And from the ground there blossoms red Life that shall endless be.

{this article was published in The Morning Center Chronicle, November 2017. The Morning Center provides free, full-service maternity care to underserved women in the name of Jesus. ProWoman. ProHope. ProLife.}

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. ~ John 10:10

The Morning Center stands for life.

However, our journey in supporting The Morning Center did not begin with life. Our journey’s seed-bed was Death:  our daughter, Tirzah Catherine Knight, was born still and silent at 40 weeks, and into the arms of Jesus on August 20, 2014. It was the darkest night of our lives.

She was our every dream and prayer come true. We loved her beyond words. Holding her in my arms, and the soft touch of her cheek was a touch of heaven… for a moment. But heaven is real, and I will touch her again.

We are people of the Resurrection. This is our hope.

It is from this place that our journey with The Morning Center blossomed.

Tirzah is NOT dead; she IS alive. Her life matters. Though born still and silent she has a voice that speaks loudly and clearly a message of life.

Tirzah’s message and the Morning Center’s mission are one and the same: Life. Resurrection. Eternal Life.

This is why we choose The Morning Center to honor and celebrate Tirzah’s life each year on her birthday, and invite others to join us. On her first birthday, we hosted an online baby shower that raised over $6000. We also celebrated her 1st birthday with a party and collected baby gifts. It was a holy experience to unwrap the gifts: clothes and dresses were chosen and wrapped through the tears of those who love us.

The dresses, that would have been so beautiful for Tirzah, were meant to bless another baby. Holding these dresses was literally holding grief and joy together: hope beyond the sorrow.

This baby shower for The Morning Center was actually a battle-cry:  A fierce stand that as Evil rages on this earth, scheming to “kill, thieve and destroy”, Death does NOT have the last word. Life wins!

In the battle against Evil and against Death, The Morning Center and all who work through the ministry are warriors fighting for life!

We joined forces with the Morning Center, because Jesus has conquered sin, Evil and death!

We stand on hope in the Resurrection. I repeat: Life wins!!

We love the Morning Center and are proud to join the war on their behalf because they have dual weaponry against the Enemy that is rare in Christian ministry: Sharing the Gospel in deed AND in Word.

The Morning Center enables women to carry and delivery their babies with excellent medical care. At the same time, their mission is sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the fullness of truth with love. I have been so blessed to join with The Morning Center through prayer and see their work overflowing in Bible study ministry to fathers and refugees in the community.

As we grieve our daughter here on earth, it has given us joy and peace in believing that the purpose of Tirzah’s life was for the grace of Jesus to spread (John 9:3). We see that promise fulfilled through The Morning Center, as her life has inspired us to take part in the gift of life to babies, mothers, fathers… and truly an entire community.

https://www.morningcenter.org/

 

 

 

Happy 3rd Birthday Tirzah!

Dear Tirzah,

We now celebrate your 3rd birthday! (August 20th)

It’s been a gift to celebrate you and remember you… You were our little perfect Gift! and still are.

With the school year starting and Jeremiah entering Kindergarten, I’ve been thinking that you would be going into preschool… what would it have been like for you to be buddies with Jeremiah and him showing you around CHA?

I can picture it clearly in my mind… but then I think, “No! no, you’re just where you’re supposed to be… with Jesus… held in His arms… walking with Him in the heavenly gardens.”

I remember the words in my speech just 2 1/2 months after your birth:

( https://delightofmylife.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/119/

“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?”  … there is still the temptation… but still the same conclusion.

Dearest Tirzah, my most beautiful and precious little princess, you are our perfect gift just the way you were… still, silent, yet carrying a loud message of LIFE.

You brought us the gift of LIFE in so many ways:  Faith, Hope, and Love in new depths, new vibrancy…  and a farther reaching spectrum of emotions- more tears and steadfast joy (for now we cling to Eternity… a part of our hearts are already in Heaven with you, Tirzah.  Hope in Heaven is the only true Hope, and the only true joy has eyes toward Jesus and Eternity) These tears and this joy are a little closer to the heart of God (who weeps with deep mourning and rejoices in the heights of Heaven).

You opened our hearts to deep grief, such as we had never known before, and pain that we didn’t know was possible. But yet, we have seen the Lord’s faithfulness, felt His presence, and heard His voice with an intensity and reality that matched the depth of our brokenness. Job says in 5:18: “For he wounds, but he binds up;
he shatters, but his hands heal.”

