June 29, 2015 § 2 Comments
In as much as a week, or as little as hours – I will be preparing to bring my daughter into the world. My heart has never known such terror and joy.
Though this is my second child, I’ve never been 9 months pregnant. I’ve never been close enough to the finish line to reach out and grab hold of the prize. Everything is new and fresh and altogether lovely. Contractions, leakage, and all the other magical signs that accompany impending delivery are my daily reminders that soon and very soon, I will once again hold my very own child in my arms. A child that I have grown and cherished and agonized over these last 9 months. I have equally loved and feared the hold that this tiny girl already has over me for every moment of this pregnancy.
If you have experienced a stillbirth, you know. You know the joy and the fear. You know that every movement, hiccup, kick to the rib, and alien-inside-your-belly-roll is a gift. A moment to treasure. On the other hand, you also know and almost daily experience the coldest, deepest fear when your little one is still. You know the panic that constricts your heart so tight and fast that it makes your vision tilt as you quickly run for the coldest glass of sickly sweet juice you can find to chug down before you lay on your side and pray for movement. You know those moments that stretch out for an eternity while you wait, almost afraid to hope, until suddenly you feel that reassuring wiggle that causes such swift relief it takes your breath and all the strength in your body away.
All the joy. All the fear. All the hope.
It’s taken a long time to get to this place, and we aren’t finished yet. The enemy of my soul loves to remind me -daily- that my daughters life could still be snuffed out in a moment. He loves to remind me -especially in my weakest moments- of the trauma and whirlwind of fear and sorrow that surrounded the birth of my son. He loves to remind me that has taken from me before and could easily do so again. And sometimes, I am afraid.
What he fails to recognize, is that in those brief moments of fear and doubting, he is actually working to increase my faith. Because the only way I know to fight back against the torment of the enemy is to trust in the infallible, indescribable and incomparable truth of God.
I love to remind that lying, thieving sack of trash that MY God has already won the victory over all his lies, schemes and treachery. I love to remind him that my life, and the lives of my husband, children and all my family have been bought and paid for with the blood of Jesus and because of that, I don’t have to be afraid of anything he tries to throw at me-including torment and death. I love to remind him that he is a loser and I am more than a conqueror. I love to remind him that when he comes against me, he’s also coming against a whole heavenly host – and that if he was smart he would turn and run.
And the crazy thing? When I begin to remind the devil of his place in my life, he does run- just like the coward that he is. Because there is NONE that can stand against the truth and power and sovereignty of God. He has promised life and life abundantly. It’s the truth I can cling to when I am weak. It’s the strength I can draw on when I feel overcome. And it’s the anthem I’m going to sing out for all the world to hear when they place my daughter, filled with radiant, abundant life safely in my arms.
June 4, 2015 § 1 Comment
A year ago today, I was lying in the hospital wishing I was dead. Like my baby.
I can’t even begin to tell you how heavy those words still feel. I can’t explain how even though a full year has come and gone, they still pierce through me in a way that no pain or trial or sorrow I have or ever will experience will. To lose a child that you have loved and cherished from the moment you knew he was to be, is the cruelest form of torture that I have ever experienced. To be forced to let go of every dream you have ever dreamed for your baby is an unimaginable heartbreak that never ends. You don’t get to just bury those hopes and dreams – they haunt you. They are there, in the face of every new parent and every new baby. Each new happiness and joy like a physical death blow to your being. Wanting to crawl in the grave right along with the tiny metal tin that was all that remained of my little baby boy. No – there aren’t enough words in any language to convey the heaviness that comes along with those types of wounds.
So I’ve done a lot of running this past year – both physically and spiritually. I’ve beaten and broken and rebuilt my body, trying to find an outlet for the rage and the sorrow – and most of all, relief from all the heaviness. I thought that if I could just make physical self lighter and smaller, I would be able to breathe again.
It didn’t work.
All that rage? I turned it loose on God. I blamed Him entirely for taking my son from me. I ran and I raged at Him, for miles and hours and days and weeks and months. I put as much distance between myself and the One who I believed responsible for all my pain as I could. And I found that as I became physically lighter, I became spiritually heavy. If I could have, I would have stopped believing in God altogether. But then who would I be angry with? I couldn’t even blame the devil if I stopped believing in God because if I acknowledged one, then I had to acknowledge the other. I felt trapped in my hate. Unable and unwilling to ever consider that God was just as grieved by my hurts as I was. So I just kept running.
Until one day in October, and I just couldn’t run any farther. I instantly knew, despite every effort we had made to prevent it from happening – I was pregnant. I didn’t even need the plus sign to confirm what my heart already knew. And I was terrified. There was no hope or joy in my heart. Fear like I’ve never known and thoughts of “I can’t live through this again” began to overtake me. As I sat alone on my bathroom floor and cried, every pain and hurt came flowing out. And for the first time since I left the hospital without my baby in my arms, I cried out to God instead of at Him. I begged Him to carry me and hold me, as I knew only He could. And I wept as I felt the love and lightness that that I had been seeking for months wash over me. Though I had not opened my bible in months, His promises and truths began to flood my heart and mind in a way I have never experienced. His love for me, and my life was so palpable in those moments I could almost taste it. All the miles I had tried so hard to put between us were closed in a moment as He embraced me and whispered His words of love over me.
Once again – in a miraculous, mighty and completely unexpected way – God has come in and redeemed my broken life and is bringing forth something beautiful out great pain. As I sit here, 8 months pregnant with my daughter, I am reminded of His great Grace. I am reminded that He does not cause pain without allowing something new to be born. I am reminded that He has great plans for our lives, even when we can’t see them.
Are there moments of fear? Yes. Are there moments my heart hurts and feels heavy when I am missing the baby I’ll never get to watch grow? Yes. Am I struggling, even today, with the idea that tomorrow I should be baking a cake for my sons first birthday but instead will be left missing him? Yes. Is the enemy of my soul still trying to fill my heart with doubts that I will see the child I’m carrying today filled with life? Yes. Daily.
Instead of letting those yes’s consume me, I’m choosing to let The Great Comforter draw me close and do just that – comfort me. I’m choosing to believe that my sweet son, is having his party and celebrating in the presence of Jesus – the greatest gift he could ever receive. Because the story doesn’t end in death, but in abundant life. And I’m going to run to the One who gives it.
So tomorrow, my husband and I will celebrate our little Boy’s first birthday. And while I am certain there will be pain, and tears and even some heaviness – there will also be great rejoicing over a small life that made a big impact on the lives of so, so many.