Guest blogger Ashley Marcuz shares her testimony today on re:flect-i. While this is Ashley’s personal experience, our prayer is that you will see God’s work in her and her situation and seek Him. We praise God for His faithfulness.
This past year has been one of the most trying years of my life. But, in the midst of it all, I have clung to these verses with all my heart:
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24)
A little over a year ago, we lost our son Joseph. I had a placenta abruption when he was 37 1/2 weeks. I was only four days away from being induced; however, God had very different plans for our family. Following the abruption, Joseph passed within a few minutes at home before we even made it to the hospital. Even though the delivery went well, things took a turn for the worse. To everyone’s surprise, I began to bleed out internally. The staff at the hospital acted quickly and gave me the blood and clotting factor I needed. God was so gracious to me: He spared my life that night.
Initially I walked on water. My grief was overcome with joy and thankfulness that I had not died as well. I was still here with my husband and children and was dwelling on the greatness of God that He would count me worthy to suffer in such a way. I was occupied with thinking of the great things he must have planned for me.
However, my thankfulness soon wore off, and all I could dwell on was the son that I had lost. I began to pull away from everyone and everything. I stopped answering my phone and talking to friends. Young women even came to help take care of my children because I could not. My thankfulness and faith was now replaced with fear and depression.
I became like Peter after he had walked on water and forgot to keep his eyes focused on Christ. He started looking around at the waves and began to sink. Jesus had not moved; Peter had forgotten the goodness of his Savior in the midst of the winds and waves.
Just like Peter, I had abandoned the thankfulness of those initial days and looked around at my circumstances- the winds and the waves- and I sank. I felt like God had turned his back on me and that He hated me. However, God was not further away from me than before. I had just forgotten to recognize his new mercies (going back to Lamentations). The word of God said His mercies are new every morning! But, all I could see and feel were the winds and waves because that was all I was looking at. When I began to fix my eyes on Jesus, I began to once again walk on water.
You might be wondering, practically speaking, how did I do this?
Well, to be honest, it was kind of clumsy to start. I began journaling, and my heart spewed out all the awful things it was thinking. But, then, at the bottom of each page, I would write down five new mercies for that day. At first, it seemed like I was grasping at straws. But as the days progressed, the whining lessened, and the reality of His mercies grew more and more.
I still have days where my heart is very heavy and I regularly struggle with depression. It is a fight, but a glorious one. I find it easier to counteract my struggles with writing. It seems much easier to observe my wrong thinking when I have to write it down. I also try to verbally express thankfulness as much as I can.
As you read my story, you may ask, “What joy can you have after the loss of a child?” Well, I am thankful to God for the seven children I do have here with me. I am thankful to God for my husband who has cared for me during the hard, ugly days. I am thankful to now understand and grieve with those who are grieving.
I could go on and on, but let me ask you something: How are you doing? Do you feel as though you once walked on water and are now sinking in the waves? Do you feel alone? Are you struggling?
In closing, I want to encourage you with three things:
- Remember those who have gone before you and have suffered what you are now suffering. It is great to be part of the body of Christ for this very reason.
- Ask a woman to meet with you and remind you of biblical truths.
- Fix your eyes on Jesus!
Oh, the blessed pain that taught me to rejoice in my great God.