Hi Friends! I’m back =)
Thank you for all your Anniversary wishes. I am thankful for the sweet time my husband and I got to spend together.
Part of our anniversary trip included hiking a natural wonder, in the heart of Texas. I was not born and raised in Texas, so there are still quite a few “Texas” things I have never done. One of them is climbing to the top of Enchanted Rock.
I grew up surrounded by the mountains of Washington, so whenever I picture “hiking” I remember walking under the shade of gigantic pines, my sweat barely glistening because of the cool breezes sweeping through the mountains. Around the bend there is always a water source whether is a stream, creek, or a water falls.
If you have visited Enchanted Rock are laughing right now, at the surprise waiting for me.
All I could see was rock. All I could feel was heat radiating around me, as the granite magnified the heat. We were walking straight up a giant rock, all my romantic notions of an idyllic stroll beside an enchanted rock vanished. This was war! I was going to make it up this monstrosity. I started walking forcefully upwards, when my sneakers slipped and loose gravel tumbled down the side of the rock.
My husband gently instructed me to walk at a diagonal angle so that I would not slip as much. I walked at an angle catching a glimpse of the scenery behind me. It was a beautiful world of trees, enough green and lushness for even this Northwesterner to gasp.
I looked ahead, again faced with the glaring heat and enormity of the rock but I felt joyful and lighter. I was looking at a huge rock, but behind me was a luscious forest. There was beauty, shade, and refreshment right behind me. I kept glancing back at the vegetation, whenever the rock seemed to steep to keep climbing, and in almost no time I had made it to the top.
When I only looked forward, eyes glued on the biggest piece of granite I had ever seen, my heart became weary and the task of climbing felt slow and overwhelming. However, just a brief look back at the beauty behind me gave me renewed hope and joy for my climb.
I thought about how much of my life currently feels like climbing a giant rock. As I have shared previously, losing 2 babies this year has brought grief and moments of despair and hard questions.
Even as the Lord has brought healing and continues to heal, the journey of waiting to get pregnant again and all the “what if” questions, feels like climbing a very big rock. Some days, I feel like I can’t wait another second to get pregnant again. I want to give up and find comfort in self pity and despair, instead of doing the hard work of taking my pain and longing to the Lord, again and again.
But when I am tempted to despair, if I can look behind me – and remember – the beauty He has brought from ashes before. The miracles he has brought into my life in the past, then my spirit is able to carry on in faith and hope. When I remember there may be a mountain in front of me, but directly behind me is my testimony, the testimonies of other believers, and the multitude gathered in heaven right now – witnessing the glory and goodness of God, I can keep walking.
Its becoming a bit of an anthem for me in this season of waiting and longing for a baby, reminders to stop…take my eyes off what to me seems like the insurmountable obstacle, and to focus them on God, to focus on who He is – not what I am trying to accomplish.
Bless the Lord O my Soul and FOREGET NOT all his benefits. (Psalm 103:1)
When I forget –
I get overwhelmed
When I’m not
Who redeems your life from the pit (Psalm 103:4)
He’s the Redeemer
He takes the mess, the hurt and the brokenness and replaces all of it with His beauty and goodness.
Who satisfies your desires with good things (Psalm 103:5)
When I take my desire to the Lord, I am satisfied and filled with His peace and hope – regardless of what my pregnancy test says.
Does anyone else feel like they have a tendancy to keep staring a problem, head on for so long that it becomes consuming and overwhelming? What do you need to step away from and remember the hugeness and goodness of God today?
Today we continue our series on miscarriage, and how I found hope, healing and even joy after a miscarriage.
If you missed the story of our Sweet Babies you can find it here:
Top 5 Ways you can support someone who has experienced Miscarriage: http://claritywithcharity.com/?p=420
Last week I shared that after my second miscarriage I was finding it very difficult to experience any hope or joy… “After about 2 weeks of walking around in my tornado of bitterness, anger and comparison it struck me how much I did not want to be this person. I didn’t want to be a woman who snapped and glared at every pregnant momma in sight. I didn’t want to resent other women who had healthy children, and I didn’t want to be angry at God. I didn’t want to spend the next twenty years of my life wandering around in self pity, I had to get out….but how??? I felt so trapped.”
