Bethany Joy was a dreamer…
Have a great life story that will make Jesus smile.
Marry an amazing (and organized) man and have six kids. (When I talked to her about how much work this would be, she just assumed I would be there to help her raise her happy brood!)
Train to become a midwife and help women suffering from obstetric fistula.
If you know Bethany’s story, you will know that those dreams didn’t come true -or did they?
Six years after her passing, it is a temptation to believe that those dreams are dead and buried – but are they?
The truth is, Bethany offered her dreams to the One who rose from the dead – and He is redeeming them!
Biblical concept of redemption = ‘buying back and restoring what has been lost’.
Do you need your dreams redeemed? I certainly do! Jesus’ disciples needed their dreams redeemed too – into bigger, better, broader, eternal dreams they could not have imagined on their own! The One who paid the great cost for this redemption is breathing His resurrected life into my old dreams and it is our joy to catch some glimpses of the beautiful ways He is redeeming Bethany’s dreams too…
REDEEMED DREAM #3
REDEEMED DREAM #2
He is her amazing bridegroom and her life is birthing many ‘children of faith’! (Just last week I spoke with a terminally ill woman who has come to know Jesus through reading Bethy’s story in ‘Heartbreakingly Beautiful’.)
REDEEMED DREAM #3
Bethany has a great life story that makes Jesus smile! (And that, friends, is the crux of my redeemed dream too.)
This blog has been inspired by a man who has needed his broken dreams redeemed. I recently shared Bethany’s story at a seminar in Melbourne, led by the inspirational Sheridan Voysey, called ‘Broken Dreams, New Beginnings’. I highly recommend that you check out his website which is loaded with great resources that will help even the most broken-hearted BE Dreamers again!
Bethany was such a giver! We look back with pleasure and remember the times when, as a small girl, she literally emptied her little purse for those in need. We also recall, with lumps in our throats, the generous way she kept giving throughout her illness as a teenager. As she gave, Beth proved over and over the truth of the life-giving words of Jesus when He said…
“It is better to give than to receive.”
We are so pleased to report that through the generosity of many friends, we were able to pass on just over $2,000 to Wise Choices for Life on Bethany’s behalf! What a birthday gift!
A HUGE thanks to those who responded so generously. This is the second year we have promoted this wonderful organization, offering the opportunity to give a dollar for every birthday year in remembrance of our girl. Just over 40 people donated this year – so you can calculate that some were more than generous by adding an extra zero to their gift! Who says that zero = nothing! What a difference this gift will make on the ground in Uganda to help train people to pass on the Good News through reproductive health education 🙂
So, stay tuned for next March where we will again have an opportunity to BE Givers and donate $23 for Bethany’s 23rd birthday. We hope this new partnership will continue to thrive and that many will be blessed through the ministry of WCFL well into the future!
The Bethany Wake Stop Fistula Appeal is still going strong in partnership with CBM and for those who would like to give to a perpetual trust, The Bethany Wake Appeal through The Lord Mayors’ Fund is also a great option to BE Givers and provide ongoing support over many years ahead.
Remember friends, you can BE Givers on Bethany’s behalf at any time of the year – especially as tax time approaches! (Please feel free to check out the links below.)
“The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.” Proverbs 22:9
With our sincere gratitude, Bethany’s family 🙂
WOW! We are so grateful that there are now several choices to BE Givers on Beth’s behalf…
WISE CHOICES FOR LIFE: BETHANY WAKE SCHOLARSHIP https://www.wisechoicesforlife.org
CBM AUSTRALIA: THE BETHANY WAKE STOP FISTULA APPEAL https://www.cbm.org.au/bethanywake
LORD MAYOR’S CHARITABLE FUND: https://www.lmcf.org.au/waystogive/charitable-fund-accounts/list-of-charitable-fund-accounts
Dear friends who knew and loved Bethany and those who have come to love her through her testimony and legacy,
We are delighted to present to you the opportunity to give a gift in honour of her birthday this year.
Last year, as we remembered her 21st birthday, many of us wore something purple to remember her and donated $21 to her legacy.
We raised over $1500 and this was donated to Wise Choices For Life – a fantastic ministry that has the prevention of maternal health issues at heart.
