Today is the day. Glory would have been one year old. Anna would likely have been born within the last week.
If our guesses were right, I would now be raising two daughters. Our two sons would have two little sisters to tease and look out for.
But instead of having 4 kids under 4, today we remain a family of four. And so today as we again say goodbye to the babies that we never got to hold, I am telling their stories. Their stories…which have become so deeply intertwined with my own.
In May 2016 I was surprised and delighted to see two faint lines on a pregnancy test. For some reason I just felt…different this time. And so I assumed this pregnancy was different than my first two…It must be a girl!
Only a week later I miscarried. “Different” may not have been about the baby’s sex at all. It was likely a sign of something wrong.
I was sad and quiet much of that first day, but over the next several days I simply sought the Lord. What many described as the most hopeless and lonely time in their lives, I was experiencing quite differently.
God’s presence in my life almost felt tangible. People from near and far reached out to me and mourned with me. I felt surrounded by love and grace and mercy. I felt confident that God would use our Glory for His glory. I felt HOPE, that He truly was building our family well.
Though I felt sadness, I did not despair. I rested in the arms of my Savior, and sought comfort at His feet.
Many months passed, and I began to feel a deep longing for another baby. It was hard to shake, and I began praying for God to bless us in this way. I prayed, crying out to the Lord, almost daily. After several weeks of pleading with God, I felt His Spirit within me calling, “Trust me.” From that point on, each time I began a prayer of asking God for a child I was met with a sharp conviction deep in my gut. A conviction that I was sinning against God through refusing to hand over this desire to Him.
With much prayer, I gave my desire over to the Lord. Day after day as the desire sprang up in my heart, I clenched it in my fist before releasing it to my Savior, saying “I trust you Lord. I want YOU to build my family as you see fit.”
As time passed it felt more natural to trust Him, and I began to trust that He would bless us with a child when the time was right.
Fast forward a few more months. I was ecstatic to find out that I was pregnant! Immediately upon seeing those two pink lines, I cried out in praise to God! I truly gave Him all the glory!
Through releasing my desires and choosing to trust Him, He really was going to bless our family abundantly! The pregnancy test, to me, was proof of God’s goodness!
We could barely keep the news quiet. We announced to my family, and then to my husband’s family, and then to several of our Texas seminary and church friends.
We had our first ultrasound and heard the baby’s heartbeat, and then we bursted with the good news to everyone! We went public with our pregnancy.
The very next day my morning sickness disappeared. At first I thought it must just be a good day, but the good days kept coming. A week later I knew something was wrong. I went in to my OB’s office, who said I could come in for “peace of mind”.
Once there, my fears were confirmed. Our precious baby had passed away in my womb, just one day after we had “seen” him or her on the ultrasound.
I cried and felt so broken inside. Why would God answer my prayers just to grab this child away from me? Why would God allow us to find “hope” in the hearing of our child’s ‘healthy’ heartbeat, if the baby would only live for one more day?
In my heart and mind, this baby was God telling me YES. So why did He change His mind? Would His plans really work out to what is best for me? Did He have some other reason for this? But I could come up with no answers. I felt like God had let me down. God….the only One whom I thought would never let me down.
As I woke up each day after the miscarriage, I would look at my Bible and say, “I really don’t want to seek You right now, God. I know I’m horrible for it, but I’m just not sure if I can trust You.”
And I would go about my day “in my own strength.” Or so I tried. All throughout each day, I kept hearing His still small voice whispering to me. “I am with you, my child. I will not leave you nor forsake you.” I brushed the “thoughts” aside, as I was unwilling to hear His voice. I was living in fear of Him, but also in fear of trusting Him again. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding,” He would whisper. For months my Lord pursued me, and yet as I built walls around myself I never felt a rebuke from Him. He gently called to me, proving His love to me. He never left my side–not even for a second.
After about four months, I was shocked to receive a message from a woman asking me if I would like to join a women’s ministry team in our area. I looked into my heart, and the struggles with doubt I had been walking through, and my first thought was, “I am unworthy to serve anyone right now.”
That still small voice piped up inside me again, “Rise and pray.”
And this time, I did. I spent three hours seeking the Lord and diving into His Word. He clearly spoke through His Word.
“Come out of the darkness and into my marvelous light.”
“It is time to awake out of sleep.”
“There is a time to mourn….and a time to BUILD UP.”
It was as if God was saying to me, “I have given you this time to grieve, and now it is time to climb out of this darkness and walk with Me once more.”
For the first time in four months, I felt hope. I realized for the first time that He had been holding me for the past 4 months. He had been nurturing me, wooing me, pursuing me, and earning back my love.
Humility washed over me, and gratitude like never before flew into my heart. ‘What did I ever do to deserve such great love? How can I ever re-pay?’ To think that GOD Almighty proved Himself to me rather than rebuking me is something that I can never express in a grand enough way. He owes none of us any proof, or explanation, or blessings. And yet He took the time to just hold me when I was broken.
This is the God I serve. This is why He is worthy of our love and service, worship and adoration, praise and gratitude.
As I search the Scriptures daily now, I keep finding more and more this character of God that I hadn’t quite experienced before.
In the grand story of the world, God has done this exact thing. Though the world has largely turned against Him and chosen to ignore Him, He has not left us. Instead He calls to us, seeking to restore us and hold us in His hand for all of eternity.
God. Is. Love. And He loves us so deeply that, while we were still sinners, He sent His only Son to die in our place. There is truly no greater love in all the world.
Today I often wonder if we will forever remain a family of four. For someone who has never imagined having less than five children–and those five all close in age–the thought of raising only two seems quite foreign, and quiet. (As if my two boys are ever quiet…)
My family may not look the way I imagined it to be, but wasn’t that the whole point of trusting God to build our family? We know that His plans are better than our own, and that His timing is better than our own.
Yes, I would like to have a large family. I would love the opportunity to raise a daughter. But just maybe, God has something different in mind for our family.
So now, knowing His great love, and knowing He will never forsake me, the choice is mine. Will I trust Him? Today, on this due date of both our lost children, I can say with a full heart, “Yes Lord. I trust You.”