If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
This is the rest of the March 15th story.....
I should probably set the stage a bit for what happened, so it will hopefully make sense.
First of all, I am a huge Beth Moore fan. I have done MANY of her Bible studies: some with dear friends at church, some in Sunday school, and some on my own by borrowing the DVDs from other churches, ordering the workbooks, and watching them while sitting in Nick's room at the hospital as he went through chemo or other treatments.
Beth Moore has ministered to me in a profound way throughout Nick's journey. She has taught me so much about walking through the fire (Daniel), loving God will all my heart (David), stepping up (Psalms), and realizing that God's timing is critical (Esther)...and so much more!!! Thank you, Beth, so very much for carrying me through a dark valley by keeping me close to my Lord and Savior!
About a month ago, a friend of mine (Lara) discovered that she had two extra tickets to the Beth Moore Minister's Wives' Retreat in Nashville which was this past weekend. She wasn't sure who to ask and said that she was awoken in the night with my name and another friend's name on her heart. So, she called Pam who then called me and we decided we should go!!
At about the same time that this all happened, I wrote a blog post about the Academy Awards. Amber (one of my blogging friends) posted a comment telling me that Beth Moore's daughter had written about these awards as well and that I should read what she had to say. So, I went to the Living Proof blog and read her entry. While I was on her site, I scrolled down through other blog entries and the name "Annabeth" caught my eye. Beth Moore had a new granddaughter and her name was Annabeth! I couldn't believe it! It moved me so much and brought back a flood of memories about our sweet Adrienne Annabeth. I just had to go back to my blog and write about our daughter who had died in 1992.
A few days later I received a comment from Amber telling me that she had shared my story with the Living Proof website, but I never thought another thing about it.
On this past Saturday morning at Beth Moore's conference we enjoyed an amazing worship service followed by Beth's teaching. She inspires me sooooo much! At the end of her morning session, she challenged the minister's wives in the audience who were in a safe place to share their hearts openly to "come forward" and ask for prayer, confess sins, etc.
About twenty women in blue vests stood across the front of the room waiting for women to come forward. Music played softly as women began making their way to the front of the room, most of them in tears.
I sat by Pam and Lara and watched the constant flow of women as they brought their broken hearts to the front of the sanctuary. I truly felt that I had nothing to bring before these wonderful women. I had no "secret sin" or huge "prayer request." I was just sad about missing Nick. Or so I thought.
As time passed, Pam began to cry and share some things with me that were on her heart...while comforting her and listening to her share, I realized that my heart had started to race with emotion. I began to realize that feelings of anger were flaring up in me. Anger from the fact that I tried so hard to do all the right things throughout Nick's fight with cancer and God seemed to not care or hear my passionate and persistent prayers.
I praised God no matter what was happening.
I fasted frequently in prayer.
I didn't question God.....most all of the time.
I tried not to complain or whine about how our world had been turned upside down.
I tried to keep smiling.
I tried to trust God with each new bit of bad news.
And yet Nick still died.
So as I sat and listened to Pam, I began to cry. Before I knew it, Pam was comforting me instead of me comforting her. I felt bad about this too. I felt selfish.....like it had to be about me which I didn't want it to be.
Pam wanted me to go forward and talk to someone, but as I looked at the women across the front of the sanctuary, I said to Pam, "What can they say to help me? What can they say to change the reality that Nick is gone?" I'm okay. After a few minutes, I felt my pride being stripped away as I said, "No I'm really not. I'm really angry and I'm tired of feeling angry."
I agreed to go forward with Pam only if I could talk to someone who had lost a child. As I surveyed the women, I honestly thought to myself, "The only person I want to talk to is Beth Moore," but I knew deep inside that every woman probably felt the same way and that that was selfish of me.
So, Pam and I walked forward. I was crying. We went to the first two women who were dressed in blue vests and Pam asked them if there was someone I could talk to who had lost a child. Without even thinking, I said out loud through my tears, "Or two children." My pain was so deep at that moment. The reality that I had held in for so long the pain of Adrienne's sudden death and then been dealt the blow of losing Nick in such a long and suffering way suddenly surfaced.
The women looked around as if they weren't sure who to get and then asked the woman next to them who said, "We have a counselor in the back room."
Now even in the midst of my tears, I was able to comprehend these words and was thinking, "I DO NOT WANT TO TALK TO A COUNSELOR!"