If you are interested in giving a gift of $22 to honour Bethany on her earthly birthday, here is what you can do by Friday 31st March…
1. READ the first attachment all about the new WCFL Bethany Wake Scholarship.
(Friends, we are so grateful for this new arm of Beth’s legacy and wholeheartedly support the team at WCFL – God has woven us together in a beautiful way!)
2. GIVE your birthday gift of $22 to the BE Blessings Trust Account BSB 013 308 Account Number 381 757 698 (overseas friends may need another option so please contact us).
3. WEAR something PURPLE on the day! (This is totally optional – especially for you guys!)
4. SHARE this opportunity with your circle of friends – especially those who knew Bethany and may have prayed for her and our family.
THANK YOU for helping us to keep Bethany’s memory and dream alive! To sign off, we share one of the Bible verses she loved about helping others…
“Blessed are those who have regard for the weak, the Lord delivers them in times of trouble” Ps 41:1
With love, Lyn and David
I awoke this morning to loud crashes over my house… an unexpected raging thunderstorm that made the house quake and terrified our dog! Yet the weather experts are promising us that the sun is surely on its way and that Melbournians are going to experience a very hot Christmas this year. As I looked outside at the height of the storm, I found this promise very hard to believe.
I awoke on another Christmas Eve six years ago to different kind of thunderstorm that made our house shake and our hearts break. The palliative care team from the Children’s Hospital made an unexpected visit to our home to prepare us for Bethy’s imminent death. The promises of light and sun, life and hope, restoration and beauty seemed hard to believe that day too.
Yes, that day was dark and scary indeed. I can’t help but feel the ache and the weariness of waiting more acutely this year – it also being the first Christmas without my dear dad. But after such a dark, dreary, noisy morning, there is a little clearing of the sky and I can see some rays of sunlight coming through the windowpanes. Outside there is a gentle breeze is in the air bringing to me that lovely fresh fragrance that only comes to us after the rain.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn…
Like many before me, I am comforted by the words of my favorite Christmas Carol. ‘O Holy Night’ was composed by Frenchman Adolphe Adam in 1847 and based on the poem ‘Midnight Christians’ by Placida Cappeau. John Sullivan Dwight modified the version we sing today in 1855. It has been recorded by many famous artists over the years since then and was, in fact, the second piece of music, after Handel, to be played over the airwaves in 1906 – on Christmas Eve of course!
O holy night! The stars are brightly shining, it is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining, till He appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.
Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming, with glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming, here come the wise men from the Orient land.
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger; in all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need, to our weaknesses no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, Before Him lowly bend!
Truly He taught us to love one another; His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother; and in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, lLet all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
BE Comforted my grieving friends. Whether you feel it or not, we are on the Eve of something wonderful. The crashing thunder will pass and the teaming rain will subside. The darkness will be pushed back by LIGHT and the morning will arrive as promised for He has surely come for us and He is surely coming again. Yes! It is going to be a hot and sunny Christmas, as promised, after all!
… a time to remember that Jesus was born to be our Friend through all our trials.
… a time to give thanks that He knows our weaknesses and understands our how needy we are.
… a time to celebrate that He will break every chain, make ALL things new and that He will reign forever and ever!
… a time to worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and bring Him the gift He longs for most… what else can we do except fall on our knees?
Ever had your heart torn apart? Maybe it has been broken in two more times that you can count. What is the common factor that tears our hearts asunder and creates the kind of pain that makes every breath unbearable?
Is it not the state of being separated from those our hearts are intricately connected to?
Is it not the denial of peaceful, intimate relationship with those we love and cherish most?
I am enduring that horrible heartache once again. My darling dad was ripped away from our presence suddenly and without explanation recently, leaving many things unspoken and undone. It hurts like crazy for those of us left behind suffering from raw heart wounds. Yet for him, the woundings of this life are finally healed and real life has just begun! He is reunited with his mother, brother, son and granddaughter and his heart is no longer torn – thank you Lord Jesus!
A few weeks before this, I witnessed another kind of heart-tear. Together with my family, we watched on as dear friends willingly chose to BE Torn for the sake of something bigger, something deeper and more encompassing than this life.
