Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Why Not Us?

Something very... odd is happening deep within. I've been wrestling with it for the better part of the last 4 or 5 weeks. For a variety of reasons, I've hesitated to tell anyone. I don't want to be misunderstood. I don't want to come across as cold-hearted or insensitive. I especially haven't wanted to hurt Nicol. 

It's one of those things that, try though I have, can't be ignored. Mustn't be ignored. I've attempted on many occasions to sweep it away. Brush it aside. But I just can't shake it.

Here it is: Why not us? As in, what makes me think that we wouldn't or shouldn't or couldn't experience the hardship of the past 19 months? Why not us?

The question didn't just pop into my mind one day. I was actually sort of confronted with it. It convicted. It stuck. And I think that it's changing me.

The question was dumped on me in a video message by Matt Chandler, who himself is walking (very well) through a difficult valley... cancer. But he said it to his church, in so many words: "Don't feel sorry for me and don't ask 'why me?' Why not me!?"

I was pierced. I was angry. And yet, I was certain as to the truth of which he spoke.

How on earth had I arrived at the place where I actually believed "that" would never happen to me? Others? Sure. But me? No way. Us? Not a chance.

Silly. Foolish. Shallow. Unaware of this reality: Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. (1 Peter 4:12)

Don't be surprised ... as though something strange were happening.

Perhaps the only real surprise is when the unthinkable doesn't happen. 

Don't get me wrong. I hate what happened. With feelings of being let down, I continue to struggle at times with mistrust and indifference toward God. I can't imagine anything more painful. We will never be the same. I would never have chosen this as our story. If I could, I would "undo" it right now. But I can't.

So rather than railing at God, becoming embittered toward Him, or walking away, I'm embracing -- crazy as it may sound -- a Why not me? view of our devastation.

Don't be surprised when your world is rocked, when you are crushed. 

Given the broken world that we live in, it's really not to be seen as unusual. Really.

The redemptive part? ...rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

A final word... the last thing I want anyone to feel is pressure to feel the way I do. To anyone who finds themselves in the middle of a trial right now, please don't allow that to happen. One year ago, 6 months ago, even 3 months ago, I didn't have these thoughts. Quite honestly, I could not have understood anyone who did. At the very least I would have thought it very strange. In all likelihood I would have been angry. So please feel no pressure. It's just where I'm at.

= = = = = = =

A complete 180... we FINALLY have a contract on our house and are due to close on Feb 15!! Would appreciate your prayers on that (packing, moving, actually closing the deal!). AND, after the miscarriage in December, we decided to have genetic testing done on the baby. The results came back as abnormal. The baby had trisomy 8 & 14 and the doctor told us that those babies generally don't survive past the 1st trimester. That news didn't make the loss easier or any less disappointing, but it did help to know that there was an answer. 

Thanks for praying... light your world.


rameelin said...

Great post. I think of you guys often and am praying for your family. Nicol lights my world because although I don't know her...I just know that she is a proverbs kind of woman, with grace and peace flowing from her spirit. She must. Lots of love from Illinois...

Anonymous said...

this came at a perfect time for me...i'm at the crossroad and quite honestly, torn on which way to go.

thank you for this. and i'm *trying* to embrace the "why not me" but its hard. so very hard.

thank you for sharing your heart. i think of your family often...

Mocha with Linda said...

Thanks for your raw honesty in sharing.

I ache for you and Nicol for all you have been through these past 19 months.

I love the words of Selah's song Unredeemed, and this post brought it to mind.

Anonymous said...

Greg- I love this post and what you have written is so true. Who are we, in light of all that God did for us by sending his son to die, to question things in our life. It is so hard to come to the point where we are able to see that the trials God puts us though are to refine us and make us stronger. I have never experience anything close to what you guys have, but the post is proof of God's great work being done in you and your life. He is using you as a tool to "light" the world and difficult road for those who have experienced lost like you- those who may not be Christians.
Thank you once again for sharing your heart and what God is doing in your life with all of us- and congrats on selling the house! I hope all goes well!

Lauri said...

Thanks for your inspiring words. I'm so sorry about the baby. However...Isn't it amazing, God answered a prayer you didn't even know you had.

Aim said...

thank you so much for sharing! I too have moments of why me and sometimes realize that God is working in me and needed this to happen for His Best for me. Thank you for your honesty. I have been waiting for a post from you. It was about 5 weeks. Been thinking of your family ALOT and praying you were ok.

Jennifer said...

It took me a few years after we lost our son to say those words, "why not me?" I will admit, though, I've caught myself since then saying "why me?" I know that I don't deserve anything and it's all because of God's loving and amazing grace that I have anything. Grief is such a hard, hard thing. I pray that you, Nicol, and Summer will embrace the fullness of Jesus and continue to trust His sovereignty. He loves you all so much and fully understands all that you are going through.

