God Knew

When my husband and I started to try to have a baby in 2010 God knew that it wouldn’t be until 2016 that we finally would conceive our son Caleb.

When I was in my mother’s womb, God knew that I would struggle with infertility issues when I grew up, but that didn’t stop Him from planting the desire to be a mother deep in my heart from a young age. That didn’t stop Him from placing me in a family where I was the oldest of six, surrounded by babies and younger children–I’m so thankful for those years that I feel prepared my heart for loving and valuing children – whether they “are mine” or not! All children belong to God first and foremost as their Creator*. He gets to see their first smile in the womb, their first grimace, their very first movement, their “firsts” belong to Him. God gets the first fruits of our life in the secret place of our mother’s womb. Even today with the advancements of ultrasound technology we come no where close to the 24/7 intimacy God has with our precious little ones as He tenderly and lovingly knits them–as He knitted us –together.

God doesn’t make mistakes. God is on time. God is perfect.

In January of 2013 I created a business card for a dear friend of mine as a class project for school. I needed to created one and she had a business that needed one. She created cute, lettered cloth blocks by hand. I borrowed one to help me with my project and I ended up never giving it back to her before she moved out of state. Flash forward to 2016, God has blessed my womb with life and another blessing of a friend graciously and kindly offers to take some photos of me to help document this miraculous time in my life. That morning before we met up for breakfast and photos she wanted to know if I had any wooden blocks with letters on them to help with the photos, I had none but thought maybe we could go by Walmart and grab some after breakfast. Anyway I remembered though that I had a cloth block in one of my office drawers somewhere…I just couldn’t remember the letter on it! I hoped it would still be in the drawer that I thought I’d last put it in, it was — way in the back.

Lo and behold the letter on the block was the letter “C”. In the bold color red, just like the shirt I had chosen to wear that morning for photos.

Before the beginning of time God knew me. He knew all of my paths that I’d take and every moment of my life. He knew that my husband and I would come very close to choosing to stop trying to have biological kids before He would open my womb. God knew that we would have a son and that we would choose to name Him Caleb. In 2013 He knew this and the cloth block my friend gave me to help me with my project had the letter “C” on it. How fun it must be for God, like a big surprise, 3 1/2 years earlier and He is the only one that knew as she handed me a block of cloth, both of us clueless how meaningful it would become. How amazing and how loving is our Father in Heaven truly is!

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Picture by Magdalena Ferrandino

 ” I could ask the darkness to hide me
  and the light around me to become night—
     but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
    Darkness and light are the same to you.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.”  – Psalm 139:11-16

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” – God speaking to Jeremiah (the prophet) 1:5

* Whether we accept the price God paid to adopt us as His child and become our Spiritual Father is different than God being our Creator. See John chapter 8 and Romans chapter 8.

Summer of The Leviathan

God often prepares His children before something happens. Revealing a key part of His Truth so that we can be ready for when the storm hits-or for being thrust into the icy, isolated, darkness, which is a more fitting description in this case. Several things that were my biggest dreams in life were stripped away around the same time that we left the tropical island of Okinawa and moved to Alaska, a week before the snow hit. This on top of me never having lived anywhere where the snow actually stays longer than a day. The psychological shock of being thrust against my will by the military into an environment that felt like an icy trap mirrored the trauma I felt in my soul.

During that first year of trying to have a baby, while we were still in the tropical “paradise” of Okinawa, God laid on my heart an urgency to read the book of Job. Even though I was beginning to realize that there was indeed a problem with my fertility, I really had no idea and I thought we could just get help after the first year and have our baby soon after that. Oh, how little did I know that 5 years later there would still be no cigars, no sweet baby coos, no staring in wonder into the eyes of my baby. No baby.

God knew though. He knew all the different emotions, all the different parts of my heart and soul that would be laid bare under his refining fire. He knew this, and He knew that a lot of it would hurt and that I had to be ready. I had to know that He was God and that I was not. God knew that I was going to have to hold onto this key, foundational Truth in order to submit to Him and let Him fully have His way in me. Even when it felt like “all my dreams” were being taken away.

 Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Declare to Me, if you have and know understanding. Who determined the measures of the earth, if you know? Or who stretched the measuring line upon it?…

…Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, saying, Gird up your loins now like a man; I will demand of you, and you answer Me. Will you also annul (set aside and render void) My judgment? Will you condemn Me [your God], that you may [appear] righteous and justified?

Have you an arm like God? Or can you thunder with a voice like His? [Since you question the manner of the Almighty’s rule] deck yourself now with the excellency and dignity [of the Supreme Ruler, and yourself undertake the government of the world if you are so wise], and array yourself with honor and majesty…

…“No one is so fierce [and foolhardy] that he dares to stir up Leviathan;
Who then is he who can stand before Me [or dares to contend with Me, the beast’s creator]? “Who has first given to Me that I should repay him?
Whatever is under the whole heaven is Mine. [Who can have a claim against Me who made the unmastered beast?]

Job 38:1-7, 40:6-10, 41:10-11 AMP

These passages from Job deeply impressed upon my soul. I cannot stand before God. God alone has the power and might to create, to give or to take away. God does not “owe me” anything. Like it says in Job “Who has first given to Me that I should repay him?”-no one. No one has given anything to God so that God owes them. In fact God has richly blessed us, the undeserving, by sending His son while we were still in rebellious hostility toward Him. Even if literally every dream and everything that I love was taken from me I would still have Jesus, and I would still be rich because I am His. He is my Redeemer. Like Boaz who redeemed Ruth out of destitution, shame, and sorrow into wealth, love, and joy. God redeems us out of sin and death into eternal life as His adopted children, purchased by the precious blood of His Son, and that is the only gift that we need.

