Focus on the Unseen Continued…

Hi ladies, happy Saturday.  I’ve had a nice lazy day of sleeping in, hanging out with my boo bear (nick name for my husband), laundry, and going to the park with the boys.  It’s so funny, we used to be a house full of girls: my bunny Buttercup, my dog Sweetpea, and our cat Pebbles with only Jonathan as the boy, and now it’s the reverse.  Maxi and Elmo are both boys!

If you have read any of my recent posts from this last week, I’ve been sharing what the Lord has been teaching me in lessons recently about focusing on what is unseen.  In my post on expectations, I shared a lesson from the Multiply bible study about the Lord Jesus coming and doing amazing things among the disciples but never quite fitting into the limited box of expectations they had for what the Messiah would do.  They were focused on their current reality and their current circumstances, while Christ, was focused on a much bigger picture.

When Jesus died on the cross, all of their hopes and dreams for the Messiah were destroyed.  I wonder what those 3 days must have felt like for those who followed after Jesus.  I can only imagine.  And then Jesus came back from the dead and showed His power and defeat over death and sin and revealed His plan of salvation to His disciples for the future generations to come.  A beautiful plan for all generations and all future generations, that most certainly did not fit inside their tiny box of expectations on what God was going to do in the world.

God has continued to remind me throughout the week to focus on the unseen reality in the world.  What is God at work doing that I can’t see? I was on Facebook earlier today and read this article from Compassion about the unseen realities of letter writing to your sponsored children.  This letter reminded me today that I’m really behind on sending a letter out to our girls and also it was another confirmation or reminder from God to focus on what I can’t see and trust that He’s making big things happen all around me.  If you sponsor a child or are considering sponsoring a child, definitely click on the link above to read the article, but I wanted to share with you all for now a paragraph from the article that further highlights the lessons I’ve been learning this week.

“Paul the Apostle spent quite a lot of time talking about the “seen” reality versus the “unseen” reality in the world, and how it’s important for Christians to focus on the unseen things that God is doing instead of on how things appear to be going.

There are many examples I could draw from to illustrate the difference, but for now I am just going to mention the biggest one there is: Jesus!

Having the benefit of hindsight (and what a benefit it is!) we know that Jesus was the Son of God and that His death on the cross allowed Him to take our punishment upon Himself so we can be reconciled to God, inherit eternal life and be saved from the judgment and death that we rightly deserve.

However, at the time of Jesus’ death it did not look like the awe-inspiring and glorious victory of mercy and justice and triumph over evil that it was. Instead it looked like all the hopes and aspirations of Jesus’ followers were destroyed, that the Messiah still hadn’t come and that an innocent and good man had been condemned to a pointless death!

In the crucifixion of Jesus there is a considerable difference between the seen (the end of all hope) and the unseen (the fulfillment of all hope).”

I just have to smile at a God that reveals Himself to me in just the perfect way, at the perfect time to give me hope for the future and to remind me that He is God and I can trust in His plan.  He’s the reason I’m smiling today.  He’s the reason that recurrent miscarriages hasn’t knocked me down.  He’s the reason for my hope and my joy.  He’s the reason for my faith. People often tell me I have strong faith, but I need you all to know that I haven’t always been strong in my faith and my strong faith is now a testimony to God’s goodness and is very much an answered prayer.  I prayed to have faith like this that never stops hoping, believing, and loving God. And in the times when I don’t feel very strong and when I don’t know how to believe, God reaches out and shows me how to stay strong.  The above article and the lesson from my multiply study has all played a role in allowing me to have faith in what I can’t see happening around me.  All glory belongs to God!

I haven’t talked about this all that much because for the longest time, it upset me.  My second baby that I lost, Matthew, saved my life.  We both should have died and instead, I am still here.

We had an ultrasound scheduled for November 22, 2011 to see baby Matthew when I would have been almost 12 weeks pregnant. On November 13, I woke up to bleeding and knew that I was losing my baby.  It was a Sunday and the labor and delivery unit tried to pass it off as spotting and I had to sit at home waiting for my doctor’s office to open the next day.  The next day, the doctor’s office tried to pass off the bleeding as spotting but I insisted on coming in since I had already had one miscarriage before this.  I just knew that our baby was gone.  We did an ultrasound to see and sure enough, Matthew had stopped growing and his heart wasn’t beating.  He had died.  All of my hopes for this baby were gone.  How could anything good ever come from this?

That same day, my doctor wanted to run some blood testing that she normally wouldn’t have done, but because I had a previous miscarriage, she wanted to check my CBC (I think that’s what it is called) levels among other blood tests.  Later that day, she called me to say that my platelet levels were low (30,000) and that she wanted me to go first thing in the morning to the lab to check again to see if it was a fluke.  I didn’t think anything of this at the time.  Not even an hour after the next morning’s blood test, she called to tell me to go to the emergency room at the hospital where the hematology department would meet with me to figure out what was going on.  My platelet levels had now dropped down to 14,000. I had no idea what this all meant but I told Jonathan and we hurried to pack some items and I said goodbye to my fur babies, wondering when I would be home again to see them, and hoping that I would see them again.

