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Here is my transcript:

When I began to pray about my time here this morning, my first prayer was “ Lord, let me decrease and let you increase!… What do these women need to see but Your Face? To see Your Beauty?” … We need a fresh vision of the Lord, a renewed love- not a love that is merely loving what we know about Christ… but a passionate, fragrant love for our Lord, our Heavenly Husband.

I recently heard a story about an 8 year old boy who said to an older and refined woman (much to the shock and dismay of his father): “Do you have any good scars?” At first the woman was a bit taken aback, never having this very question set before her. But then she answered “Yes, I do”… and then after asking if he could see them, the boy asked, “Do your scars have good stories?” And after a moment she said, “Yes… yes, they do. But it will take a long time to tell. Do you have the patience to hear?”

This morning, I will not to take a long time, but I will invite you to behold my story and my scar. And I pray that you will hear Christ in my story… and see his love afresh through my scar. I pray that you will desire him with more purity, simplicity and loyalty… and to find the joy in His presence that will prepare you for eternity.

For the sake of time I’ll jump right to the climax of my story- which is a physical scar. (I won’t show it to you), but it is the wound through which the lifeless body of my daughter Tirzah Catherine was born. Almost three months ago, on August 20, Tirzah was born still and silent at 40 weeks. With no warning, and no explanation. I went to my doctor for a routine pre-surgical exam, with a normal c-section scheduled the next day. My husband and I had no idea that anything was wrong, and then our doctor placed the doppler on my abdomen, and there was no sound of a heartbeat. And I’ll just tell you, for I hope you will never know by experience, that there is no sound to be compared with these screams of a mother. I suspect that the earth has not known a greater sorrow than that of a bereaved mother.

After Tirzah was born by c-section, I held her form in my arms. I literally held death in my arms… But I also witnessed resurrection life, because I know that she is not dead, she is alive! Tirzah has given me a chance to experience the Gospel full circle. This is my testimony: the goodness of God and the Gospel of Christ… Tirzah’s life and my story are reflections of the death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus.

In the first days and weeks after Tirzah’s death I experienced an over-powering sense of awe, and deep thankfulness toward the Lord, that all I could do was weep for his goodness to me…. Does this sound like a paradox? In the face of my deepest pain, my greatest loss, to feel this… I can testify that it was not a work of will power, or my effort to try and manufacture this thanksgiving, although there was a wrestling with the Word… it was given to me by the Holy Spirit in a powerful out- pouring of his grace.

When I first received the news of her death in my doctor’s office my first thought was “now I know the will of the Lord”, the thought came with a strange sense of calm… and my second thought came with more desperation, and words that I plead to Ryan, “We HAVE to trust the Lord.”

There had to be a complete submission and brokenness before the Lord before I could experience this kind of thanksgiving- this awe, this worship… And so I’ve learned this truth by experience: that “Faith Submits.” The Lord convicted me that I needed to submit to Him so FULLY that I could honestly say before God and men that I would not change the story, if given the chance… I needed this unshakable faith and trust in the goodness of God… such that I would not rewrite Tirzah’s life on this earth. These questions: “Would I rewrite the story? Would I write it differently?” and my temptation to shout YES! exposed sin in my heart- my pride and self-will. And as I was plagued with questions of “what if”?? Or thoughts of “I should have…” (I should have gone into the hospital, at this time or that… then she’d still be here)… I realized that Evil was tempting me with an illusion of control, or that God’s plan wasn’t the best outcome. My only rest was in accepting God’s sovereignty, His perfect will, and His goodness.

There was an explanation of the evil and suffering in our world by John Piper that really helped me to have a logical framework for trusting God, instead of merely sweeping my confusion and doubts under the “spiritual rug” of God’s sovereignty.:

John Piper wrote:
“When God looks at a painful or wicked event through His-wide angle lens {as opposed to His narrow-angle lens, where He sees just the pure tragedy},in his wide-angle lens, He sees the tragedy of the [event] and everything leading up to it, and everything flowing from it. He sees it in relation to all the connections and effects that form a pattern, or mosaic, stretching into eternity. This mosaic in all its parts brings Him delight….. He is infallibly forming a magnificent mosaic of redemptive history. ” ~

His words helped me to see that Tirzah is a beautiful piece in this mosaic of redemption.

