from our partnerLightWorkers Guest
written byJulia Jeffress Sadler, LPC
Below excerpt taken from Julia Jeffress Sadler’s Pray Big Things: The Surprising Life God Has For You When You’re Bold Enough to Ask!
We’re going to lose this baby—I just know it,” I lamented to Ryan. This was our third pregnancy in a matter of nine months, after miscarrying the previous two pregnancies. Ironically, I was soon to leave for an out-of-state speaking trip on which I was going to speak on depression, anxiety and the topic “Why God allows suffering.”
“Stop being so negative, Julia,” Ryan responded sternly. “You don’t know that is going to happen.”
This is the order that will help preserve your faith: decide what you think about God, then live it out when difficult times come.
“I’m not being negative; I’m being practical,” I protested. “I just know that I’m going to miscarry while I’m alone and out of the state this weekend. I need to be prepared, and this is God’s way of preparing me. He is telling me it is coming, so I can decide ahead of time how I’m going to handle it.”
As it turned out, I did lose baby number three the night before I left to go out of town.
Three miscarriages were certainly not what Ryan and I had planned when we began our prayer journey that New Year’s Eve. Every miscarriage coincided with a huge spiritual milestone in our family. Our worst season personally was our best season in ministry. We lost our first baby during an event where I had one hundred teenagers in my backyard and spoke to them about how God had called them to live a legacy in their exact place in life. We lost our second baby right before the greatest evangelism initiative our student ministry had ever seen, when teenagers were witnessing on Friday nights in malls and stopping to share Christ with Muslims on the street, and we saw one hundred and thirty people witnessed to by teenagers on fire for Christ. We lost our third baby while I was teaching at a women’s conference on “Why God allows suffering.” On top of this, I had thirteen pregnant friends announce their pregnancies, post super cute gender-reveal videos and invite me to their baby showers.
To us, this felt like another dagger in what seemed like an unending attack or attempt to mock our faith. Once the struggle starts, it’s too late to try to muster up spiritual thoughts and feelings. When the doctor’s bad report comes, when the job is lost, when the spouse leaves, we are running on spiritual fumes.
Theologian and author A. W. Tozer once said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” We are all going to have times we question God. We will question His goodness. We will question His plan. We may even question His existence. The exciting thing about this truth is that we already know what we are to think about God. The questions are certain, but so are the answers. In the Bible, God has already told us who He is, what He thinks, how He acts and how much He loves us.
So, why have so many of my counseling clients and teenagers in our student ministry become very angry upon hearing this Tozer quote? Why did you possibly stir in your seat as you read it? Perhaps it’s because we don’t want to believe that God has that much control over our lives. Maybe the unrest is because we don’t want to surrender to the idea that our lives are bigger than we are. Determining who we believe God is and how He works will determine how we handle tragedy, how we handle blessing, how we handle doubts and how we handle life.
Hebrews 6:18–19 tells us, “So that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast.” How wonderful that God cannot lie! This means we can trust Him even when we don’t understand why things are going on in our lives. Deciding who we believe God to be is the most important thing about us.
This choice has to be made before the tragedy, before the pain, before the questions, before the heartache. We must decide what we think about God and choose what we believe about Him before our beliefs are challenged, questioned or threatened. This is the order that will help preserve your faith: decide what you think about God, then live it out when difficult times come. This firm foundation is vital for spiritual survival and for dream survival.
Deciding to hold on to the dreams God has given us even when we lose pregnancies, jobs, friends or status is what sets dreamers apart. Refusing to let go when everything in and around us is tempting us to do so is what will ensure we experience the life we have always dreamed of. Anyone can quit, but dreamers persist.
I had to choose to believe that God is good, He is in control and He loves me in order to keep going during our season of miscarriages and loss. This is also the choice you have to make to keep going.
Julia Jeffress Sadler, LPC, is the author of Pray Big Things: The Surprising Life God Has For You When You’re Bold Enough to Ask! She is a reality star from TLC’s Rattled who has seen God do immeasurably more than anything she could hope or imagine with experiencing three miscarriages in a year and then delivering miracle triplets! A licensed professional counselor and the Girls Ministry director at the thirteen-thousand-member First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, Julia is a regular conference speaker, radio show guest and host of The Julia Sadler Show. She and her junior-high sweetheart, Ryan, live and minister in Dallas, Texas. Connect with Julia at juliajsadler.com.