However, it was too late, I had come forward and was now at the mercy of whomever was helping me. So we started across the front of the room headed for the back.
As we were walking and I was crying, I realized that Beth Moore was standing right beside me with her back to me. I looked at the woman leading me out of the room and held up my hand as if to say, "Just one minute." With my other hand, I reached out and literally took a hold of Beth's arm as if it were my only chance to ever be that close to her and feel her love. I couldn't help but think of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus' robe......not implying that Beth has this same power, but simply saying that I truly wanted a blessing from Beth and in touching her hoped that I would receive it.
Beth turned towards me and through my tears I told her, "My son died in November," and then I just started crying more and more. I'll never forget Beth's words to me............She said,
That's exactly what she said! She knew me!
Then I said, "I'm the one whose daughter Adrienne Annabeth died...."
And Beth finished my sentence, "of SIDS." She went on to say that she wanted to find me but didn't know how. That she wanted to say something from the front but didn't want to be insensitive. I don't even know how she knew I was there or if she even knew ahead of time. But she had read of Adrienne and Nick before that morning and she already knew my story.
She even said, "I have goose bumps on my arms," and held out her arm. I was sobbing and saying, "I tried to do everything right and Nick still died....I'm tired of feeling angry." As I cried and later my friend said I could barely stand, Beth took my hand and gently went down on her knees and brought me down on my knees right in front of her. I leaned forward on her and sobbed deeper and louder than ever in my life for what seemed such a long time. I remember hearing her praying, "Lord, this lady has been faithful......." And then something about "til she's with her babies again in Heaven..." I could feel women all around me touching me and crying. I could hear Pam and Lara saying "It's okay, Tammy. This is why we're here."
Then Beth said, "You're washing His feet with your tears." I looked up at her and said, "I do love Him." And then she said, "And He's holding every tear."
Then with a very purposeful voice she said, "Look me straight in the eyes." I realized at that time that I had been looking down most all of the time, and as I looked up she took my face in her hand and said very firmly,
"YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS."
"I PROPHESY THAT YOU WILL BE WHOLE! YOU WILL BE WHOLE! YOU WILL BE WHOLE!"
My hands were shaking but I was able to lift Nick's necklace off my chest towards her and through my tears said, "This is Nick's thumb print."
Beth very gently and sweetly leaned down and kissed my heart pendant as if she were kissing Nick's forehead. I'll never forget the love I felt at that moment. I instantly knew that this was why I hadn't yet shared about Nick's necklace! Now it was time!
As we stood up together and Beth began to walk away, she took my arm and said, "I'll never forget you. I'll never forget you."
And then my friends took me to a back stairwell where I cried and cried some more. Eventually a counselor came in and prayed with me, and helped me to receive words of peace from God.
Shew. I still can't believe it happened.
When I look back on this memory, I have to say that I believe God orchestrated every part of it. I truly believe that He longs to give us the desires of our heart, and on that day I needed more than anything else in the world to be blessed by Beth Moore in a very personal way. She has been my spiritual mentor, my lifeline to God's Word, my encourager in my journey...
Thank you, Lord, for knowing just what I needed and providing it in such a dramatic way.
I have always thought that if I could meet Beth Moore I would love to laugh with her, have a cup of coffee with her, share our passion for God and His Word.....
I never dreamt that God would humble me to the point of literally laying over her lap sobbing my eyes out.
I feel released from something powerful.
I have tried so hard even in Nick's death to see the "good," the "purpose," the "big picture."
But to be honest, I have also carried a piece of anger that had to be let go of or it was going to be part of me forever. I do not want to be an angry, bitter mom who has lost two children.
I want to be a joy-filled light of hope for others who may have to walk the road behind me.
I don't think that was a possibility before I fell on my knees and confessed my true feelings on Saturday.
Thank you, Lord, for understanding my pain and loving me through it. Thank you for giving me permission to not always "understand" Your ways. I know that Your ways are higher than mine. Help me to continue to trust You in the dark days ahead, and Lord, help me to be a willing servant.
Thank you, Lara and Pam and Amber for being beautiful servants of the Lord. Because of you, God was able to give a "good gift" to me. Thank you.
Forever Grateful for My Moment with Beth Moore and for Her Precious Kiss on Nick's Necklace.
My prayer now is for a day to sit with Beth Moore and have coffee and laugh and share our passion for God's Word!
As Mordecai said to Esther.......