Last night I had the chance to visit with another "Hope Mom" (one who has lost a child) and she shared with me that she calls some of her lessons, "Caroline gifts" and it is so true. Since February 7th, I have been so stretched and have grown so much in my understanding of God and convictions. I really feel like these are gifts that Naomi is giving me -ways to make me and the world around me- better. There are several books that I've been given since we lost Naomi. Two of them are by Nancy Guthrie called The One Year Book of Hope and Holding on to Hope have been both healing and convicting. One of the themes that has been one of the hardest one for me to wrestle with is that of bargaining with God.
When you go through something so unthinkable, some thoughts pop into your head about how you can handle it. I think it's common to think when you're going through something rough "I can do this as long as... (I don't lose my job too, I keep my good health and so on)". Until I read about it I didn't realize I was bargaining with God. I told him that I could manage losing my daughter as long as I didn't lose my other one. I think just about anyone can understand where I'm coming from. I was really convicted that this is something that I have no right in bargaining.
Then Esau looked up and saw the women and children. "Who are these with you?" he asked. Jacob answered, "They are the children God has graciously given your servant."
Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
(italics by me)
What do all these verses have in common? That God gave us our children. They are from him. They do not belong to us. We are given guardianship over our children temporarily in order to raise them for the glory of him.
In reality, everything we're given is from him. When we realize that these are all gifts from him we learn to be grateful. We put our hearts in the right place and don't take them for granted. We appreciate his gifts and cherish them.
A couple months ago a speaker at MOPS spoke about a word in another language called "Brata". A "brata" is gift completely undeserved. She pinpointed that our house, our husband, our children are all "brata's". It may easy to think of these things as gifts but harder to think of them not being in our control. I can't sit and bargain with God and tell him that he can't take Sophia away from me. Who am I to do that?
Am I okay with this? Not yet. God's still working with me on it. I can tell you though- I'm so grateful for my gifts both here and in Heaven.