But God has been so gracious this week and I am confident that his grace is going to just keep covering me and holding my little heart through this. Last time I expected to be such a complete nervous wreck through the 2 week wait and God totally surprised me by lifting me above that anxiety and carrying me. It was a total supernatural thing because I knew on my own I was just a ball of nerves and worries and fears. Not that I wasn't nervous at times, but I could sense him with me and I was ok. As long as I can feel him with me, I'm ok.
So like I said, this week God's grace has been tangible and obvious to me. Last Sunday I didn't go to church because I was having such horrible cramps. But while my dear sweet husband was there he thought to ask our pastor if we could meet with him and the other elders and have them pray over me in James 5:24 style "Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord." Our pastor was excited about the opportunity and told us to come to the elder's meeting on Tuesday night. So we did and I was so blessed. Our pastor had me share our story with the guys first, then he anointed me with oil and those seven men prayed over me earnestly and tenderly, pleading with the Lord to open my womb and grant us a child.
That night stirred up a lot of thoughts in my head. The Lord began showing me more of a wide angle view of our "story" as a couple and his sovereignty in bringing us together and sustaining us through these trials. Every couple has their unique story. Ours includes enduring the pain of infertility and losing our first child in our first two years of marriage (along with some other very trying and painful experiences that I won't go in to here). Those aren't just chance experiences. God has allowed us to walk through these valleys and has used these experiences like a chisel on our hearts, on our marriage- on every part of us really. We can argue theologically till the cows come home if God caused these things or allowed these things or if those are just really two sides of the same coin....bottom line is that he is sovereign and that everything has been part of his plan for us and absolutely everything has been for our good and he has acted out of his goodness toward us. (I don't think I could have said those words even just last month. God's grace is on me to be able to believe these things again.)
All of this is part of something huge and it's going somewhere. This is our story and it's not over yet. The story doesn't end at the death of our baby. We are being carried along in God's plan and there's more to come. Do you sense the hope that's there?
A few months ago I did not see hope there. All I could see was that so many bad things had happened and when I looked at the future all I saw was more bad things continuing to happen. God has brought light to that now.
So I feel like God has given me a panoramic view of what could be. I'm afraid my dream of having our own children will not come true. That's my biggest fear. But then the Lord plants the thought "What if God's plan, although different from mine, could still bring exponential joy and purpose and beauty and redemption?" He may want to fill our family with children in ways that I really can't fathom still. God's goodness for us may be much different from how we want his goodness to look. And surrendering my dream could be one of the most painful things I ever have to do. I know that God does not deny the pain and sacrifice that would entail. But for the first time I am able to see a glimpse of the hope and joy that could be possible in a different future than I ever imagined for myself.
"With what misgivings we turn over our lives to God, imagining somehow that we are about to lose everything that matters. Our hesitancy is like that of a tiny shell on the seashore, afraid to give up the teaspoonful of water it holds lest there not be enough in the ocean to fill it again. Lose your life, said Jesus, and you will find it. Can the shell imagine the depth and plentitude of the ocean? Can you and I fathom the riches, the fullness, of God's love?" ~Elisabeth Elliot The Path of Loneliness
These are things I knew mentally all along. Theologically I could agree with these ideas. But my heart did not want to believe them. The pain was so searing it was as if I could not believe them. I didn't even want to think about the possibility of surrendering my dream of biological children for a different future. And I didn't want to accept the fact that God could work through my pain and loss to still bring me a future of great hope and redemption. The thoughts were sorta floating out there but I couldn't bring myself to process through those possibilities.
Oh how kind and patient and tender my Jesus is!!!! Look at how he has been leading me slowly, step by step, week by week, so tenderly building my heart and my faith back up, slowly slowly speaking these truths over me and pouring a waterfall of his grace over me to be able to say yes to him again. It's small and quiet and slow and gentle. I have not arrived at 100% (no one ever does anyway). It's always a journey and there will always be growth and then loss and faith and then struggle. But there's hope again and light in my future because of Jesus!
I've thought a lot about the process of grief and faith and loss and doubt and how this whole timeline actually plays out with God. If right after our miscarriage someone had come to me and said "Ok now you need to surrender your dream of children to the Lord and just give that to God and be ok with adoption or not having kids" I would have said NO WAY. It wasn't the right time for my heart yet and God had not led me to that place of surrender yet. That's the key: it has been God who has led me through every stage and step and place of this journey through grief and loss and disappointment. I couldn't hurry or rush any of it. He knows the time my heart needs for healing and growth and trust- for surrender and abandon. He doesn't demand surrender from my bruised and broken heart and my crushed spirit. He leads me to that place ever so gently and lovingly because he knows my frame and that I'm just dust. He doesn't just want my empty hands. He wants my heart. And he wants me healed and whole and full of hope again. So he'll take the time to carry me along, build me back up, sing over me, and whisper his truths to me in ways that I can finally accept it.
Even with all that said- I'm not fully there yet and I don't sense that God is asking that of us yet. That day might come, and I could face it with much more hope than I ever could have before- but that day isn't here yet. So for now we're still asking for a miracle!
The words "audacious hope" have been stuck in my head for weeks now as I think about our upcoming IUI.
au·da·cious1. extremely bold or daring; fearless2. lively; unrestrained; uninhibited
Previously I tried not to hope too much (which never really worked!) because I so despised the crash of disappointment. It even felt like having hope was embarrassing. "Keep expectations low and then if things don't work out then it's not such a big deal." But no matter how much I tried to tell myself that or act like that, hope was always there, even if just a smoldering little flame.
Now God has given me lots of hope and I want to embrace it as fully as possible!! I think of all the stories in Scripture about impossible situations, giants in the land, death, armies advancing etc etc.... and God always called for a hope that was so big it just flew in the face of any obstacle and challenge! So I want to have an audacious hope that dares to believe that God CAN do a miracle in a situation that feels impossible! That's what our elders prayed for and that's what we are believing God for as well. It may not be God's plan this time or ever, but we don't know that yet- and so I really do think it honors God in this situation to ask him boldly and really believe in faith for his miracle of a baby for us. So please pray big and bold for us too!
I'll update again soon once we know when the actual IUI will be. Thanks for being part of this journey with us. We feel strength from your prayers and support.