October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
And back in the deep recesses of my mind, I often wonder if people think I've gone off the deep end. If they're sitting around wondering why it is that I still talk about our precious #3 and #4. If they wonder why I haven't moved on. The answer is simple.
I don't know why God chose us to bear these burdens, but I know He has a purpose in them, through them.... for them.
So, I can't.
He's slowly revealing to me that I don't carry this burden alone. I know this intellectually. I know that He's here with me, carrying me through the hurt and pain. I know that there are thousands upon thousands of other women carrying this same loss with them, day in and day out. It's one thing to know it. It's another to have it revealed to you in ways that are tangible, that you can grab a hold of and hang on to.
There are women carrying this burden, feeling alone. They lay in bed at night wondering what they did to anger God. They wonder if they did something to cause it. (Was it the Advil I took? Maybe that night I took the allergy medicine. We did just get back from Silver Dollar City - was it the rides, Lord - I didn't even know I was pregnant then). They wonder what their baby went through. They wonder if it'll happen again. They despair over if they even want to try again for fear of going through it yet another time.
They're out there, suffering in silence, wishing someone understood them.
So, I can't.
As #4's due date rapidly approaches, I'm overtly aware of the empty arms I have. The arms that could've been filled with not only Anna and Eli, but with an almost 2 year old bouncing around. Arms that would also still be eagerly awaiting the arrival of a 4th. Arms that now ache to have held them. Eyes that wonder what they would've looked like. If they would've been a boy or a girl. If they would've looked like me or Mark. A nose that longed to breath in their sweet baby smell, a smell of lavender baby wash and baby lotion. The sweet milk smell on their breath. I long for those things.
So, I can't.
I can't let go. I can't refuse to talk about them as if I never carried them inside of me. I can't. There are those suffering in silence. And more than anything I want them to know they're not alone. That it's okay to talk about it. That it's okay to miss someone you never even got to meet. Because it is. It's okay.
But I also want people to know that it's okay to let go. It's okay to release them into the arms of Jesus. They're already there. Yet I often find myself hanging on to them as if they're not. As if they're not sitting in His lap, free of tears, free of sadness, free from the pains of this world. But they are. They're far happier now than they ever could've been in my arms. And that's hard to accept. It's hard for me to let go, knowing that God had a plan for their lives. That He has a plan for my life and that through their lives and deaths that He has a plan that will only bring me good. That's hard. But day by day, I'm finding it to be true.
I'm stronger than I thought I ever could be. I've endured more than I thought ever possible. I remember being a young bride, having all these hopes and dreams. I assure you, two miscarriages was not part of the dream nor in my plans for us.
But it was part of His plan. And His plans always trump mine. And even when I don't understand and when I don't like His plans, they far exceed anything I could ever hope for myself.
While finishing up a Beth Moore study on James, something she quoted someone (Kurt A. Richardson) saying really stuck with me. I share it in hopes that it too can help you.
"Here is the sobering truth about the nature of trials in the life of righteous persons, that God allows them to be tested in order to prove their faith."
Beth followed up with "God can't lie (see Num. 23:19), so His boasts are always based on truth. He permits and sometimes even dictates difficulty for those in whom He boasts so that they will prove what He already knows is true. The Lord does not put us to tests that He knows in advance that we don't have the wherewithal to pass. He boasts in His faithful followers then lets them prove Him right.... How will we ever know what He's accomplished in us if He doesn't show us? And how will Satan otherwise be proved a liar in our eyes?"
Soak that in for a moment.
God boasts in me. In you. He gives us trials so that we can prove Him right. Prove what He already knows is true about us.
Don't rush past this. It's critical.
Sometimes we don't understand. We can't see past the hurt, the tears, the pain.
But He can. Dear friend, HE CAN!
He knows our capabilities far better than we ever could.
So, He boasts in us.
And that amazes me.
He's boasting in me. All the while, sitting back knowing that I will prove Him right. Somehow. Some day. Perhaps in some ways I already have. I distinctly remember saying after we lost #3 "I can't do this again" and well, here I am.... enduring again.
Because He knew I was capable of handling it. Sometimes I think we equate our capabilities with what we want or are willing to endure. Not actually what we're capable of enduring. And there's a distinct difference.
So, while I can give my babies to Jesus, knowing they're safe with Him and that He has a plan and purpose through it all, what I can't do is forget. Because He's boasting in me. And through it all, it's my truest desire that I can prove Him right. After all, He's already said I can. I just need to remind myself of that.
So, I can't.
I won't. I refuse to forget. Because it's through these trials that He's revealing things to me. Revealing that, through Him, I'm capable of far more than I've ever dreamed. That I'm stronger than I ever gave myself credit for. That there are others out there who need to hear this message. Others who need to let go, while still holding on to His promises.
So, I can't.
Praying you hold on to those promises, to His boasts in you, while simultaneously letting go and releasing them to where they already are.
Let's prove Him right, dear friends.