Last week Sunday was Mother’s Day. I remember being intentional about praying for those mothers who have lost children and for those who aren’t able to have children. Later in the morning I used an illustration by Vince Antonucci about abiding in Christ. I used my wife’s pregnancy as an example of abiding.
This week Wednesday Jenny went shopping for some maternity clothes with her mom and a couple of friends. It was my first time taking Toby and Lydia for an entire day. I got text messages from Jenny sharing how much fun they were having. On the way home though things quickly changed and a stop in at the doctor revealed some really hard news.
I’ve spent the last few days trying to get my head around everything. I know we are not the first to go through something like this, and I know we will not be the last. I know it is easy to go down all kinds of trails. Some of those trails are helpful and others leave you more lost and more frustrated than before. I’d like to share my story in how I am processing this. Please know that this is not the way for you to process nor is it the way Jenny is and will process. Instead of unpacking all of my thoughts during the pregnancy and the first day and half of living in the new reality – I am going to share what happened in a half hour time in prayer.
I sat down unsure of how to unpack my thoughts and chose to write out some of what my heart was thinking to the Lord. This isn’t something I do on a regular basis, but it is something I am quite comfortable doing. There was one reoccurring word in this journaling and that was the word stuck. I felt stuck in knowing how to look back on the baby. I felt stuck in how to live in the current reality. I felt stuck in the future not knowing how to move forward. There were parts of me that just wanted to move on but feared others might interpret such actions as callous and uncaring. I felt stuck in knowing how to be present for Jenny in her grief let alone the physical realities she had to live. I felt stuck because I didn’t feel overly connected to the baby. I never heard the heartbeat like Toby and Lydia, we didn’t know a gender, and it happened so soon that all of these things left me feeling distant from our child. I also felt stuck in trying to understand God’s plans, timing, and ways. Did he not have dreams for this child? Did he not have plans? What am I supposed to learn in this?
I finally sat still and asked God for a verse. Anything that I could just grab a hold of. I heard Ezekiel 7 four three. Now, I don’t have the Bible memorized, but my logic told me there is no Ezekiel 7:43. I didn’t even open up to confirm what I thought. I pleaded with God that I didn’t want to manufacture this. I really am just seeking him, and then it was as if the Lord said, “Repeat after me – Ezekiel 7 is for me,” (not four three). I quickly opened to Ezekiel 7 and read the heading. The End Has Come. For me these words had such depth. The meaning was layered in countless ways. As I read through the chapter (which is quite dark and not to be interpreted in a way that God was bringing judgement on our family with this) I was reminded time and time again of God’s love. Some of you may read that chapter and wonder how, and I can’t explain it. Chapter 7 ends with this, “Then they will know that I am the Lord.” What I received was permission to move on. I didn’t need to feel stuck, I just needed to know that He is God, and He is good. This doesn’t mean I leave Jenny in the dust or pull her along. It just means I don’t have to sit around stuck.
The Lord also gave me some other things that were very encouraging that I believe were for our family only. We have cried, we have laughed, we have felt crushed, and we have felt blessed. We have been greatly encouraged by both family and friends. But most of all, we have felt very loved by God through this all. I know that can sound pastory or that is what Christians are supposed to say but it really has been our reality and for that I am grateful!
My above post is a couple weeks old but today I found an entry by Chris Elrod that goes along with this. You can read it (here).