On May 22, 2018, I gave birth to my third child and first daughter...stillborn. The loss of her precious life is easily the hardest thing I have ever been through - you can read more about her story here. In the hours, days, weeks, and months that followed her birth, we had countless amounts of family, friends, even strangers reach out to us. Much of what they said was healing and helpful, but much was also not so great. Remind me to write a post on “what not to say to a grieving parent.” Anyways, one of the things I vividly remember being said to me almost daily were the compliments. People told me that I was so strong, that I was brave, that they were blown away with how I was handling it all. Still to this day I get praise from others telling me I’m the most courageous woman they know. And while I would ordinarily find myself soaking in the compliments and filling with pride, I couldn’t help but cringe a little on the inside each time it was said. Because you see, I am nothing special.
Don’t get me wrong, the actions others are noticing are worthy of praise, but I am not the one they should be praising. Nothing I have done between May 21st, when we learned my daughter’s heart had stopped beating, and today is anything that has come from my own strength. Every single second of the past 318 days I have clung to Jesus Christ, and He alone is worthy of the praise.
It reminds me of the parable in the Bible about the man who built his house upon the rock. When the storms came, his house stood firm because of the foundation it was built upon. “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it" (Matthew 7:24-27).
At nearly 39 weeks pregnant, when I found out my daughter was dead inside of me, I didn’t have time or the peace of mind to pause and think - “Wow. This really sucks. I know what comes next in my journey is going to be excruciatingly painful and tough, so let me quick find some great bible verses, prayers, or sermons that will help me get through this.” Nope. My body, mind, and spirit were crushed in an instant. I could barely remember how to breathe in that moment, let alone pause to work on my “spiritual foundation.” The storm had arrived. With no warning, no alarms signaled, no alert on my iPhone- it was here.
“Trials reveal foundations, rather sand or rock, but in the middle of a trial is not the ideal time to build one.”
- Levi Lusko
Any actions I displayed from there on out were only because of the foundation Christ had given me in the days before the storm. My foundation was built when I accepted Christ as my savior at the age of five. My foundation was built when I was baptized at the age of 7. My foundation was built when I reconnected my relationship with Christ in college. My foundation was built when I opened my bible as a new mom, struggling to keep her head above water. My foundation was built as I faithfully attended church services 6 months earlier. My foundation was built singing worship songs in the car the day before. What I’m trying to get at here is that your “foundation” must be built now. We aren’t privileged with knowing how long we have before the next storm hits, but we do know one is coming.
How is a strong foundation built? Here are some places to start:
- Accept Jesus Christ as your savior and begin a relationship with Him.
- Find a church home that teaches and lives God’s word.
- Get involved in a small group where you can find fellowship and support with other believers.
- Get a Bible, or dust yours off, and start reading! There is so much to be learned by spending time in the word.
- Find a friend who can mentor you or be an accountability partner for you as you grow in your faith.
- Join a Bible study - you can find these at your church or online!
Where does your spiritual foundation stand today? Maybe it’s a little rusty and needs some “spring cleaning.” Maybe it has just been hit by a tsunami and it needs rebuilding. Maybe it seems strong from the outside, but you know that the inside is rotting away beneath you. No matter where life finds you today, I hope you can take a minute to examine your foundation and spiritually ready yourself for life’s next big storm.