Sacred Reverence :: Part 2

(This was originally posted on June 29, 2011.  It has been pulled from the archives and edited.)

Note: You may want to read “Sacred Reverence :: Part 1” if you haven’t already.

This part of the story is complicated!  It is a total intermixing of people, messages, sermons, Scripture, songs, and books that I’ve read.  God was revealing Himself to me in a way that began to show me how my “theory” in Part 1 was wrong.

The New Work in Bits & Pieces
One of the books I am going to mention is called, “Empty Arms: Hope andSupport for Those Who Have Suffered a Miscarriage, Stillbirth or Tubal Pregnancy” by Pam Vredevelt. This is a Christian book on the subject. I like and agree with the majority of the book. However, in going back through it, I realized that this book had a part to play in the wrong “theory” that I held for a while. I’ll get to that part, but first this quote explains the journey I’ve been on over the last couple years,
“If you are experiencing disappointments, remember this is a normal reaction to your loss. Allow God to intercept you at your deepest point of despair. To try to walk the road ahead by yourself will deprive you of a great experience with God. As you turn to Him in your weakness He will channel hope into your desert of despair. He will begin a new work in you! It may not happen all at once. This new work will probably come in bits and pieces. It will come through circumstances and individuals God puts in your life. It will come through communion and sharing with Him. Remember, as a child of God you are in process. God continues to be your Father today, even when you don’t feel His presence. You are His continual ‘workmanship’ (Ephesians 2:10), and His piece of art. He will continue healing. He has not left you. He is at work in you, even now.”
A Delayed Healing
On my journey, in the midst of the losses came the grief, shock, denial, anxiety, etc.

Then a month after my third loss, we conceived our oldest daughter. Our middle daughter came 18 months after the birth of the first, and our third daughter three years later.

So I went from major grief and thrust immediately into life as a busy full-time mom. I didn’t have time or energy or enough sleep to think or fully complete the grief process. Life got pretty wild for a while because other storms also hit over those years.

I see now how He was leading me on this whole journey and how each piece of the “puzzle” has all been building on one another and healing, peeling away layers, addressing the hard questions, etc.

Faith Like A Child
As I explained in Part 1, I basically had childlike faith in God. As a four-year-old, I asked Him into my heart. Even though a four-year-old doesn’t know how to build relationships, read, etc., I recited prayers, listened to Bible stories and sang songs.

I grew up in church and just adopted and accepted what other people believed, or said I should believe. I was able to pretty much stay on “the straight and narrow”, being dubbed a “goodie-two-shoes” as a teen, in college, and beyond. (I did quite a bit of that on my own power, though, because I wouldn’t say I had a real close relationship with God then.)

There had never been any big tragedy in my life, up until my losses. I had never had a need to dig deeper, ask hard questions, or explore and define my faith before.

So in the face of such tragedy with empty arms, and then hitting the ground running with overflowing arms, I don’t really even think I had adequate words to question or explain what was in my head & heart.

I first identified what I was feeling with a song by my favorite band, Skillet, called “Collide“. The song’s central point is holding on to your faith when something happens that makes your faith and fear collide. My experience was exactly that, a collision of my childlike faith in God and an unexplainable fear.

The fear was from many sources, such as wondering what was wrong with me – something physically or spiritually, wondering if I would ever be able to have kids, pure fear of the possibility of repeat losses, fear of being out of control of the situation, and I also had disappointment with God. I was wondering what He was up to, why He hadn’t answered my prayers to save my three baby’s lives, why He had allowed this to happen, and when I found out the physical reasons for the losses, why He had made me like He had. I was made physically broken (but surgically “fixed”) and now I was spiritually broken. The following is how God did spiritual “surgery” on me.

photo credit:
The Roots of my Wrong Theory
I read the book “Empty Arms” probably about five years ago. (My losses all happened in 2003 ~ nine years ago). It attempts to cover emotional, spiritual and physical aspects of loss. Even though the majority of the book is great, I think the seeds of my wrong “theory” were planted from this book. I was past the emotional and physical parts of my journey and just needed to complete the spiritual healing. I really was searching for answers about God and His role in my losses.
I had purchased and read several other books on miscarriages and infertility by Christian authors. Some were very helpful, but none other than this book directly attempted to answer the questions I had.
It could have been a misunderstanding on my part and/or deception from the enemy who was making out what Pam wrote into my (wrong) “theory”.In the chapter that addressed the spiritual issues, she points out three errors:
#1 is that God used miscarriage and/or stillbirth to punish me for my sins. (I agree that this is an erroneous idea.)
#2 is that God sent miscarriage or stillbirth to build my character and to make me a stronger Christian.  (On this point, I do believe faith building and closer/stronger relationship with Him can be at least in part be an intended outcome for why He allowed the losses to happen.)
#3 is that the devil killed my baby. (I agree, that we shouldn’t blame the devil.)
To me, she was making strong points that we shouldn’t be looking to blame God or the devil, and she made very clear that we are living in a fallen world full of sin and pain. Therefore, miscarriages or stillbirths are just a part of our human existence on the earth, (like a fluke in nature).
Hence, my “theory” emerged around these thoughts: “What if God isn’t a part of the losses? What if it is totally physical? In my case, the losses were because of a birth defect with my uterus. So what if God didn’t make me like this and the defect was just happenstance with the genes that went together to make me?” Even though I still wondered why God hadn’t intervened, because I believed He could have, the ideas here comforted me. They made me not have so many questions or uneasy feelings toward God.
(In it’s defense, the book also rightly points people toward God’s positive characteristics ~ that He’s good, fair, kind, healing, just and loving. Those are true attributes of God and comforting, yes.)