One morning I went into our guest bedroom, got on my knees and cried out to God, “God, I need your help, I don’t want to be a bitter woman, I don’t want to be mad at you, I don’t know how to work through the way I feel, but you do, PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!”
In the midst of my desperate plea for help a quiet stillness came over my heart and all I heard was this phrase in my mind over and over again, “Bless the Lord, O my soul”…”Bless the Lord, O my soul”…the words of David from Psalm 103:2.
My heart stopped at these words, deep inside my spirit fought… “what about me God? I’ve been through a lot here! Do I really have to bless you right now? I don’t feel like it, actually I am pretty mad at you.”
The phrase kept echoing over and over, and I knew, I knew I needed to say the phrase out loud, to agree with His Word, to choose to agree even when I felt like it was the last thing I wanted to do. I said it slowly and quietly at first, then a little louder, a little more sure, then heaviness broke, a victorious confidence rose in my heart, and I screamed it over and over, “Bless the Lord O my Soul!” My heart erupted with praise, I began to thank God for who He was, for who I knew Him to be, for who His Word says He is. He is kind, He is faithful when I am faithless , He is strong, He is powerful, He is just, He is good and He is worthy….He is so worthy, even when life is hard really hard, and I don’t understand…He is always worthy of praise.
As I praised Him and thanked Him for who He was I received major breakthrough, the hardness that my heart was being drawn towards begin to melt.
I asked Him my questions. I asked Him why I had to lose two children in 6 months when I knew so many women who had lost none. I asked Him why He hadn’t resurrected my child back to life, when I knew that He could. I asked Him why Liya died when I believed with every fiber of my being that she would live here on this earth. I asked Him if I would ever hold a child of mine in my arms. And I asked Him “WHY” about a million more times.
I felt His comfort, His compassion and His heart break right along with mine. He was listening to every question. And still I heard no answers.
But I encountered HIM!!!!!!!! His presence was so much sweeter and greater than all of my questions. His presence filled the gnawing ache in my heart. His presence filled the emptiness all my questions had carved into my soul. He was enough, even though I didn’t receive the answers I thought I needed and even deserved.
Then He spoke to my heart. He asked me if I would lay it down. Lay down every question. He asked me to give up my right to know and understand what I so desperately didn’t, what I so desperately wanted to know and understand. What I felt I had a right to understand.
I knew this was part of the road to healing for my heart, part of the journey towards hope and so I said yes. I said yes because I knew that God was for me, and He wanted my heart’s healing. Only He could show me how to be whole.
I wanted freedom more than I wanted my questions, I wanted the wholeness He had for me more than to keep my grip and grasp onto my what if’s and why didn’ts. I have learned if God says to do something, to do it, because He loves me. He is wise and wants to guide me into all truth.
Whenever the Lord asks me to lay something down, I always picture the cross. I think about the cross and how when Jesus died He paid the price for all sin, suffering, shame, disease and death. I think about the empty tomb and how regardless of what sorrow I experience in this world, that because of His victory I have a place in heaven, where there will be complete and utter perfection.
I think about the cross and grave because I need to remember, I am not just laying down my questions at the foot of a garbage can or leaving them in an empty room, I am laying them down at a place that is the source of victory and miracles. I am laying them down and leaving it all with Jesus, the one who loves me most. That is an awesome and safe place to leave my questions.
I can’t tell you the ten steps to work through a miscarriage. I have found moving through grief towards a place of wholeness is such a different journey for each person. But I know how I came to this place. I found it because I was desperate and hungry for Jesus. I was desperate for His help and for an encounter with Him.
Where can you go, to find what you need? Its in Him, Its in Jesus.
Become desperate to encounter Him, Ask Him your questions, and then humble your heart to listen and submit yourself to do what He says. Read His Word, and cling to it. His Word and Character are unchanging and a source of life and truth regardless of our circumstances or our feelings.
