“Not a viable pregnancy.” I squeezed the phone and willed myself to keep listening as those four words settled onto my heart. The Friday morning call with my doctor was a short one and it confirmed our suspicions all along, but I still felt its impact in every part of my body.
That was over a month ago. And, in the weeks leading up to that call, phrases like “threatened miscarriage” and “lab results” and “hormone levels” had become a daily part of mine and T’s vocabulary. Upon learning of our first pregnancy, our joy and excitement were tempered with caution and anxiety, as symptoms that suggested something may not be quite right started to appear. After a battery of doctor appointments and tests, our fears were confirmed. We had experienced an early miscarriage; something our doctors referred to as a “false pregnancy.”
The thing is, there was nothing false or fake about the pain and the loss we felt when we learned that the sweet, healthy baby we’d been praying for wouldn’t be joining our family. We were heartbroken. We felt as though the rug had been pulled right out from under our feet, and in the days following that phone call we came to know what David meant when he wrote Psalms 6:6: “I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.”
We were incredibly sad, but as we began to process and pray through the pain, something else started to emerge. You see, Psalms 6:6 wasn’t the end of David’s story, and it’s not the end of ours, either. In fact, just a few chapters later, he writes this: “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” (Psalms 9:9)
Over the past few weeks, we’ve experienced and understood those words in a new and deeper way. In our pain, we’ve been reminded time and again of the goodness and greatness of the God we serve. A God who sees our tears and draws us closer to Him. A God who remains in control, even when our worlds are turned upside down. A God who not only saw our hurting but understood it because He, too, felt the loss of a child–His one and only Son in a gruesome death on a cross.
Even still, we know that like David, Jesus’ story didn’t end in dying and defeat, but in the glorious resurrection that conquered death once and for all. And in this season of life, more than any other before, I’m learning that because of Jesus—because of His victory—sorrow and joy are not mutually exclusive. You see, Jesus’ story of resurrection and life also belongs to those who follow Him, and that means that we can sing His praises in the midst of our most sorrowful moments. God is showing me that, even in the darkest of valleys, we have joy in the proof of our past and the promise of our future; that the facts of our “right now” last only a moment, but the truth of the Father is forever. And it’s because of that eternal truth that, even in the middle of our fear and suffering and utter confusion, we can believe that God is using our stories—our messy, painful stories—to produce fruit in us and grow His Kingdom. It’s here where we discover meaning and purpose for a dire situation that seems otherwise impossible to understand; it’s here where we find beauty in the brokenness.
Now more than ever, I understand that when we’re hit with trials or heartaches that can’t be fixed or explained away, we face a very real, very difficult choice. We can allow sadness to fester and turn to anger and doubt and bitterness. Or we can—against all odds and our own instincts—rejoice in the truth that the God who was present and faithful when life was easy and right is the same God who holds and protects us when our days feel long and dark and lonely. Don’t misunderstand; this rejoicing was not something that came naturally for me. It wasn’t instant or easy or even something that was possible on my own. It’s taken weeks of prayer and wrestling for this truth to travel from my head and take root in my heart. But every step of the way, God has so graciously and patiently waited, with gentle reminders of His love and His permanence. His Word has become more real to me and His people have encouraged me like never before. By His grace, I can walk into the future without fear or bitterness, but with joy and confidence.
T and I have talked about how, when we moved from Kentucky to Florida in June, we knew that this year would bring new challenges that would draw us closer to God and to each other. But neither of us imagined or anticipated the ups and downs that we’ve experienced in such a short amount of time. In the months and years to come, there’s no doubt that we will look back on February 2017 with sadness. We will always mourn this loss, but I hope that we also remember something else about this difficult season. I hope we remember the comfort and strength that wasn’t our own, and how we learned to trust God and lean on His understanding more deeply than ever before. I hope we remember that, even when we are shaken, He remains unmovable and steadfast. He remains confident and sure and true to His Word. He remains all-powerful and worthy of all praises. He remains.
Until next time,