Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Greater Hope

Last weekend the sermon at church was entitled A Greater Hope. Jason Strand was the teaching Pastor for this week. This was the descriptor that was on the discussion guide:
No matter what is happening in your life—whether it’s conflict at work, health issues, break-ups, or miscarriages—Paul says in Romans that there is not one thing in your life that God cannot work out for your good. We can be comforted when we face problems and trials because we know that they will help us develop character, endurance, and a hope for Heaven. 
On Wednesday I watched the sermon again and was able to take notes. I shared all of this on twitter, but wanted to share here as well. If you'd like to watch, here is the video:

Here are my notes (in text and graphics):

No matter what happens in my life, God can work it for my good.

For we know...

There is a difference between a reason and purpose.

Loved this quote by Pastor Craig Groeschel, 
"You don't have to understand the WHY to trust God with the WHAT."

God never promises us understanding. He promises us a peace that goes beyond our understanding.

Pastor Strand says that there are two declarations that we, as believers, need to make.

This is so important to remember. 

Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. - Romans 8:18

Why am I sharing this? Well quite honestly, this sermon is something that I can relate to. I had plans, but those didn't pan out. What God had in store was better. Only now, looking back, can I see that.

Allow me to explain.

Side note: in our pre-marital counseling sessions, one of the topics that was discussed was number of children desired, and the spacing between them. We had said 3 kids, and our plan was 2 or 2 1/2 years apart. After all, that was how it was with my siblings and myself, so it seemed perfect.

Moving on.

We began attending Eagle Brook Church in late 2006, after being invited by my Mom and Step-dad. We were curious as to what was so amazing about this church, because it was being talked up by my family. So we went and understood. It was (and still is) amazing.

In April 2007 I gave birth to our first child, a son. I was overjoyed. I was overwhelmed. I was exhausted. I was emotional. I suffered with separation anxiety, and honestly should have been diagnosed with (and treated for) postpartum depression/anxiety. That is a story for a different day though. After he was born, our attendance at church went down. When we did attend, we sat in the parent child room.

September 2008, we start trying for a second. Only to be disappointed cycle after cycle.

Fast forward to February 2009. Grandma and Grandpa took our son to church and checked him into kids ministry. He did amazing and had a wonderful time. After that weekend, we made the decision that we would begin attending on a regular basis again. We felt that nudge. This was what we were supposed to do, and we were supposed to check our son into kids ministry.

March 2009, my husband was laid off from his job. He had been with the company for 12 years. We were blindsided by this. I was a stay at home mom. How were we going to make this work? We did what we needed to do, and we kept attending church through this season.

April 2009, we took our son to his 2 year well child appointment. His doctor flagged him for early intervention and speech therapy. He wasn't really talking, so we wanted to get him help.

July 2009, we met with the early intervention people. We filled out the paperwork. They came to our house to meet our son. Shortly there after we were given the news that, from an educational standpoint, he has autism. I'm thankful that my husband was able to be here with me while all this was going on.

End of July 2009, my husband is hired at a new company. It is an answered prayer.

November 2009, home services finally begin for our son. He has a special education teacher four days per week for an hour, and a speech therapist for one hour per week.

March 2010, almost a year to the day of my husband's lay off, he is laid off again. It was devastating. However, we made it through last time and we knew we could handle it again. I still have not been able to get pregnant. Every time someone would announce a pregnancy, my heart shattered. I felt broken.

April 2010, my husband was offered a job and he accepted!

June 2010, that company starts having issues with paying their employees in a timely manner. This lasts all summer long.

In the middle of August, my husband hears from his original boss. He wants to know if my husband wants to come back to the company. We talk about this and agreed it was what we/he needed to do. Another answered prayer. Plus we'd have health insurance again.

At the end of 2011, I was coming to terms with the fact that we might be a family of three. That our son would not have any siblings. My heart was crushed, but I continued to pray that God would answer my prayers.

April 2, 2012 I received a positive pregnancy test! I was elated and in disbelief. My pregnancy was uneventful until week 32, and our daughter was born 3 weeks later due to pre-eclampsia. She was in the hospital for 6 days, but had no issues. Prayers answered again.

December 16, 2013, I received another positive pregnancy test! This pregnancy was uneventful until 32 weeks, when a routine ultrasound revealed my amniotic fluid was at the low-end of "normal". On August 26, 2014 we welcomed our second son into the world. I could not believe that we had a third child. This was what we wanted. Our family was complete.

October 2014, I am 2 months postpartum and my heart is saying "you're not done. You need to have one more child." December 2014 I reveal my hearts desire to my husband. He thinks I've lost my mind, but doesn't try to talk me out of it.

April 10, 2016, our fourth baby is born. We were blessed with another daughter. My pregnancy went wonderfully with little issue. I was monitored for low fluid again, but nothing came from that.

God heard our prayer of having three kids close in age. He answered our prayers in His time. He knew what storms were coming in our life. We did not.

We had plans.
God had a purpose.
And God knows best.

Now we wait for God to answer our next prayer, and show us what he has in-store for our family.

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