Tirzah, your life is still bringing us the gift of healing. We can only be healed so far as we are broken. Dan Allender once said that “trauma begets trauma”… and oh! did we find that to be true!

I have a theory: that all grief, pain and trauma have the same biochemical outcome in our brains… therefore, one traumatic event can actually trigger all past trauma and bring it to the surface again.

The last three years have been tumultuous for your dad and I, as not only the trauma of loosing you on this earth was felt, but all past traumas of our lives were also brought forth.  This brokenness in our hearts was there before you, just buried beneath the surface. Now you have brought us the gift of healing and the gift of being “wounded healers”, by the grace of God.

My good friend Rose shared this verse with me often:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  ~ 2 Corinthians 1:4-5

This is where we are now, Tirzah. Because of you we have the gift of a new calling on our lives. And when I say “we” I include Jeremiah and Judah!

Ever since you were born, Tirzah, Jeremiah has a sense of empathy that is stunning for a small child. He was about 2 1/2 at that time. As a result of our grief over you, Jeremiah became keenly aware of emotions. When we read him stories after your birth, he would point to every character on the page and want to know how they were feeling. Every single day (this is no joke), multiple times a day, Jeremiah would hand me a train and say, “Percy is sad because there are no beetles, lets just listen to how he feels.”  One day we were at a park with a sandbox (of course another mom with a similar age boy was sitting right next to me), and Jeremiah (about age 3) handed me a shovel and said, “This shovel is sad because he can’t dig, let’s just listen to how he feels.”  I was a little tongue-tied… but beaming with pride.

God has joined your story with ours, Tirzah, and He is beginning to work in Jeremiah his own life verse:  “He defended the cause of the poor and needy and so all went well…”  (Jeremiah 22:16)

Tirzah, you’ve given him eyes of empathy… to see pain in the eyes of another.

Just a couple weeks ago, (at age 5) he prayed in the evening, “Dear God, I pray that Mommy wouldn’t feel guilty…”  My mouth dropped open: for him to understand that emotion, to recognize it in me, and to have the compassion to pray for me was simply stunning… and I believe Spirit-given.

I believe we will see God use you, Tirzah, in Judah’s life as well. Judah’s life verse comes from Ezekiel 37: verses 4-5, 10.

“Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, “Oh dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live“… So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceeding great army.

Your little brother’s first birthday is now just a few days away! I wrote this in Judah’s newborn album:

“The Knight family is now a family of five. Judah is our third child: his older brother Jeremiah, and older sister Tirzah. We want Judah to know all about his sister. Our desire is the same for both Tirzah and Judah: That they would both carry a message of LIFE.

“The verse that Tirzah carries in her still and silent way, for it is engraved on her headstone, is one that Judah will carry with a strong and loud voice:

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this? ~ John 11:25-26

 

 

Birthday Video

There’s still time to donate to Tirzah’s legacy of life at through the Morning Center. Click below for her memorial page and fundraising in her honor.

https://secure.morningcenter.org/np/clients/morningcenter/campaign.jsp?campaign=21&fundraiser=12286&team=21#.VcyXcDVkpl0.facebook

Tirzah’s life message: Resurrection and LIFE:

“Resurrection is real. Life is more powerful than death. Light CAN pierce darkness. (1 Corinthians 15:54).

Lord, we know You will come. We know You are here. Let us bring all our wounds and brokenness to You expectantly, without a doubt. Remind us that all the children we hold, and all the children we don’t, are yours. Yours in this broken life and Yours in Eternity. Come, Lord Jesus. We wait in **Hope**. ”

(Katie Davis, Kisses from Katie)

The Valley of Vision:

“Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, Thou hast brought me to the Valley of Vision, where I live in the depths, but see Thee in the heights… there I behold Thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox,

that the way down is the way up,

that to be low is to be high,

that the broken heart is the healed heart,

that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,

that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,

that to have nothing is to possess all,

that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,

that to give is to receive, that **the valley is the place of vision.**

Lord, let me find thy light in my darkness, thy life in my sorrow, thy grace in my sin, they riches in my poverty, Thy glory in my valley.”

