There was a time when a positive pregnancy test meant unhindered joy and excitement and we simply couldn’t wait to tell our family and friends the wonderful news. Unfortunately, that time for us was short lived. In fact, it ended as quickly as our first pregnancy did. When we lost our first baby, pregnancy suddenly mutated from a thrilling, dreamlike experience to a battle for joy, peace, and trust in the Lord’s sovereignty.
Each time we found out we were pregnant, the joy of a new life growing within me was also mingled with the painful reality of how quickly that new life could slip away. My husband and I have had to offer up each new baby to the Lord, trusting in his good and holy will, and praying for his peace which surpasses all understanding...
Many of us live under the false notion that we don’t truly need Jesus every day of our lives. Sure, we may not say it out loud or even dare to think it, but our daily lives profess it–our preoccupation with self and the world prove it.
Yes, we love our God and are so thankful for the salvation he has provided for us, but when it comes right down to it, we think very little of him in our daily duties and decisions. We go about our lives as though we’re strong enough to overcome sin and do good in our own strength, or worse yet, we give up the fight completely, content to live our earthly lives in a state little better than an unbeliever...
I have come to the point in my life when I can honestly say I am well acquainted with grief. I’ve now lost three of my grandparents, watched as my father navigated through the despair of losing both his parents within a month’s time, and have had two babies taken from me before they were even born. One of those babies was big enough to hold in my hands and burry. Yes, I know what grief is.
Grief is a terrible, debilitating reality that affects us all at one point or another. It is like a crouching lion hiding behind the tall grass of happy moments, waiting for an opportunity to pounce upon its prey. In this world, death and sickness are realities that plague the human race; enemies that our first mother and father allowed to slip into existence through the willful decision to sin.
A Question from a Reader:
I recently had another (this makes 4) friends from high school die. It wasn’t until I heard the Pastor at my friend’s funeral say “God didn’t want Cody to die at such a young age” that I realized I guess I believed God knew what was going to happen before it happens. I had no idea I thought that all this time, and then started questioning my whole belief system when it comes to death. I don’t believe God knows everything we’re going to do, we have to be left to make our own decisions (and hopefully the right decisions) otherwise you get into predestination etc… So I’ve completely confused myself and would love your input if you have the time! ~Lindsey
As mothers, we have a choice to either believe the world and view the daily difficulties of motherhood as an unfair burden or to believe the Word of God and view them as divine gifts meant to draw us closer to our precious Savior. The fruit of believing the world’s lies is anger, bitterness, discouragement, and dissatisfaction, but the fruit born from the Spirit as we trust in the eternal Word of God is joy, peace, perseverance, and sanctification.
For this reason, I would submit to you that your children are not just blessings when they are clean, obedient, joyful, and sleeping peacefully all through the night. No, children are a blessing in every way, even when they demand all that you have and seem to suck the life right out of you, because it is then when they have indeed sucked all of your selfish propensities and self-centered desires from you, that you reflect your Savior the most. It is then that you must cling ever so close to the cross and allow his sanctifying blood to drip over you and create in you a new person–a mother who delights in sacrifice...
I could hear an audible sob from my husband, but couldn’t bear to look back at him. My eyes wouldn’t move from that computer screen, the screen projecting our lifeless baby girl. In grainy black and white we watched as the technician traced his mouse over her tiny, motionless heart. I struggled as tears fell from my eyes and my chest began to heave.
A baby girl.
How often I had hoped and dreamed of raising a daughter, a woman I could disciple in the ways of Biblical femininity, a little girl whose hair I could braid and decorate with ribbon, a baby who would wear sun dresses in the summer and tights in the winter. But none of that mattered for those few minutes in that dark room. All that mattered was that she was dead, my little baby was dead.
Sleepless nights, hopeless days, blood shot eyes and puffy red faces: tokens of a sorrow running deep within our souls. And yet beneath the wavy, turbulent surface of our lives there rested a deep and abiding Spirit, a Comforter who anchored our faith.
“Will you give me your little girl?” I kept hearing those words over and over again.
With trembling lips and a frail countenance I offered her up to him as often as he asked; “Yes Lord, she is yours, I give her freely.”
Some wonder at our devotion to a God who would take something so precious from us, who would allow us so much hurt. Others look at us as spiritual giants who seem to possess such incredible faith. And all I can reply to both is, “How could we not love him? How could we not be completely devoted to the one who has given everything for us?”
If you truly met this Savior who loves his redeemed so deeply and serves them so faithfully, if you could see his blood stained brow, his nail pierced hands, his bleeding side, and you could hear him say he did it all for you, you too would give him everything, you would give him anything.
It is in these moments when I feel I can taste the devotion, wrought by the Spirit of God, tested by trials and upheld by his faithfullness, that Christian maturity longs for. It is at times like this that I can faintly taste the faith of our father Abraham, a man willing to do the unthinkable, because he trusted in the goodness of our God.
These most vulnerable of times, these most humble of moments seem to lift us to the highest of heights. We seem to almost feel God’s overwhelming presence. When our lives are stripped bare and we are left with Job’s bewildering poverty there is nothing to be seen but the fortitude of our faith, nothing but the grace of God bracing our frail spirits.
It seems that love is proven not in the heights of ecstasy, but in the pits of despair, when there seems to be no visible reason to give God our affections at all. Here in the pit of loss and longing our love is tested and tried. Here we are proven to be his beloved children, those who have been transformed by the inner working of the Holy Spirit, slowly being fashioned into the image of his Son.
And how brightly the Son shines in the darkness of despair. How lovely does he appear to his bride when she needs him the most, when she is shivering with grief. He, who cares so deeply for our every hurt, our every pain, carries us through such difficult times-times when our legs give way and we fear we will never again walk back into the light.
No, when he asked for my little girl, for my Anastasia, I couldn’t deny him. I could only thank him for the honor and blessing of carrying her for 17 weeks and then give back what was never truly mine to begin with.
When he asked me if I loved him, I could only respond with “How could I not?”