Thursday, April 21, 2011

Courage, Dear heart- Part II



So continuing on from the first paragraph of the last post, I will continue to tell the story of our miscarriage and how it is shaping us.

It felt like time had stopped...

I was physically alone. I had told Kevin not to worry about coming with me to the ultrasound. I remember telling him that morning, "I'm sure it will be great! I just want to make sure." 

I was emotionally and medically feeling alone. I knew that only 1% of women who conceive have 3+ miscarriages in a row. Now I was in that dreaded 1%.

As awful as this sounds, God had a plan. He orchestrated the ultrasound to happen the way it did for a reason. It was probably the lowest point in my life when she told me, "Honey, it looks like the baby doesn't have a heartbeat anymore." But this ultrasound technician knew and loved the Lord and God allowed her to bless me even in that dark hour. She was more gentle and loving than any medical professional I had ever encountered. (This was at a free clinic I volunteer at, because my Dr's office didn't think it was necessary for me to come in for an early ultrasound since I had already had a healthy ultrasound 3 weeks earlier.) She said, "You can feel however you want to feel right now. Don't feel like you have to sugarcoat how you are feeling for me." She hugged me. She allowed me some alone time to call Kevin but also took as much time as I wanted to just sit with me and let me mourn before driving home. She would have driven me home, but I wanted to be alone. She told me the story of her sister who had battled infertility for 10 years and then had a healthy baby. She shared this glimpse of hope with me, knowing that we both love and serve the God of miracles. 

Matthew 19:26 "Jesus looked at them (I imagine this to be a look of intensity) and said 'With man this is impossible, but with GOD ALL things are possible.'"

I didn't even have to tell Kevin exactly what happened. He just knew. I called him, and asked for him to meet me at home. What totally shocked me about that day, was that I had a sense of calm. I literally felt like God had his hand on me and was holding me up. I felt like I had the strength of someone outside of myself. The reason I mention this is because I was so fearful all throughout this third pregnancy. I wrestled hard with God in those two months. I wanted to trade my fear for his peace, but fear raged in my mind. I say this because I want you to understand how real the fear was not only of losing another baby, but also because I was afraid of what it might do to my faith. I didn't know if I would be able to understand why a loving God could choose to answer our prayer for a healthy baby with a "no." I was afraid of a crisis of faith, and I was afraid of what my identity would look like when or if God didn't provide a solid place to stand.

Even and especially in these fears, I see now and trust that God knew. He knew another one of our babies would come to be with him so soon. He knew that we couldn't hold ourselves up alone. He knew Kevin and I couldn't hold each other up. He knew how fragile and scared and shocked we would be when we got the news each and every time (but especially the third time). And he really knew that in that brokenness and hurt, he would draw so very near. I wish you could understand what I'm saying, and maybe you can because you have been there. Like I said before, please share your story of how God cradled you close. God deserves ALL THE GLORY when he does amazing miracles like this.

My heart's desire is to convey to the world that God is there. He knows. In this mess...in the hurt...He will give you strength. If you trust Him as your Lord and trust in the power of the cross of Christ and the fact that SIN is defeated, you will receive power from on high. 

Acts 1:8 "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the Earth."

Kevin and I feel his Holy Spirit with us in a way we have never felt before. Looking back on those first few days, and really the whole last month that we have been processing everything, I feel like God has literally opened the floodgates and drenched us in his love. In that love that provides a feeling of closeness to the divine...a real supernatural strength. Strength to face the insensitive comments. Strength to get out of bed each day. And strength to make it through the dark nights, filled with memories of laying in dark ultrasound rooms. He has given us strength to mourn and grieve with joyful hope for the future. He is DAILY giving us the ability to rise and sing...to look ahead to the hope of heaven.