For the sake of the Good News of King Jesus, these amazing friends willingly allowed their hearts to BE Torn as their family intentionally separated and scattered across the globe. We were there at the airport, silent witnesses to an incredible scene, watching on as their large extended family granted their heart torn blessing and released them to fly across the seas to minister to refugees in Africa. Why would they deliberately open themselves up to such agony and what explains the unmistakable joy that was mingled in with the heart-breaking pain?
The pain of this heart tear is real alright – a tangible presence in our home as their two eldest daughters are now sheltering with our family for this season of separation. But the joy is also authentic and there is a sense of rightness about this time apart as each member of this family seeks God’s Kingdom and is not afraid to follow the dream He has placed inside them.
The concept of willingly allowing our hearts to BE Torn for the sake of the Gospel is not new. But every single time, it hurts like mad – there is no denying it! The apostle Paul sure knew what it felt like. In his letters to the early church, you can almost hear the fabric of his heart tearing apart as he endured many painful separations from those he loved and ministered to…
“God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus!” Phil. 1:8
“…when we were torn away from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you… for what it our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.” 1Thess. 2:17-20
Most times we simply don’t have a say when our hearts get torn. The death of people we love and the end of relationships we treasure often come suddenly, like murderous thieves in the night, and we are plundered. But there is another kind of tearing we do have a choice to bear. Are we willing like Paul, like our friends and millions before them to allow our hearts to BE Torn for the sake of Jesus? This call to follow Jesus goes against our culture and against every self-preservation fibre of our being! But the concept bears further investigation as Jesus Himself promised that being torn for Him will indeed be eternally worthwhile….
“…anyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or fathers or mothers or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” Mt. 19:29
The call to follow Jesus and BE Torn is a HUGE one for sure, but Jesus is not asking us to do something that He has not already done. He was torn for us – His body tortured and smashed, His heart literally pierced and broken in two. More than that, He was separated for a season from His Father for our sakes – a sacrifice that will take an eternity for us to fathom.
It is inevitable friends that in choosing to follow Jesus our hearts will BE Torn and we will separated from our loved ones for a ‘short’ time for the sake of His Kingdom dreams, for one reason or another. My family knows that searing pain within the heartbeat of the ministry God has given us – but thankfully it comes laced with a good dose of His joy!
Yes… followers of Yeshua are called to follow the way of the cross. Death, separation and brokenness are essential elements of the Kingdom journey of obedience. But let us ever keep before us the incredible promises of resurrection life that will last forever! Let’s not forget the exceedingly joyful reunions and complete healings that will restore what has been lost and transform these unbearable tearings into magnificent crowns!
Dear friends, the ‘BE’ in the ‘BE Blessings’ ministry is for Bethany, but today it is for her BEloved grandmother Barbara…
“Be still and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10a
Writing the ‘BE Blogs’ over recent years come has come from a growing conviction that anything good I desire to DO must flow out of who I am designed to BE.
These lessons run long and deep, and I am nothing but a beginner on the journey of BEcoming. But I would love to share with you what I am in the midst of learning right now. At this moment in time, I am greatly challenged to the core of my BEing by my dear mother-in-law…
It is nothing she has said and nothing she has done. No wise word or inspirational action has driven home to me the lesson I am learning right now. Yet, what I perceive is powerfully displayed.
My husband’s mum can say nothing. She can do nothing. Her thoughts are empty and her memory is erased. She is slowly dying from that dreaded Alzheimer’s Disease. Seven torturous years so far, with more suffering most assuredly to come.
Mum was a doer! Famous for her delicious cooking, she was an excellent homemaker and beautiful wife and mother. She was also a professional dressmaker and my wedding dress was just one of her amazing creations. We used to joke that you could wear her dresses inside out as she always double-lined them to perfection for the bride’s comfort.
We loved her then for all she did for us, even if we often took her for granted. She was just always there – like many mothers are for their children. Her selfless servant heart was always so faithful and joyfully gave to others with boundless energy. Indeed, Mum was right up there in the top ranks of incredible mothers!
I grieve for all she has lost in this trial. I grieve for her, for her faithful husband, her children, and for her grandchildren. We all greatly miss her friendship, guidance and support. But it has struck me afresh lately that we love her still – as helpless and ‘useless’ as she currently is. Why is that? Is it just the memory of all her kindness over the years that feeds our love? That may be part of it, but at the essence of our love is this:
We love her simply because of who she IS.
