This past year, the Lord met us in (or directed us into) some dark places. The term "dark night of the soul" became not only a phrase we understood more empirically, but an everyday, household word that brought our own, human weakness into the foreground and had us on our knees regularly in upward reverence. One thing became clear - God was supreme author of this season. A byproduct of this time we spent in the crucible is that His exposition of the pain in our past would clearly be used to minister to others on the other side of the night.
Cristine asked me to look this story over before sharing it on the blog, but I don't have much to add or subtract. I hope if you have experienced pain, loss, abortion, grief, or other similar tribulation, that His story of how He loves us and the grace He can and does pour out on us meets you, comforts you, and lifts you up to know more than just a shadow of the Almighty who calls us to be His own. - AP
Cristine's story (or, more of it than you had before):
As some of you know, I had an abortion when I was 22-yrs-old. I was
not a believer in Christ, so my decisions were based on my fleshly fear &
selfish self will. Years later, I believe the Lord showed me that this baby
was a boy. I also felt impressed by the Lord to name him (posthumously) "Jack". (I also highly recommend seeking the Lord to name your aborted child in order to bring greater completeness to the grieving process).
I often pray to God that He will open the Heavens every
now & then to allow Jack to see me so that I can tell him how much I
love him. As I write this, I do believe I
have received full forgiveness from Jack as well as the Lord from this
grave sin against both of them as well as myself and the many
others who would have been impacted by Jack's life here on earth. Now I
just want Jack to know that I love him, that I think of him often &
that I can't wait to see him when I get to Heaven.
Over two years ago, I became pregnant with our twins. As only one with
multiples can imagine, my mind was blown in the natural about the fact
that I was carrying two babies. But, in the
supernatural, it was also blown
because I couldn't imagine that my Heavenly Father would double my blessings
in that way after having this abortion back in 2000. And really... it
was a triple blessing since He had already gave to me Presleigh 8 yrs
after having the abortion!
Coincidence? Probably not.
Aarron and I have always put great thought and prayer into naming our children. It took us going through the 5,000 Baby Names book, the 10,000 Baby Names book, and an even bigger one before we came up with (and agreed on) a name for Presleigh. We had already agreed on a name for our daughter "Jovi", which means "joy", but hadn't come up with a boy name. One day in November, we were driving to our counselor's office the day after
already finding out they would be boy/girl twins, when the
Lord downloaded to me the name "Jezreel". So, I was thinking... "I wonder what the meaning of 'Jezreel'
means." Both within 15 minutes and before I could tell Aarron, he turned
to me & said "I wonder what the name 'Jezreel' means?"
WOW! Say what you want about coincidence, but that's not a very common name. It's also not one that either of us had read about recently in our devotional time. Wow. I
mean, I hadn't yet had a chance to tell my husband what name just popped into
my head the moment before... & here Aarron got the same confirmation
from the Lord at the same time! We were amazed, to say the least- as
well as VERY anxious to find out what that name meant.
What's in a Name?
Now, it just happened to be that our counselor had a Biblical name
book at her office. So, once we arrived & told her what happened
while on the way to her office, she immediately grabbed that book in
order for us to find out! The meaning showed up in Matthew 13 where the Bible
says "the Son of Man sows seed", and "Jezreel" comes from the Hebrew
meaning "the Lord sows/plants". Now, there is another place in Hosea 1:11
"The people of Judah and the people of Israel will be reunited, and they will appoint one leader and will come up out of the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel."
In that verse it is believed to be that the "scattered seed- known as
the people of Israel- would then be gathered by the Lord", so great is
the day of 'Jezreel' (or rather 'the gathering up of what was once the
scattered seed.') And, of course, we know that we Christians are
referred to as the ingrafted branch of Israel, so applying that
Scripture to me meant "that I was once lost but now I am found (and gathered up by the Lord), as well"
-very fitting, wouldn't you say? I mean, the fact that this son that
the Lord now blessed me with was to be THE very representation of what
My Heavenly Father has done for me in my life was too awesome!
When Does the Other Shoe Fall?
