I went to a worship service at Tallowood on Wednesday morning. The music and scriptures that were selected and read were a reminder of God’s power that is at work in His children. (2 Corinthians 4:7-10) They spoke of the importance of finding rest and hope in God because he is our rock, salvation, fortress, and refuge. (Psalm 62:5-8) We were encouraged to praise God with all that we are and to not forget all of his benefits – he forgives us, heals us, redeems us, crowns us with love and compassion, satisfies our desires with good things, and renews us like the eagle. (Psalm 103:1-5) Then we were challenged to take refuge in God as we asked him to deliver us, hear from us, come to our rescue, be a strong fortress and save us, lead and guide us, keep us from the traps that are set for us, and deliver us as we commit our spirits to him. (Psalm 31:1-5). In Ephesians 3:17b-19, Paul’s words reminded us of what we need to claim and proclaim: “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
We worshiped as we heard a message of love and an original song about “Hope” that was written for a special family. Worship continued as we sang “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord),” “A Mighty Fortress,” and “Healing is in Your Hands.”
The purpose for us joining in a time of corporate worship on Wednesday morning was to praise and worship God as we remembered and honored the life of Lyla Hope. Lyla Hope was born on May 24th and lived on earth for 3 minutes before going to her heavenly home that had already been lovingly prepared for her. The reason we were invited to such a special service of worship and praise is because Lyla’s parents love, believe, and trust God with their lives and the life of their precious little one.
After a few months of pregnancy, Leigh Ann and Brent were told that their baby would be born anencephalic. Even though the recommendation was for them to end the pregnancy, they did not want to give up what God had given them. Their desire was for Leigh Ann to carry the baby as long as God chose. They trusted and believed that God was the one to decide how long their baby’s time on earth would be. There were tears, lots and lots of prayers, and hope as they waited. I’m so glad Lyla’s parents asked others to share their journey as we prayed and believed expectantly along with them. These past months have been a beautiful glimpse of what God must want the church body to look like as people have walked alongside this dear family and ministered to and with them. May we continue to love and serve them well.
Brent and Leigh Ann pleaded with God for the life of their baby. They entrusted Lyla Hope to Him knowing that He would know and do what was best. And when God made his decision, they believed that God was good no matter what the circumstance. They continue to trust Him to see them through these days. And they chose to go into the house of the Lord and worship and praise God for the gift He had given. Even though Lyla Hope will not grow up on earth, her parents will be reunited with her one day because they have placed their faith and trust in Jesus.
During these days, we have seen a couple live out what it looks like to be obedient to what God asked of them, especially during the tough times. Because of their example of obedience, we have been challenged and encouraged to do the same.