It was vitally important from the beginning that I set my mind on the task of trusting God. Jesus said His burden is light and His yoke is easy. He desires to clothe us in His righteousness and strengthen us with His joy, but first we must entrust Him with our life and trust Him wherever He leads. To desire nothing-but Christ alone, is to have all that you need. He is more than enough. I remember forcing myself to sing “Enough” by Chris Tomlin after we’d moved to Alaska and began to become more acquainted with the reality of infertility. He is more than enough. With a tightly constricted throat, and tears forcing their way down my cheeks, “All of You is more than enough for all of me / For every thirst and every need / You satisfy me with Your love / And all I have in You is more than enough”.

Sometimes the rocky mountain paths or the dark valleys don’t make sense from our perspective, but we can be like Habakkuk, who after He asked God “why” He resolved:

I will stand on my guard post
And station myself on the rampart;
And I will keep watch to see what He will speak to me,
And how I may reply when I am reproved.

It’s ok to ask God why, as long as our heart is right. Are we asking Him so He can reprove and correct us, or are we challenging Him? There is a distinct difference.

God wanted me to be in a posture of submission so that He could transform me according to His will, not mine. So that He could bless me with the portion of His presence that is reserved for those that declare, no matter what, that He is all that we need, and that He is more than enough. And, believe me, I needed that presence, because it was Him, my Father, my Anchor, that I was clinging to; hiding in the Cleft of the Rock.

To choose to trust in God and let Him take the lead means being able to abide in His presence. To be blessed with His ever comforting Spirit. He is the Good Shepherd, He does not push us into the valley, He walks ahead of us and protects us. But in order to be satisfied as with the fatness and marrow (Psalm 63:5) of His presence we have to be in close proximity and that means following Him right on His heels. When we enter the valley of the shadow of death we must press in closer ’cause it is harder to see. Maybe the death in that valley means the death of our dreams. But we can trust Him with the thoughts and the plans that He has for us, He Who is the Author and the Perfecter of our Faith.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2

 

ANT-PEOPLE!

So you mayBugs have seen either seen the preview for, or the actual movie Ant-man recently. I haven’t seen the movie but I have seen the preview, in 4D at Disney’s California Adventure! I was just waiting in fear for when the “creepy crawler” sensation would come upon me from the chair to match what I was watching on-screen. When it did I couldn’t help popping up and exclaiming out-loud, MY BUTT!!! Haha, that is just what popped out of my mouth, it was really funny. Lately God has been placing Psalm 113:4-6 on my heart, I read it awhile back and was struck by it in my heart but then forgot where in the Psalms this passage was. Recently the Holy Spirit impressed it upon me again as I’ve meditated on scripture about God “keeping a list” of all that we say and do (see post “The List”) Thankfully I was able to Google what I remembered of the scripture to find the passage again and meditate carefully upon it as God continues to impress it upon my heart and mind.

The Lord is high above all nations, His glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, Who dwells on high, Who humbles Himself to behold The things that are in the heavens and in the earth? Psalm 113:4-6

What really is striking to me here is that God actually has to humble himself to regard us. This may not seem like such a big revelation, I mean we mere man, filthy in our sin, before an almighty, holy God. But really we tend to lose sight of this and it has been impressed on my heart. I’ve been pondering this, chewing upon it and allowing it to humble me. Then this morning during praise and worship as we sang song after song about how forever Great and Mighty God is He helped me to see and understand just a little bit more. You see, this week at work something out of the ordinary has been going on. When I get out to my car at the end of the day my driver’s side handle area has been teaming with super tiny bugs, smaller than ants. It is really disgusting, I’m repulsed and just hoping that when I open the door that they haven’t made it through the crack and begun crawling all over my seat. I quickly open the door, sigh with relief and then forget all about them by the time I get home. That is until this morning. Right there in the middle of worshipping majestic, awesome God, He brought this picture to my mind. That before Him I am like a little ant, but even smaller than that, kind of like those bugs on my car. We all are, and we are repulsive, creepy crawling in our sinful ways all over the earth. BUT, God who is holy chooses to regard us. Instead of ignoring us or wiping us out like we deserve, filthy bugs that we are, He allows us to continue to team around on earth for now, and He regards us. He pays attention to us…and….He considers our ways. From His dwelling place He looks upon all the inhabitants of the earth—He Who fashions the hearts of them all, Who considers all their doings. Psalm 33:14-15  As I was singing and considering how infinitely small I was compared to God I couldn’t help but have a big smile break out on my face. In part I was smiling because of the joy that poured over as God was taking the time to use these experiences in my life to teach me, like a tender loving Father teaches His child. At the same time I couldn’t help but picture the whole sanctuary of people this morning like a tiny little patch of ants organizing themselves to praise God. Then it came time for God to become really serious with Me as He pressed His truth upon my heart even further. Although in comparison to Him we are like these microscopic ants, we are at the same time very valuable and very much accountable. How can this be? Because God assigns us value and responsibility when He creates us.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:26-27

When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
    you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
    and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
    and the fish in the sea,
    all that swim the paths of the seas. Psalm 8:3-8

So it is with fear and reverence that we must come before God, not spurning His holiness and the calling to worship Him instead of ourselves. We each will stand before God for judgement, but will it be with or without the protection of Christ? Will it be as one who dared curse the name of God and to His sorrow spurned His grace? Or, will it be as one that was once filthy but was born again, becoming a new creation, an adopted child of God through Christ? Christ the Lord Who rescues us from our filthy ways and puts upon us the new identity of co-heir. Mind-shattering is this mystery, this business of ransoming us from the kingdom of darkness through the blood of Christ. O praise Him, the King of Glory who from the beginning of time has known each one of us, unworthy as we are, created us in our mother’s womb and Who calls us each by name, who in His great love and mercy seeks reconciliation with us.

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. Ezekiel 36:25-27