I pray for you, friend, that whatever heartache you have encountered that you will be able to say “Bless the Lord, O My Soul (Ps. 103:2)” and that you will encounter the One: “Who forgives all you iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:3-5)
We will continue our series on Miscarriage, by looking at a specific question I really wrestled with after losing our second baby. What do you do, when you do not receive the object/circumstance/breakthrough that you had been believing God for?
As always, I welcome your response. How have you worked through grief? Where are you at in your healing process?
Moving from Hurt to Hope after a Miscarriage: Part 3
She is a girl. I had known she was a girl from almost the moment I found out I was pregnant. As I prayed about this babe’s life, I felt like the Lord told me it was a she, and that she was a dancer and one who had the anointing to lead others into worship. I felt Him say that she was witty and her jokes would make you laugh out loud.
The morning after the ER visit, I woke up feeling strange, because sadness enveloped me, strange because my husband had to go into work uncharacteristically early and he was no longer beside me. The steel fist of grief twisted my heart, my baby girl was gone… and she had died inside me. I don’t know how to describe that feeling, but it is awful, real and powerful. I hated knowing that death happened inside a place that was made to hold and cultivate life. It had happened despite the progesterone supplements and the high HCG numbers. It had happened in spite of deep love for our baby.
I rolled out of bed and felt angry…maybe more angry than I have ever felt in my life. I don’t get angry a lot, I get sad, frustrated and impatient but true anger is not something I usually experience. I don’t like the way it makes me feel or act, but there it was…raw anger. I went to the kitchen and slammed cabinets and yelled at the cats for acting like, well ….cats, meowing, pooping and being hungry…”how dare they!” I thought.
I walked around the grocery store glaring at stranger’s in the peanut butter aisle because they were holding a baby, and I wasn’t. It seemed like there were mothers and baby girls down every aisle. I felt like everyone in the world could snap their fingers and get a beautiful, healthy baby girl anytime they wanted. I saw mothers yanking sticky fingers and yelling “shut up” at their little ones….its hard not to judge other parents especially when you want to be one. Then there were the mothers with starry eyed adoration of their babies, who cooed about their undying love to their little ones. They felt the same love I had for my baby, but they held theirs in their arms and mine was only a memory in my heart.
Four months later it is hard to remember what she felt like, as our souls collided.
Her life was like a firework exploding into the darkness, lighting the night with its brilliant color only to fade into an all consuming black sky mere moments later. I remember her light, I remember her brilliance. But what shade of red was that firework and what tones of blue did she use to light the sky? I remember her light, I remember her color, but her memory is like a picture you took on family vacation, before digital cameras. Back in the days when you used real film and prints came back blurry, because the tourist taking the picture was jilted by a biker on the sidewalk. Her life feels a little hazy, I know what was supposed to be there, but it was too quick for me to catch the true intricacy of her beauty. And I HATE that!!!!!!!
That is the worst part. Not remembering clearly what you want to so desperately remember. What I have of her is the memory of what it felt like when her life began to grow inside of mine. I remember my heart welling up with such intense love that I would have risked all my dignity and sanity to save her life. I would have done anything to give her a chance to giggle and dance…because I just knew she was a giggler and a dancer and I loved that about her. I loved the essence of joy her life held, the way her essence fueled my heart to beat a little faster.
Before the dr. came in to tell us the results of the sonogram, I sat in the frigid room my hand held by my husband’s, providing warmth and stability on a surreal night. I saw in my mind Jesus standing beside me. I saw Him cradling my baby in my womb. I glimpsed what advanced technology could not see yet, my little one surrounded by fluid in my womb. Jesus held her, and I knew, I knew she was His, she was now with God.
