“Strength is born in the deep silence of long-suffering hearts;
not amid joy.”
After Monday’s post, a friend emailed about the rest of Simeon’s story found in Luke 2:33-35:
“The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about [Jesus]. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: ‘This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.’”
This is part of the story too. The truth is that Jesus’ message was divisive (Luke 12:51), not because of a lack of love but because of a lack of hearts softened to His revelation. And the hard reality for Mary was the sword that would come to pierce her soul as she watched her son grow into a man who was misunderstood, ridiculed, abandoned, and crucified.
Now, we will never face pain on that level, but because our sweet Lord became man and subjected himself to everything we face and feel, He does allow us to relate. And as a mother, I believe I perceive a glimpse into Mary’s heart as Simeon hit the nail on the head. There is nothing like a child’s joys and trials to both capture our hearts and also pierce our very souls. Mary received the blessing that was given, but knew that with that would come the piercing.
Seeing as this blog’s theme is navigating life and loss with the foundational perspective that Jesus is indeed making all things new, I want to share something our family has been navigating recently, another “piercing” of sorts… and also a blessing.
We were hoping to share our news this week that we were expecting another precious bundle of joy in late July. But instead, we are now sharing about our miscarriage. A loss here on earth. A gain of another soul created for eternity in heaven.
Of course, we were crushed as the reality sunk deep. The big and little thoughts flooding. I never felt his or her kicks. I don’t know if the baby is a boy or girl. The names we were already planning shelved. No longer guaranteed three children in our Christmas card for next year… Our quiver we hoped filling, once more seeming to regress.
But you know what has happened? The amazing, TRULY amazing, part of it all? I now understand. I now know what Paul means in Philippians 4:7 when he speaks of “the peace that passes all understanding.” How? Because I have it. I can’t explain it. It doesn’t make sense in the earthly economy. It literally passes all my understanding, and it can only be from Jesus. It’s not that we aren't sad or that this child wasn’t dearly desired, deeply mourned, and still celebrated as a child in heaven. But deep down, I have peace. Joy actually abounds.
Another trial has come; but we are not destroyed.
Sometimes the trials do not expose weakness as they leave us battered and bruised. Instead, they reveal strength. Whose strength? Christ’s as HE is strong in our weaknesses.
I get it now, at least in this moment. I feel His love, even in this. Something I never thought I would be able to honestly say. After all, the Lord and I have had something akin to a love/hate relationship over the past four years. And yet, right now, I simply delight in His love. We have wrestled, but we have come out stronger. Wrestling is not a sign of hatred after all; it is a sign of working out the relationship and staying the course… not giving up on another. Fortunately, the Lord didn’t give up on us.
My heart has been pierced, but I’ve also received the blessing. The blessing of sacred peace, of supernatural joy. But also the unexpected gift of a peace in my spirit knowing our son Warren now has a sibling in heaven. Yes I know he is happy and whole with Jesus. But as a mother, it was a love gift from God to be able to know, although it breaks my heart to not physically be with two of my children, that they are together until I join them. And I feel comforted, settled.
So where are we in the aftermath? We are left still waiting. No longer waiting on July 29 and the baby we expected. But we wait on the Lord and what He has in store with us. Because of the Lord’s restorative work in our family and our hearts, we don’t wait with the fretting and the fear-driven sense of urgency we have experienced in the past… that frenzied drive to catch up. Instead, we wait with hope, anticipating the good gifts from a good God in His good time. All is well.
Look for the strength emerging out of your trials, out of your weakness. And wait with hope.
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”
-2 Corinthians 4:8-12