I might have shared this part of our journey before, but it keeps coming to my mind as I pray over a current situation. I figure it is relevant to the things God has been speaking into my spirit lately. So if I have shared it before, here it is again.
The night that our baby boy, Nicholas, passed away, I was still an inpatient at the hospital. This was the day after he and Sophia were born so it was only a day out from my c-section. That night my alarm went off to get up and pump (the nurses encouraged me to attempt to pump breast milk every three hours). I turned my alarm off, sat up, and reality swarmed me. I began to sob. Why did I have to wake up? This was a nightmare. How could this be? One of my twins were in the morgue somewhere and my other was isolated, fighting for life, unable to be held, hugged, and comforted.
My wailing woke Brian up from the nearby couch. He came over to hug me. I remember wishing I just hadn’t woke up. No, I didn’t want to die, but I surely didn’t want to have to live this life. The most significant thought I remember having is, “I will never smile again.” In that moment, I truly believed that I would never be happy again… that I was stuck trying to make my way through a life without any happiness. That overwhelmed me so much that waking up was the hardest part of my days for awhile.
Well I tell you, having lived through this, that the enemy is a liar and a thief. He whispered that lie to me over and over, stealing my hope. He knew if he could convince me that life would just be downhill from there, that I could let my heart grow cold and bitter. I could believe that I was forsaken and forgotten. I could give up on the promises of God. I mean, clearly holding my lifeless son was seemingly proof that God had failed me. I repeat, the enemy IS A LIAR AND A THIEF.
Recently, I watched a dear friend battle a heavy, life-changing situation. I boldly told her to not worry, to let God fight her battles, and that injustice never prevails. I prayed fervently for her, thanking God for favor on her, quoting bible verses reminding Him that He says “no weapon formed against us shall prosper” and that we “shall have what we believe.” Well the situation came to a conclusion totally opposite of what I was expecting and believing for.
Devastated doesn’t begin to describe the feeling. I immediately went into prayer mode… “Lord, I thank You that You are a God of turnarounds! I thank you that this situation is NOT over and You are who You say You are!” I prayed God would show me how to help resolve the situation and change the outcome. I started that day truly believing the situation was not over and we would see miraculous, unprecedented turnaround. Three times that day, I heard from three different people, “what if that’s not God’s plan?” The first time, I asked the person to please not speak doubt into the situation because I was not entertaining that possibility. The last time? I felt my surrender.
I grew frustrated with God. How could He allow me to speak on His behalf and then not show up? It was like referring someone to a “great” restaurant and then them getting food poison. I quickly started throwing in the towel on other situations, vowing to not step forward for God anymore. I could feel God asking,”So you’re going to trust your sight now? You’re going to question whether I can still shower her with favor, but in My way?” I recognize that one thing that hinders my faith is the fear of disproving God instead of pulling people closer to Him.
A tearful phone call a few days later gave me perspective. My “faith-check” friend (if you don’t have one, get one quick) pointed out that I knew better than this. That although the situation might not have panned out the way that we wanted it to, God’s plan is far greater than we could ever imagine. This was not the end and God is indeed the God of miraculous turnarounds, even when they appear differently than what we’re looking for. He does have plans for the good of us, plans to give us hope and a future. A confident hope. A future beyond what we could dream of. To deal with my feelings of disillusion, she led me to the story of Jonah. I knew Jonah was disobedient and was swallowed by a fish, yada, yada, but I never paid much mind to the end of the story. When Jonah finally was obedient and shared the news with the town that he was assigned to, God changed His mind. Although, this story doesn’t exactly parallel the situation because God changed His mind to spare the town, nonetheless, God changed His mind for the overall good.
I might not see how this situation was “good” for my friend, but I believe, with ALL my heart and every part of my being, that one day she will see how this situation has led her to better… greater than she could have imagined. In the meantime, I hope that even in her confusion and anger, she will still turn to God. Turn to the One who could have kept her from these circumstances? Yes. Yes, because He is the one who will introduce her to a greater peace and joy than circumstances. He is the One who will take her to places she didn’t even know she wanted to go.
Of course it still hurts that Nicholas is not here with us and Sophia still faces so many struggles developmentally, but I tell you… if you were a fly on the wall in our house, you’d never know our sorrow from the joy that resonates throughout this house. I often think if I could change things, would I? That’s a loaded question. Undoubtedly, I wish I could have carried my babies full-term and brought them home healthy. On the flip side, with so much loss, we have gained so much more. That’s hard for me to say because I feel like I’m dismissing the importance of my baby boy’s life. I’m not. I know where He is though and I find overwhelming peace through my sorrow in that truth.
So my heart’s desire is that when we feel confused and upset about what God “allows” to happen, even death, that we choose to trust. I don’t know all the why’s and how’s of God, but I do know first-hand of what He can give you. I describe it as peace and joy, but truly no words could describe the treasures He has for you. The other stuff, worldly stuff, is icing on the cake but trust me, you’ll want His treasures first. Give Him a chance. Let Him show you the amazing life He has for you that isn’t dependent on circumstances. The thing that will help you survive that season is the same thing that will help you thrive beyond the season. You have to take that step, though. You have to turn towards Him and choose to trust.