She is our Mum. She is our children’s Nan. She is still a beloved wife and friend, although she is incapable of doing anything for us and for herself anymore. She is a child of God above all else and her intrinsic value cannot be diminished by her inability to DO anything.
As I was sitting with her recently, trying to help her eat something and not getting too far, it struck me that Mum just ‘IS’… and that’s all. She is a human BEing, like you and like me. The only difference is that we might be able to DO a handful of things, with no promise that we will be able to DO them tomorrow.
The call to ‘BE’ has reduced to the very basics for her now. She breathes. Her heart beats. There is no response and yes it is heartbreaking and incredibly challenging. But the amazing fact is that she is loved – no more or less than ever before – no doubt about it!
Do I know this same love in the centre of my being? I am convinced that I am loved just by BEing who God made me to BE? I am His daughter, His BEloved daughter! Can I be content with nothing more and nothing less?
I want to know and live this truth more and more as I grow older. I hope dear Mum knows it deep within her soul too – I think she does. We tell her when we visit how loved she is. How grateful we are for her. How we long for her next breath to be filled with Heaven. For her next smile to break forth when her wait is over and she finally sees Jesus, her delight! She’s got a wonderful, infectious laugh and I can’t wait to hear it ring out across eternity – what a day that will be!
Yes Mum, you just have to BE right now – and when all is said and done, so do I. BEloved Mum, it is enough – enough for us both! Thank you for teaching me this soul searching, transformative lesson. May I live the truth of it today and in all of my tomorrows. As we care for you, in solidarity that one day our time will come too, may it be with the tenderness of Christ and with hearts filled with hope in Him!
Quotes to Inspire:
In his last years on earth, Canadian spiritual thinker and writer, Henri Nouwen lived with and gained great insight from his friends in the L’Arche Daybreak Community (a place of care for those living with intellectual disabilities). Henri wrote a tribute to his friend, Moe, who lived with Down’s Syndrome for decades before dying from Alzheimer’s Disease. For years Moe always asked Henri to sing him ‘Amazing Grace’…
“In Daybreak, many of us cannot do what most people can. Some of us cannot walk, some cannot speak, some cannot feed themselves, some cannot read, some cannot count, come cannot dress themselves, and a few can do none of those things. No one is waiting for a cure. We only know that things will get harder as we get older and that the difference between people with a handicap and people without a handicap will become ever smaller. What are we ultimately growing toward? Are we simply becoming less and less capable people, returning our bodies to the dust from which they came, or are we growing into the living reminders of the ‘Amazing Grace’ that Moe always wanted to sing about? We must choose between these two radically different viewpoints. The choice to see our own and other people’s decreasing abilities as gateway for God’s increasing grace is a choice of faith. It is a choice based on the conviction that on the cross of Jesus we do see, not only failure, but victory as well, not only destruction, but new life as well, not only nakedness, but glory as well.” (Henri Nouwen, Our Greatest Gift, pp. 69-70.)
“Abide in Me (BE IN ME) for without Me, you can DO absolutely nothing!”
(Jesus Christ, John 15:5, emphasis mine.)
“All I AM and ever hope to BE is because You love faithfully!”
(Laura Story, Faithful God.)
I’ve been thinking a lot about faithfulness lately. Perhaps it is because the ugliness of UN-faithfulness has pervaded the lives of my friends recently and I have witnessed her deadly deception and greed. Those unfaithful paws have also clawed into me and mine over the years, leaving behind wounds and scars.
We don’t have to look far in our world to see before us images of unfaithfulness do we? But images of faithfulness are also right before our eyes if we know where to look…
On a daily basis the sun faithfully rises. Our gorgeous Golden Retriever faithfully greets us each morning with affection and the tax bill faithfully comes each year! Perhaps we can classify this kind of faithfulness as ‘law of nature’.
But there is a deeper kind of faithfulness I want to take a few minutes to delve into right now. Faithfulness that proves the authenticity of true, unconditional, sacrificial love. Faithfulness that flows from hearts that have made covenants, commitments, vows, pledges and promises with intentional plans to see them through – no matter what.
