I'm not sure if you've had one of these kind of days like today but it was a day like many of mine before.
Sure, I was walking around doing my job...researching new library books and counting up PB&J sandwiches to make sure there was a proper lunch count. Smiling at co-workers and making small talk about the weekend. I looked very normal and that was the goal. With weeks of asking my peers to be patient with severe morning sickness, the last thing I wanted to do was to spill my struggling heart to innocent by-standers. I was the picture of "common".
Except I wasn't.
From the minute I got up and maybe a few hours last evening, I became plagued with fear. I desired to toss my beliefs and wallow a bit in the darkness that was enclosing my brain.
I was in an argument with God.
(I can hear my mom gasp right now..."WHAT? Did she actually say she was arguing with God??")
Yes, Momma. There is no point in lying. He was hearing my heart loud and clear.
I wish I could say differently but the truth is, it doesn't take much for me to fuss at God. It's my biggest area of needed change. I'm a perpetual 9 year-old Christian!
Today's argument went on a while. It was an area deep within myself that I have visited times before but quickly desire to close the door and forget about.
I've been waiting to talk about my pregnancy for various reasons. Honestly, it came so unexpected that it has taken me some time to accept it...if I have yet? Shortly after finding out, like clock-work, I was familiarly sick. In the past I've been able to camp on the couch for a few weeks to get through it but now I work full-time so much of my energy is spent at school and when I get home-I crash.
But mostly, my hesitation comes in the form of trepidation.
You see, three years ago as many of you remember, I miscarried. I was nine weeks along (as I am now) and it was such a shock after the blessing of seeing the baby and a healthy heartbeat a few weeks earlier. It was harder to work through than I anticipated but more surprisingly is the "aftermath" of trauma that I'm having in this pregnancy.
Because of the last failed pregnancy and my age when delivering (ancient "35"), I'm high risk. My doctor has followed this pregnancy..literally...moment by developmental moment. I've known since 4 weeks pregnant and I've had an ultrasound every week. I've seen everything from when there was nothing to really see to...bam! Baby and heartbeat. It has been amazing. But,
I can feel myself trying not to love it.
Of course, it's not working. Even more than the typical mom, I have a visual intimacy with this baby that most are not so blessed to get but really-it's not like they are any different than me! I can't think of a woman who has gotten pregnant that doesn't concern herself with the idea that she could miscarry in the first trimester. We all deal with the uncertainty of whether we will get to hold our babies. That's not up to us. If you try to maintain and control it...it's like, well...trying to grasp water. It's just not possible.
Still, I argue with God for the outcome. I know the fear will subside when I give "back" the baby He's fashioned in my womb but...I don't want to! I want this one, Lord. He's made us to desire for children. It's a good thing-this plan I have in my mind.
I ask Him for help. I know He has graceful ways to open my fingers to what is His and I pray that He will teach me with patience. My heart is still jumbled from my last loss and I need Him to move slowly...to give grace for understanding and mercy for my stubbornness.
So, I sneak down to the cafeteria for morning chapel. One of my favorite teachers, Mr. Heavner has already begun but I slip into a chair as he's telling a story about saving for something He really wanted as a teen. He mentioned sacrificing lots of good things like sleep and Saturdays to work for his prize. And then, He asked a question that I had never thought about.
You see, it's easy for Christians to commit to the idea that they are willing to give up something bad for something good. That's a no-brainer. We read the scriptures about what bad things can bring us versus good and with the exception of the "bad but good for a season" junk that trips some of us- we accept the knowledge that "good" is a better deal.
But...are we willing to give up something "good" for something "better"?
I mean, God calls us to that just as much.
Are we willing to give up the dreams, hopes, well thought out plans and ideas that we've created for the "better" that God has in store?
I stole the phrase from my good friend Lori but it's true...Whose story do you want written? Yours or His?
This is a tough crossroads to work through. It's easy when small things are on the line but when the "better" might be the loss of a child like the Chapman family or my sweet friend Jill who has lost two babies in a row to miscarriage and an awesome mother to cancer...the answer is harder to form.
I felt the Lord begin to gracefully open my mind to His constant love for me and His faithfulness to always do good. I was inching my way towards truth and then I was catapulted by a song I heard on the way home.
Stephen Curtis Chapman added a verse to his song "Yours" after the death of Maria. I had to pull the car into a parking lot as I let myself take in the fullness of what the words meant in light of the choice He and really...all of us have to make at some point.
"I’ve walked the valley of death’s shadow
So deep and dark that I could barely breathe
I’ve had to let go of more than I could bear
And questioned everything that I believe
But still even here
in this great darkness
A comfort and hope come breaking through
As I can say in life or death
God we belong to you.
And it’s all Yours God, Yours God
Everything is Yours
From the stars in the sky to the depths of the ocean floor
And it’s all Yours God, Yours God
Everything is Yours
All the greatness and power, the glory and splendor and majesty
Everything is Yours"
At the end of the day:
This baby is God's.
By His grace and power in me, I will always choose to be willing to give up my something "good" for His something "better".
Mostly importantly, faith is believing that no matter how it looks or feels...if it comes from the hands of God- it is best.