11 months


This “11 Months” post is a day late because we were celebrating my birthday away from Tenwek, kids and internet…A blog post about that will come soon. 🙂 I wrote this post before we left, so I hope the verb tense doesn’t confuse anyone too much.

Isaiah 55:8-9

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

February 14 marks both a blessed event and a horrible milestone. It is my birthday and Valentine’s Day. It is also the day that marks 11 months since Hannah passed from this life to her eternal home in heaven.

While we are celebrating with a couple’s weekend at a luxurious resort at the Masai Mara, our hearts cry out once again. It’s agony to think that we have walked this earth 11 months without hearing her sweet voice, seeing her mischievous grin and feeling the warmth of her hugs.

How can Isaiah 55:9 be true??

How can God’s ways really be better than mine? I mean, my plan was to be a happy, humble, servant-minded missionary momma of 4 beautiful kids when I turned 33. I’d rather be celebrating with all my heart this Valentine’s Day/birthday! My plan would be to be rejoicing with Aaron about how awesome our first year as missionaries was, reminiscing of the last year of our lives, missing our 4 kiddos as we see God’s beautiful creation, and giving God all the glory. Instead, our reality is that the 14th of every month is filled with sorrow and pain as we remember our daughter and realize how much we’re moved on since the previous 14th.

Even the fact that she died on the 14th is questionable. My birthday AND our wedding anniversary are on fourteenths of months. Why couldn’t God have chosen a different date? Why did He allow this to happen in our first year – our first months! – of our missionary career? Does He really have our best interests in mind? Are His ways really higher than our ways?

It doesn’t always seem like it, huh? All human reason points to my way being the better, happier, more enjoyable plan. And that’s where our human minds fall short.

Here is the Truth: it’s not about better, happier or enjoyable. It’s about God, and how His Name can be taken all over the world and be glorified. It’s not about me; it’s all about HIM.

I’m reading the book Your Beautiful Purpose by Susie Larson. In the second chapter, she is addressing jealousy but these sentences apply to many areas in life. “God has a desire for us here, but remember, so does the devil.” Wow! She goes on, “Someone once said that both God and the devil have a plan for our lives. And we are the ones who cast the deciding vote.” (p45) Wow! That’s some meat to chew on!

I’m not one to take another person’s writing to be Truth without testing them against Scripture, but this immediately spoke to me. It reminded me of Job and the way Satan asked permission to sift Job like wheat. I’m certain that Satan thought Job would curse God, but I know God’s plan was for Job to be found faithful, for Job to bring even more honor and glory to God in his suffering than he did in his wealth. (For more specifics, read the book of Job in the Bible.)

While I have not lost nearly as much as Job, I do feel a connection. I can see Satan going before God the Father and asking for permission to test us. I’m sure Satan envisioned Hannah’s sudden death and our subsequent return to the States. He surely wanted to end our mission career before it ever got started. He probably planned for us to be bitter, to curse God, to refuse to trust or glorify or serve God ever again.

However, I see God sitting on His heavenly throne with a grin as He grants Satan’s request, for He can see His better plan for our lives. He can see how one little girl’s death could cause countless people to see Him in a whole new light. He could see how we would not denounce Him. Instead, we would cling to Him even more. We would resolve to praise and glorify and honor our Heavenly Father all the more in our grief. We would determine to tell anyone who would listen why we have hope and joy and in Whom our hope and joy are placed. We would choose, time and again, God’s plan because His plan is indeed better.

While today, as I’m sitting here with my tear-stained self, it appears that God’s plans aren’t that good and that mine are better, that isn’t reality. God can see the entire picture of the world. He sees me, and so much more. He can see how ultimately, eternally His ways are better. It might not always feel like it, but it is so…And when I get to heaven, I’ll have the privilege of seeing just how higher His plans are!

Come LORD Jesus! Come!

Here’s the end of Isaiah 55:

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that is yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so in my word that goes out from my mouth:

It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the tress of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the LORD’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.”

See…He promises that everything that happens to us will be purposeful…And that it will all bring Him glory, honor and praise! We serve an amazing God!!

Praise and Prayer Requests:

  1. Praise God! My dad is cancer free!! (Thank you all for your ongoing prayers on his behalf! We are praying and believing that he will remain cancer free!)
  2. Praise God for great friends that watch our kids and for this amazing little getaway! It was much needed!
  3. Praise God for He is Creator and Sustainer! When you get to live in such a beautiful place like Kenya, you really appreciate God’s creation in a whole new way. He not only created this beauty but He also sustains it!
  4. Praise God for the way He comforts us. It is bittersweet to see how much we have healed over the past 11 months. God is our source of comfort and strength and our ever-present help. Please pray for us as we anticipate March 14.
  5. Pray for God to provide just what we need as a community. There are so many exciting things planned for Tenwek. Pray that God would direct our hearts so that we do only what He wants us to do. Pray that we would humbly surrender our agendas to God’s bigger, better plan.

I’ll end with a picture from our birthday getaway…More will follow!

It's quite chilly in the mornings on the mara!

It’s quite chilly in the mornings on the mara!


3 responses »

  1. Stephanie—- thanks for sharing your heart today….. I needed it. Read and I are new grandparents, and our “Baby” is still in the NICU after 10 days—– and I too am asking WHY, and what will this accomplish… I dig deep for faith and trust each day , as you know so well. I too am reminded of Hannah this time of year, as we arrived last year with Aaron’s mom to an airstrip in Bomet and I watched mother and son reunite in a teary embrace. We return again Feb. 28 , and look forward to getting acquainted this year. Is there anything you need us to bring your family???
    Suzie Vaughan

  2. Took a break from putting finishing touches on my Sunday School lesson for tomorrow and read your post. My lesson is on Creation and God speaking into our lives. Parts of your post and Isaiah 55 are now making an appearance in my lesson. Thx for the help! 🙂

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