Monday, October 8, 2012

Not My Will..........

It has been a little while since I posted something due to school, both boys soccer, and life in general.  I have a lot of things that have been on my mind, but will split everything up between a couple of post.  I have to thank all of you who have read and shared my blog.  I really do appreciate it!

I started this blog initially to give myself an outlet to get the things of my chest that are ever present in my life.  As I have moved forward with this I find myself looking at this in a two fold way.  The first being that I need to share the things that Christ has laid on my heart, which in turn will hopefully lead others to the same peace that I have received through Christ.  The second is to hopefully help those that have found themselves walking this heartbreaking path of losing a child see that there is a hope that again only comes through Christ.  My prayer to that point is that the hope and peace that I have after having lost Jack and Hayes will spur others to seek the same thing.  As I have said many times before, it is nothing within me that gives me that peace other than the grace and love of Christ.

There are so many things that I feel stirring within me, but I can sense that God has me in a place of waiting right now.  There are many things that I am working through when it comes to navigating through all of the questions, emotions, and desires that I find going through me all the time since Hayes died.  Many of these started after Jack died, but have grown exponentially since Hayes' passing. 

The biggest thing that I am working through right now is patiently waiting on God to show us the path that He has for us to walk down and what direction we are to go.  I find myself looking back over the last 11 years of mine and Jess' marriage and life together, and it is truly amazing how different it has turned out from what either of us have planned.  If you had asked me at the start of our marriage if I would have thought we would be blessed with 4 beautiful boys, but would end up losing two of them, I would have said not a chance!  That is exactly where we find ourselves though.

I have spoken in past post about how God was so faithful even in the events surrounding both boys deaths.  As horrendous as it has been losing both boys, it could have been so much worse than it was.  The fact that neither one of the boys died at home and we did not have to deal with something like that here, or the fact that Noah and Drew only have memories of the their brothers alive and happy is truly the grace of God.  I thank God for those blessings everyday! 

With that in mind the main point of this post is to share some of the things that happened in the lead up to Hayes' death.  Over the last several years I found myself in a place of complete apathy.  I found myself in a place where I really was just going through the motions of everyday life.  I was basically in a position where I was thinking of only myself above that of even my wife and kids.  This was especially true and seemed to grow after Jack died. 

There were things in my life that I thought I knew how to do better than God, and thought I was just fine in living my life in the way I wanted.  The problem was I was living for myself and not in a way that was in proper alignment with God.  God had been slowly but surely cranking up the pressure on me that I needed to surrender my will to Him.  I was fighting that pressure though and as a result was digging myself into a deeper hole.  

It was about two months before Hayes died that I found myself listening to a sermon from Mark Driscoll out of Mars Hill Church in Seattle.  It was from a series called "Pray Like Jesus".  This particular sermon was on the Garden of Gethsemane prayer, which is the prayer Jesus prayed the night He was arrested and crucified for the sins of the world.  This is that prayer from Luke 22.

39 Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. 40 When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” 43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
Luke 22:39-44

The big idea that came from this sermon was the fact that we all need to get to the point where we say to God, "your will and not my will be done".  By saying that it means that we may find ourselves being stretched and walking through some painful experiences, but ultimately God will be able to take us and our lives and use it for His glory.  Giving up our will is the hardest first step there is though.

I found myself in a place where I had never been before while listening to that sermon, and that was in a position where I was actually arguing with God.  I ended up listening to that sermon 4 times over the course of a few days and growing more and more miserable every time.  I knew that I was in a place where I had to surrender myself fully to God so He could do the work in me and my family that He desired to do.  It was on Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 that I finally came to a point where I knew I could not fight God anymore.  I prayed that day not my will, but your will be done in my life, and that afternoon I can say I truly surrendered my will to that of God's. 

It was not an easy road that I embarked on at that point, but I can honestly say that I started seeing God work miracles in my life, my marriage, and my family.  Things that had been ongoing issues in my life for what had seemed like years started breaking in my life that day.  It was not easy by any means, but I found that God was doing an amazing work in my life.  I did not fully realize what all that would mean when I came to that place of surrender.

When less than 2 months later Hayes died our world was completely turned upside down.  As I have also said before, I do not believe that God caused Jack or Hayes to die, but He did know the exact number of days they had on this earth.  God is all together good and does not cause death!  He is the author of perfection and all that is good, and death is solely the result of sin that entered the world with Adam. 

I know beyond a shadow of doubt that because God brought me to the place of complete surrender to Him that I have been able to walk in a peace that passes all understanding.  If I had still been in a place of rebellion towards God I know that I would have found myself in a place where my family very well may not have made it through this kind of a loss a second time intact.  It is because of the grace of God in my life that He brought me to this place where He was able to deal with the areas of my life that needed cleaning out and was able to bring my family closer together before Hayes died, especially Jess and I.

My big idea I am trying to convey to you all is that we all have a need for a right relationship with God.  For some of us that means actually asking Christ to forgive us of our sins and make us new, and for others of us that means surrendering ourselves to God fully and asking that His will be done and not our own.  For those of you that read this and are dealing with anger and bitterness towards God because you have lost a child, I can promise you that God wants to take that and turn it into peace and even joy!  He loves you more than you could ever know and my prayer is that we can all find ourselves in that place of complete surrender.  While it may be painful for awhile it will not always be that way.  God will take our pain and tears and turn them to laughter and joy!  All we have to do is ask and receive.............

 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

Revelation 3:18-20