My parents have shown this kind of faithfulness to me to me over the course of my life. I also have the privilege to live with a man who chooses to faithfully love me and meet my needs above his own. I am also honored to belong to a group of women who faithfully support me as I endeavour to BE Faithful and do the same for them.
But human faithfulness has its limits. Sometimes circumstances prevent us from fulfilling our well-intentioned vows. Sometimes we get enticed away from remaining faithful to covenantal promises. At times we are just plain lazy, let our guard down and end up unintentionally wounding the people we love most in the world.
I believe that while humans can be faithful to a point, there is a deeper source of faithfulness that we need to tap into to in order to truly BE Faithful to each other and to God through all kinds of trials and temptations.
18 years ago, an Aussie family set off on an adventure. Years earlier they had encountered Jesus Christ and been transformed by His Word translated into their own heart language. But to their dismay, they heard of the thousands of minority people groups around the globe who do not have this privilege. So before God, they made a commitment to partner with Him to address this injustice. After years of training, preparation and gathering a support team around them, the time came for the Coombe family to leave the comforts of home and the tangible presence of family and friends. They packed their basic needs, crossed the oceans, learned two foreign languages, survived in primitive conditions and barely lived through several severe illnesses – all of this eventuated in just the first few months!
On 1 May, 2016, I beheld the fruit of faithfulness and it is an image that will stay with me forever. The Gela New Testament was finally completed and dedicated to God for His glorious purposes. After all the years of faithful service from the Coombes and the local translators – along with the faithful support of many – the Gela of the Solomon Islands finally have the same opportunity we do… to read God’s Word in their mother tongue. The opportunity for transformation is a reality in their hands and we rejoice!
Yes, I was an eyewitness to the magnificent celebrations, but I also caught a glimpse of the cost that lies behind scenes.
Just like their Lord before them, this family has faced rejection, misunderstanding, betrayal, abuse, mocking, and loneliness, physical and emotional trauma – just to name a few heartaches. This is the same family that recently had to say goodbye to baby Gabriel, before they could say a proper hello (see previous blog ‘BE Born!’).
This simple tribute I muse on today cannot possibly convey the long list of troubles and strife this precious family have encountered along the journey – and it is not over yet. The commitment they made to the Gela people was so help facilitate the translation of the entire Bible – and that will still be some years away.
How will they manage to continue to BE Faithful after all they have already endured? Indeed, how will we all?
The Apostle Paul went through all manner of severe trial as a missionary and minister of the Gospel of Jesus. He learned the secret of faithfulness and so can we….
“The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it!” 1 Thess. 5:24
But how does He do it? One of God’s names is ‘Faithful’. El HaNe’eman = The Faithful God (Deuteronomy 7:9). Faithfulness not only describes what God does, but defines who He is. The kind of faithfulness we require to remain loyal, fruitful servants of God and keep the commitments we have made to each other goes way beyond and own abilities and the laws of nature. Paul tells us that in order to BE Faithful, we have to tap into the ‘Wellspring of Life’ Himself! Yes friends, we need a good dose of God’s Holy Spirit within us to BE Faithful…
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law! Gal. 5:22-23
Need a little, or a mountain load of faithfulness right now? I leave you with this vision of faithfulness from Revelation 19… drink it in, feast on it and allow it to transform you to BE Faithful!
Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself. He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses. From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress. On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords.
A couple of songs to inspire you:
‘Faithful’ by Laura Story
‘You are Faithful’ By Stephen Curtis Chapman
When was the last time you were truly amazed by something good? Can you remember the last time your jaw dropped to the ground and you stood utterly speechless in wonder at the mighty nature and workings of the living God?
Not long ago, I had the incredible opportunity to witness the birth of a precious baby boy. I had seen visions of childbirth in pictures, videos and TV shows, but friends, there is nothing like being there in the flesh and witnessing first hand the astonishing miracle of new life – together with the blood, guts and glory of it all.
To put it simply… I was amazed!
I kind of remember that being amazed was a regular occurrence as a child, but the feeling and even ability to be amazed seems to have faded over the years. I think being amazed somehow equates with having a ‘child-like spirit’. Now that I have grown up, I have to intentionally become like a child again to experience wonders anew.