I named her Liya (pronounced Lay –yah). Liya means “I am the Lord’s”
After my first miscarriage my friend had given me a scripture as a promise, Isaiah 44:1-5. In the passage it says that your offspring “shall spring up among the grass like willows by following streams. This one will say ‘I am the Lord’s’.” I looked up what name meant “I am the Lord’s”– it was Liya. In Latin, Liya means “ bringer of the gospel.” I thought that her physical feet would carry the gospel across the globe. While her physical feet never walked this earth, I believe that part of the redemption of God is that whenever her story is told, salvation will come to the hearts of people.
Her life proclaims the story of Jesus, how He left heaven and became man while fully God, walked on this earth for 33 years, healing and loving people wherever He went. He was perfect and died a horrific death on a cross. He died for every sin that will ever be committed. He died and paid the price for my sin and yours. He died to bring victory over illness, and disease and death. Three days later He rose again, bringing complete victory to the power of death.
When we acknowledge our utter need for a Savior, commit our life to Him and admit the right He has to rule and reign in on our life, we too experience victory over death and sickness. We do not die when our bodies breathe their last breath, we will live and reign with Him forever in Heaven.
Liya’s life, while only with us on earth for 7 weeks, is a testament to the power of Jesus and His victory over death. I knew the moment that I heard they could see nothing on the sonogram and my HCG had dropped, that she was alive. Even when I realized I would never cradle her in my earthly arms, I knew she was in heaven with Jesus. I would cradle her someday. I knew that she would never know pain, she would never know the sting of death because she was in a place with a Savior who had conquered death, in heaven where there are no tears. She would never know a day without the presence of Jesus.
I knew it was true: that there was no one I wanted Liya to be with more than Jesus. Yet, there was a place of indescribable pain in my heart that I had to deal with. There was anger and I didn’t know how to move through. With my first miscarriage it had been much easier to release Alexander to Jesus. I thought what I had experienced was common for a lot of women who are pregnant for the first time and so it would never happen again.
After about 2 weeks of walking around in my tornado of bitterness, anger and comparison it struck me how much I did not want to be this person. I didn’t want to be a woman who snapped and glared at every pregnant momma in sight. I didn’t want to resent other women who had healthy children, and I didn’t want to be angry at God. I didn’t want to spend the next twenty years of my life wandering around in self pity, I had to get out….but how??? I felt so trapped.
Next week, I will be sharing the steps the Lord took me through that brought freedom from bitterness, hopelessness and despair. I hope you will join me!
Moving from Hurt to Hope after a Miscarriage: Part 2
Thank you so much for all of the love and support you poured out via email, facebook and blog comments, after the posting of Part 1, Moving from Hurt to Hope after a Miscarriage: If you missed it you can find it at:
I was truly overwhelmed by your vulnerability as you shared stories of your own sweet babies and the encouragement you shared. My husband and I are so thankful for each of you and your prayers for us.
It is challenging to walk through a miscarriage and it can also be challenging to know how to support a friend or family member who has experienced this loss. I confess, that when friends shared about their miscarriages (before I had one), I felt unsure of how to respond. My heart ached with them and I wanted to support them, but I had no idea what to do and say. Maybe some of you have found yourselves in a similar situation, wanting to help but feeling helpless to do so.
1. Say “I am so sorry for your loss.” Through this statement you are expressing what someone who has experienced a miscarriage desperately needs to hear, an acknowledgement that they have suffered the tragic death of a loved one.
2. Acknowledge that you are honored they would share such a personal part of their life with you. Realize that what this person is sharing with you is probably the most difficult thing they have walked through. This may feel overwhelming to you (especially if you have never had a friend share this with you before). Instead of stressing over fixing them or making everything better, focus on your love and concern for the person. Saying something like this can be very helpful, “Thank you so much for sharing that with me. I feel privileged to hear about your baby’s life. This must be a very difficult time for you! I want to be there for you and I am not really sure how to best do that. How can I best support you right now?”
3. Act like you would if there was a funeral to attend and an obituary in the paper. While most families will not have a public memorial service for their child, their need for community support in this time is very similar. We received many of the acts of service and gifts listed below after our miscarriages and they were incredibly healing and also helped in a practical way. When people took these actions they not only acknowledged the tragedy we were walking through but expressed a physical representation of sharing in our grief.
