Heart of Esther

"And who knows but that you have come to this position for such a time as this?" –Esther 4:14

Crying Out April 25, 2012

I know my posts have been a bit few and far between these days…

It has been difficult for me to put so much into a few words.  And there has been much that is so deep and so personal and raw, that I cannot share it, but for a couple of souls.

I was so grateful to hear from a reader-you know who you are!  🙂 You encouraged me so much and reading your post was like a glance into my own soul.

Yes, life has been a battleground lately.   I’m at that place of true forgiveness…and yet, the evil one still brings those feelings up now and again.  There are days I feel like I’m back at square one.  There are days that I feel like more than a conqueror.   Days when I am resting in His perfect peace and nothing will ripple the calm of my soul…  

Lately, there have been many days of brokenness.  Simply crying out to Him.  There have been health issues, surgeries, and obstacles that keep getting in the way of my body healing from both losses.  It feels like the storm hasn’t ended.  I have felt like the disciples on the boat, in the middle of this terrific storm…wondering why Jesus is sleeping???   My anguish echoes David in Psalms “Attend to my cry; give ear to my prayer which is not from deceitful lips.” 

And then I realize He wants me in that place.  To understand, for His Glory, that I am desperate and helpless without Him.  There are so many walls, so many layers.  He is renewing me.  It is a time of amazing growth.  Just as I have come up for air and feel like I’ve learned and been renewed (new wine cannot be poured into old wine skins), He seems to find it perfect to teach me more-and back under I go.  A time for peeling away the old-like an onion whose outer layers need pulled away.  I have been growing and learning and deepening my relationship with Him.  

It’s been a heart-wrenching time and yet, this time has held such sweetness in it as well… 

I know why I am at this place.  I am to be in a place where I know it is only God who delivers.  I know the Lord hears my cry “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” (Psalm 50:15)

Throughout the Word, I see time after time that there was a period when individuals or nations cried out in desperation.  Psalms is full of David’s pleas-asking the Lord if He will not turn His back on him, if He will hear his cry.  

And I feel peace because I see that time and again, the Lord did respond.  He did deliver.  He did heal.  He answered.  He restored.   

“In my distress, I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple and my cry came before Him, even to His ears.”  (Psalm 18:6)
“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.” Psalm 34:15
“I cried to the Lord with my voice and He heard me from His holy hill…O Lord my God, I cried out to You and You healed me.” Psalms 3:4, 30:2
So here I will remain-crying out to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or think.

“I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry.”

Psalm 40:1

 

THANKSGIVING November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving is just a couple of days away. 

I’m not sure how to face the next few days…thankful…

And empty.

I will choose to focus on what I DO have instead of what I’ve lost. I will freely admit, just the basics (laundry, dishes, meals, A SHOWER) are hard to manage right now.  I have little ones pulling my attention many different ways.  I am choosing to be thankful for them.  I know there are so many of you out there who have lost a baby and do not have the comfort of another child’s arms.  So for that, I have so much to be thankful for!  Some days, knowing they need me is the only thing that wills me out of bed.  Other days, I bury myself further under the covers and wish I could be left alone to cry!  It’s hard not to feel like a terrible mother because with all these emotions, my fuse is super short.  I pray God gives them the grace to pardon me and me the grace to respond well.

I hope I do not sound ungrateful because I truly am blessed.  We have so much to be thankful for.  It’s just so hard to focus on gratefulness when my heart is full of  such ache.  So this weekend, when I know I will be thinking of nothing but the emptiness, I pray I can somehow rise above it all and truly in my heart be THANKFUL for a loving husband, my beautiful children, the brief time we had with Andrew, and my own life.  I’m thankful for medical advances that have made something that would have taken a mother’s life two generations ago, easily sustained. I will be thankful for the food we are so blessed to have and the friends and family we are able to enjoy. 

I will be thankful for the blessing of beautiful friends who have been here for us in amazing ways-lovingly watching our children, bringing meals, being there to cry on and talk to, and truly hurting with us.  We are so thankful for the friends who sent amazing flowers, books, emails, and cards that comforted our hearts.  Friends who offered to clean, take our kids for a walk, or even bring a coffee!