~The Valley of Vision, A Collection of Puritian Prayers

Dear Tirzah:

My sweet Tirzah, Jesus just couldn’t wait for you because you are so beautiful. And if I had a garden, wouldn’t I give my Lord the most beautiful Rose of the garden? How could I give Him any less than you?

~ Dear Tirzah, October 3, 2014

Soli Deo Gloria:

Tirzah’s life is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he life, and everyone who believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this? ”   ~ John 11

Do *not* be deceived: wake up from your drunken stupor, and do not go on sinning… Return to the Lord, for He is merciful and will abundantly pardon.”  ~ Jeremiah

I will carry you… all my life

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Dear Tirzah,
Today marks 6 months… 6 months of missing you, longing for you, wishing you were here…. But knowing that each day you grow more radiant in the presence of the Lord, looking fully into His face. (Psalm 34:5- Those who look to him are radiant…)

Tirzah, in these 6 months you’ve taught me so much- about longing for Christ… missing Him and waiting for Him… and seeking His Kingdom. {2 Timothy 4:8, to “love his appearing”}

I know this is God’s good and glorious plan. But still… I had that little sailor swim suit and sun hat for you… the prettiest dresses… and your first little doll… And a million kisses…

Instead you are in the arms of the Lord, dressed in pure white… infinitely more beautiful than the little pink dress you wore…

I still believe that the touch of your face was my first touch of Heaven.

We will always miss you… and you will always remind us that our lives on this earth are not complete and you gently point our gaze Heavenward, and Kingdom-ward.

For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling,
For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened–… so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.
So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord,
for we walk by faith, not by sight.
Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ… Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. ~ 2 Corinthians 5

Tirzah, I remember laying on the recovery room bed, and the moment they brought you in to me… and my first glimpse of you… your face… it was then my heart fully shattered… a physical pain in my heart to see how perfect and beautiful you were, and all I could do was groan “ooooooooohhhhh” { “… groanings too deep for words. ~ Romans 8:26} That was the moment that my heart was truly knit to yours and a part of me died…

But I AM there with you now Tirzah… eternity is outside of linear time…. And I am there with you in eternity, at the feet of Jesus…

and standing… at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment… {together we} fall down before Him who is seated on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever. ~ {Luke 7 & Revelation 4}

The only reason I am still here now, inside of time is to bring as many people with us as possible… {Jude 1:23- “Rescue others by snatching them from the flames…” NLT}

My prayer, Tirzah, is still that your life will bear much fruit for God’s Kingdom:

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. ~ John 12:24

And Tirzah, knowing that the remainder of my life here is like a vapor, and will be gone “like a flower of the field”, and then mortality will be swallowed up in resurrected life, I say: “God be with you til we meet again, til we meet at Jesus’ feet.”

Love, your Mommy

to be heard

This is a special day! Simon Hemming’s ONE YEAR Birthday!!

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” ~ Matthew 19:14

simonhemmings

I like to call him “Tirzah’s big brother”, because he went to be with Jesus before she did, and was there to welcome her (along with his two other brothers, Owen and Jediah). Now they’re all God’s children in Heaven!

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These are a few words from Gina:

“As you can see in the photos, he was a big, beautiful boy… MORE than I’d dreamed he would be! (I was sure I’d have bald babies!) We’d had Simon’s name picked out before we even knew he was a boy. His name means “To be heard.” and in God’s sovereignty and to His glory, Simon WAS heard! His testimony of God’s love and faithfulness- and of thehope we have because of Christ- was heard loud and clear among thousands. Our prayer is that Simon will be heard for years to come.It is a comfort to us that God had a clear purpose for our sweet Simon’s short little life. And we may only realize a small portion of that purpose now.”

Jesus.. asked his disciples… “who do you say that I am?”  SIMON Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

~ Matthew 16:13-16

And so Simon, together with Tirzah, although born still and silent, is a tiny little herald of this good news- that Jesus was God, come in flesh as a human to save sinners from God’s wrath by taking the death we deserve so that we can be free of debt before God. They both shout to us with a loud voices: “See (and grasp for yourself!) the goodness and kindness of God that is offered to you through Jesus!”

God our Savior showed us his kindness and love.  He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit.   He generously poured out the Spirit upon us because of what Jesus Christ our Savior did.  He declared us not guilty because of his great kindness. And now we know that we will inherit eternal life.

~ Titus 3:4-7n (NLT)

Happy 5 Month Birthday Tirzah!

Dear Tirzah,

Your mommy and daddy love you even more today- your 5 month birthday! You are the most beautiful girl we’ve ever seen; we love every little feature of your sweetest face and we can’t wait to hold your hand again, worshiping the Lord together with you. We hope and pray to make you proud of us, so you’re smiling down. And you inspire us every day to keep our eyes on “things above not on earthly things”… you inspire us to draw near to Jesus and keep our eyes on Him!

We send 1000 kisses up to you! ~ love Mommy and Daddy

I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD. ~ Psalm 118

and we all tore our robes

Then Job arose, and tore his robe… and fell on the ground and worshiped. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away, Blessed be the name of the Lord.  ~ Job 1:20

This weekend at the Respite Retreat, in Henrietta, TN with David and Nancy Guthrie was a hard and yet glorious time.

My heart was freshly broken for all the families we met, and feeling their pain of loosing their children along with them, along with our own heartbreak for our first daughter Tirzah.

At the end, we all agreed that we didn’t want to leave the retreat…. It was so good, because it felt so safe… it was wonderful to cry and not hold back.. to have people to cry with, and not try to fix it, or feel awkward or rush us past it… i could freely let out the deep guttural cry of my heart… it was wonderful that Tirzah’s name was said, naturally and often. It was amazing to be with people who “get it” and just “know” and we didn’t have to explain or justify anything. Tirzah’s value and worth was assumed and celebrated.

We also found in our time together, the Lord to be faithful and the Rock on which we stand. The *name of the Lord* is salvation, redemption, and resurrection… for our babies… and for us.

We found together that *Jesus understands* both the overwhelming weight of grief, and the loneliness in that grief:

Then {Jesus} said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour?

Jesus understands what it is like to pray and receive a “No” from the Father:

he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me

Together we found God’s answer to the “Why??”… and a beginning of putting to rest the guilt and regret we all are tempted to have eat away at our hearts:

Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.

Here in John 9, in this story of a blind man, we see Jesus answer in terms of purpose, not cause, as Nancy drew out of the passage. That was a wonderful reminder, and a truth in season for my heart. Nancy reminded each of us that God DOES NOT punish those *in faith*. For those who have accepted the free gift that Christ offers (the gift of being our substitute on the cross, and dying the death our lawbreaking demands as penalty), ALL the punishment that I *deserve*, Jesus took upon himself on the cross. *This sounds too good to be true* but we accept it and rejoice in this gift by faith. And now, God wants to pour out on US love, mercy, grace, forgiveness and GOODNESS.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. ~ Psalm 23

*ALL* the days includes the days that our children died. God’s *goodness* was there, and IS there in the depths of the despair we still feel.

Ecclesiastes 7:1 (paraphrase) ” and the day of death is better than the day of birth.”

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. ~ Psalm 116

And not only is God good on these days, but He has planned them, purposed them, and written them. Nancy read to us from Revelation 1:17 and Psalm 139. She emphasized this TRUTH: *God holds the key of death. No one walks through until God himself opens the door. And He is ALWAYS right on time.

“Fear not, I am the first and the last,  and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. ~ Revelation 1:17

God has written *every* one of our days. Even the days that our children die.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me… ~ Psalm 139:16 

And finally, we read this *on going* invitation of Jesus in Matthew 11:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

She gently reminded each of us to come to JESUS himself, with a simple and pure heart… it doesn’t say “go to church”, or “seek a spiritual experience”, or whatever we might turn to… instead, we come to our Lord- the *person* of Jesus, and, like the *beloved* disciple John, we simply lay our head on his chest, experiencing his love and rest.

Happy Three Month Birthday Tirzah!!

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Today Tirzah’s 3 month birthday…. i asked Ryan if he had any thoughts… He said, “Well, we’re three months closer to our eternity… to seeing her again.”

How true… I think the past three months I’ve been living more “in light” of Eternity then ever before…. the reality of my own *imminent* death (because really, compared to eternity, isn’t ALL of our deaths *really* imminent??)

In celebrating Tirzah’s life and birthday today, my one request, is for you to consider your own soul… and your own eternity.

To the person who thinks only of this lifetime and says: ” I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’… God says to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you,…” (Luke 12:19-20)

How do we know that anyone of us could have our soul “required” of us this very day….

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? ~ Mark 8:36

How do we secure our souls for eternity? Mark 1:15 says,” repent and believe in the gospel.”

This is the Gospel: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” ~Romans 5:8

When Jesus died on the cross He became the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29)

And this is the promise that His death purchased for those who come to Him… the only requirement is **COMING** : “as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” ~ Psalm 103:12.

This is a once-for-all-time transaction, the moment we come to Christ in faith. THEREFORE, we can have BOLD ASSURANCE on the day we stand before God. **KNOWING** that our sins have been removed from us… We will not bear our sins upon us in God’s court of Law on the day we stand before God’s judgment. We know that Christ bore our sins, and our penalty… and therefore, we know that we shall be declared **INNOCENT** and ushered into His Kingdom.

The invitation is open to ALL: “Come!” ~ Revelation 22”:17

{this is my addendum, which I thought good to add! Can enough ever be said of the Gospel of Salvation??}

Who can stand before The Lord God and before His Throne?

Psalm 24:4 asks this question, “Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?”
And answers: “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.”

Which of us can say that we have clean hands and a pure heart??

Jesus says that if we hate, then we are murderers at heart…. If we look on another person with lust, we are adulterers at heart… Matthew 5:22 says, “whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” Who of us has not done that?? Each one of stands before God as a murderer, a thief, an adulterer… and that’s just a start!

But God being *RICH* in mercy, has provided a way for us to be redeemed…

Just as Jesus took on our sin, to bear our punishment…. We take on His righteousness, as a cloak or garment, to bare his purity. This is known as **THE GREAT EXCHANGE**

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.~ 2 Corinthians 5:21

Isaiah 61:10- I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness…. {which is the righteousness of Christ!}

Scars

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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.

two months into eternity

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Today my little girl is two months into eternity… I feel peaceful… I feel deeply thankful… I am so proud of her…

God has used her to touch so many heart and lives. People from all over the world are reading this blog: South Africa, Germany, Ireland, Canada, Brazil, Malta and Honduras…

Here are the words a few people have shared:

From Taylar: “: I read parts of your blog and felt like numb sensation throughout my whole body. I had to get off of it for now because I couldn’t fight the tears. As a Christian myself, I would like to encourage you to stay strong and keep doing what you’re doing. You have more strength than an army of a thousand men. I am very inspired by your messages. Xo”

From P: “: God bless you Catherine and your sweet baby girl,,,, sounds like you already know, that your blessed and a blessing,, even in the deepest hurt, ,, oh but sweet lady,,you will see her again! thank you for sharing such a great amazing life with us, your family , Tirzah”

From H— who recently had baby E— “I just kept thinking about what you had been through and then would try to refocus on the faith you were demonstrating in light of everything. Then, when E came out strawberry blonde, I just knew that Tirzah must have been with her, sent by God to help keep her safe. May sound corny, but I really felt that way.”

And we’ve been so loved and encouraged by so many:

From Esme R.: “You are doing so well, dear friend! Your grateful heart, though it comes with so many tears and sorrows, cannot but please the Lord. You and Ryan are such good testimonies of God’s grace. Love ya!”

From Kari B. – “You are such an amazing women Catherine, God is using you, and will continue to use you in mighty ways. It’s so painful to be broken but as you know, his strength shines so bright when we are so weak, I see that strength in you and I am awed by it. We all will go through suffering on this earth and I just hope I can be as authentic and Christ filled as you have been. Hugs!”

From Gabrielle P.- “Catherine, thank you for being used by Jesus to bring Him honor in the midst of your pain. May He continue to strengthen you and shine through you. We are praying for you and your beautiful family.”

From Kristin H. – “Thank-you so much for sharing this, Catherine! Your faith and belief in who Jesus is and how you are walking through this loss is so encouraging and has challenged my faith! Sweet, beautiful Tirzah is home! Love you, friend!”

From K. L- “This is so beautiful Catherine! It’s such a testament of your faith in Jesus on how you are relying on him during this time and he is showing you such beautiful things. I can’t imagine going through what you are going through and my heart breaks for you, but I’m amazed by the way you are handling it all. You are such a strong woman and such an amazing mommy to both Jeremiah and Tirzah! She was so beautiful and we know She is in a much better place than any of us.”

Those are just a few.