– Send Flowers
– Bring a meal
– Send a gift.
– Send a card.
– Clean their house.
– Offer to watch their children (if they have other children).
Having a miscarriage is not only hard on a women’s heart but it also takes a physical toll on her body. The effects vary woman to woman but usually there is a period of time where you are very tired and weak. This is why I suggested acts of service such as bringing a meal, cleaning their home, or watching their children. I remember a friend bringing us a meal after our miscarriage and it was such a blessing, not only mentally to not have to plan dinner but because my body was so weak it was difficult to function normally.
4. Check in with your friend. Dealing with the emotions of a miscarriage can affect you for months and even years afterwards. Depending on your relationship with your friend, it can be helpful to check in with your friend to see how they are doing. I received texts, emails, and calls from friends months after the miscarriage asking how I was doing and letting me know that I was loved and they were praying for my husband and I. This meant so much to me. Their taking a moment to realize that I was in a season of grieving and that I was on their heart and in their prayers was helpful for me because I didn’t feel alone in my grief. The message or call can be as simple as, “ I just want you to know I am thinking about you and praying for you today. I love you! How are you doing?”
5. Pray for your friend. It sounds nice to say, “I’ll be praying for you” but it is A LOT nicer to share in the burdens of your friend and actually pray for them and their spouse. Here are specific things to pray, if you are unsure what to pray for.
– Healing for their physical body and also for their heart.
– For their doctor to have wisdom.
– An increase in intimacy with the Lord in this season.
– For complete health in their body, that miscarriage would never occur ever again.
– That there would be an increase in love, intimacy, good communication and trust in their marriage through the season of grief.
If you have experienced a miscarriage, what were things you needed to hear or acts of service and support that were helpful to you?
Monday, the world stopped as news of the royal baby’s birth was announced. This news stopped my heart. Our first baby had almost the same due date as the royal couple’s little one.
If you have been following this blog, you know that I have mentioned that my husband and I have lost two babies in the past year to miscarriage.
As I have journeyed through the pain, grief, and questions I have found that hearing someone else’s story is part of the way to healing. Hearing another’s story helps you realize that you are not alone if you have had a miscarriage. It is an experience that can feel lonely and isolating because there is no cast to wrap your broken heart, no casket to bury your memories in and too often no one knows. Even if someone knows, they may not know how to respond.
I am sharing with you my personal reflections about miscarriage, because God has given me hope in the midst of devastation. I am praying that this series provides comfort and hope for those who have walked through a miscarriage, and insight for those with friends who have experienced one.
From the moment I saw the faint pink line turn brighter and then deeper and darker on the pregnancy test, I was absolutely head over heels in love with him. By the time I had seen one plus sign and the word “pregnant” on the 2 different digital pregnancy tests my husband had me buy “just to be sure,” I was shrieking.
I squealed and jumped in delight, begging my husband to let me call and tell someone. Although what I really wanted to do was to run down my street screaming at the top of my lungs, “I’m a MOM!” “I’m a MOM!”
After getting married at the age of twenty – nine, helping seven friends walk down the aisle as a bridesmaid and with most of these friends having their second little bun in the oven I felt that God was redeeming my years of waiting for my children.
As a little girl, my favorite toys were my dolls and my favorite activity was pretending to be a Mom. My love for children continued through my adulthood as I worked as a nanny, camp counselor and children’s pastor. I went on mission’s trips and worked with orphans, I made friends with any child around me. I have left adult conversations at parties, to find the kid’s table where I have spend the night, giggling, playing and reading.
Even in my professional life my student staff lovingly nicknamed me “Mom” because of the way I nurtured and cared for their spirits and even bodies, constantly “nagging” them to make healthy choices in the school cafeteria and to start a work out plan. I had held them while they cried about boys, grades, and life direction. I had also screamed and celebrated with them about boys, grades and life direction.
