Our Pastor's wife, Lisa, invited her cousin to speak to us during the retreat and this is Leanne. She has such an amazing story, and I certainly won't do it justice... but I'd love to share it with you.
Leanne married her husband in December of 2005, and lived the life of the blissfully happy newlywed for a very short time before her Dad was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. He passed away in 2007, shortly after her father's passing her mother started having some severe complications with Parkinson's disease. Which meant she needed to drive 5 hours to visit her Mom and check on her health every weekend. Shortly after that in 2008, her mother's father passed away as well.
In the spring of 2008, Leanne found out she was pregnant - but miscarried at about 8 weeks. She got pregnant again; and at 16 weeks found out that her baby had Downs Syndrome, a heart defect, and her placenta was calcifying. Her baby was born on Thanksgiving Day last year, and is doing well. She might be having heart surgery soon, but that was where her story left us.
Leanne's story touched my heart in so many ways because it was a story all about wanting to take control of God's plan and sort it all out - but we can't do that. We want to sit in the driver's seat, but really we need to sit in the back seat and let God take control of everything. It is a very hard lesson and something that our human sides struggle with on a daily basis.
It is hard to only know what you know right now, and trust that God has it all figured out - he knows exactly where you are, what you're doing and where you're going next... he knows what will be happening a year from now, a decade from now... all the way until you are called home to be with him. Isn't that amazing? I wouldn't want to know the entire picture necessarily - but at times I do wish that I could see a bit more than I do of what is coming next.
She gave us some notes that I'd like to share with you guys as well: (with a few added notes from me)
1. Trust God's plan
- He knows you, he created you - he's planned every detail of your life
- He sees the big picture
- His plans are perfect (not always on our timeline)
2. Trust God's purpose
- To bring himself glory
- To make me more Christ-like
- The work of the Lord displayed in your life - this is why we go through the hard battles of life - so that we as disciples of Christ can share his work as it is displayed in our lives.
3. Trust God's word
- He does not lie
- Truth for every situation is found within the Bible
4. Trust God's character
- He is good
- He is trustworthy
- He is faithful
- He is omniscient
Leanne's belief is that she has a life verse for every year of her life - and for this past year her verse has been:
Romans 5:3-5 (NLT) We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us--they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Leanne's (once again - loses something in the translation) husband during the middle of their turbulent storms saw an image of them in the ocean treading water... fighting to keep their heads above water and keep breathing, but God sent them a raft. Essentially he sent them peace - if they would trust in him and climb up on the raft - he will guide them wherever they need to go and will take care of them along the way. Isn't that a beautiful image?
So she left us with these questions:
Are you treading water?
Are you climbing onto the raft?
Are you rowing in your own strength?
Are you clinging to the raft in fear?
Are you resting on the raft?
I wish I could say that the last question is what fits for me... but sadly it hasn't been. I've been doing a combination of rowing in my own strength and clinging to the raft in fear... but I'm praying about that. I'm also learning by reading a book (to be shared later) that God meets you where your faith is... I'll expand on that idea in another post - but I'm working on really deeply owning in my heart that I AM GOING to be a mother... that it is only a question of when...