It was early December, my husband and I were driving home from a movie and I was half way through a Snickers bar when I felt an peculiar unsettling in my stomach. From a Snickers bar? I never met a candy bar that made my stomach turn! This feeling was acute and different, and I knew immediately what it was, just like I had known twice before.
I was pregnant!
We stopped off at Walgreen’s before going home to get a pregnancy test and later that night the two pink lines confirmed it.
My two previous pregnancies and deliveries were healthy and problem free, so we saw no reason not to tell our friends and families and acquaintances and the checker at WalMart as well as to post an update to my MySpace page along with the song “Bubbly” by Colbie Caillat. We were finally in a season of life where all I had to focus on were my husband and two daughters, and adding another one to the mix could only bring excitement and joy.
Immediately the expectancy of a new baby brought a fresh hope into our home. My oldest daughter greeted me every morning with kisses on my belly. I daydreamed about what she would look like and played around with different names. And, as we sat gathered around the Christmas tree a few weeks later, with paper, ribbon, and bows strewn across the family room, there was one gift left under the tree – her daddy had purchased and wrapped a stuffed lamb unbeknownst to me. This baby was real, she was ours, and the small present under the tree was proof.
A few days later on New Year’s Eve, I began cramping and spotting. In my heart I knew what was happening, and on January 2 a doctor confirmed the worst: my womb would not produce life, but death.
As women, we get to be active participants in God’s very first command to mankind, “Be fruitful and multiply.” I loved being pregnant. I loved the intimacy of having my babies closer to me physically than any other human ever could be and closer than they ever would be again. I loved giving birth. And, oh, how I loved the moment when each of my babies was placed in my arms for the very first time. In a moment I was so full of love I thought my heart might explode! I so longed for all of that again as I was sent home knowing that in a matter of days there would be no trace of my baby in my womb. I would never hold her, compare features between her and her sisters, hear her call me by the most beautiful word in the world “Mama,” or have the privilege of teaching her to read.
As I walked through the valley of the shadow of death, I began to question so much of what I had been taught, believed, and taught others to believe.
What happened, God, to the plans you have for me? The plans to prosper me and not to harm me? Your plans to give me a hope and a future?
I have spent my entire life delighting myself in you, God! What about giving me the desires of my heart?
Author Eugene Peterson, in his introduction to the book of Leviticus said:
We are stubborn and insist on domesticating God determined to tame Him. We figure out ways to harness God to our projects. We try to reduce God to a size that conveniently fits our plans and tastes. But the scripture is even more stubborn in telling us that we can’t do it. God cannot fit into our plans, we must fit into His. God is alive on God’s terms.
God Himself said it best through His prophet Isaiah:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
We must live in response to God, as He is, not what we want Him to be.
When I was able to do this, I remembered a very simple, timeless, and Holy truth:
He will never leave me, nor forsake me.
Where were you God when the pain hurt so deep I thought I might shatter?
“I held your trembling body as you buried your face in the couch.”
Where were you when silence screamed within me because insecurity convinced me no one wanted to listen?
“I heard every unspoken word.”
And where are you now when I smile at the endless chatter of two girly voices only for my eyes to fill and my throat to swell because there is no third voice?
“I am here, hearkening to the voice of your third daughter.”