Monday, January 06, 2014


Yesterday was our sweet #3's due date. Every since we lost him/her in May of 2010, I've been on a mission.  A mission to not let his/her life to have been in vain.  A mission to never forget.  I remember due dates so much easier because it's one day, whereas I can't really pinpoint a day we lost #3 (or #4 for that matter), because it was over the course of a few days for both of them.  But a due date?  That I can remember.  I remember all of our kids' due dates - February 25th, June 28th, January 5th, November 5th, and August 14th.  Why?
Because a due date signals something - it represents the end of a time of waiting.  It represents anticipation and excitement... joy.  But for us, January 5th and November 5th have been days representing what was taken, what we lost.
God always has a plan and purpose in the trials we face
So, when one winter's night (12/23/13) after we had finished opening Christmas presents, our sweet Anna began asking questions about salvation, He was already mightily at work.  You see, she'd been asking questions for a long time - every since my best friend's 34 day old son, Jackson, passed away.  She's been asking questions every since her best friend, Kaitlyn (Jackson's big sister) got saved last Spring.  But God hadn't yet fully drawn her heart to His, revealing everything she needed to understand.  And there has to be a drawing, a conviction from the Holy Spirit.
Until that night conviction had never existed for her.  So when Mark ran to pick up some pizza for dinner and me and her sat in the floor painting her fingernails as Emi watched and Eli played with his new army set, she began asking questions.  It's amazing how God can use anything - anything like black nail polish and a lesson from Vacation Bible School 6 months ago.  I had bought her some black and gold nail polish - her school colors.  I don't like black by itself (this is not meant as an attack if you do, rather a personal preference for me), but I figured if it had gold glitter polish on top of it, I could handle it.  So, she wanted her nails painted and began asking me why I don't like black nail polish by itself.  I was honest - I told her it just seemed dark, gothic, that it reminded me of vampires (which I hate).  She was quiet for awhile and then said "Satan is dark.  He represents the darkness in the world.  I learned that at VBS when I went to Grandma's church."  I said "Yes." then waited, sensing there was more brewing in her little mind.  Tears began to flow.  And through her muffled voice, she said "I don't deserve to go to Heaven, mommy.  I'm so bad.  I should go to hell.  That's where I'm going."  And there it was.  The conviction that had been missing.  She had believed all along.  But trying to explain to her that believing isn't enough is hard.  Even the demons believe.  It requires faith.  It requires God calling you to Himself.  And as a parent, it's so incredibly hard to know they're on the cusp of getting it but not quite there.  But when you trust in His timing, He works everything out.
We talked some more and I answered all her questions but had her wait until Mark got home until we went any further.  What Dad doesn't want to be there when his little girl gets saved!?  So when he got home, she talked more with him and he answered some more questions.  It was obvious to both of us she finally got it, that God had revealed Himself to her in a mighty way.  And as I sat there in the living room floor, Anna in Mark's lap, I listened to her pray.  It was one of the most glorious prayers ever - because it was our daughter asking for forgiveness and for Jesus to save her.  It was Him moving in our lives.  And what a perfect Christmas present He gave us.
But He didn't stop there.
The date for the baby dedication had already been set - the first Sunday of each year.  We knew this and thought it'd be great if we did her baptism that day too - that way all of our family could make just one trip and be there for both her baptism and Emi's dedication.  That was confirmed too after she called our pastor and talked to him.
Then she began calling everyone from grandparents, to cousins, aunts and uncles, to friends to share her good news.
It was a great day.  And what made it even better, looking back in hindsight, is that I had not yet put 2 and 2 together.  I just knew things were set for that date and was happy everyone would only have to make one trip.
It took me 5 days for it to register.
January 5th.
We were traveling home from Christmas when it hit me.  The 5th.  Emi's being dedicated on the 5th.  Anna's being baptized on the 5th.  Our sweet #3's due date.  And so God began a great work in my heart.  The word "Redeemed" kept sticking out.  So I did a search for it's meaning.


verb (used with object)
1. to buy or pay off; clear by payment: to redeem a mortgage.
2. to buy back, as after a tax sale or a mortgage foreclosure.
3. to recover (something pledged or mortgaged) by payment or other satisfaction: to redeem a pawned watch.
4. to exchange (bonds, trading stamps, etc.) for money or goods.
5. to convert (paper money) into specie.
6. to discharge or fulfill (a pledge, promise, etc.).
7. to make up for; make amends for; offset (some fault, shortcoming, etc.): His bravery redeemed his youthful idleness.
8. to obtain the release or restoration of, as from captivity, by paying a ransom.
9. Theology . to deliver from sin and its consequences by means of a sacrifice offered for the sinner.

Isn't it amazing that the word redeemed is a verb, meaning 'to reveal what is happening'?  God revealed Himself to Anna, He delivered and redeemed her from sin and its consequences (#9), He made up for (#7) and exchanged (#4) a day of earthly, temporary sadness for us by converting (#5) January 5th into a day representing Anna's eternal life in Him as well as making it a day we symbolically gave/give Emilee back to Him.  He took January 5th - a day of anticipated joy that never came for us and our #3 and turned it into something so beautiful, so eternal.

It gets even better.  Not only was January 5th the day we dedicated all the new babies in the church and the day we baptized Anna, but it was also the day we honored the life of Jackson Matheney.  Sweet, precious Jackson may have only been with us 34 days, but his life has impacted thousands.  And not only have thousands upon thousands around the globe (literally) heard the story of Jackson and his amazing parents, but through Jackson's life his big sister Kaitlyn got saved.  And through Jackson's life and death, and Kaitlyn being saved, Anna began to have questions and is now saved!

Could anyone but God have orchestrated something so miraculous!?  To have redeemed a day of sadness for us, to have redeemed the life of Jackson and brought even more meaning to it by others knowing Christ as a result of his brief life, for us to give Emi back to God on a day given to another child we've lost showing just how faithful He is to have blessed us with another daughter...

Marvelous!  Redeeming!  Faithful.

He is so faithful, friends.

I don't know where you are in life right now, what's struggles you may be facing, but know that He will redeem your situation, some way, somehow.  Maybe not in a way you will ever see this side of Heaven, but know that He always has a purpose and a plan for our trials.

I leave you with Selah's song, Unredeemed.

Life breaks and falls apart
But we know these are
Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
It may be unfulfilled, it may be unrestored
But when anything that's shattered
Is laid before the Lord
Just watch and see, it will not be unredeemed


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