Somehow part of my heartache healed when I heard my baby niece Maya’s first cry and saw her take her first breath. As we passed the one month mark of the miscarriage just a few days after Maya’s birth, my heart ached, but I also felt a release, like the worst of the pain was over. A new life had begun. This week will be the two month anniversary of the conception of our children. I have sensed God moving me forward in the last couple of weeks.
So many things have happened spiritually in the last weeks. Sunday night at church, after such deep grieving and the peace of God’s presence at Deeper Night, my body and mind were at rest and weary in a content sort of way. Still, the question I asked that night to my dear friend Ann, as she hugged me, wept with me, and prayed with me for a healing and a miracle, lingers in my spirit.
We were singing the song “It is well,” by Bethel Live. The tears overwhelmed me. I went to the front for prayer. As Ann and I cried for the little babies Josh and I lost, a question welled it within me. “Will it ever be completely well with me?” In my mind I know that God is faithful. I know that He has a plan. I know that it is well with me, because God is enough for me. Those beliefs I hold so dear bring me hope. I feel peace deep within my heart. Yet it still hurts. How it be completely “well with me” when it hurts so badly tonight? I am mourning the fact that I will never hold those babies’ hands or snuggle them in my arms. I will never feed them and kiss them good night. I will not meet them on this earth. I believe with all of my heart, though, that I will meet them in heaven one day.
This brings back to my mind another very difficult time when I often asked, in not so many words, “is it well with me?” In 1994, my Aunt Carol was diagnosed with Leukemia. Aunt Carol was my mom’s older sister and best friend. We spent every holiday with Aunt Carol, Uncle Tom, and our cousins when we were growing up. After Aunt Carol was diagnosed, they lived with us for a little while. Aunt Carol was sick for two and a half years. I remember my mom telling me that one time, when she went to a local church’s women’s event, one of the other women said something like mom, “if you just have enough faith when you pray God will heal your sister.” Well, my mom had faith. Aunt Carol had faith. We all had faith. Yet, on April 11, 1997, my Aunt Carol died in the hospital after being in a coma for a couple of weeks.
Even though I was only 14 years old when Aunt Carol died, I was devastated. It took many years of tears (and some counseling) to get to the point of coping and moving forward with life. For many years, I thought often of that woman’s comment to my mom. I have thought of it anew after losing the babies. We truly believed. Josh and I had faith. Our family, our church, our friends, and even our doctor all had faith. We prayed fervently. But God’s answer for these two babies lives was different than we prayed for. They most likely lived less than a week, although we will never know exactly.
No, our faith does not determine God’s answer to our prayers. I do not dispute that God DOES miracles and he DOES answer prayers in accordance with our requests sometimes. He has done it in my life. He has directly answered my prayers. The biggest example, among many, is the immense blessing of God giving me my husband, Josh. I prayed many, many years for him to come along. There were a lot of bumps in the road and moments of discouragement. But God knew he was preparing Josh for me and, when the time was right, in February 2012, we met. There are so many more examples. God has been immeasurably faithful in my life. He has done miracles of healing, miracles of language, and miracles of changing lives through showing his love through me. Praise Jesus!
So here is the ultimate question: how is it truly “well with me” when the answer we fervently prayed for and believed God for is NO? Will there always be a part of me that hurts when I think of the babies we lost, or when I think of Aunt Carol’s tragic death? I do not know the answers to these questions, not really. Maybe “it is well” does not mean, “it is all okay and I am not sad anymore.” Maybe it means something like “I feel God’s presence and have peace in the midst of sadness, and I will wait expectantly for how God will use this loss for good according to his plan.” I have a friend who I pray with regularly. She and I have talked many times about how God can still be good in the midst of tragedy. She too has lost a baby, and she loves Jesus. In my daily life, I have met many people who have suffered loss of a child, a spouse, a friend, a family member, or a dream of some kind. I think all of us lose something or someone dear to us at some point. I think that, if we are honest with ourselves, we all struggle with this question as our heart breaks: “how can it be well with me?”
Perhaps the question is not HOW but WHO. Of this I am confident: Jesus is the Comforter and the Healer. He is the Prince of Peace. He weeps with me when I weep. The loss of our babies grieves Jesus’ heart, too. Although I do not believe He causes tragedy and death, I do believe He is able to turn the brokenness into something beautiful. In my darkest moments, these are the core anchors that give me hope and keep me going. Jesus is my anchor.
My prayer now is simple: Come, Lord Jesus, Come. I need you. I will rest. I will wait. There are so many unknowns, so many questions and uncertainties (when should we try again? how will we pay for it? what if it does not work?), but now is not the time for answers. Right now, I only need the Presence of the Spirit of Jesus.
|Hope in the sunrise (Botswana, Good Friday 2009)|
I was unsure of whether the post this journal entry, but something inside me said that someone else, perhaps another woman who struggles with infertility or loss of a child, needs this.