May 9, 2017

Growing up on a farm can offer vast opportunities to witness new life. Spring brings with it an explosion of babies, from newborn animals and newly hatched birds to seedlings sprouting from the warm earth. What a grand thing to behold—new life from God’s creating hands!

As an obstetric nurse for over 26 years, I have witnessed new human life take its first breath numerous times. Every birth never ceases to amaze me. A pediatrician once told me that birth is the biggest physiological transition a human being will ever go through in its lifetime—an amazing phenomenon!

For a new baby, that first breath of life outside of the womb has brought a whole “new normal” for him or her. Life will never be the same. For the parents or family who take that new baby home, life will never be the same either. The family will experience a “new normal” way of life. In this world of constant change, a “new normal” may affect us daily.

I recall a conversation with my then-teenaged daughter shortly after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). My daughter asked the typical “woe is me” question, “Why me?” After a thoughtful debate in my mind how to reply, I said, “Why not you?” This led to a lively teaching opportunity regarding God’s testing of His servant, Job, through Satan’s vices.

Despite the loss of his children, livestock, and property, Job proclaimed, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1:21b NIV). Job was further tested, afflicted from head to toe with painful sores. His wife told him to “Curse God and die” (Job 2:9b). He replied, “‘Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?’ In all this, Job did not sin in what he said” (Job 2:10b NIV).

This led the discussion to the “new normal” that was before my daughter and our family as we learned to live with this uninvited disease in all of our lives and how we would respond to God’s testing.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

Several years ago, I shared with LifeDate readers the story of a little baby boy, Tate, called home to Jesus due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The family had just gotten used to the “new normal” of the new life that had just become part of their family. Now, sadly, they had to adjust to another “new normal”—the absence of that child.

This family could have easily taken the approach of Job’s wife to curse God, and perhaps during the grieving process they may have done some of that, but mostly they called on God for His comfort and peace, strength and healing.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

As a result of this family’s tragedy, The Team Tate Foundation ( was founded with the mission of educating all infant caregivers about SIDS and promoting safe sleep environments for babies.

In this world of constant “new normal,” not knowing what the next life-altering experience may be around the bend, it is comforting to know that our loving heavenly Father is good and unchanging.

“The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.” (Psalm 145:9 NIV)

“In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish … But you remain the same, and your years will never end.”  (Psalm 102:25-26a, 27 NIV)

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17 NIV)

We can be assured that our good and unchanging God is in the midst of our ever-changing life circumstances and “new normals” orchestrating for our good.

My daughter, Crystal, recently reminded me of what I told her in those early days of learning to live with MS: “You cannot go there without seeing the cross first. There is no hope without our Savior!”

Crystal views her MS as a blessing, a witnessing tool. “I, who am physically weak and limited, have been able to encourage so many people. Mom, I hate that I have MS, but I am so very glad I do. It points people to Jesus.”

It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

It Is Well With My Soul by Horatio Gates Spafford (1873).
Public Domain.