Around six years ago, my ability to be amazed with anything good from the Lord seems to dry up in almost an instant. You see, our daughter was desperately ill and had just been diagnosed with a terminal disease. I was at the bottom of a pit I could see no way out of. I remember being in the bathroom, in a crumpled mess on the floor, and opening my Bible for some form of comfort. It was in that terrible moment that God gave me the first of many promises to hold onto throughout the year of Bethany’s illness and eventual passing.
I can’t remember exactly how I came to gaze upon these particular words… I know people were sending me messages of comfort from the Psalms and that Bethany herself loved several of the Psalms. So on that dark day, as I groped for my Bible, I guess it was natural for me to turn to the Psalms and my blurry eyes could not escape the draw to Psalm 40:1-5. As I tried to focus in through the tears and read this worshipful testimonial of King David, it was one of those moments when God seemed to whisper to me, “My girl, this is what I am going to do for you too…”
“I called patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire. He set my feet on a firm foundation and steadied me as I walked along. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and BE AMAZED. (Emphasis mine.) They will put their hope in the LORD. Oh, the joys of those who trust the LORD…”
The recent birth of dear little Jordan awakened in me a new sense of amazement – a feeling that had been buried for a long time under a load of pain. I am grateful for this awakening and today, here I stand in the midst of two important milestones… the fifth anniversary of Bethany’s passing just gone and her 21st birthday just days away… and honestly, I am amazed!
I am amazed we are still alive, functioning well, together as a couple and family and working in a vital ministry that brings God’s words of hope to a world in need. I am gob-smacked at the goodness and grace of God, our merciful Father, who has seen us through thus far and promises to see us through until completion. Full credit to Him! Yes, totally amazed that much good has come from Bethany’s suffering already… good in the form of lives transformed, inspired and challenged to live in deeper places of faith and fruitfulness in Christ. I am amazed that He has indeed lifted us up out of that pit of despair and put a ‘new song’ of praise to Him in our mouths!
This week, a new project is about to be officially launched in Bethany’s honor. A video clip and book that we trust will help many understand the plight of some of the world’s most desperate women and make a huge transformative difference in many lives.
Friends, while we are honored to be part of this new work Bethany’s life has inspired, we are also believing for the fulfilment of the Psalm 40 promise and ask you to believe with us that…
“MANY WILL SEE WHAT HE HAS DONE AND BE AMAZED. THEY WILL PUT THEIR HOPE IN THE LORD.”
Are you lacking a bit of amazement right now? Wondering just how long it will be until the Lord lifts you and sets your feet on solid ground again? Maybe you could ask Him to show you something amazing of Himself, a new revelation of His character that will leave you overwhelmed by His great love for you? Maybe He will give you something special to see with your eyes, like the birth I witnessed, to shake you up and see the wonders of His creation afresh.
Whatever it will be, as you wait on Him, what He will give you will be just right for you. A really simple thing set my heart off in wonder again this week and left me with tears of joy that He would care for me in such an intimate way. My eyes are like that of a child right now and I know I must keep my heart open and soft to stay that way.
Easter is again approaching and what a wonderful opportunity to stand in the presence of the resurrected Jesus and BE Amazed. I stand as a broken vessel, worshipping God together with the long line of people who have been amazed at His life, death and resurrection throughout the millennia. Oh the blood, the guts and the glory of it all!
I have a new song of praise going around my head right now, one that I want to sing out! It is not a new song, as such, but flows from an old and famous Easter Hymn. Today, it feels like a new song of hope and I long for my praise to please His heart. Oh Lord, help me never, ever lose my wonder…
When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died. My richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it Lord that I should boast, save in the death of Christ, my God! All the vain things that charm me most,I sacrifice them through His blood.
See from His head, His hands, His feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down. Did ever such love and sorrow meet? Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine, it would be an offering far to small. Love so AMAZING, so divine demands my soul, my life, my all.
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross by Isaac Watts 1707
We were all expectant and looking forward to a safe arrival – none more so than the parents to be. The anticipation was mounting as the due date drew near. A firstborn son was on his way and there was much excitement in the air for the newly wed couple, their family and friends. We were all looking forward to experiencing the unique joy that only a baby can bring and we couldn’t wait for those first photos and precious cuddles.
Almost a year earlier, Naomi and Matt stood before a crowd of witness to pledge their love for each other and dedicate their lives and marriage to God and His glory. Little did they know that their resolve to trust Him, no matter what, would be tested so soon.