It has brought immense amounts of joy to my heart to know that around the world I have many spiritual children. I had already been a “mother” to children and young adults offering counsel, correction, a listening ear, prayers, meals, snacks and of course hugs. But I never felt more like a mother than the day I saw that faded pink line turn a deeper shade of rose. I was a Mom forever now, I knew no matter what happened in life, no matter where I went or where my baby went, he would always be my baby and I would always be his momma.
I remember that day so vividly like a beautiful dream you don’t want to wake up from. My husband and I ate dinner at a local Vietnamese restaurant. I spent the entire dinner asking him if there was anything in the dishes I couldn’t eat because I was pregnant. As an engineer, my husband researches everything and had already learned more about pregnancy that evening, then I had learned in a lifetime of being female. After dinner I insisted that we go to the local used bookstore and look for pregnancy books. We bought a baby name book and a book about eating healthily while pregnant. I then came home and promptly ordered “ What to expect when you’re expecting.”
That same week, Prince William and Kate’s pregnancy was announced. As the whole world watched Kate’s belly, I watched mine with the same force of anticipation and joy as a nation of people awaiting their royal baby. To me this was my royal baby, the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise to me that I would be a wife and a mother.
I asked the Lord for promises for my baby. One was so clear to me, this little one would be a person of influence and draw the nations to knowledge and belief in Jesus Christ. To me, this was the dearest promise that I could receive as a mother.
At first I was sure my baby was a girl, Rene was sure the baby was a boy. We would joke about who was right or wrong. I had called a friend to tell her I was pregnant, and she prayed for my pregnancy. While she prayed I saw a picture of my baby Alexander, which would become such a treasure to me to. In the picture I saw my little boy probably about a year old, crawling on hands and knees smiling with dimples just like my husbands’ into his chubby baby cheeks. His dark brown eyes sparkled with mischief and his dark brown hair was wavy and thick, how I imagine my husband’s would have been as a child. He looked sharp in a plaid blue vest with gray trousers and in my opinion was the cutest baby I had ever seen.
Then the bleeding started.
I went to a doctor who was unable to tell me much except that my blood needed to be analyzed again in 48 hours to see if my HCG and Progesterone levels had increased or decreased.
Those days of waiting for the blood work results felt like the longest days of my life.
Then the phone rang, it was “the call.” My body grew cold, my heart stopped in my chest. I answered steadying my voice. The nurse delivering the blood results was short and abrupt. Her tone sounded as empathetic as a piece of steel. “Your progesterone and HCG levels have dropped dramatically in the past 48 hours and we are certain you are miscarrying.” As her words stabbed through my heart, my husband miraculously walked through the door home, home a few hours early from a work project.
He held me as the nurse asked if I had heard her because I hadn’t uttered a word or sound since she had spoken. My mouth couldn’t move because I was deafened by the sound of my heart shattering into a million pieces. My baby was dying, “My baby is dying!” I wanted to scream at the nurse and tell her, “YES I HEAR YOU! I HEAR YOU CLEARLY,” But I couldn’t say a word, I was in shock, and all that spoke was the scream inside my heart…”NO! NO! NO!”
I knew my baby was with Jesus. That my baby would never know the pain of earth and the brokenness of humanity, they would only ever know the love of Jesus and the love of their mother and father.
But I wanted them to know pain! I wanted to kiss every scrape and bandage every wound. I wanted to see them fall bump their head on the coffee table as they learn to walk, I wanted to help them get back on their bike when they fall off their new two wheeler, I wanted to help them find the pieces of their heart after their first heartbreak, I wanted to have a continual drippy and snotty hand because I have wiped their eyes and noses from the sting of this imperfect world. But I knew I never would and I wanted to, more than anything I have ever wanted in my life.
That night I collapsed on the couch holding my belly and cried, a deep soulful cry from my gut that had been building and I yelled until it was only a whisper, “I want my baby, I want my baby, I just want my baby.”
