"You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."Exodus 20:16-18
This weekend a few of my sins have become glaringly obvious to me and while I am ashamed to admit how much I struggle with sin, it is the truth. I know better, I know what God's word says, and yet, time and time again I find myself in this place where sin is taking over my heart.
Oddly enough one of my triggers is often the zoo. Weird? Maybe, but at the zoo especially I find myself looking at other families with a covetous heart. The Bible is clear. We are not to covet what someone else has, whether it is their money, home, children or ox. The verse above states "or ANYTHING that belongs to your neighbor". CLEAR as glass my friends. Yet I see a family from afar who looks like the family I long for. Five children. Four sweet (I know, I know, looks are deceiving) boys and a baby girl. I swear the zoo was CRAWLING with them this weekend.
I gaze at these families longing to know the chaos of having five living children, four boys fighting fiercely, yet loving eachother passionately enough to stick up for the other. I know that from where I stand each of these families "looks perfect" but just as they do not know my story, I do not know theirs, I have no idea how heartache has affected their family or what trials they have endured. I do not know what their "perfect family" looks like and yet I stand there, eyes glazed over, in la la land, coveting their family. I can't help but wonder if the Lord has forgotten me and my longing for a big family.
I caught myself doing it several times and when we got home I found myself in a pit. I was emotioal and moody. My heart was not right, I was abrupt with the two sweet boys that I DO get to raise, and I snapped at the husband who has helped to carry me through the darkest hours of my life. Again, I sinned. I swear, one sin lead to another.
THEN...as if that were not enough I sat down to check email once everyone was in bed, I had been waiting all day to get home to check a particular website because I had entered Hope in a photo contest. The winner would receive a tutu, bows, and a photo session and I was so pumped to get her entered. So pumped in fact that I entered her immediately when I saw the opportunity. As I searched through the pictures of all of the sweet girls who had entered, Hope's never appeared. Tears began to well up in my eyes. Surely, she had NOT been forgotten.
Hope had been forgotten. I had followed directions. I did exactly what I was supposed to do to get her entered, and yet, she was forgotten. I am more than ashamed to admit that when I realized that her entry had been overlooked I sat and wept. I felt like a complete idiot, yet I could not stop the tears. So many times in this lifetime, I have felt forgotten. I know it is not the truth. I know that despite my sin, time and time again, my God forgives me and has NEVER, NOT ONE TIME, forgotten me, and yet sometimes it does feel that way.
Now, my baby girl had been forgotten, the baby girl that I look at every day as the incredible miracle she is. My wanting for her to win this contest had NOTHING to do with the winning of a tutu or bows or photos (though that would have been cool), it had to do with the fact that I am so eager to share my girl with the world. Looking at her each and every day is a reminder to me that the Lord is doing a new thing in my life. He has allowed great sorrow, but also great joy. He has given, and He has taken away. He has allowed the uncertainty of EB and yet he is bringing us through. I want to shout from the rooftops how joyful I am that I have gotten to keep her. My heart is broken, yet still beating, because of Him. She in no way makes up for her brothers' absences, but has brough a new kind of joy, I wasn't sure was possible for our family again. This was my chance to show her off! To show the world what the Lord can do. She has EB, we were told she would likely not be able to even wear a tutu, let alone be a model for tutus! It seemed perfect to me.
"Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you." (Isaiah 49:15)
There, sitting on my bed, weeping because of an honest mistake, in an inconsequential contest, I felt the hand of God upon my shoulder, reminding me that, he doesn't need that contest to show the world what he can do, just as I don't need what other families have, while my family may not be perfect here on earth, it will be some day, and I don't need a contest to show my daughter's worth. She is a miracle, and she is loved by God, and each of my sweet children are children of the Lord. I often feel as though Isaac and Asher have been forgotten, and the more time that passes from the time they entered Heaven, the more I fear that they have been forgotten.
The thing is sometimes we do everything right, and still feel forgotten, and sometimes we feel like one giant mess and wonder how He could love us in spite of the ugliness in our hearts. I am not sure how or why, but the Bible tells us He does. No matter how much ugliness surfaces, no matter how many times we fail, He loves us. He never forgets us and he knows each of us by name. Perhaps I needed this reminder. Hope may have been forgotten as an entry in a model contest, but will NEVER be forgotten by her Heavenly father. People always let us down, He never does. He promised NEVER to leave us or forsake us, and He won't, and tonight that is what is bringing great comfort to my ever broken heart. I am headed to bed tonight with a grateful heart. Grateful for my wonderful husband, and for each of my five miracle babies. I get to have two waiting for me in Heaven and three on this earth to help grow and learn and I do not take that responsibility lightly. I don't want to waste a minute that I have with thes precious ones being ungrateful or covetous. I have been blessed. We are never promised a tomorrow, right now is all we have and I am so glad I have the family God chose for me to share it with! We are NOT forgotten.
For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which he confirmed to them by oath.Deuteronomy 4:31