Mom to 2 boys +? said...

It's funny that you should post that today, one of my friends had this quote on her FB status today "We have no right to ask when sorrow comes, "Why did this happen to me?" unless we ask the same question for every moment of happiness that comes our way. ~ Author unknown " It stopped me in my tracks. I'm glad you used the phrase "mistrust" of God, it puts words with that feeling you have when the world as you know it has changed forever. I still struggle with that but I always remember that God will make it all ok in the end. I've been thinking of you and Nicol alot and I hope y'all are doing ok

Shannon said...

Wow. I needed to hear that.

Anonymous said...

Greg, my heart has ached each time I have checked your blog and no new posts were there. Praying for you both and about your home. That part is good news.

I am thankful you've been open about your feelings. Our road has not been easy either. Our baby died at birth in '99. (She had anencephaly. 10,000 with it a yr naturally miscarry 1st trimester and 1 in those 10,000 make it to near term. That happend to be my case.) I've had serious health problems ever since. I've restled with God just as you are. It's nice to know you are human. I don't like being mad at God, tho' times I get that way for days or weeks. Don't want to be angry at the One who offered us peace in these trials. Sometimes the peace is not there; it's the testing of our faith. God knows the plans He has for us. He is our hope.

Praying for you and yours.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your heart, no matter where its at, for keepin it real. Yeah that Matt Chandler video will rock your world. I understand. It's deep, its not for the faint of heart.
So glad to hear about house contract. You all are still in my prayers. Sherri in GA

Penny said...

Im glad your finding your way. The losses are so hard and painful, life changing. On June 17 2005 I lost our beautiful baby girl Mackenzie when I was 21 weeks pregnant. Our hearts were broken, we felt that our lives were shattered.

For me the realization came in the first months after she left us. If she couldn't stay atleast I had our other children to hug and hold. Better us than a family that would go home to empty arms and no childrens' laughter filling their home.

Your in our prayers, prayers for healing and answers.......

Julie said...

Great post, Greg - thank you for sharing your heart. I know how hard this past year + has been for you and Nicol. Everything is tested and it's hard. I've been at the place you are at now - asking "why not us" many times and still am, really. I remember reading a blog post of a friend of mine who had a similar loss as mine - and it was exactly as you describe - why not me? Why am I above such tragedy? It doesn't take the pain away...the questions...the anger...but it does put a different spin on things in my heart. Not easier - but different.

Wish I could take some of the ache away. It's been 6 years this month since we lost our first born son and daughter, twins born at 22 weeks...and while they blessed our live adn since then we've been immensely blessed, the ache is there. The questions are there and I will forever miss them and wonder...

Thinking of you and Nicol...from Indiana.

Chelsa said...

love the post. it's a great post. it is where i am too. and it helps to hear i'm not crazy for thinking that way (although at times i think it is a little crazy!).

Anonymous said...

Greg- I'm so glad to read of the peace you are becoming to be more aware of when dealing with all you and you're family have been through. I know it's crazy!
When I got dx'd with a bad something it really set me back...I asked the same thing...why me and what does it mean for me & my family? But...I stumbled upon Nicol's album "resurrection" and after crying and praying while listening to her CD I gained a different perspective.

May the passage of time begin to slowly subside the extraordinary pain you still experience with all you both have been going through.

Please know someone out in cyberspace is thinking about your struggles and hopes and prays for you all the time.

“Sorrow looks back, worry looks around, faith looks up”

Stacy D said...

Great post. God really convicted me of the same question... why NOT me... in regards to our loss of our son Isaac. It's hard to get to that place, and it's even hard to remain in that place, because it is so much easier to feel justified in the fact that I don't deserve what happened. But there is comfort and freedom in knowing that while it all still feels really out of control and as though it makes little sense, God is still who He says He is... He is sovereign, He is good, and He can be trusted.

Still keeping you gusy in my prayers, and am so thankful to hear the good news about the house!

~ Stacy

KK said...

Thanks for sharing your feelings. They really 'hit home' and I will try my best to say the same especially during the 'dark' days.
Please know I continue to pray for your family and also I will be praying for the closing to 'happen' and 'happen smoothly' for you both.
Blessings today and always,
Matthew 21:22

Paige said...

Wow! That is deep and, I agree, piercing, and I have not walked where you have walked. I am glad you shared it with us. I will be praying for you as this is still a very difficult pain to carry.

Keep these posts coming...hint hint!


Shawn said...


This is stunningly moving. I stand in awe of what God is doing in your life and heart to bring you to this point. You are suffering well, my dear brother, and it is beautiful to see.

