30 Oct COVERED BY HIS FEATHERS
During the time of waiting, when we didn’t know if the baby would be one we’d bring home or not, and during the months after the loss, God opened my eyes to so much. I learned truth that I hope I will cling on to forever, and I believe it has changed me for the better – as a mom, as a wife, as a friend, and as a believer in Jesus.
My husband, Joseph, and I learned that we were pregnant with our second child in June of 2016. Of course, in my mind at the time, I felt like it was taking longer than I had hoped to get pregnant, and we were aiming for that “ideal” two year gap between siblings. So phew! Answered prayer and hallelujah to this second baby! After our first appointment, I walked out of the doctor’s office numb and confused about my emotions. The baby’s heartbeat and size wasn’t what it typically should be, so we would need to come back in for another look the following week. We were hanging in the tension of everything being totally fine, or completely not fine at all. Another week and we returned with the same unanswered questions. Still a slower heartbeat, but no real conclusion. I had never experienced that kind of pull before – where my mind was doing tug-a-war with hope and reality. My first response was to disengage, protect myself, disconnect from this baby that may not make it into the world. However, I felt guilt about that, because I felt like I needed to believe for the best. We carried on in this period of waiting and unknown for the first 10 weeks of the pregnancy, asking family and friends to pray fervently for a change of outcome, but feeling unable to celebrate the life of this new baby. At the beginning of August we went in for another sonogram, which concluded that there was no heartbeat. A wash of both sadness and relief came over me. Relief to be beyond the purgatory of the unknown, and of course, devastated over the loss. And, then as is typical for me, I was ready to move forward with what was next and get back to where I “wanted” to be. But God, the One who carves our paths and authors each stroke, wasn’t going to let this suffering go by without using it for His good and His glory.
First, God had to teach me how to allow myself to experience emotion. I tend to be a person that wants to look “put together” on the outside, and will only break apart when I feel like nobody’s watching. So I decided I needed to FEEL it. To give myself permission to be sad and heartbroken and feel like things were unfair. “In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free.” Psalm 118:5. The more I allowed myself to be vulnerable and honest, the more healing came. And I think it was most important to be honest with God…He knows my heart anyways! So I began to open up to Him in prayer. I began praying my desires for the future, but also admitting the feelings of loss. This helped to cultivate deeper intimacy with Him. I didn’t have to come to Him with the “right” prayers, just the truth! I have learned that in the act of praying itself, God begins to shape our desires to be more like His!
While we were waiting to find out the outcome of our pregnancy, I began reading the book Hope Heals by Katherine and Jay Wolf and I finished it after the loss. They write, “We all probably have a straightforward picture in our heads of what our lives will look like and who we will become. The pictures are of wonderful things that happen at the exact right time, but when something happens that is not inside the four corners of that picture, we view it as a detour and hope to get back on track as quickly as possible.” For me, my first thought was, “Okay, what can I do to get pregnant again as soon as possible? Because I just need to get back to that place that I had already pictured in my head.” But this “detour,” and all the other “detours” I will experience are not off of God’s course, but are actually important pieces of the beautiful picture that God is painting for my life! God sees the entire picture, the masterpiece, and HE DOES NOT MAKE MISTAKES. Proverbs 20:24 says, “My steps are directed by the Lord. How can I know and understand His own way.” He knew this would be part of the story He is writing for me, and for my family. I can believe that God entrusted me with that experience, with that struggle, to bring me near to Him and to allow me to share His goodness with others, even in the pain. So that my hope wouldn’t be for an outcome – the outcome I wanted of having another baby. My hope is in Jesus. When I decided that my #1 goal was not to get pregnant again, but to know and trust and love and experience Him more, I could settle and find a place of contentment in my heart. My mom said to me, “You just rest, and let God surprise you.” I have clung so tightly to that, that calm trust with anticipation that God is doing far more than I could ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)
I also had to make a conscious choice to CELEBRATE exactly where God had me after the miscarriage. I couldn’t wait for the version of life that I thought I wanted. As 1 Thessalonians 5:15-16 says, “Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” The Lord was urging me to love every second with my 2 year old, and to love what my marriage looked like right in that season where we had a lot of time and energy to give each other. God called me to dive into the life I had RIGHT NOW with gratitude, and not focus on waiting for what I wished things looked like.
The Lord pressed upon me that He designs all kinds of families. My eyes were open to the beautiful, unique, perfectly created families all around me! It was a revelation that His timing and His planning of our family was more perfect than I could ever plan myself. I had a new confidence in the waiting, because what I was waiting for was going to be far better than I could ever guess or request in my wildest dreams!
God didn’t waste a moment in the weeks of the unknown or the months after the loss. When we learned that we were pregnant again in December, my hands were more open than they had ever been. From the moment I took the positive pregnancy test, I knew this baby was entrusted to God. She belonged to Him first, as He so perfectly knit her together in my womb, as Psalm 139:13-14 so beautifully describes. And amazingly, I didn’t feel the fear that I might have anticipated, but instead a freedom to know that He would walk with me through every moment on the road ahead. I could continue to celebrate – celebrate this new life growing inside me and continue to practice trusting in Him because He is good. Always.
Charlotte Wyn joined our family on August 23, 2017, one year after experiencing the loss of our second baby. The Lord keeps inviting me to cling tightly to Him in my fears and worries. We chose the verse Psalm 91:4 to have written in her nursery, to speak and pray over her, “He will cover you with His feathers. He will shelter you with His wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” The words remind me that I can look back and see His faithfulness, as well as look forward – trusting Him in His perfect plans and knowing that I am covered and protected by a most loving God in every circumstance.