In October of 2013, I prayed a very sincere and naive prayer. “God, do whatever it takes to increase my faith.” I wanted to truly know that God heard me and that He could change my circumstances and my life, and I wanted to show Him that I was willing to follow where He lead. Life had not always been easy, but I have been blessed and it was always easy to follow God because my faith had never been tested. But I was longing for a deeper relationship with Him so my prayer for increased faith felt like a good next step.
In the time since that prayer, we lost a baby to miscarriage. My grandma who I was very close to also died. We chose to adopt a baby with special needs (something we never planned to do) and also almost lost him to death before his adoption was even finalized. I had the privilege of helping to start two completely new ministries for families who are among the most deeply hurting in our community. We lost our daughter Lily to stillbirth. We have had 4 foster children in our home, all who were deeply hurting. God has given me bigger opportunities to minister to hurting people than I ever expected and all of it was because I was hurting as well.
I could speak more about each of these experiences that I have been through and talk about how my faith was increased through each of them, but I don’t have time to write a book. All that I will say is that sometimes I thought that God had left me completely, only to discover that He was always there even when I was too lost to see Him. I truly believe that God does not cause terrible things to happen in our lives, rather, He takes the terrible things that happen and is able to use them for good and for His glory if we allow ourselves to be used in our pain and grief.
The healing and faith that it took to turn back to God and to trust him after Lily died almost broke me, and it has been a beautiful and messy process of healing to get to know God’s heart in a different way through my grief. I have recently been thanking God that He answered my prayer to “increase my faith no matter what it takes.” I must be a slow learner because it has taken a LOT to teach me.
As I write these thoughts, they are a bit jumbled in my mind. I’m having a hard time articulating with my small vocabulary the feelings that have been swirling inside of me in the last few weeks because we are stepping into yet another adventure that God has orchestrated for us. A few weeks ago we found out that we are once again expecting a baby. This news comes with surprise, excitement, fear, hope, anxiety and much grief as we remember the baby we most recently lost and process what this could mean for our family, good or bad.
Two dear friends have shared some words of hope with me that I cling to. The first is that I don’t have to move on. This new baby does not mean that I have to leave behind my grief for Lily. She will always be a part of me, part of our family, and we can move forward and love life again, but we don’t have to leave her behind or have a new baby take her place. The second is that Lily is rejoicing about this pregnancy along with us because she will be getting a new brother or sister. To take this one step further, I find comfort in the fact that if we are not meant to meet and get to know this baby here, he or she has a sister that will take care of him or her until we meet again.
I asked God to increase my faith and I think that what I was initially asking for was for Him to show me that He can do what I ask him to do. I now know that He can. But bigger than just my need for Him to show His power, and something that I didn’t know I needed to ask for came through our deepest loss. My faith was truly increased simply because I have had the opportunity over and over and over again to see that He is who He says He is. Our God is the same yesterday, today and forever. I now have total faith in this. And it gives me hope for this new baby and for all of us.
Scott and I have had 4 miscarriages, one stillbirth and 3 healthy children during the course of our marriage. We know that there is no guarantee of the future of this baby here on earth. But one thing that I am sure of is that our true home is with the Lord and we are promised that we will have an eternity with him. I believe that the 5 babies we have lost are alive and well and are serving their true purpose that the creator of the universe made them for. Their lives are not at all wasted just because they didn’t have time here with us. While we bide our time and do important work here, I don’t think we have even an inkling of the good things that God has in store for us when we pass on. This changes my prayer for this pregnancy and our baby.
I desperately hope that we have the opportunity to meet, raise, spoil and love this child like crazy. I pray for these things daily. But my faith in God doesn’t say that against our past odds, this baby will be just fine here if we have enough faith and pray hard enough. My faith says that God has shown me that He is the same yesterday and today and if His heart never changed during my deepest hurt, it will not waver if we lose this baby as well. And, this baby already has a wonderfully important purpose, whether part of that is here on earth or not. Death is not the end of the story, it’s only the beginning.
We would love prayers as we go through the “firsts” after losing Lily. The first time stepping back onto the OB floor at the hospital. The first ultrasound in the same place where we found out that her heart was no longer beating. The first time sharing this news since it ended in so much pain the last time. The fact that this baby is due 3 days after her birthday. These are the things swirling around in my mind and causing me grief and anxiety.
We choose to share our news early because we don’t have an end of first trimester “safe zone” to reach. We thought we were in the safe zone when we lost Lily. We know that even with an early loss, we will need prayers and support. Each OB appointment will be difficult until we hear the heartbeat or if we don’t. Each twinge of pain or discomfort causes anxiety. Each time I am not feeling sick to my stomach causes anxiety. Trying to plan for a new baby while simultaneously trying not to plan for a new baby is wreaking havoc on my emotions (along with the hormones!) and I know that we will need prayer support.
So, in the midst of all of this grief, I have decided to make the conscious choice to celebrate and be excited about this baby each day that I am still pregnant no matter how long that ends up being. I’m not looking too far ahead, but I’m looking forward to getting to know every detail of him or her, whether it be here or in heaven. And I will still selfishly keep praying for health and safety and the hope that we get to know this baby while we are still here. But either way, God’s got us and He never fails.