This morning I heard BLESSED BE YOUR NAME by Matt Redman.  His song is based on Job so I looked up these verses:  Job 1:21 “…The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” and Job 2:10 “Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” 

Job had lost everything and he chose to still praise and not curse God.  But I also realize that even in Job it was the enemy who killed, stole, and destroyed-not God.  Even though the Lord allowed it.  Why He allowed it is the part that is so very difficult… 

These are the times in our walk when we are tried and shaken to our very core and all we are left with is a simple choice.  It’s a choice because it’s not what we feel, it’s what we know.

Though there is pain in the offering, I will choose to say…

blessed be the Name of the Lord.

 

JILL MCCLOGHRY SPEAKS ON THE LOSS OF HER CHILD November 14, 2011

A few weeks ago I posted a link to “Desert Song” by Hillsong United.  It is a song I’ve listened to for years and it has sustained me through so many seasons.  Little did I know the significance it would play in my life this week.  

After losing our little Andrew, I looked up this song on YouTube.  I knew I needed something encouraging to hold me back from this black hole of despair and grief.  I’ve been so angry at God for allowing my precious baby to die!  Bitterness and anger have threatened to swallow me up.  I want to hate God. My heart screamed at Him…  

Its a long story, but I happened across this interview by Hillsong United regarding the recording of this song that had seen me through so many times before.  I had NEVER seen this interview before!  I know it was the Holy Spirit who led me to see this.  Thank you God for this interview-it gave me hope and put things in perspective for me.  I knew if Jill McCloghry could survive, somehow, I would, too.  Thank you, Jill, for speaking LIFE into my death and hope in my pain.  

Please take a moment to watch this interview:  Desert Song Interview

 

DESERT SONG November 3, 2011

DESERT SONG by Hillsong United

This song has seen me through so many season in my life.  It has become a theme song for my life.  

LYRICS

Verse 1:
This is my prayer in the desert
And all that’s within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is the God who provides

Verse 2:
And this is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flames

Chorus:
And I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

Verse 3:
And this is my prayer in the battle
When triumph is still on it’s way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I’ll stand

Bridge:
All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

Verse 4:
This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I’m filled to be emptied again
The seed I’ve recieved I will sow

 

RID ME OF MYSELF November 2, 2011

My daily journey, my struggle, is to learn not to despise when things do not work out for me-when I am hurt, or when I am in a desert place.  When life is easy, good, or moving at a busy pace; it’s harder for me to see God in the details.  I love how God is in the details. He loves details!  He shows Himself strong in the small. It’s the little things in my life where I want the big changes. I want to respond His way instead of my own.  For me, each time I’m in the process of an even deeper, more intimate relationship with the Lord, He begins to reorder my life. It seems He is shifting and re-adjusting me and replacing even more of me with Him. He is also so clearly laying before me two choices in my response to happenings in my life: respond His way, or my own. I am learning not to despise the awkward or hard things because I am learning to see God in them, allowing Him to grow me.

This week has been a real challenge for me, but He is showing me He is teaching me through hard things. I don’t feel adequate. I feel helpless. I feel I am not good enough for my children, cannot meet my own expectations of myself, I’m not reaching out to others enough, not spending enough time in His Word…

In these moments, I find this is where I often grow the most.  Instead of feeling sorry or bad for myself because I lack so much, I am surrendering to Him who can do immeasurably more than I ask or think. I am totally committed to doing things HIS way. My prayer is that my heart would remain teachable through these struggles. That He would use them to show me how utterly inadequate and hopeless I am without Him!  If His Word says He uses the low things, them make me low.  If he uses the despised things, make me despised.  If he uses foolish things, then I shamelessly humble myself before Him!  I desire to live my life in full surrender of what He wants to do in it and with it.

May Romans 12: 9-21 remain on my heart:  clinging to what is good, honoring others above myself. Never lacking in zeal. Being joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Blessing those who persecute me. As much as it depends on me, living at peace with everyone. Not taking revenge, but leaving judgment and revenge to the Lord who takes care of me. He is my Defender! I will not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good!

I don’t rejoice because of the struggle or because of my failures, but I rejoice that I can grow in the struggle.  That somehow in my failure, He is able to show his strength!  I want the hard things to remind me that I must never lose my zeal, or my dependence on Him. When I am in full surrender, I realize this: if I’m being challenged, it’s because I need to be!!  May my heart and will remain always bendable before Him.  May I allow Him to do His work in me.

LEAD ME TO THE CROSS

 

 
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