I wrote him a letter that night, I told him all about his life and how I felt when I found out he was inside me, and what we did that night we found out we were pregnant. I told him he was wonderful surprise, the best kind. I told him about eating Vietnemese noodles and buying every pregnancy book in the store. I told him I loved and missed him. It helped.
For anyone who has walked through a miscarriage I think one of hardest parts are the questions. What is the gender, what does the baby look like, what is their personality like? God was so kind to me to give me the gender, a glimpse of Alexander’s sweet face and then my husband named our son. Shortly after the miscarriage I was resting in my husband’s arms, thinking about our baby boy and as hot and gentle tears streamed down my face, Rene said, “his name is Alexander.” I sobbed with relief, he had a name, our son had been named by his father.
I looked up the name Alexander in the baby name book I had bought the night we found out we were pregnant. Alexander means “helper and defender of mankind.” This bothered me a lot. I wanted his name to mean what I needed most at that moment: which was faith, hope or redemption.
How could my baby Alexander bring help to mankind now, I wondered? How could he defend mankind when he had never set foot on this planet? I struggled with the irony that the meaning of his name seemed to pose. Yet, I knew the meaning of his name fit perfectly with the prophetic words God had spoken to my heart about Alexander. God had told me Alexander would have great influence and favor with people for the Kingdom of God. God had told me that Alexander would have an inheritance in the nations of the earth for the glory of God.
I do not have an answer for how Alexander will reach the nations of the earth. However, I feel nudges of hope from my Father, that as I write and share with others about Alexander’s life, that it will bring the hope and life of Jesus Christ to others, even in the furthest corners of the earth. There is a joy and peace to be found when we know Jesus. He is the restorer, He is the redeemer He alone can do this:
“comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”
They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated” Isaiah 61:2-4
These are the promises I cling too. There will be joy for my mourning!….there will be for your’s too sweet friend.
If you have been through a miscarriage, what verses and promises from God have brought you hope? I would love to hear about your sweet baby – What is their name, did you do something special to remember their life? What has been helpful for you in the healing process?
A warning to my male readers. This post has words like, hormones, fertility and pregnancy all through it. If reading those three words makes your hands clammy, just don’t read this post. It may not make much sense to you anyways….now you’re going to read it right…to prove to me that you aren’t scared of those kinds of words…ok…go ahead…don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Those words, “Not Pregnant,” how I have come to hate seeing those two little words taunting me across the over 99% accurate digital pregnancy test screen. I love technology… When it’s on my side… when I skyped my old roommate to help pick her engagement picture outfits, when I received a text from a friend living on the other side of the world, those moments make me thankful for technology and how quickly and how accurately we can have data, and answers and connection. But words “not pregnant” with over 99% accuracy make me long for a little less knowledge, if only to have a few more moments to flirt with the hope of pregnancy.
Two weeks ago my husband and I saw those two words flash on the screen as we heard a knock at the door. It was the UPS man delivering my planner.. … And I laughed and almost screamed at the irony of it. A planner delivered, fresh with open boxes and blank dates staring at me longing for me to feel them in with to-do lists and special events. I love planners, and I had been anxiously awaiting the arrival of this one, because I had bought it specifically for blog planning.
I had dreamed of a long afternoon with pencils, pen and highlighters in tow to plan every glorious post and detail until next December and couldn’t wait to let those blank dates have it! Instead I just cried, and my husband held me.
I numbly opened the planner, and wanted to throw it against the wall. And then rip every little blank date page into shreds and then put the shreds in my blender until all that remained was a mushy stew of paper. Then I would look on pinterest for some genius craft project that can be created with shredded and blended paper, because even if all I could create out of paper mush is a sculpture of a flea it seemed like a better use of the planner…then to actually plan…
Because the plan was to get pregnant during our first year of marriage….The plan WASN’T to have two miscarriages in the first year of marriage. The Plan after extensive testing was to spend a month on two prescriptions to regulate my cycle and give my body the progesterone it lacked in my two pregnancies. The plan wasn’t to go through another month of taking 2 different drugs, whose side effects range from nights of restless sleep, mornings where I wake up feeling like I got hit by a truck, random bouts of nausea, accompanied by hot flashes and a general feeling that an alien force has taken control of my body and brain and I am only a pawn in the hands of an evil emperor plotting the ruin of my life through renegade hormonal surges.
