Thank you for your feedback and encouragement on the first part of our story, which you can read here: https://www.lifebridgemissions.org/post/the-elijah-abigail-story. We're excited to share the rest of this story with you in this post. We desire that you would be encouraged to know the reality of God's faithfulness and that He can restore anything that is broken!
I would like to share some things that we learned which helped us grieve and heal after the tragic loss of our daughter. A key for us in walking through this difficult loss was receiving God’s grace and experiencing His presence. This ignited a closer relationship with the Lord. We knew His character as a loving Father and our hearts were open to receiving His embrace rather than blaming Him for something He didn’t do.
Our relationship with the Lord was tested, but we knew that Jesus could be trusted.
I remember being overwhelmed with grief. However, I had to aggressively decide to continue trusting God’s word regardless of whether I could understand or not in the moment of loss. Have you ever faced difficult circumstances that required you to trust God, even when you didn’t understand?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;” Prov. 3:5
When we know God, we don’t define Him by our temporary circumstances but by His character and who He is. God also surrounded us with a great community of believers, and we were blessed to have many praying for us, writing us, and simply being there for us. The Lord's encouragement, both directly and through others, helped us immensely..We thank the Lord for His presence and people who helped us through those difficult times.
The afternoon before Elijah was born, I was outside of the hospital in Gainesville, Florida, seeking the Lord and thanking Him. I was very nervous and excited about Elijah’s upcoming birth. The Lord spoke to my heart about restoration and how Elijah would bring restoration. It was a powerful word, but I mainly related it to Elijah being born. As we shared in the previous blog, our son, Elijah, was born on the same day as his sister's delivery—September 7th. Then again the Lord reminded me of this word a few months ago before Elijah and Abigail got married.
While preparing to officiate their wedding, gratitude overwhelmed me and tears began to flow. It dawned on me my future daughter-in-law's name would be, Abigail Barker. Why did this have such an impact? Because this was the name the Lord gave us for our daughter that we lost, Abigaile Grace Barker. I knew this but the Lord made it more real to me. Our new daughter-in-law would carry the same name as our daughter in heaven. His restoration is still being revealed twenty years after the word He gave me the day Elijah was born.
God has blessed us with two more amazing sons, Asher and Seth, which are continued examples of His faithfulness and restoration. Our moment of loss and tragedy has turned into triumph and joy. I still have momentary heartache from not having our daughter here, but our gratitude and joy far outweighs the loss. We carry a great love and appreciation for the lives of our sons and our new daughter in law because of God’s faithfulness.
Now let me share with you the incredible events of Elijah and Abigail’s wedding. The
presence of God was evident. Their love for Jesus, each other, and their desire to follow Jesus was overwhelming. Witnessing the closeness and love our family has for Jesus, each other, and their new sister, Abigail, was a full circle moment of God’s faithfulness and restoration. I believe full circle moments of God's faithfulness are coming in your life as well. It may be tomorrow, or years from now. However, when you focus on Jesus and not the difficulty, the Prince of Peace will rule your heart!
We want to encourage you today, because you may have a promise, but you have no idea how God fulfill it. Don't focus on the "HOW," but be in the "NOW" to trust Him. God, our creator, is faithful to restore what has been broken, no matter how broken it is. God creating us doesn't mean He authored our circumstances. What you are going through may be extremely bad, but God is still extremely good!
God is faithful to restore regardless of your circumstances, pain, mistakes, sin, sorrow, sickness, divorce, financial problems, addiction, or family upheaval! The key is complete surrender and trusting Jesus. Trusting Christ with your life puts you in the hands of a good, good Father. Your Father can mold you like a potter does clay and make something beautiful out of your situation. Life isn't easy, but following Christ replaces your way for His way. This brings purpose and His power to walk through the fire of any adversity and defeat satan!
Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Ps. 37:3
Your heavenly Father desires you to come into His house, sit down in His kitchen, and feed on His faithfulness. Isn't it time to start feasting at His table by feeding on His faithfulness?
If you need prayer or you would like to share your story you can comment on this post or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please take a moment and subscribe to our news blog updates and YouTube channel. In our next blog, we will share incredible opportunities to reach into the hidden corners of Africa to reach millions for Christ!
All for Jesus!