Dangerous Territory
Can you see the “slippery slope” setting up here? Between taking God out of the picture of having anything to do with the losses (and the way I was made) and only being comfortable with part of His attributes, I was only seeing and accepting a portion of Who He is.

Between my biology background, my new friends in a non-Christian support group who had uterine defects and their own world views, and this book by a Christian author that was basically saying to me that God wasn’t involved, I thought I had things figured out. I felt like I had the healing and closure I needed.

Capturing My Heart
But THANK GOD for His faithfulness to me, despite me being “unfaithful”, despite me only accepting part of Him, despite me basically entering into what would be considered idolatry. I THANK GOD that He not only didn’t withdraw His hand from me, but that He pursued me. It was like I was drifting out to a dangerous sea after insisting that I go there, thinking for some reason that it was safe, and instead of God writing me off and letting me go, He came after me. He snuck up on me and subtly and gently captured me.

How can I explain how He did it? For one thing, I had a hunger to know Him deeper. I never turned my back on Him, I just was embracing part of Him. I had experienced His great love in the midst of my losses, with which words cannot explain. And with a lot of things, like the book “EmptyArms“, they point us back to God’s love. I had tasted it, I craved it, and wanted more. I believe that over this time of God pursuing me so that I could know and accept Him fully for Who He is, that He set all of the elements I mentioned at the beginning of this post into place in the proper order & sequence in my life. Things were building up that would obliterate my wrong “theory” and put me on a whole new, deeper level with God.

The Beginning of the End of the Wrong Theory

In early 2011, I had a dream. (An actual dream at night.) I saw a word. A literal word. In big bold black letters, lit up even… like the letters on “Wheel of Fortune”! It was the word “Yahweh“. I had never seen a word before in my dreams, let alone a word like that. I knew it was a name for God. But I didn’t know for sure what it meant or it’s background. So I searched online. Basically, it’s “I AM”. My Amplified Bible, in Exodus 3:14, when Moses asks God his name, God says, “I AM WHO I AM and WHAT I AM, and I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE.” I was like, “I already know You ARE, God, so what’s this about?”
In my search, I found out that the name Yahweh is considered so extremely sacred that groups of people, like the Jews and certain Catholics won’t even say it out loud! The Bible translators, even, have taken it out of the Bible, and instead, all these people like to use “Jehovah” or “LORD”. The Jews think that only a certain select few in each generation will know the proper pronunciation of “Yahweh”. But they won’t tell other people because it is feared so much. Only the High Priests say it once a year in one of their prayers. In Catholicism, my research seemed to indicate that somewhat recently, they had put “Yahweh” back into a prayer here and there and into a song here and there. But the Pope issued a statement that this should be stopped and to quit saying it. I was perplexed!
I believed that God gave me that word in my dream. I kept asking God why I saw that word or why He gave it to me. In my research I have come to understand how sacred and precious and intimate that name is. I started calling God “Yahweh” in my prayers in a state of complete reverential fear and awe. Sacred reverence for Who He is…and He told me I was getting a grasp on it.

