SOS Christie O’Brien

Christie O’Brien serves alongside her husband, Robbie O’Brien, in their 2005 church plant, Salty Church in Ormond Beach, Florida.

By definition sifted means to be separated by or as if by a sieve.  When a material is passed through a sieve, the lesser things flow through and the greater things remain.  As is with life’s circumstances, I want the things of little importance to pass away while the greatest of things remain.

My husband and I planted our church in August of 2005.  We were a family of 5, my husband and I and 3 amazing boys.  I felt as if God was not finished with our little family. So I prayed for direction. “Do we have another child or adopt?”, was my cry.  Finally, we decided to let nature take its course.  And I quickly became pregnant with our fourth child in December of 2005.  I was ecstatic!  Everything was going well, maybe a little too well.  During a regular sonogram at 12 weeks, we discovered that our baby had no heartbeat.  It had died sometime during that week.  I cried out to God, “But I thought this was YOUR will!”  It was a time of great darkness for me, wondering where God was.  He was the author of life, yet He had forgotten me.

I truly thought this pregnancy was God’s will for my life.  And the death of my child not only left me with grief untold, but it also made me question God.  Was He really for me? Had I heard him wrong?  But how could I get pregnant and then have the child die inside of me?  And the biggest question of all, do I really trust God?

When we came home from that dreadful appointment, I picked up a devotional, that I just happened to have bought the day before, and turned to that day’s devotional.  On the day we found out about our unborn child’s death, these are the words that spoke to me through my devotional:
Approach this day with awareness of who is boss.
As you make plans for the day, remember that it is I who orchestrates the events of your life…I may be doing something important in your life, something quite different from what you expected.
It is essential at such times to stay in communication with Me, accepting My way as better than yours.  Don’t try to figure out what is happening.  Simply trust… (from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young)

It was in that moment, that very moment, that I had to decide, am I going to trust God even in this? In the things I can’t explain, in the loss, in the pain of utter despair.  I have to trust God, even when I don’t want to.  Even when my heart is shattering.

I sat for two days in my darkened bedroom feeling hopeless.

And that’s where they found me.  The ladies, the ones who I had had regular prayer meetings with for the previous two years, came into that place of despair and showed me where God was.  They cried with me and listened to me beat on His chest demanding answers and they let me wail and sob.  And then they gently reminded me that God was there in that despair.  He was in that dark place with me the whole time!  They brought light and laughter and love, God’s love, with them.  They walked me through the next few weeks with love and tenderness.  And then they helped me accept the healing power of God’s love.

Even now as I write this, I cry.  I cry for the loss of my unborn child.  But I also cry because of the blessings that these women are to me. I want the death and sorrow to pass through this sieve of my life, but I want the love of God’s people, who ultimately shine because of His love, to remain.   And above all, I want my faith and trust and hope to be solely and ultimately in Christ alone.  1 Cor 13:13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.”

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