But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Why write about something that hurts? Why write about pain, suffering, and heartache? Because, when I remember those things, I remember HIS work in my life.
I need to remember the strength and power of Christ. I too easily forget. It is not in my accomplishments, it is not in my dreams or goals, not in my "good" behavior, or in my completed tasks - at the end of the day, where Christ's power is, is in my weakness, in my suffering, in the things that hurt.
To share my weaknesses... why?
Because Christ did not die to create isolated worshipping individuals. He died to create Christ-exalting friendships. That is, he died and rose again to create the church. (taken from a sermon found here) We are not alone. We are to love one another, build one another up, encourage one another, admonish one another in the truth. Sharing my story, sharing HIS story in me, is all about bringing HIM glory.
April of 2008 Kenney and I decided to adopt from Russia. Lest anyone think that what I wrote below fueled the decision to adopt, read this again.
About seven weeks later I was pregnant.
In September of 2008, I had a mis-carriage.
From the beginning of the pregnancy I knew something wasn't "normal". There really was nothing different. I felt fine, looked fine, everything was ordinary. About 8 weeks into the pregnancy I had some spotting. I did the "google thing" and spent an entire night I think, looking up what it could be. Everything seemed to point to this could just be again "normal". Well, Kenney was so worried, which got me worried and we decided to have things checked out. Again, everything seemed fine. The baby had a heartbeat, which was again "normal".
We went home still feeling uncomfortable. We both knew something was wrong. God was preparing our hearts for what he already knew. I remember reading that almost all miscarriages happen in the first trimester. We just kept counting the days down, hoping to get past the 12 week mark, and be in the clear. Twelve weeks came and went, and the feeling still loomed. We prayed all the time, prayed for the life that was inside me, prayed for a healthy baby, prayed for God to comfort us. We prayed for answers.
Somewhere around the 15-16 week mark it happened. That morning my sister in law dropped off my niece Corrine as usual. The day began as usual. Me and the two kiddos were playing on the deck outside, and I remember looking out to the creek, and thinking the last summer flowers still looked so pretty. Lunch time happened, nap time happened, and then somewhere after that I had these terrible gut wrenching pains. No, they were NOT cramps. Nothing like cramps, nothing to be mistaken for a pulled muscle or girl things. I knew exactly what it was. It was labor. It felt just like labor with Tommy. I called Kenney and asked him to come home early.
He got home and took care of Tommy, somewhere during that time my sister in law picked up Corrine. I hid in the bathroom and cried. I can't even explain the feelings that washed over me. I was in so much pain that I had no actual thoughts, I just felt heartache. I just cried. Labor was nearly impossible. With Tommy through the pain and contractions there was always joy. I knew I'd be holding my newborn baby soon. This time there would be no baby to hold. Labor is difficult, but the end result makes it worth it. I felt exhausted, spent, almost numb. There was no end result I could look forward to. Kenney would come in and try to comfort me, but Tommy wasn't even two yet, so most of Kenney's time was spent with him. I remember crying out to God, I so badly wanted the pain to go away. I felt like I had come to terms with loosing a baby, but to still have to go through all this pain, it just seemed cruel and unfair. I wanted everything to be over. I wanted to go to sleep and wake up and forget everything that had just happened.
Hours passed, and finally Tommy was in bed. Kenney came in to be with me. He wanted me to go to the hospital. There was no way I was leaving the safety of my bathroom. I needed the comfort of quiet. I needed to be alone with only Kenney. I wanted my comfy T-shirt and bed to collapse into after this was done. I wanted the lights dim. I didn't want a hospital gown or bright fluorescent lights in my face. I didn't want anyone telling me it would all be okay, or it was for the better, or some other form of non-comforting words. For once in my life I had no words, and didn't want to hear any. I just cried. I never have cried for so long. Kenney cried with me. I remember him watching me. I remember there was nothing he could do. Every hour or so Kenney would ask if I wanted to go to the hospital and I'd scream violently, no. At one point I remember telling him he'd have to pick me up and carry me kicking and screaming. I am not a force to be reckoned with when I am angry I guess, seeing as he didn't take me!
Just as labor progresses with a full term pregnancy, so did mine. My water broke, I started bleeding. I remember reading that many women don't even recognize they are having a miscarriage because the baby can look like a large blood clot. Kenney kept asking if that was "it"? If it was over yet? And then the pain stopped, stuff poured from my body, and the pain was over. I knew the baby had been delivered.
I was shaking so hard. I stood up and there was a baby amidst the pool of blood. A little, perfectly formed baby. We imagined the baby to be a girl. She was so tiny, and fit in the palm of my hand, but fully formed. There were ten fingers and toes. Finger and toes with fingernails and toenails. Her skin was nearly translucent and we could see her heart, her bones, her organs, her spinal column. It was NOT a clot, a mass of stuff, it was a BABY. At that moment my heart broke. I mourned. I felt more grief than I had ever experienced. I felt the loss of our baby, but even more I felt the loss of every child never born. I saw a real baby. Things connected for me and became very real. I was nearly sickened at the thought of how many babies were never born because their mother actually chose to end their life.
I don't remember how long we just sat in silence. We just sat quietly, starring. We had no idea what to do next. I picked up the baby who fit inside the palm of my hand and carried her outside. Throwing her away seemed so inappropriate to us. It was chilly outside and I still was shaking so hard. It was dark and quiet. We decided to bury her with the wild flowers near the creek. I sat outside for along time, shivering in the dark. I prayed over and over again for wisdom. We lost our sweet baby, and time still went on. While I sat crying and feeling like the world had stopped, in reality moment after moment still continued to exist.
Yet, in that moment of pain and sorrow, of feeling so small and lost, I felt most loved. I thought about all the plans God had for us. I thought about a little boy a half a world away that wasn't dead, that still needed a mommy and daddy. I thought about people, people who lost their babies and weren't able to sit on their porch and cry and know their Father in heaven loves them deeply, The people who don't know Christ, and therefore don't know of His unending love. We went to sleep that night. And life continued on.
Today, I sit at this computer while five babies sleep under our roof. I sleep under a different roof, than I did in 2008. I have nieces and nephews. I have new friends and new ministries. I have new challenges and new struggles. My life has continued on, according to His purpose for my good. (Romans 8:28) To know, that when I seemingly had so much pain, so little hope, He was there, giving me grace and His power. His power to wake up again. His power to rejoice in the suffering.
Today, it is only four years later, but I think of the impact that one experience, one day in a lifetime of days, has had on me. Today, on my walk with the kiddos, we saw the dried wilted wildflowers of a summer past, and I thought about our little baby in heaven, and I smiled. I have no idea exactly how this experience will continue to shape me. I have no idea what His plans are for me, but my Heavenly Father deeply loves me, and He will continue to use each and every moment of my life for my good, to bring Himself glory! AMEN! I am thankful of His power in my weaknesses.