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Beauty from Ashes

April 3, 2010

You know, every prayer is at some point or another answered. That’s something we can take comfort in—the knowledge that God hears and responds, in His own time, and according to His own will.

I think the thing we like to forget, though, is that sometimes the answer is No.

That’s a tough one. As adults, we grow comfortable making our own decisions and choices based on what we want, when we want it. I’ve been married for close to fifteen years, and yet I can say in truth that I am a very independent woman. I’ve grown accustomed to making those sorts of decisions…kind of like my trip to Rome in a week. It’s what I wanted to do, and thus I’m doing it.

It’s difficult for me as a person, as a grown adult, to concede that a choice is out of my hands…to recognize that perhaps the answer to my prayer has always been ‘no,’ and I just haven’t been listening.

I am angry. I am frustrated. I am grieved. It’s a comfort to know I can take those emotions to God in prayer, and He’s okay with me being angry, and frustrated, and grieved. It doesn’t really make it any easier, but at least I know that that relationship doesn’t suffer for my honesty.

And so it is that I paused in front of the baby care aisle in Target yesterday, and pondered the situation. Do you remember the last time you purchased a tub of wipes? I used to like the Huggies brand with the textured ripples. They weren’t quite as frigid as some of the others. I imagined they were less a shock of sensation to the bottom. I even had a wipe warmer. I found myself wondering when I had last bought a tub of wipes, and if I had realized at the time that it would be my last. I knew I hadn’t. I was tempted to buy a tub, just so I’d have that realization, but I figured that would probably be cheating.

So many of these little realizations, and I missed them. The last pack of diapers I purchased. The last bottle consumed as I rocked a little one. The last onesie outgrown.

The last time my child woke for a four a.m. feeding.

I was so busy at looking at all of the firsts—the Pull-Ups, the sippy cup, the first night slept through—that somehow, I missed the fact that each first was accompanied by a last. A last that mutely flickered, like a struggling flame, and then went out.

I know that it’s not within my own power to create beauty from the ashes of these flames. I look forward to the day when I can see it, having been created by someone far wiser than me, and rejoice in it.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 3, 2010 1:51 pm

    Lori, I feel your pain in these verses. Hug. Yet there is healing in allowing the ‘no’ to be ‘no’ and moving on. Sooner than you think, you’ll be cuddling and loving on grand children and you’ll have the baby wipes, bottle feedings and snuggly blankets again. It is when the beauty will come from the ashes…. this I know, because I’ve lived thru it! Bless you, my friend!

  2. April 3, 2010 2:58 pm

    This brings up so many emotions in me that I struggle to keep in check, Lori. It seems silly for a mother of nine to be frustrated and emotionally distraught when I realize that for yet another month I am not pregnant. I keep thinking, ‘I am not ready to be done with this stage. I am not ready for my house to be devoid of that sweet feeling that comes from a baby sharing our space.’ Yet, the realization also hits me that my life IS in God’s hands and that HE knows what is best for me. It’s not easy to accept it, though. And I’m still hopeful that something will happen. But if it doesn’t, I am also ready to accept that it could be my time to just enjoy the wonderful family that I DO have.

    I could write a whole post-length comment regarding this, but I’ll stop. I mostly wanted to say that you captured my own emotions well in this post.

  3. April 3, 2010 3:41 pm

    this is a beautiful post. thank you for writing it. my heart breaks for the ‘no’ each time. because i know best. except i don’t. and that is the real thing, isn’t it? even Jesus wept…with His eternal perspective. weep. and then keep loving. and writing.

  4. April 3, 2010 6:34 pm

    I totally and completely feel for you in your pain. I too, have had that answer – “no,” at the request for more children. For several years I cried over it – knowing it was God’s will, but not understanding why. I wondered why some people seem to get to have as many as they want, and others only a few, and others still none. But it is not for me to ask. We are not meant to understand and know all, but to learn to live by faith.

    Now… many years later… I see God’s wisdom unfolding in my life. I can not possibly explain in the length of a comment what is on my mind – only that I know God knows – all, – and that I can trust Him, and what He thinks is best for my happiness and for that of my family. I now see, that more children would not have made our lives happier. For others, perhaps – but not for this family.

    In time He will give you peace as you go forward in faith accepting His will. And as Cee so rightly put it, beauty does come out of the ashes! I know this is true.

    You are in my prayers.

  5. Anaise permalink
    April 3, 2010 9:26 pm

    There is more to say than I can say . . . my heart aches for you, Lori. I understand.

    But as Maria said in The Sound of Music, “Every time God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.”

    Oh, how God loves you! Oh, how He will bless you! Oh, how your experiences and writing are blessings to your readers.

  6. Lori permalink*
    April 5, 2010 2:51 pm

    Guys, I’m just going to say ‘thank you.’ It’s such a confusing, troubling, frustrating thing, mainly because I feel like God is saying one thing to me, and my husband feels like He is saying quite another thing to him. And how could we be experiencing two different responses? So…we’ve started praying about this together, and that’s a good thing–that’s Beauty, my friends, when a husband and wife pray together. I appreciate your prayers for our discernment as we seek God’s wisdom.

  7. Lisa permalink
    April 7, 2010 11:49 pm

    Hi Lori,
    Got here by way of your comment on Pearls and Grace. Looking forward to reading more later. When I read the post you linked, I knew exactly which of my (few) posts expressed similar longings. And I felt kinda sad when I scanned my blog and saw the date on my post. I still haven’t really moved on. I have a very difficult time praying about it, despite spending considerable time in prayer on any other topic. I don’t think I realized that the reason is because I don’t want to acknowledge the answer. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Here is my post from a couple of years ago: http://ellescottage.blogspot.com/2008/06/closed-door.html

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