Much love from your sis,

crystal theresa said...

i waver between "why not me? why not us?" and being angry that it's so "easy" for others... of course "easy" is an unfair assumption.

thank you for sharing this and your initial anger at hearing it and your struggles with God. it's human, it's real, and it definitely makes me feel less isolated.

prayers said for you and Nicol, all your children, and for the contract on your house.

Anonymous said...

A very wise Pastor spoke those same exact words when I asked "why?" about some difficult circumstances going on in my life. He said te question is not "why" but "why not". Those words have stayed with me since then. God never promised us a "rose garden" at least not on this earth. After losing my husband 6 years ago, I still ask why occasionally as I struggle to raise four children alone. But then I am reminded by those words that I am not exempt from tradegy, that tradegy forces us to seek God even if sometimes it is in anger, and it makes our faith stronger, though, not easy by a long shot!

Continue to write when you can, you have much wisdom to share. May God bless you, Nicole and Summer through all of this.


Katy said...

Yeah on the house!!!

Praying daily for you & Nicol. I have nothing smart to say or wisdom to offer. Just praying for you daily as you walk the road of loss.


Jen said...

I remember hearing someone (who was going through a horrible hearache) say once that to say "Why me" was to insinuate that you felt someone else was more deserving of the suffering you were enduring. That stuck with me, too. It completely changed my perspective on my situations and the way I reacted to them.

I was able to talk about Luke to someone yesterday. I wave a big red "nose" magnet on my car that I bought during the Sids&Kids fundraiser here... with his name, and his Days written on it...

I'm glad your house has sold. I'm happy you were able to get some answers about your baby that helped ease your pain a little. Thanks for showing us how we can pray specifically for you.

Kim said...

It sounds like you have what Jared Wilson calls "gospel wakefulness". WE look at things so differently when Christ is THE center and focus! You and Nicol have held onto the Rock. You know He hasn't left you alone even though we all wish you didn't have to walk this path! Jared says ". . . the way God usually brings gospel wakefulness is in times of intense suffering, brokenness, or grief."
Check out jaredcwilson.com or read an interview to get to know him
I hope it will be an encouragement to you.

karen44 said...

James McDonald ("Walk in the Word") has been speaking on this subject this week -- although from a different angle.

These trials always take longer to work through than we'd like, but many people say the change it makes in their heart is worth the pain. (Not fun, but worth it.) I'm glad to hear that you've not given up on God. It's tempting sometimes, but what else do we have?!

Still praying for peace for you and Nicol. The house sale will help -- at least it's a weight off your shoulders!

karen l. (Rob's sister)

momof4kr said...

"There is no security in what God is doing, there is only security in who God is”

I think of you and your family often...praying for peace and abundant blessings.

I, too, follow Matt Chandler. And, I too, am amazed at his incredible demeanor during this life-threatening challenge! He is inspiring...or, shall I say...His God is INSPIRING!!

Grateful that we serve the very same God.

Amy said...

Matt is my pastor, and I am learning SO much from him as he suffers through this trial. We have only been at his church for a little over a year and had gone through some very hard losses in the years previous to that. I have often thought how differently my suffering and attitude and witness would have been if I'd have been under teaching like his earlier. Throughout this process of Matt's trial, another pastor at our church wrote a blog that encouraged us to have a "theology on suffering" before the need for it arises. I had never thought of that before... but it makes perfect sense. Hopefully, the Lord is using this time in Matt's life and in our church to create in me the kind of faith and strength and theology that Matt & his family have - the kind that I think the Lord would like us all to have... for His glory - so that when the next "hard situation" comes, as it is sure to do, I will not be surprised and shaken like I was before.

I have followed your family since I heard about your son, and you have touched me deeply as you are vulnerable and real about where you are. Thank you for sharing. I am glad to see you finding more hope and healing as time passes.

Celie said...

It's the deep calleth to deep from strength to strength from glory to glory. Its how's your soul Greg faith, growing in the mist of the pain.Light shines out of the darkness .
Yes changed forever!
You are still in my prayers

So excited for the sell of the house.

Rebekah said...

I used to think 'Why me?' but in the sense that why has God blessed me so much. I didn't deserve to be born into the family that I was or be raised in a Christian home. I didn't deserve to have my needs and almost all of my wants met when so many go without. I didn't deserve the outpouring of love when so many are neglected and abused. I often felt that I could never fill the requirements- to whom much is given, much is required- but tried to none the less. When my son died I did have my moments of 'Why me?' but this time wondering why I had to go through this pain- but like you I've found myself saying more- why not us? I want to be a light to those who have gone through the same thing- but don't have the hope that I have that I will one day see my son again while praising our Father in heaven. Thank you for sharing your heart.

Chrissy said...

Your post really hit the spot. I mean, it's so common that when bad things happen, we ask "why me?" But it makes perfect sense to turn that thought around and ask "why NOT me?" Unfortunately, none of are immune to or are safe from the horrors and tragedies of life, any more than some deserve happiness and blessings more than others. We're all in it together, and we're all subject to whatever God sees fit to give us - good or bad. Your post is a beautiful reminder of that.

sheila said...

Thanks again for your honesty. I know that there are times when I still shake my head at all that has happened. And as I was praying with my children the other night, especially for Haiti and the children and families, the reality of what they must be feeling and living became clear. There is much security and safety in the arms of God, and I do believe that we take that for granted. In God's Love, sheila
btw: how's Summer enjoying school?

Virginia said...

Thank you Greg for continuing to be honest with what you are going through. You continue to be so encouraging with your words.

I pray for you and your family often.

Congratulations on the move also!

Krystal said...

I've not been exactly in your shoes, and it wouldn't matter if I had. Our shoes are all unique! I do want to let you know I'm praying for all of you. Death and suffering are horrible things, but I know God works through in and all things. One day He will redeem our pain. I long for that day.

(I will meet at least one of my children in heaven. I wonder if all miscarried children have a special bond in heaven, but I'm rambling.)

Greg and Nicol, I am beseeching God to uphold you in whatever plans He has for you, but I also know that He gives us hope for our future (Jer. 29:11). You are heavy on my heart!

Tara Phillips said...

I'm so grateful that you share your heart and your testimony with us. I cannot believe everything you continue to endure but I do believe that God is with you every step of the way and that there is some greater purpose. It took me a long time to admit to that myself, but I know that God has used my pain to bring me into a closer relationship with Him and to reach out to others.

I pray for your family often and know that God has countless blessings yet in store for you if you just trust and follow Him.

I am so happy that you are finally selling the house as well. Will you guys be moving up by Todd and Angie? Oh.. and I saw the foot through the ceiling pic-- bummer! Whose was it???


Anonymous said...

I am reminded of Todd Palin's response to Sarah's telling him that they were having a Down Sydrome child--"why not us?"
Blessings today and always, as you grieve and as you close on your home in GA.

Gipe Family said...

Why not me? This spoke to me, as if the Lord was speaking to me himself. After going through a very large trial in life and wondering "Why me". Today I find rest in "Why not me" These words will stay with me. Thanks for sharing :)

flowergirl said...

When my daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 14, the first words out of her mouth were, "Why me?" I immediately said, "Why not you? God will use this for His glory!" It has been a long road for her (she is now 30), but she has handled it with God's grace.

Anonymous said...

just wanted you to know that I'm praying for your family today.

Matt and Cristin said...

Hoping the house closing went well! Praise the Lord!!!

Angie said...

I found your blog through "Bring the Rain" blog. My husband and I have a healthy little 4 year old girl, Kaylee. We had no problems with her pregnancy. Since then, over 2 1/2 years we have miscarried 5 times. Our latest was close to yours, Nov. 24, 2009. We have been to specialists and I was on so many medications, and still we lost our precious 5th baby.
Both of the last 2 were trisomies, the 1st trisomy 22, then trisomy 21(downs).
We were told these were both "flukes". We were sent to genetic counseling and were cleared.
I really appreciate your honesty and faith in light of all that you have walked through. This road was no doubt not how I would have planned it, and I have grown so much closer to the Lord through it.
It's so nice to hear Godly testimonies of the reality of life's hardships. So thank you for that. After my 4th miscarriage, I saw Angie Smith's profile and was moved to start my own blog. It has been so healing: mystory.blogspot.com.
Thanks again for being transparent!
God Bless you and your family, I will be praying for you all.

Mrs. Walker said...

I'm so sorry for all that you and Nicol have gone through these past months. I do hope that the Lord continues to give much grace in the midst of so much heartache. I think of your family often and will be praying for you.

Anonymous said...

Brother Greg,
Please do not stop sharing your battle. We all have them. I cannot possibly know what you are going through but I do want you to know you have touched my heart. It is encouraging to see people who have withstood the trials you and Nicol have continuing to seek God and trust Him the best you can. Please know that if nothing else your struggles and faith are an encouragement to others. Prayer of Peace being lifted.

Vera said...

Thanks for this post. Y'all have been in my prayers this whole time, will continue to pray as you move.

Celie said...

Greg&Nicol thinking and praying for your family. Stay strong in the Lords strength he will get you through . He is your strong tower,stay in the shelter of your rock.

Angie said...

Oops, I left the wrong blog, mystoryrestored.blogspot.com
Thanks again

MarshaMarshaMarsha said...

God gave the thought of "Why not us?" to me the day after my son Christian passed away on 8/26/2008. My husband, however, has been asking over and over again "Why us?"

Sometimes it's hard to have different viewpoints when we share the same fiery trial. But God is still faithful to both of us.

I am praying for you and your family.

Fight for joy!