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This beautiful display of trusting God in the midst of any storm, is written by a friend of mine who is a strong woman of God. She and her husband, Jon, are walking through a very trying, challenging season. This is a quick background of her story and what they are facing right now (written by Shannon):

Yesterday we had a routine doctor’s appointment and ultrasounds showed us that our sweet baby has severe brain and development defects. The doctor says that Baby Ack could likely survive pregnancy but may live only minutes, hours, maybe days at the longest. Only hours before this appointment I was thinking about picking out a crib and curtains for our new nursery, but now may be picking out a casket. Instead of being pregnant with the hope and dreams of raising this beautiful child, I am pregnant with the anticipation of possibly planning a funeral. God is close to the broken hearted, so I’m pretty sure we can touch Him at this point.

Guest Devotional, by Shannon Ackerman

As I look through my photos from the last weeks with all the “magic and merriness” of Christmas around us, I am in awe at how fast my baby girl has grown in the last year, how she brings such joy to our lives with her innocence and goofiness and dancing. I love watching her stare at the lit tree, asking for us to push the button on that darn musical Christmas moose one more time. And then my eyes scan the room and I see that 4th stocking hanging on our fireplace mantel…and my heart starts to ache and I pray with all that I am that I will get to fill it for my son next year.

As we navigate this journey, I’m finding that I feel knocked down for days after each ultrasound. Like the weight of grief is so crushing that standing is too physically hard…and I find myself crumpled on the ground in tears for my unborn, but oh-so-loved, baby boy. But if I let myself dwell in that pain and pity, if I let it consume me, I let the despair win as it will surely rob me of any joy or hope. One of my favorite verses has always been, “I do not know what to do, but my eyes are on You.” (2 Chron. 20:12)

So, with any strength I have (which is not a lot sometimes), I turn my eyes to God. And I let His sweet grace wash over me, lifting that crushing weight of grief. Oh it still hurts. My heart just hurts. But I have an ocean of grace to hurt in and know that God is my refuge and safe place and gives me peace. He sees my tears and holds me as I cry. I have to make the CHOICE to trust, to read His promises over and over again. It isn’t always easy, but when I can turn my focus to His faithful promises, despair does not overcome me.

I have hope because I have my God in my corner. I don’t know how this will turn out, but I know that He’s got me and He promises to work all things for good. He promises that He has plans for me and my family – plans for good and not disaster, for a future and a hope. He has the final say in this. Not me, not the doctors. And I trust Him with my life, with all that I am. He is good and faithful, always.

Trusting in God in the hard times is not always pretty, and it doesn’t mean we don’t hurt or that we’re strong all of the time. But it means that He will give us what we need when we need it. He gives us the grace to be beautifully broken in Him. His faithful promises will be our protection.

So, to any of those who may be hurting or feeling hopeless…maybe you lost a loved one, or got another negative pregnancy test, are grieving the loss of a child, can’t see past the looming bills, can’t get over that addiction, are mourning a broken heart, or maybe feeling like you’ll be lonely forever…whatever it may be…know that when you turn your eyes to God, even through the crushing pain, that He’s got you and He is good. He will honor you for turning to Him instead of being consumed by despair and relying on yourself to get by. He has good plans for you, and He loves you more than you can imagine.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24 NIV)

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