photo credit:
A Fight to the Culmination of Healing
In March 2011, I attended a women’s leadership conference at a church in Columbus, which was a good 45-minute drive.
I encountered a lot of “resistance” in going. I literally had to fight to get there:
  • My husband wasn’t available to watch the kids, so I had to take them with me. (Luckily childcare was available, but it was past their bed times on Friday night and past nap time for our youngest on Saturday afternoon.)
  • A friend from my church was supposed to go with me, but wasn’t able to go at the last minute.
  • I was coming down with a cold.
  • I had never been to this church before, so I had scribbled down directions from Yahoo maps on a piece of paper. The night was dark and rainy. I took a couple of wrong turns. I had a notion to give up and go home.
However, I remembered a teaching I had heard along the way, that at times of greatest struggle to do something, are the times that you’re most supposed to do it. (Our greatest struggles produce our greatest victories.)  So I persisted and made it.
I knew that first night why I was supposed to be there. The senior pastor’s wife was speaking on “The Making of a Leader: The Life of Moses”. Yeah, right through Exodus 2 & 3. (Remember the Yahweh reference in Ex. 3:14!) Not only that, but one of her points was that no one is an accident or coincidence. (Psalm 139)
I had already accepted that no life was an accident. But the way she said what she said spoke directly into my heart. She said everyone was created just the way God intended for them to be made.
I had read Psalm 139 multiple times before, but in accordance with my “theory”, I had reduced its meaning, and I had separated the physical and spiritual parts of our (human) being. In my wrong theory, I figured God “knit together” each soul/personality, but not the physical parts. But now, together with what the speaker was saying and looking at the Psalm again, I couldn’t deny that God DID form my inward parts – my cleft palate and my deformed uterus. He knit ALL of me together in my mother’s womb – all the intricate parts. He saw ALL of me before I was born. The passage says, (v.13-16),
“For You did form my inward parts; You did knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will confess and praise You for You are fearful and wonderful and for the awful wonder of my birth! Wonderful are Your works, and that my inner self knows right well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was being formed in secret [and] intricately and curiously wrought [as if embroidered with various colors] in the depths of the earth [a region of darkness and mystery]. Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them.”
Later in the talk, the speaker made the point that leaders must know that God is sufficient. Here, she used Ex. 3:14 ~ Yahweh ~ we need nothing more/no one else. God is everything, He is Lord of all.

Wow. I was so stunned. I mean, I heard nothing new that night, but it was all in a new light. God was there and doing major surgery on me! My “theory” was obliterated!!!  God spoke directly to my heart that my birth defects weren’t a mistake, a fluke, or happenstance.  Neither were my miscarriages.

As the evening wrapped up with worship and praise, my heart was singing the loudest, but I could barley sing from my mouth because I was so choked up. I knew in that moment that the perfect God had made me perfectly the way He intended, no matter how imperfect I physically was.

Yahweh: Sacred & Personal
The next day, I stopped by the church’s bookstore to browse around. (Me in a bookstore is dangerous!) I had told myself before the conference that I wasn’t even going to step foot in there. But now, I found myself there, being drawn like a magnet to four books. I hadn’t intended to purchase anything, yet I couldn’t put these four books down. So purchase them, I did.

One was “Praying the Names of God” by Ann Spangler. It’s a daily devotional that focuses on a different name of God each week. Yes, “Yahweh” and other names like “Yahweh Roi” and “Yahweh Tsebaoth” (26 in all) are studied in this book. Studying these names alone has been amazing. In this book, I learned that Yahweh is a sacred, personal name of God. It is most closely linked to God’s redeeming acts in the history of Israel. It shows that God is self-existent yet is always present with His people, not remote and aloof, but always near, intervening in history on behalf of His people. Yahweh invokes images of God’s saving power and a covenant relationship. God is always listening for our cries, answering our prayers, showing His power on our behalf, responding faithfully even when we act faithlessly, delivering, freeing, and fulfilling promises.

One of the reflections studying “Yahweh”, considers Psalm 103:1-13. I especially focused on verses 11-13,

“For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great are His mercy and loving-kindness toward those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father loves and pities his children, so the Lord (Yahweh) loves and pities those who fear Him [with reverence, worship, and awe].”  (bold mine)

How awesome are these promises and attributes of Yahweh! Notice, though, that they are for those who fear Him with reverence, worship, and awe. I was not giving Him due respect, reverence, awe, worship & fear when I took Him out of the process of knitting every part of me together and for not being involved in my miscarriages. I was robbing him of some of His power, some of His personal-ness, and some of His redemption for my life. As an action, this study suggests to confess any tendency to impute motives to God unworthy of His character and to ask God to break any false images of Him that you may have developed!!! That hit the nail on the head for me. I was placing God in a box and making Him be as I wanted Him to be, which wasn’t His true character. It was a false image of Yahweh.

I have come to realize that my “faith-fear collision” has gone from a childlike faith that is untested, unexplored, unquestioned and unholy, with carnal fear (terror) collision, to one of a mature (tested, deeply explored, strong) faith and fear (in the form of sacred reverence) collision. The collision of childlike faith and carnal fear is like the mess and debris of a car accident.  Carnal fear can take you off course and let go of faith altogether. It doesn’t fully trust in God and can waver or fall.

However, the collision that mature faith and sacred reverence breeds is unshakable faith and the fear of God that brings Him such respect, awe and worship as is unspeakable!  This kind of faith & fear married together is on a whole new level with Yahweh – the relationship grows very deep – it is full trust, solid and awesome!

In order to share how accepting all of God’s sovereignty reconciles with accepting my losses, I made a Part 3!



{Affiliate links present.}

Follow on Twitter and Facebook.

Never miss a post: Subscribe to On Wings & Waves by Email (and get a free copy of the eBook, “31 Days of Prayers for the Busy Woman”)

<!–[if !mso]>st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } <![endif]–>

Published by Kristen Hamilton

Jesus disciple; student of the Bible; wife; mom of 3 teen girls; writer/blogger- sharing the gospel; consumer of coffee, dark chocolate & lobster rolls!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: