Thursday, December 30, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
It’s ironic. Today is Tuesday. Coralyn was born on a Tuesday. My labor started late Monday night, and she was born around 8 on Tuesday morning. That morning was full of such joy and happiness.
Late last night, I guess you could say I went into labor. Really, I had a miscarriage. By 8 this Tuesday morning, I was sure I had lost the baby. This morning has been full of pain and loss.
In the midst of my tears, I hear God speaking to me and feel His arms around me. I have His peace, but it is conflicted with anger, confusion, and worry. Satan doesn’t want me to trust God, to believe His is still good. Satan wants me to turn my back on God. Sorry, Satan. You lose. You’ve got another Job on your hands. I will still praise my Savior and my Lord. I will not curse Him. I will not give up and die. I know that my Redeemer lives, and I know that my precious baby is with Him right now. God gives, and God takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
Yes, my heart is raw. I cry at the drop of a hat. But I can hear Coralyn playing in her crib as she settles down for her nap. How can I forget the absolute joy of that Tuesday morning almost 15 months ago? I am so blessed to be a mother, for many, many women never ever get that opportunity. I have an amazing daughter, and today more than any other I love her with all my heart. Today, even more than the day she was born, I appreciate her life, for it is truly a miracle that she is here. Not only was she perfect when she was born, she has been healthy and strong and safe these past 15 months. She is growing and learning and maturing. Today, I am more aware of that than ever before. So while I am saddened by my loss, God is helping me focus on the wonderful gift of my precious little girl. I will not dwell on what I do not and cannot have; instead I will fix my eyes on Christ and continue to run with endurance the race He has set before me. I will enjoy the daughter I do have. And somehow I will love her more deeply as we follow God on the journey He sets before us as a family.
I want to cry out to God in sheer anger. I want to yell and scream. I want to tell Him that He has no idea the pain that I am going through right now. But He keeps reminding me of two scenes. The first is Jesus in the manager. He willingly gave up His Son, sending Jesus to earth to live among men who would hate Him and eventually kill Him. Which leads to the second scene of Jesus hanging on the cross. He willingly died, on my behalf. And when He did, He took upon Himself my sin. God had to turn His back on His own Son. So, yes, He does know the pain I am experiencing, for He too lost His child, His beloved Son.
I want to tell God that this messes up my plans and my dreams. I want to say that I had everything figured out and nicely arranged as to how my life is supposed to go. But He keeps telling me that I am not in charge; He is. Not only that, but His plans are far better than mine. His plans are perfect. I may not see that right now or understand, but I just have to take Him at His Word; He never lies. Nor does He change. He always does what is good, what is best. He always seeks to bring glory to His name. So, somehow, in some way God is going to use this loss for His glory, and ultimately for my good. I don’t see it now, but this all fits perfectly into His plan. This is somehow part of the process that will shape and mold me into the woman God has created me to be. The transformation of becoming like Christ is somehow one step closer to being complete. I can fight against it or I can allow God to work in my life. He has just been teaching me as I read through Matthew that He uses people to bring about His purposes, whether that be men and women who were in the genealogy of Christ, Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men, or even King Herod. The point He kept making was that He always accomplishes His will, whether you work with Him or not. You may not see the results of the work in your lifetime, but they will come, and they will be amazing. I would rather be like Mary who said, “I am your servant, let it be as you say,” then King Herod who sought to put an end to God’s plans but failed. I would rather experience pain now and eternal joy later as I see the outcome of God’s work in my life. I readily admit I do not like this part of the process. I confess that I do not understand what in the world God is doing or why this is what He thinks is best. All I can do is trust Him. And wait to see how it all turns out.
Several Scripture passages keep coming to mind and bringing me encouragement and comfort. The first is Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes ALL things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” I think about times in the Bible when God used “bad” things to bring about a greater good: Joseph being sold into slavery and then into prison; Daniel being thrown into the lions’ den; Mary and Joseph being accused of having a baby out of wedlock; Lazarus dying before Jesus arrived; Paul and Silas being thrown into prison for preaching about Jesus; and of course the ultimate of Jesus dying on the cross. This miscarriage falls into the category of ALL things, so that must mean that God is going to use it to bring about a greater good. What that is I don’t know. Like I said, I have to trust God, and wait.
Brining me to my next Scripture passage, Psalm 62:1-2, “I wait quietly before God, for my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my Rock and my Salvation, my Fortress where I will NEVER be shaken.” God first showed me this passage when I tore cartilage in my knee in high school, making it impossible for me to achieve my dreams of competing at the state track meet and playing volleyball in college. He used that loss to bring about a greater good: I was a RA at Moody, met some lifelong friends, had the opportunity to go to Haiti, and the timing of everything eventually led to me meeting Lawrence at Ponca Bible Camp. I would say that our marriage and the birth of Coralyn are definitely worth the momentary pain and loss of not being at the state track meet or playing collegiate volleyball. I may have felt like my whole world was turned upside down at the time of the knee surgery, but God was in control. He was my immovable rock, my fortress, my stronghold. Yeah, he shook me up a bit, but I came out better grounded in Him than ever before. Once again, my world feels as though it is crumbling around me. Yet, I know that I am grounded in Christ. I will take Him at His word once again, and know that I will not be shaken. And once again, I will have to wait (which I am terrible at!) for God to show me how He is going to work this out for my good and His glory. I know that He will. I may never see how, but I know that He will. The hard part is waiting, but wait I must, so wait I will. Maybe not too quietly at first, but as the “peace that passes understanding” envelops me more and more, I know that my heart will be quieted and I will be able to rest peacefully in the arms of Christ.
A third passage that God keeps speaking to me is 2 Corinthians 1:3-7, “All praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the source of every mercy and the God who comforts us. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. You can be sure that the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with His comfort through Christ. So when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your benefit and salvation! For when God comforts us, it is so that we, in turn, can be an encouragement to you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in suffering, you will also share in God’s comfort.” I realize that Paul was not speaking of miscarriages here, but I think it applies, for God is most certainly my comfort during this trouble. Not only that but I have already experienced comfort from dear people He has placed in our lives. A good friend came over this morning to watch my daycare kiddos while Lawrence and I went to the doctor. She has had a miscarriage, so when she hugs me, I know she understands exactly what I am going through. When she says, “I am so sorry,” I know her heart has felt the same pain, the same loss. While I am so sad that she has gone through this before, I am comforted by her now. With that in mind, I pray that God will be able to use me to bring comfort to others in the future. Really, He has been preparing me for just such a thing. At my Bradley training I was told that at least one of my students would have a miscarriage. Out of the 15 women at the conference, 3-5 had had miscarriages. At that point I realized it was definitely a possibility that in the course of my teaching, I would have a couple who lost their baby. I never thought I would experience it first though. But now, when that times comes, I will be able to comfort them knowing what they are going through and feeling. And I pray that I am able to speak to them of God’s love and peace in their time of grief and loss. I pray that He uses me to comfort them as He has already used people to comfort me.
A final passage that God continues to remind me of is Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In ALL your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.” Trust, trust, trust. I can’t lean on my own understanding at a time like this anyway because I don’t have any understanding. This makes no sense. There is no immediate answer to WHY?! Logic cannot explain this situation. The only solution is to trust, to take God at His word. And as I do, He will lead me, one step at a time. At first the steps might be slow and shakey, but His strong right hand will uphold me. He may not show me what the road ahead looks like, and that is probably best, for if I had known this was going to happen, I would not have wanted to follow Him here. I would have wanted to turn and run the other direction, as fast as I could. If I had done that, I would not be where God wants me. I would miss out on the perfect plans God has for me. So here I am, right where God wants me. I am at the end of myself, exactly where I need to be, because only here can I fully rely on Him. Only here am I truly aware of my utter and total dependence on Him. Where the path goes from here, I don’t know. It’s not my job to know (though I sure would like to!). My only responsibility is to trust and obey, “for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey” (as the old hymn goes). Trust, trust, trust. Wait, wait, wait. What else is there to do?
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
14 months ago, our lives were changed forever when Coralyn was born. She has brought such joy and happiness to our hearts. We are so blessed to have such an amazing little girl. I don't think we can explain how much we love her. We loved her from the moment we knew she existed. So, really, our lives changed last February (on Valentine's Day no less!) when we discovered I was pregnant.
Coralyn's 14 month milestone was December 6, and I didn't post anything about her newest accomplishments. Like I said, better late than never. So here is just a few of the things Coralyn has been up to in the past month:
Monday, December 6, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
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