When my daughter was born, we knew right away that something was very wrong. We learned later (after an ambulance ride at only three hours old and a week-long NICU stay) that she was born with a congenital viral infection. She overcame so many obstacles, but she was so very sick. I believe in a God who made the world and everything in it. Who, as my husband likes to consider, not only made something out of nothing, but first made nothing. I believe in a God who continues to be intimately involved in His creation, who calls His children to Himself and walks with them daily. My daughter's illness was not outside of this. God didn't mess up with her. He had purpose, and I believe He meant for us to learn from our experience.
All these beliefs had been brought up and challenged, some sharpened, some dulled, some confused and lost, some strengthened and built up. All of it was still kind of swirly on that fifth day until I read this: "In this manner did the patient Duke draw a useful moral from everything that he saw; and by the help of this moralizing turn, in that life of his, remote from public haunts, he could find tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything." I stopped and read it again. "Sermons in stones," I told my daughter. "That's what we're doing here. We're finding the sermons in the stones." I sat, struck by this and felt a clarity that I had not before. Then I started to giggle. I can't explain it, but suddenly, everything we were facing had a purpose and a reason and my heart filled with joy to think of it. I did my best to suppress my giggles and told my daughter, "Get ready for some preaching, little girl, because we sure have a lot of stones."
Twenty weeks have passed since she was born, and after ten days in the NICU, 42 more in Pediatrics, and a very tumultuous home-coming, God has given us plenty of opportunities to find those sermons. I have felt all along that these truths were not just meant for me or our little family; they are meant to be shared. Through this month of November, my goal is to write every day and share just one thing that God has taught us on our journey. I very much want this to be a dialogue, to know what you think and to be challenged in what we've learned. I would love for you to share your questions and push back against the things that don't seem to make sense. Every grain of clarity also carries with it a new mystery, and while I believe we are not meant to know everything (we aren't God, after all), I believe we are meant to explore and learn what we can. The more we know about our lives and how God works in them, the closer we draw to God Himself. That is something for everyone, not just me! Come back tomorrow for the first "real" post. It will either be "God and Suffering" or "The Gift of Life" ... or something else entirely (though I will eventually write about both of those). Stay tuned!