You also may remember there was a little hiccup during that
pregnancy. The perinatal doc was concerned that
"Baby A"- aka "Jez" could very likely have a brain problem from some
ventricle showing up as congenital abnormality (according to the
ultrasound). I thought... "Yep, here it comes... my punishment for my
aborted son Jack." I had so much guilt, worry & concern that I
brought about this ailment- that my transgressions were now falling upon
my unborn child. So, we prayed, I confessed, repented, wept... we
gathered the troops (fellow brothers & sisters in Christ) to pray
and PRAY HARD along with us! (Thank you to those of you who were part
of that, btw!) And we waited & hoped & trusted in God's Word.
For He says in Psalm 103:12 "as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us."
Fast forward to months later we see that during the time of
delivery, both babies were not only allowed to be born naturally, but
were healthy & whole- Praise God! Abba Father has also allowed Jovi to be the physical proof of the joy the Lord returned to me WHILE ALSO
showing me how she was meant to come into this world alongside of her
brother Jezreel ("Sower of seeds). He brought me evidence of this in Psalm 126:5-6 "those
who SOW in tears will reap with songs of JOY. He who goes out weeping,
carrying SEED TO SOW, will return with SONGS OF JOY..." !!! Jezreel AND Jovi- united in Christ (who is "the Word made flesh").
Now, as most of you know, I have the best husband ever. [He's blushing while he proofreads this...] While
were just dating I made him fully aware of the abortion, so now upon my
request of wanting to honor Baby Jack in some way, we both agreed that
Jezreel's middle name would be "Jaxton". This is the name Jack whose
Hebrew origin is John meaning "The Lord is gracious". As Aarron so eloquently puts it: "The name Jack, with an 'x' [a cross to symbolize the work of Christ] in the middle and a 'ton' [a suffix meaning "town" or "from the town of"] conveys the meaning 'from the town of John' or more poetically- "from a place where God's grace makes His home".
The Living, Active Word:
Ok, so with ALL of that said... today my Master Creator showed me something else that showered me with even more revelation of His unfailing love, compassion and kindness to me.
Sometimes I like to be refreshed & reminded of Jesus' love, so I was reading in Hosea 2:6-7 about how God had once upon a time "blocked
my path, walled me in, allowed me chase after other lovers (literally)
but not find them (not find the love I needed in them) to then call me
back unto Himself"; to find my true Love &
Husband in My King & My God. So, there I was falling even more in
love with the One who loves me & saved me when BAM! My eyes were yet
again enlightened by what I was reading!
Hosea 2:22 says when we (in that book referring to
the people of Israel) return to the Lord God He will cause the
earth to respond with "grain, new wine, new oil and they will respond to 'Jezreel'." So, I go to Biblos.com for further understanding on what
this may mean. The first part of that passage is referred to as: to
nourish and strengthen; like "wine" to comfort, cheer, and revive; and
like "oil" to heal and soften, as well as make glad". (Do you see how
"Jovi" for "joy" is in this passage yet again?!?!?) Ok... I am seeing this all come together now. Then the Lord ties it in a
beautiful bow for me when I ask? "So, what about 'will respond to
Well, the commentary goes on to say: "And they shall
hear Jezreel; or 'answer'; that is, these trees and
fruits shall answer to the requests and desires of Jezreel who shall be
abundantly blessed with them." Jezreel is not used here as the name of a
place as it is in other verses of Scripture. No, here it seems to
mean "the people of Israel just as I wrote about above from the verse in Hosea 1-
unworthy in themselves yet shown such favor through the riches of God's
grace He still chose to bestow upon them." The commentary also
translates it as "The great rejoicing with which they shall receive
God's gracious returns towards them". The end of this chapter goes on to tell us that "God will show His
love... we will be called His people... and there will be no denying the
One we call Our God." (Hosea 2:23 paraphrased by Cristine.)
How Great is Our God?
"Wow" just doesn't seem to suffice. Even after all I have done to
You, Father God, mixed with the hurt I have inflicted upon others as well
as myself by committing the sin of murder in aborting Jack along with innumerable others wicked deeds- Your grace still allowed me to
live, Christ's blood still covered my sins AND Jesus still calls me
friend! Where can I go from there but forward? I mean, to know that I
will someday see the fulness of my family when I see Jack in Heaven is
exactly that hope the Bible speaks of in Romans 5: 5 "hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."
And by faith I pray that this testimony continues to defeat the enemy
in my life as well as help those reading overcome the accuser just as it
says in: Revelation 12:11 "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony".