One of my favorite things to do is take care of babies. I love little kids too, but babies are something I just adore. Well, I have lots of little siblings, but I was only eleven when my youngest brother was born, and I was eight when my next youngest sister was born. So I didn't really have a lot of opportunities to take care of babies. I was old enough to act as basically my youngest brother's second mom, but it was only one baby sibling that I really took care of.
For a long time, after my youngest brother was old enough that we sort of expected another baby to come along, my mom and I wished for another baby so much. I saw other families at church have babies, and it was really hard for me not to be jealous. I might not have admitted to being as envious as I was, but I knew that I was extremely discontent. I prayed and prayed for another sibling, but it seemed God just kept saying no. But I finally sort of 'accepted' the fact, and I didn't think about it much anymore. Every so often, I would pray again for mom to have another baby, but I was ok with the fact that Matti was probably the last one.
Well, time passed by, and at the beginning of this year my mom told me one night in my room that she was having a miscarriage. She hadn't even known she was pregnant. It was sort of like opening a mostly healed wound. We cried together, and I remember hugging her and feeling like I should comfort her, but feeling unable to because of what a disappointment it was to me. The discontentment had returned, and I was almost angry with God for giving me this new stab of pain. It was really hard, but once the first hurt was gone, I gave it over to God, and I felt I really trusted that his plan was best.
A couple of weeks went by, and mom was still having what seemed to be the effects of the miscarriage. She called her midwife for advice, and she said she should try taking a pregnancy test. So my mom took one, and found out the baby was actually still alive. The rest of the family was at one of Josiah's book signing (my mom had stayed home), so she called us up to tell us, and we were all so excited. I felt like I could conquer the world, because of this amazing gift that God gave me to look forward to. The next few weeks were total bliss. My mom was feeling pretty sick, and couldn't be on her feet much, so I was doing a lot of extra stuff around the house, but I felt like I could do anything, with this reward ahead of me.
Several weeks later, Isaiah, Josiah and I went to a three day conference a couple hours from home. The day before we left, my mom was feeling especially bad, and she was still noticing what seemed to be effects from the miscarriage. I was sort of stressed out about leaving, but mom told me it would be ok, and I just felt so confident that God was not going to disappoint me. He had given me a disappointment, and taught me to trust him, and I had, so then he was giving this blessing 'in return'. I was not really afraid that he would take it away.
On the second day of the conference, my dad called me right at lunch time, and as soon as I heard his voice, I knew something must be wrong, but I was sure it couldn't be about the baby. God was giving this to me, and I was still confident he wouldn't take that away. But I was wrong. Apparently, what mom originally had thought was a miscarriage, really was. I don't know exactly what happened, but the multiple pregnancy tests she had taken had been wrong.
I was crushed. I couldn't talk for a while, though I didn't cry. I couldn't cry the rest of that day, because we were in the middle of a conference. I paid no attention to the lectures, and fought to keep from bursting into tears. I could hardly believe how much God had let me down, how much he had disappointed me by this. But I wasn't really upset with him. I didn't feel angry. That night, lying awake in bed, though I only whispered, I cried and screamed to God. I couldn't keep from asking why. But I wasn't angry at him. I didn't cry at him. I cried to him. I cried with him. And while I cried, I could hear him saying over and over, "I did it for you. To make you more beautiful." I could feel him there, even while I felt totally alone in my sadness.
Now, looking back at it, it seemed almost silly. I didn't really know anyone who had been that upset about a miscarriage. At the time, several people in our church were going through severe health struggles; one father was being treated for cancer. I felt guilty to be so disappointed by what seemed so small. But Isaiah showed me that it wasn't just losing a person, who I wondered how I could miss so much, having never met him, but it was also a dream. I had hoped and prayed for so long, and it seemed God was finally answering that prayer.
I have witnessed very few deaths of people close to me. I know that there are many others who have gone through far worse struggles. I'm not writing this to get pity or sympathy from my readers. I'm not writing this to feel sorry for myself. I'm writing it because I'm thankful.
Through the aching of my heart, and the disappointment I struggled with, I have never felt God nearer to me. Or perhaps it was me being near to God. He has always been there to hold me in my struggles and pain, but it was when this huge sorrow came that I couldn't help but fall into his arms and let him be everything to me.
I prayed for a long time afterwards that God would give mom another baby. I still pray sometimes, because that is still something that I would love almost more than anything. But I'm ok now, perhaps once again, perhaps much more truly now, that God hasn't, and probably won't.
Sometimes I still cry at night when I think of that time. Not so much because of the disappointment I feel now; like I said, I really am ok with God's decision. It's more a memory of the pain that I felt. But I think of the song Josiah played later, after my dad had called me. Though he didn't say anything, I know he played this song on purpose. And of course it made me cry more. But it was an incredible comfort to me. This was the part that really touched me where I needed to be touched:
Even if your heart itself should
lose the will to stand,
No matter what may happen, Child,
I'll never let go of your hand.
The life that I have given you,
no one can take away
because I've sealed with my
Spirit, blood and Word.
The everlasting Father has made
his covenant with you
and He's stronger than
the world you've seen and heard.
God has taken the deep pain away from me. But I'm not the same since it happened. Since then, I know what it means to have God walking with you. I know what it means for God to hold your hand, and for God to carry you in his arms. I know what it means for him to sit next to you, when no one around you sees the sorrow you feel, but he does. And will never stop comforting you. Months later, when you have a fresh stab of sorrow, remembering the pain, he's still there to comfort you. He knows, and he understands.
Not only did God give me an incredible knowledge of his love, he also put an amazing person in my life. Many people at church hugged me and told me they were praying, but only one sent me a card. Allison and I had gotten to know each other only a little while before all of it had happened, but she knew how excited we all were, and understood more than almost any other person I talked to, the pain we felt. She sent me one of the most amazing notes I've ever received, and stuck with me, even after others had seemingly forgotten. Every so often she sent me a facebook message letting me know she was still praying, and still thinking of me. Even when the pain had almost left my own heart, she remembered, and wanted to make sure I was ok. She is a beautiful friend, and I will never forget the 'heavenly hugs' I received from her.
Well, this is rather a long post. I hope my faithful readers do not mind. : ) It sounds really selfish, but it was more for me than for any of you. Actually, it wasn't for either of us. It was really for God. I know I recorded many of my thoughts in my journal, but I wanted something more structured. I know God knows how much I was thankful for his amazing love, but I wanted to take the time to tell him. And it feels wonderful to have let a part of me out. I'm always afraid I will lose part of myself when I open myself up, but it always ends up helping me see myself better and more clearly.
God is a good God. When I'm scared of something I'm getting ready to do, I often just whisper to myself, "God, no matter what happens, just still be my God." It helps me to remember that he is reigning, and no matter the circumstance, he will still be watching over me. I don't think I prayed that specifically when I cried in disappointment, but he knew I needed it. And he is still my God.