{Reading Report} I Will Carry You

To hurt so deeply is a sign that we live in a fallen world, not that we serve a small God.

In 2008, Angie Smith learned partway through her pregnancy that her fourth baby girl, Audrey, was “incompatible with life.” I-Will-Carry-You-002Contrary to the doctor’s recommendation to abort, Angie chose to embrace whatever life God would allow Audrey. I Will Carry You is her story.

It is raw with the deep emotions of saying goodbye to a baby.

I clung to her, staring at the door, keenly aware a part of me was going to go with her, never to return.

I appreciated this book for many reasons.

First, I find it encouraging and convicting to read about trials much greater than what I am going through. It puts life in perspective and increases my thankfulness to God for His earthly blessings in my life. It is also a reminder that we never know what tomorrow holds, and we should pursue God in the smooth times, preparing our hearts for potential valleys.

Second, Angie’s trust in the Lord’s plan for her life shines through in her account, providing an example of faith and obedience worth following in our own struggles.

Third, I Will Carry You helped me get an inside look at the grief involved in losing a baby, hopefully equipping me to be more empathetic toward ladies who have miscarried or lost an infant.

I so respect the purposeful decisions Angie made to choose joy and trust while in the middle of grief.

Part of trying to cultivate a grateful heart is looking for opportunities to share the gospel through my loss and seeking ways to bring God glory through the loss. When I feel like hiding in my room and ignoring the world, I start to feel depressed, and resentment sinks in. Picking yourself up and going about your life as if it’s all a gift isn’t easy when you have lost something precious. But that’s just it; I can either focus on what I have lost, or what I have gained, and I choose the latter. Sometimes I have to choose it a couple of times an hour.

Without downplaying the intense difficulty of losing Audrey, Angie kept her sorrow in perspective and grounded herself in what she knew to be true of God. She also chose to see her loss as an opportunity to share the gospel–what an unselfish and beautiful response to suffering. For that reason, among others, I recommend her autobiography.

What the Lord has given us can either be taken into ourselves as pain or given back to Him as a holy offering, one that glorifies His name and gives meaning to our loss.

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Observations from Mary’s Song

Photo from the movie The Nativity.

And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; for behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is His name.”

Luke 1:46-49

I noticed several beautiful things about Mary and this part of her response. (Full passage is Luke 1:46-55.)

  1. She has a high view of God and His character. She calls Him mighty and and holy.
  2. She does not complain about the responsibility God has assigned to her, nor about the inconveniences and trials that being a pregnant virgin has brought, but actually praises Him for choosing her to bear His Son.
  3. She looks past the present and can see the long-term blessings that God will bring to her down the road through this Child.
  4. She knows she is nothing compared to God, but she does not focus on her inadequacies. Instead, she dwells on Who God is, the great things He has done, and the amazing ways He is choosing to use her in spite of her humble background and sinful human nature.

There’s much more, but that’s what jumped out at me. I can learn a lot from Mary’s example. She is full of humility and meekness, yet does not wither away in self-pity or “low self-esteem”. She recognizes God’s mighty hand in her life and trusts that what He is doing is just right for her. It seems like the ideal balance of humility and confidence in God; I feel like I usually bounce back and forth between those extremes. I’m sure Mary had her moments of pride and doubt…but this song of praise inspires me. How can I be applying these principles to the everyday moments God has for me?

The Gettys loosely put the Magnificat to music and I’ve almost got it memorized from listening to it so much. I love to have these lyrics floating around in my head throughout the day. Here’s the YouTube.

Prayer for the Philippines Day 10

Photo courtesy of www.telegraph.co.uk.

Photo courtesy of http://www.telegraph.co.uk.

10 Days of Prayer for the Philippines

Day 10

Today is our last day in our 10 Days of Prayer for the Philippines project. Thank you to anyone who prayed along any of the days. If nothing else, this served as a personal reminder not to so quickly forget those who are hurting in other parts of the world. I have been working harder at stopping to pray when I hear about tragedy, instead of just being sad and moving on. It’s a discipline I want to cultivate…that prayer would be my automatic response to the suffering of others.

Dear Lord, we pray that You would continue to minister to the thousands of Filipinos who have lost family, friends, and homes to Typhoon Haiyan. Please watch over each one and care for them in a special way. Work in the governing officials to bring about efficient, effective restoration. Give the relief organization workers stamina and perseverance as they do what they can to help. Give boldness to believers who have survived, bringing them opportunities to share the hope they have in Jesus Christ with the hurting people around them. Use this terrible trial to spread Your gospel throughout the Philippines and build up Your church. Thank You that we can be a part of Your truth going out simply by praying, no matter where we are. Make us more faithful to bring others before Your throne of grace in their time of need. Give us love and concern for people we haven’t even met, and fill us with gratitude for the undeserved blessings You’ve allowed us to enjoy. Thank You that we know that You hear and work through our prayers. 

Prayer for the Philippines Day 9

Photo courtesy of theguardian.com.

10 Days of Prayer for the Philippines

Day 9

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

Dear Lord, we continue to pray for Filipinos who are in just the beginning stages of the long road to restoration after Typhoon Haiyan. We pray that You would help believers around the globe to reach out in prayer and other means of support. Give US churches who support missionaries in the Philippines opportunities to use that connection as a way of helping some of the families affected. Please give wisdom to pastors as to how to most effectively use the resources donated for their congregations and other people nearby. Please encourage the Filipinos with letters and emails from people elsewhere who are praying for them. Thank You for modern technology and how it enables us to stay connected.

Prayer for the Philippines Day 8

10 Days of Prayer for the Philippines

Day 8

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. (Romans 3:23-25)

Dear Lord, thank You for Your mercy toward sinners and Your incredible offer of forgiveness and grace through Jesus Christ. Thank You that Your gift of salvation is available to everyone, regardless of age, race, or socioeconomic status. Thank You that You have the power to reach each heart that You choose to, know matter where it is. We pray for those who You physically rescued from Typhoon Haiyan, that You would bring the gospel to them and give spiritual salvation. We pray that this tragedy would cause Your truth to spread throughout the Philippines, and that it would fall on hearts that are ready to repent and turn to You.  

Prayer for the Philippines Day 7

Photo courtesy of www.timeslive.co.za.

Photo courtesy of http://www.timeslive.co.za.

10 Days of Prayer for the Philippines

Day 7

Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose. Isaiah 46:9-10

Dear Lord, we continue to lift up the people ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan. Please be with those working through the rubble, recovering survivors and bodies. Give them stamina and emotional strength as they do this heartbreaking work day after day. We pray that you would provide wisdom and efficiency to the crews working on the restoration process. We also pray that as much as possible, you would protect little eyes from the gruesome sights being uncovered, and that you would shelter them from some of the devastation. Thank You for caring about each person involved. We continue to pray that the gospel would go forward in the midst of this tragedy.

Prayer for the Philippines Day 6

Photo courtesy of mashable.com.

Photo courtesy of mashable.com.

10 Days of Prayer for the Philippines

Day 6

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. (Psalm 116:15)

Dear Father, we know that some of the people who lost their lives due to the typhoon are now with you, experiencing perfection and complete joy. We thank You that for the believer, to live is Christ and to die is gain. We pray that you would minister to church bodies who have lost precious brothers and sisters. Comfort them with the reality that Heaven is for all of Your children. Give them an eternal mindset even as they grieve, and use their loss to spark anew a desire to glorify You every day, knowing that our time here on earth is short. Inspire them to more faithful evangelism and give them boldness to share the hope You have given them.