I hope all of this "uppity, motivational crap" doesn't sound corny and cliche. And trust me...I have many moments and times that I don't "FEEL" awesome about what happened, or the fact that I won't get to hold our babies until my life on earth ends. I have times that my heart screams out to God, "Why me?!" "Why do babies die?" "WHY do you let your children suffer so much?!" I'm no saint. I complain. I cry for the wrong reasons. But those times are growing to be fewer. I feel like I'm starting to "see" more than I could.  (Mary Beth Chapman's book Choosing to See has been an incredible healing tool God has used in my life.) 

It's like I was living in an innocent "easy-to-have-faith" life before we started trying to start a family. I was naive to deep, personal suffering (besides the divorce of my parents...which is no small thing...but having a baby stripped away from you is an intimate, personal pain that I never wish upon anyone.) I wanted to believe that life with Jesus is a life without pain and suffering. It was easier for me to believe and proclaim that life for Christians is "all good" when you pray and have faith. I don't know that I would have said I believed this, but I was truly a stranger to suffering. I had no way of connecting with Christians who felt depressed or angry with God. But I just want to say through my tears right now to you who have felt that way or do feel like God doesn't understand or hear your prayers in suffering...you're wrong. He cries with you. He mourns with you. He hears you.

Hebrews 4:15-16 "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need"

This scripture promises that he has felt everything we have felt. He has felt angry. He has been temped to succumb to depression and fear. Jesus was such an outcast! I am so comforted when I start to feel lonely and misunderstood by thinking about JESUS being mistreated and misunderstood to the point of crucifixion. Jesus knows. God knows how you feel. He sculpted your body in your mother's womb. He knows your inmost thoughts, and has since before you even took your first breath. And this scripture promises that we receive mercy and grace when we go to the throne of God asking for it, especially in our time of need.

I feel like my soul has been nurtured and protected...and is even starting to be replenished. I don't understand it, really. I'm almost confused at the converse reaction I feel to what I thought would happen in my life and in my faith. I thought another death would make me doubt his love, his power, and his goodness. All I can say is that I feel him near. In my deepest weakness, he has been my deepest strength.

I'll get into more specifics of how we have seen God wrap his arms of love around us and pull us into his hesed, "lovingkindness," over the next couple posts. But I do want to THANK you all for your outpouring of love and prayer. We have felt more loved and uplifted than ever before, and we have experienced the kind of community that brings healing through many of you. God knew we would need you, and he brought you into our lives for such a time as this. For that, I can't even express my gratefulness in words.

And for those of you who are afraid of bad things happening or who are going through trials, I echo what my sweet friend said to me and what I think God is saying to us, "Courage, dear heart." 
God knows.
Do not fear. 
Don't let your faith rest only in a God who gives you good days. 
He will show up in your weakness; He knows how to provide when you need him most. 
It is such an indescribable gift when He gives you more of his presence.

I want for you to swim in the ocean of love that he has for you. It's exhilarating. Not always easy or fun, but it's good. We serve a good God.

6 comments:

Elizabeth said...

my heart breaks for you, Olivia. i cannot even imagine the pain. you are an amazingly strong woman and beautiful inside and out. i will continue to pray for you and Kevin, and i truly hope God blessed you with a healthy baby very, very soon. hugs!

Elizabeth said...

blesses*

Kevin said...

I love this girl...I admire your ability to communicate all of this. You make me proud to be your husband. I love what you said about, "Don't let your faith rest only in a God who gives you good days." That's awesome.

MrsTullos said...

This made me cry...which was not good since I was reading it while I was watching a funny show with Austin and Seth. But seriously, I know that God brought you guys to our life because He knew what our futures would hold. It is precious to pursue joy with you and Kevin. Love you.

VaguelyAmused said...

Hey there! I read in one of your blogs that Susie Baruffi was your high school English teacher. I was one of her students back in 1995 in Missouri. Some of the alumni at my high school were trying to contact her about our old Lit Mag. Do you know if she still works in the Quad cities? Do you know if she's since married (wondering if her name has changed)? Any info you might have would be most helpful!

Cheers!

-Jay

Olivia said...

She lived in Springfield Illinois where I attended high school and was married with two adopted children I believe! She must not have changed her name though! If you get ahold of her please let me know!!