Times of suffering and pain can do one of two things. They can discourage, deflate, and destroy us, OR, they can bring hope, strength, and new possibilities.
Last Friday, I was able to spend a few hours with a dear friend who is allowing God to love and heal her from a devastating time of loss and pain. The number of times Courtney Tipping and I have spent together could be counted without using all of my fingers, yet she and I have what I would call a "soul connection". She was a young college girl when I first met her almost a decade ago, and her quiet spirit was full of the hope and the promise of God even then. Since that time, she has married, embarked on a career, and has become a mother. Some of you may even remember my sharing their blog site last year, www.thetippingfamily.com. Yes, Courtney and her husband, Allen, were the ones who were expecting SIX babies!
In March of 2009, just as the Tippings were sharing the excitement and joy of a house soon-to-be overflowing with children, the unimaginable happened. In a matter of days, Courtney and Allen lost all 6 of their precious babies. From the highest hopes and expectations to the lowest depths of grief and mourning, their world was rocked to it's core. Courtney's response in the hospital delivery room after they lost the last one? "I hope all of this can be used for God's glory. I still love Him."
At her deepest point of suffering, when all seemed to be lost, Courtney chose to hold on to the very thing that mattered most: Jesus. And even though the months since then have been filled with the sadness, difficulties, and the challenges of moving ahead with a totally different "normal" than they had ever expected, she and Allen still love Jesus.
When we sat together on Friday, I saw the light of Christ in her, even as we shed tears together. Those precious 6 babies may have only lived a short time on this earth, but their lives will have an eternal impact that will affect all those who come in contact with Courtney and Allen. Could it be that their lives will be used more for the Kingdom than they may have even been had they lived full, long lives on this earth? Only God knows that, but in His perfect plan, that is what I believe will happen. Jacob, Evan, David, Jonathan, Hope, and Faith will forever be part of all their mom and dad do for the Lord. I wait with anticipation to see all that God will continue to do in Courtney and Allen's lives!
From Romans 8:17, we know "Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." His glory is shining through you, Courtney. Hang on, sweetheart, because the Lord is going to use you and this story of your faithfulness to Him for great and wonderful things you have never asked or imagined!