Following Jesus Takes Grit

Have you ever made a promise to God not knowing what kind of resolve it would take, but you were all in?

In my late twenties, God called me to follow Him into ministry. In yielding to His calling I promised God I would never turn down an opportunity to share with others about the mercy, grace, and redemptive power He granted me. I committed to following Him anywhere, anytime, and at any cost.

Little did I know what kind of grit I would need to keep my commitment.

There have been seasons when I wanted to retract my promise. Seasons that were too hard, too overwhelming, and too painful to forge ahead.

Have you ever wrestled with keeping your promise to God?

Click here and join me over at Contagious Joy ministries to read the rest of the story.2016-06-27-abigail-keenan-barnimages-008


Remembering A Loss And Fulfilled Promises

Willow Tree Angel of Healing

Willow Tree
Angel of Healing

For those that don’t know October 15th is designated as “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day”. I know it is a few days past, but I don’t think it’s too late to share.

Chris and I decided to have a second child.  When I became pregnant our joy and excitement was over the top and we began dreaming of what our baby would look like.  I dreamed of countless hours of holding, loving, feeding, and caressing our baby.  I was only a few weeks into the pregnancy and planning as if he/she was due the next day.  Our prayers and dreams were coming true.

The empty frame on my baby box was awaiting a picture full of chubby cheeks and rolls of fat that you would just want to pinch. I could imagine the fresh aroma of baby lotion filling my nose.Empty Frame

At nine weeks, the unimaginable happened! While at work I had signs that my baby was in danger of miscarrying. For days I took it easy trying to do all I could to prevent this, but it wasn’t enough. On November 28th, eighteen years ago, our baby went to be with the Lord.

I wish I could tell you that my first reaction was to consider this trial as joy (James 1:2), but instead I responded by asking God how “He” could do THIS! He gave me such a gift and then snatched it away before I could even cradle our second child! I felt foolish for having such hopes and dreams.  The emotions ranged from shame and embarrassment, to depression and a loss of all hope. I was empty.

Well-intentioned people seeking to comfort me only made it worse. They offered answers that were not theirs to give. Through the lens of grief I heard, “It all happened for a reason,” and “maybe the medicine you were on caused it.” No less comforting were statements like “Here is a maternity top for the next one,” and “It is good you were only in your first trimester.” Even with the purest of motives and best of intentions, these words were not what I needed. I needed someone to embrace me, grieve WITH me, love me, and to pray for me.  I believe that only in these expressions can true comfort be received.

I needed healing more than I needed answers…and particularly, I needed a sense of closure.

The Bible doesn’t speak very much about losing a child, at least not directly. I did find great comfort reading about King David’s loss of his firstborn.  You can read the story in 2 Samuel 12, but the part that truly spoke to me was how David was comforted by knowing he would be with his son again someday.  David, a man that God described as being after “His own heart” had a confidence that He would be with God in heaven. His affirmation (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) that he would be with his child again, encouraged me that I would see our child one day in the presence of God in heaven.

The Lord God gives and takes away and yet I will find it within me to praise Him (Job 1:21).

God promises to comfort those who mourn and to cloth them with joy (Isaiah 61:1-3, Psalm 30:11-12, Psalm 126:5).

God promises that when we put our hope in Him we will not be put to shame (Psalm 25:3a).

God is El Rohi which means “the God who sees.” He sees us in our afflictions but doesn’t leave us in them.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)

The more we press into God and His Word we find peace, comfort, hope, and healing. We find a God that we can trust. The more often you can share about your loss, the more often God will reveal to you that you are not alone in your circumstance. Nearly every woman you know has either had a loss or knows someone who has.  So let’s take time to remember them and honor them in memory.

One of the ways we honored our baby was by writing this poem, which hangs on my wall to this day.Poem