Not to mention the everyday feeling I get that I am a science experiment only existing to complete the daily fertility drill of: temperature in the morning, peeing in a cup in the afternoon, and medication at night. I am beginning to understand why they say if you are trying to have babies and aren’t having babies you should stop trying to have babies, because the stress and pressure and deadlines can actually put so much strain on your body you don’t do what you were made to do.
But we have to try, I have to keep track and I have to take the medication. I lost two babies and the only thing they could determine after a month of testing and declaring me perfectly normal and healthy, was that I need progesterone early in my pregnancy. And by early they mean, before the over 99% accurate pregnancy test can detect pregnancy. We also trust our OBGYN implicitly, and after being a patient under two OBGYN’s I did not trust, I will stand on my head for a week while doing the macarana if she tells me too.
We are trusting her and we are trusting God to work through her knowledge and experience and the incredible compassion and vigilant care she has given me. It’s not that the tracking and testing and side effects are even close to the level of horrible so many people face every day because of various illness and disease. I know that the choice is so easy…go through another month of annoying tracking and side effects with the hope for a healthy pregnancy. There is no option in our mind. It is worth every moment of the longest moments of my life. But I have to be honest that it seems overwhelming, that it makes me mad, and it makes me want to throw planners into blenders because I realize more and more everyday, I am not in control. I can’t make this happen. I have a part to play. But at the end of the day God is the Creator and giver of life and I am not.
So on my “fill in every blank” in the planner day. It sat empty and untouched on my kitchen counter. I looked at it with blurry tears and couldn’t face it. Couldn’t face writing in a plan that may or may not happen. Didn’t want to write in important dates, when the one date I wanted to write more than any…a due date…I didn’t have. So instead I painted…I painted this mirror. Because it is ugly and dark and not cute. And my life felt so much like that, that day…..ugly, dark…and for what its worth…. not cute.
So I made this mirror better. It took about 3 coats, to turn the dark into light. (Anyone else Annie Sloan Chalk Paint fans? This is her “Old White” The great thing about Annie’s paint is that you don’t have to sand or prime, EVER!)
Then I had to add another coat because of a failed attempt to distress it…the only distressing that actually took place was the look on my face when I realized that my attempt to “antique” looked like I had rubbed mud all over the frame and it stuck. So onto a fourth coat. And a clear wax.
And I have to say it looks much better. Cleaner, fresher, ready for all our guests to apply their makeup and check out their cute selfs when they stay in our guest room.
I feel a bit like my mirror after the first coat. I feel fresher, newer more hopeful than after our second miscarriage. But there are places of ugly and dark and not cute in my heart that haven’t been refinished yet. I need a second, third maybe even a fourth coat of renewal and refreshing of hope.
Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
I realized I was hoping in a pregnancy test, I was hoping in a word “pregnant” instead of in the One who brings pregnancy, and so my heart was sick.
But Isaiah 49:23 says, “Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.”
When the word didn’t appear, I was left to see there is more refinishing to be done…inside me…. Refinishing doubt into trust. Refinishing accusation into awe over His Holiness. Refinishing plans into grace…grace to receive a second, third and only if absolutely necessary a fourth coat. I am not refinished. I am part done, with part undone. I am human, I am dust and some days it seems a huge accomplishment just to say “ Ok…I’ll keep trying.” Today I can only put one item on my “To Do” list. The item is called “Keep Trying. ” I will check that little box I draw beside all my “to-do’s.” (tell me I am not the only person who draws little boxes by to-do items, for the joy of checking it off?)
Its enough to send my type A personality into hysteria to be able to check only one box for the day. But its ok… As I am undone, I am becoming re-done.
What about you? How do you respond when life doesn’t go as planned? Any other trash to treasure lovers out there? What is your favorite piece you have given new life too?