Her LIFE speaks of the resurrection, the hope that we have… Her life with the Lord testifies that salvation is a FREE gift, because what could she have done to earn salvation? She never even took a breath. Her life is a testimony to the free nature of God’s favor- it originates from His character of love alone. Her death before life speaks strongly of the necessity of the sacrifice of Christ for ALL people. Although she never had a chance to do any wrong or evil deeds, she was a descendant of the first man Adam, and inherited His sinful nature that past to ALL mankind. Because of this, Tirzah needed redemption- just like each one of us. And the death of Jesus on the cross as our substitute and payment for sin, made it possible for Tirzah to be with God in Heaven, where she is now experiencing joy in His presence beyond our comprehension. Tirzah’s ascension into the Kingdom of God for eternity was blood-bought by the Lord.

I’m thankful for this reality of eternity. The Kingdom of God has never been so real to me as now. The breavity (fleeting nature) of this life has never been so real… Prior to Tirzah, eternity was more like an after-thought… but now, I truly LONG for it, and I’m truly thankful that it’s coming soon… … the soft touch of her face is something I’ll never experience again on this side of eternity… but a piece of my heart has died, and been resurrected and is there already with Tirzah… and the Lord. The highest joys and the deepest sorrows are both meant to prepare us for eternity… And I thank the Lord for them both.

Tirzah’s simple obedience to the voice of the Lord is also a testimony to us- He called her: “Arise my love, my beautiful one and come away”… and she followed Him and her spirit arose. And that is why I can say that the moment she died in my womb was the Holiest of moments… Could we all obey the voice of the Lord with such simplicity?

The Lord’s request to us is the same as it was to Tirzah: “Come!” In Isaiah 55 The Lord says, “ Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, for the **life of your soul** is at stake. I am ready to make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the mercies and unfailing love that I promised…”

If just one person heeds this call from the Lord through my testimony of Tirzah’s life, it will be worth the cost… I feel like God has entrusted to ME this ministry of Tirzah’s life, and I feel the precious weight of making it count.

How do I make it count?? Not by “doing” more, or even “serving more.”

God’s desire is not for us to be more productive or to accomplish more in our lifetime… His desire is for the image of His Son to be formed in us. The image of Jesus is scar-bearing. We each have scars, and our scars connect us to the scars of Christ- they are meant to tell a story- Christ’s story. A story must be told, and heard- not hidden, not silenced.
Dr. Allender spoke last weekend about his friend, whose face had been badly burned in a fire, about 1/3 of his face was disfigured. Everywhere he goes people look at him first with shock, and then some turn to disgust… But *all* look away…
We simply do not know how to behold each other’s scars. We don’t know how to behold our own scars… Can we first start by beholding the scars of our Savior? And then we when we find peace there, there in the scars of his hands, we can have the courage to look at our own scars, and see glory there.

In 2 Corinthians 12 Paul says, “on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses… Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
This passage instructs us to boast of our Savior through our weaknesses- this means our pain, our grief, our struggles… and our scars. THIS is how God has designed for His Son to be glorified- through suffering… Isaiah 53 says that Jesus was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief…”

So my encouragement to you (my courage-giving care) is to ask you to tell each other, and an unbelieving world about your pain, your weakness, your scars- and use it for the glory of Christ, to share with a hurting world the redemption that He has brought to you.

If you are here today, and don’t know the Lord the way that Tirzah knows him and I’ve described Him- as the Savior and Redeemer of your soul, then I invite you to look, perhaps for the first time, at the wounds of sin in your heart. In Jeremiah 30 the Lord says, “Your hurt is incurable, and your wound is grievous… There is none to uphold your cause, no medicine for your wound, no healing for you… because your guilt is great, because your sins are flagrant…” There is no hope from within ourselves… then the Lord offers his great mercy and FREE gift of redemption: “I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the LORD. ”

His one requirement is that you come to Him with brokenness, repentance and a forsaking your illusions of your own goodness: ”Only acknowledge your guilt, that you rebelled against the LORD your God… And I will heal your faithlessness…”

And after you’ve ceased hiding from God, and uncovered your wounds before Him, and received God’s free gift of healing from the Holy Spirit… then turn, and join Tirzah, myself and this sisterhood of saints, in testifying of the Lord’s GREAT goodness and grace… Show your scars to a hurting world and tell YOUR story of His redemption.

First of all, I love Jesus. I am a wife to an amazing man, and mother of three: my 5 year old son Jeremiah, 1 year old son Judah, and my daughter, Tirzah, now 3 years, is waiting for me in the gardens of Heaven. I am also a Veterinarian. The goal of my blog: Creating community around an honest journey through the joy and grief of life. Blog Topics: Child loss and grief; Attachment Theory in Parenting; Mental Heatlh; Christian Theology and Ministry; Veterinary Medicine; and Community Stories.

4 Comment on “Scars

  1. Pingback: Happy 3rd Birthday Tirzah! – delightofmylife

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