A little over a month ago, just the week before Hope Spoken, I went in for my 20-week sonogram for Baby Mac #4. We see a specialist because of Cora’s cancer which is always a little nerve-racking in itself, but we had done it before prior to the healthy births of our two boys and we were expecting everything to be fine once again. We watched those amazing pictures of our baby flash up on the screen. We saw the cute little face, the sucking lips, we laughed about this baby who wouldn’t hold still the entire time…wondering how crazy our lives were going to be in just a few months…and we instantly fell in love. And then a few minutes later as we were sitting in the office talking to the doctor (who was filling in for our regular specialist) she told us there might be some problems. She handed us a list of things that could go wrong with the pregnancy or be wrong with our baby, gave us some options for testing and even asked if we would ever consider terminating this pregnancy. My heart broke into a million pieces as I even imagined choosing to end the life of this precious mover of a baby who was made in the image of God no matter how many “abnormalities” he/she had. Logically, it seemed like there was still a pretty good chance that everything the doctor was telling us could be nothing, but we felt like she was encouraging us to go ahead and grieve…to grieve the unknown. I could go into a lot of details because honestly it was a horrible appointment, but that’s not what is important. I felt an amazing peace sitting in that very un-peaceful room that day. And I am certain it was because the Prince of Peace was right there with us. The picture of hopelessness this doctor was painting for us contrasted with the strong and secure hope we have in Christ was so distinct. But as we walked out of that office, with the pictures of our baby and the list in our hands, I felt myself getting stuck in the “what-ifs”. I started negotiating with God.
Not us again, Lord.
We have already done our hard thing. And it was really, really hard.
I can’t live in a state of grief again.
Surely you are going to protect this baby and everything will be fine.
Please don’t take another one of my babies from me. Please, Lord.
We had decided not to share about the sonogram with many people because there were so many uncertainties and we felt like the reality was that we really didn’t know much. But I ended up sharing a little at Hope Spoken because I felt like it was an important piece of my journey. I was feeling like I was in a spiritual battle those weeks prior to the conference. I couldn’t think clearly, I was having trouble writing, my boys were disobedient and fighting a lot, and then we got the “bad” news at the sonogram. I found myself thinking again, do I really believe all of this that I am sharing? Is this really what a life of blessing looks like?
We of course were praying like crazy for the health of this baby, pouring out our hearts, and laying our desires for his/her little life at God’s feet. But we were also praying that if this was not His plan for this little one that we would trust God with the story He has written for our family. That it might be hard, but it was going to be okay. And He would be right there walking with us either way…showering his abundant blessing on our lives.
At 25 weeks we went back to the specialist for another sonogram. Talk about a night and day difference between appointments. I had a shorter sonogram and right away we knew that all the areas of “concern” were back in the normal range. Praise the Lord!!!! We didn’t even talk to the specialist that day. The PA told us that the specialist had signed off on my scans and that everything looked perfect. She didn’t even see a reason for me to come back.
I know very well that God doesn’t always answer our prayers in the way we think is best. His perfect plan can look very different from our plans. And sometimes His plan involves pain and heartache. We are so thankful that His answer to our prayers for this little one was health. But I know some of you are facing answers to your prayers right now that are hard and painful and don’t make sense to you.
The afternoon after the first sonogram I spent some time alone in the Word trying to quiet my anxious heart. I had been reading through the Psalms and read Psalm 23:
God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherds crook makes me feel secure. You serve me a six course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing. Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life. -Psalm 23 (The Message)
As I wrestled with God that day about the “unknowns” I felt a peace begin to return as I meditated on the Truth of His Word. Not a peace like I didn’t need to worry because the baby would for sure be healthy. But a confident trust. Knowing that my God, my Shepherd, was still walking by my side. And if the baby was not “healthy” by the worlds standards or his/her days were numbered too short, He was going to give me the grace to handle that when it came. He was going to continue to provide for all my needs, allow me to catch my breath, and give me constant security in a world that often feels very insecure. A friend had just shared with me the night before that they were learning that we can’t always be worrying about the “what ifs”, but instead we need to rest in “I AM”.
Thanks to all of you who were praying for our sweet baby. We are rejoicing and so, so grateful for “good” news. We can’t wait to love on this new little addition to our family. 27 weeks down…only 13 to go!!
Yet even as we rejoice, I know there are some of you who are in a waiting period, or even walking through Death Valley right now…facing disappointment, heartache and grief. I pray that no matter where you are on your way, you would be confident in the goodness of our God. That you would trust in who He is, your loving Shepherd who is walking by your side. And that when your emotions and circumstances try to tell you otherwise, you would bathe yourself in the Truth of God’s Word. He is always true to His Word.
I pray that we would not be women you get stuck in the “what-ifs”…
but that we would be women who rest in I AM.