as well. This way, my Bible serves as a journal of sorts.
I lost my baby daughter Courtney on July 2, 1996. I can see what God was speaking to me during that time based on the notes I have written in my Bible. I want to share one with you.
Two years after we lost Courtney I was still battling. At that point, my body basically had shut down due to the emotional stress of losing her, and I was unable to become pregnant again. By this time I was digging deep, searching the soil for richness that might bring me life while dealing with the loss of my daughter. I was now also fighting infertility.
The passage that I read that day, years ago, was Deuteronomy 8:1-10:
Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers. And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you.
Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates,
a land of olive oil and honey; a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity,
in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper. When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you.
Next to that passage I have the following written:
2-1-98 – The Lord has tested me and brought me through,
all the time he was preparing me for my gift.
That note is an act of faith. I wasn’t “through” anything yet, but I could feel His call on my life regardless of the tragedy. I knew He would use me. There was something bigger behind this violent storm – the rain from that storm was pouring nutrients into that already mercy-rich soil.
I’m writing to you today because He shaped and prepared me for gifts I never knew I had, and He did it in the midst of my tragedy. Through the faith that He gave me on the battlefield He whispered promises to my soul.
I had to learn to dig deep. It didn’t come naturally. It was a learned behavior. And all these years later, that fruit is ripe on the vine of my life. It can be the same for you.
Dig, dear ones. Dig deep!
Begin to saturate your soul with the Word of God. Choose one verse a day (the book of Psalms is a great place to start!). Write it down and pray it over your life.
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