All I could think about was, “Do I have cancer or something totally scary?”

Platelet levels in a normal, healthy person range anywhere from 150,000 to 400,000.  Once it gets below 30,000 it is a dangerous situation.  If your levels drop below 10,000, you can have spontaneous internal bleeding.  This was terrifying to say the least, because I was currently spotting and would soon have a miscarriage.

The doctors put me on 80 mg of prednisone (YIKES) and hoped that it would raise my levels.  If it didn’t start to work I was going to have to have a blood transfusion (I believe?) and go from there.  Thankfully, every day my levels started to rise slowly but surely.  I was incredibly stressed out being stuck in the hospital and with all of the pregnancy hormones and hormones from the high dosage of prednisone, I struggled to remain calm.  The doctors had to yell at me when I was begging them to discharge me on the 4th day and said, “If you go home today, you could start bleeding and bleed to death.” It was kind of a wake up call for me that my life was hanging in the balance.

I was discharged from the hospital that Friday and was diagnosed with a blood disease called ITP but didn’t have a very good feeling about going home.  That night I started to have contractions and I knew that the miscarriage was finally getting ready to start.  The next morning Jonathan left to get us lunch before work and before he could even pick up the food, I had to call him to rush back home and take me back to the hospital.  Out of nowhere, I was losing too much blood, and had been informed to go to the hospital once I started bleeding.  I was very worried that my platelet levels would drop low from all of the blood loss.

After a horrible time in the emergency room, one of the very worst days of my life, the doctor confirmed that baby Matthew had passed and that my platelet levels were thankfully still at a safe range (I think around 40,000 by this point).  They had dropped some from the previous day, but because they were above 30,000 I would be okay.  The doctor of course continued to monitor my levels for the next 2 months.  Thankfully that pregnancy is the only time that my ITP has acted up but now that we know about this disease, we will always be careful to pay attention to my body and watch for the warning signs of low platelets.

When I was losing baby Matthew, what I couldn’t see at the time was that God was saving my own life.  If I hadn’t started to miscarry Matthew when I did, we both would have ended up dying. (To read my second miscarriage story in full click here.)

If not for the first three miscarriages, I wouldn’t have found out about Celiac disease and been diagnosed with that.  Undiagnosed Celiac disease can lead to all kind of health problems and even cancer and death.

And so, while I can’t exactly understand why I’ve had 2 more miscarriages, I have to trust that God is working all things out for my good.

On the day that I found out I was pregnant with baby #5, I read this in my bible study notes a few hours before I took the pregnancy test.  I thought that it meant I was going to get a negative test, but perhaps, God allowed the miscarriage for some unseen reason that is actually protecting me in a way that I just don’t know about:

“God doesn’t always work in the way that seems best to us.  Instead of guiding the Israelites along the direct route from Egypt to the promised land, he took them by a longer route to avoid fighting with the Philistines.  If God does not lead you along the shortest path to your goal, don’t complain or resist.  Follow him willingly and trust him to lead you safely around unseen obstacles.  He can see the end of your journey from the beginning, and he knows the safest and best route.”

Look at that word in bold, you guys! UNSEEN! I’m crying right now because I didn’t even remember that my bible had used that exact word that I’ve just been writing to you all about.  Do you see what I’m talking about? This is why I hope in God! This is why I believe and have faith! In my pregnancy test results video from the day I found out, I actually read this from my bible to the video saying that I think this means I’ll get a negative test.  All glory goes to God! I don’t know what it is that He’s doing, but I know He’s up to something good, protecting me like He always has.

Today, the circumstances around you might seem hopeless, but we serve a powerful God.  “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.” We believe in a God who does not disappoint and who gives us a hope that doesn’t die! Trust in Him today, for He is faithful my friends.

-Amber

“Scars and struggles on the way, but with joy our hearts can say, never once did we ever walk alone.  Never once did you leave us on our own.  You are faithful, God you are faithful.” -Never Once from One Sonic Society

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5 thoughts on “Focus on the Unseen Continued…

  1. Thank you. I needed to read this today. Even though I know that God has a plan for me, some days it is tough to remind myself that His plan will be far better than the plan anything I could even imagine.

    • I’m glad that you were able to see it today – I know it’s so hard sometimes to trust that He has a good plan just based off of our circumstances. He loves you and will be with your through everything. I’ll be praying for you Shelby. My friend that lost her husband in July shared this verse on Facebook this morning – I think you and I both need it today: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
      —Ephesians 3:20–21

  2. “If God does not lead you along the shortest path to your goal, don’t complain or resist. Follow him willingly and trust him to lead you safely around unseen obstacles. He can see the end of your journey from the beginning, and he knows the safest and best route.”

    Amber, THANK YOU for your willingness to be open and share! It is clear that the Lord lead me to this specific post and you have encouraged me more than you will ever know! Thank you!!

  3. Pingback: Today we Remember | Amber Under Construction

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