Gabriel Jack was born soon after his due date, but never felt the passage through his birth canal. He never opened his mouth to breathe in the air of this world or fill his lungs to cry out his first wail. He never nestled at his mother’s breast or heard her whisper sweet nothings in his ears. He never opened his eyes to see his proud father smile at him with absolute delight. He never got to live in the home so lovingly prepared for him.
In the mystery of creation, Gabriel’s little body was perfectly formed, but his spirit was protected from being tarnished with the imperfections of this world. God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, allowed little Gabriel to be born directly into His everlasting Kingdom. It was there that he breathed in his first gulp of the fresh, untainted air of heaven. It is there that he is now nurtured and loved as a unique treasure. There his ears are open to the echoes of love that ring out across eternity and it is there that his eyes are able to gaze upon the wonders and freely look upon the face of his proud Heavenly Father who adores him. Yes, it was a safe arrival and he is free and living in the eternal home so lovely prepared for him.
Although it may seem to the contrary, Gabriel was indeed created to be born. His brave parents have released him into the arms of a loving God in the midst of their blinding pain. Oh how they grieve, and this is right and good, but they do not grieve as those without hope.
As they held Gabriel in the time after his stillbirth, they were able to say all the hellos and goodbyes their broken hearts could express. They shared him with their extended family and took him home for a few hours to finish reading the children’s Bible they had started to read to him while in his mother’s womb. In their sadness, they also rejoiced and gave glory to the One who gives and takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!
Whilst they could not see, hear or feel his real birth in the eternal realm, by faith in Jesus Christ Naomi and Matt are choosing to believe in the promises that declare that their son lives! Perhaps in due time they will be shown what incredible, joy-filled celebrations were held in honor of their son as he was born into the Kingdom of God that birth-day.
Those of us born into this world also have the opportunity to be born into this eternal Kingdom. The passage is narrow, the labor painful and few endure through unto the end to find life. Gabriel’s life brings to our attention a life-saving message that rings out for all those who have ears to hear… BE Born in Jesus Christ!
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” John 3:3
The Bible tells us that exuberant celebrations are in order for all who will be born into this eternal Kingdom! (Luke 15:10)
I grieve with our beloved friends that they cannot have ongoing relationship with their darling Gabriel in this life. But I rejoice with them that he did get his safe arrival after all and I hold dear an anticipation of meeting this precious boy one appointed day.
Naomi and Matt are still ‘expectant parents’ and their parents still ‘expectant grandparents’. The joy of meeting Gabriel and living life with him has just been delayed… we are all going to have to wait a little longer than expected, but we believe the glorious reunion is on its way and of this, we are grateful.
I wonder if my own daughter, Naomi’s friend Bethany, who dearly desired to be a midwife in this life before being birthed into heaven herself, was present when Gabriel was born? I wouldn’t be surprised at all if God arranged such a thing. After all, He has woven the fabric of our lives together here on earth so it seems natural that the relationship we share should flow on into eternity.
Bethany was besotted with babies and perhaps she will help dear Gabriel grow up in the Kingdom and prepare him to be reunited with his parents when the time is right? I am not sure, but this I do know…
“Weeping may remain for a night – but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5
We love you dear ones. What has happened is not your fault but a tragic symptom of our broken, fragile world. But take heart! Our Lord Jesus has overcome the world! This will shape your lives for better or worse, but knowing you and the stand you have already taken, it will not destroy you or take root in bitterness. Instead, the depth of your suffering will create opportunities for your lives to be transformed into the image of Jesus and glorify God in ways nothing else could.
Rest and heal now in the arms of your beloved Saviour. He will restore your souls and lift you up as you wait, expectantly, on Him.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
In loving memory of…
Gabriel (God is my strength) Jack (God is gracious) Tesch 14 January 2016
They say life is but a dash –that sacred space between the ordained dates of our birth and death.
The dash may seem large, it may seem far too small – or there may be no dash at all.
But each life is precious – uniquely fashioned by loving hands to live forever.
Each life has a destiny, a purpose to be fulfilled – if you are reading this, then you have been granted the gift of a dash.
In the light of those with no dash to shine, I ask myself,
“What will I do with mine?”