Monday's Musings - Seeing the Bigger Picture in Life

by Mary Denman
Twitter @marydenman

There are times in life when things happen and I don't understand. 

Some really hard times. Some really hard things. 

When I was young, I tended to question God's motives and ask "Why?"

"Why did Grandpa have to die?"

"Why did Mama Kate (my grandmother) have to die?" 

"Why did I have to have a tonsillectomy and have really bad post surgery complications?"

I, very immaturely, thought that if I loved God, things should and would go well for me. That I shouldn't hurt or suffer. 

Sadly, it led me to question God's motives. "If God loved me, then bad stuff wouldn't happen."

It has taken a lot of years and life to change my thinking. 

I'm learning that while I may not see a reason in something right away, I've learned that God is working. He's working whether I see it or not. And I've learned to trust that. To trust Him. Every so often, God will pull the veil off my human eyes and let me see what He's doing. 

He lets me see the bigger picture. 

A promise of another day. . . By Mary Denman
Eighteen years ago, when I miscarried and almost died, I had to have 24 hour care for a couple weeks. During that difficult time, while my husband was traveling with work, my parents came down to care for me and my two kids. 

In case you didn't know, I'm a cryer and a talker. That's how I deal with difficulties. Having my parents there was such a blessing. They let me sit between them when I needed to cry. Just being a little girl again. Their love surrounding me. Their presence and prayers. . .just what I needed.

I had to talk out the loss. My arms literally ached because I wouldn't get to hold my baby. Mom and Dad listened to me and comforted me. You see, my mom had miscarried as well. 

But the sad part was, when she miscarried, it was in the late 1950's when you pretended nothing happened. She didn't speak of it to friends. Life just went on.

So back to Mom and Dad being with me. They arrived on Mom's birthday. I had gotten her a card and one thing that I wrote was, "I'm so sorry you lost a baby, but I'm so grateful you understand." 

She stood there, looked at me and said, "You're the first person to give me a card about the baby and say you were sorry."

How sad that Mom held it in for 30 some years! 

Well, as I talked things out while they were there that week, I was able to talk through some well meaning but very hurtful things people said. Like, "Well, you already have a boy and a girl."  Or, "You're young, you can have another." Or, "It's okay, there was probably something wrong with the baby anyway. . . ." (A nurse transporting me to the hospital said those three things in succession.) 

None of that was a comfort. Mom and Dad helped me process the mixed emotions that well-intentioned people evoked. I told my Mom, "If someone just says, 'I'm sorry you lost your baby,' that's all I need." 

On the night before Mom and Dad left to travel home, I went in to talk to them. And this is one of those moments that God pulled back the veil from my eyes to see how he was working. 

Mom was reading a little booklet about miscarriages that someone in my church had given me. She looked up and said, "You know Mary, there are things in my heart that were healed this week that I didn't even know were there."

It still makes me tear up to think of that.

Thirty some years later, God used my suffering and loss to bless my mother with healing! 

And then she told me that she was happy to learn to just say, "I'm sorry," to people who were hurting. She said she never knew quite what to say. 

So the story gets better. She and daddy went home and she called a neighbor over to come visit. They had had kids together. And Mrs. Hall had had two boys, but miscarried twice, during the same general time as my mom. 

So Mom looked at her and said, "Willisteen, I want to say I'm sorry you lost two babies."

Our neighbor cried. She said, "You're the first person to ever say that."

Honestly, I felt humbled that God used my loss to help heal my mother's heart. I was one of three daughters and the only one at that time who had miscarried. And God used my suffering to bless a neighbor as well! 

That was when God gave me the bigger picture. To take a longer view. To see how he can work across the years. That he doesn't waste our trials and suffering.

Other women will miscarry. Others will lose their parents. Others will fight illness. 

But there is hope. And comfort. God is there. He doesn't promise ease and a comfortable life. (I'll admit I want a comfortable life and try to orchestrate it!) 

But instead of a comfortable life, he offers comfort for the broken-hearted.

I see that now because he showed me the bigger picture. 

And for that, I am grateful.

Where in life have you seen God use your suffering to help and bless others? Or when has someone else suffered and they brought you comfort?

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  1. Through my suffering, I've learned that just listening is one of the best healers. I didn't have that in my suffering. By not having it, I learned its value. I agree that through my suffering there is great joy in knowing how to minister to others. Facebook tends to be my mission field. I meet so many hurting people online who need someone to just listen to them and validate their pain. There are times when I receive that gift from others now. Not often. But, I'm always available. I don't want to waste a single pain.

    1. Karen, I've seen you walk that out! Thanks for being there for me!

  2. What an emotional post Mary!
    Thank you for sharing :)

    1. Thanks Paula! I hope you and Star are doing well! :)

  3. A very touching story. Thank you for sharing it!

  4. Moving post Mary, thanks for sharing x

  5. A very touching story, Mary. So sorry for you, your mom, and your neighbor. Your point is well taken. Thanks for this reminder of God's love and the way that he works through people.