Listening to God
Do you ever wonder if God actually speaks to us? (If you don’t believe in God then I guess I know your answer, but can I ask you to come with me on this one, just for a little while?)
I prayed A LOT when we knew that there was only one embryo. I prayed the same prayer over and over again “Lord, let this one survive.” I know I wasn’t alone – many of you were praying too. All I kept hearing was “Trust Me.” Let’s be honest, I didn’t want to hear these words! I wanted to hear “Yes, you will be a Mum.” I wanted my prayer to be answered in the affirmative.
I started to carve out more time just to be silent and listen to what I thought God might be saying to me. A few days later I know I heard from God when he told me to meditate on his word day and night. That sounded a bit tough to me, so I told him I didn’t have time. I was reminded of the ‘verse for today’ which comes up on my phone every day and felt prompted to read, memorize and reflect on this one verse, every day. One verse a day, that sounded doable to me.
This is what I read over the next few days. It really felt like God was speaking directly to me.
Not what I wanted to hear
I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. There is no way I could find joy in my situation. I was grieving. Rather than rejecting it outright, I reflected and prayed and realized that at least one part was true: I was clinging so tightly to God just to get through each day. My faith was being tested – can I still believe and trust in God when it doesn’t feel like my prayers were being answered? This may sound strange if you don’t have a faith, but I knew instantly that the answer was yes. (I will come back to this at the end of the post so please do read on.)
It’s OK to grieve
As I read these verses I was reminded that God knows what it is like to feel sadness and pain. Jesus wept at the death of his friend. It’s OK to grieve, to be crushed in spirit and to weep tears of sorrow and despair. I did. I didn’t leave the house for two days and sat on the couch binge watching Netflix! I think God sits especially close to us when we are sobbing and gives us comfort. I also think that he gives us the strength we need to keep on going. On my first day at work after the news, I read Isaiah 40:31. On that same day a friend texted to say she was praying that I would be buoyed up on wings of eagles. And do you know what? On this day I did feel this strength. I was able to laugh and joke with my team. I enjoyed the work. I was still sad that our baby hadn’t made it, of course I was, but I was also able to enjoy the present.
Praise and thanksgiving
Then every day for a week my verse was about praising God. So I did. Now, let me get one thing clear. I have not praised God for the fact that I’m not pregnant, nor for the children we have lost. I don’t believe that he wants us to either – he grieves with us for our loss. Nevertheless, I can choose to find reasons to be thankful. God has done so much for me, that I can praise Him for that. I also looked around me and gave thanks for all the blessings that surrounded me. I have been showered by love and encouragement and comfort from friends near and far. We were sent a delicious basket of food from colleagues, a friend sent flowers and a collection of books so I could lose myself in the world of fiction. I lost count of the kind words that people said to me and the messages we received. I feel privileged to have been invited into other people’s stories and to share their sorrows and joys. We are not alone and we don’t feel alone. Thank you. I have praised God for each one of you.
How am I ?
So if you ask me today how I am, then I can honestly say that I am strong. I am loved. I am optimistic for the future. And at the same time I am grieving the loss of a dream, the pain of a gap or absence in our lives, the sorrow at not having children of our own. I am also feeling a palpable closeness to God and a deepening of our relationship. There is joy in this trial – but it is still a trial.
The next chapter
This story isn’t finished yet. Whether or not we will have children only God knows, but I know that we’re not going through this alone. God is giving me what we need each day, and the love and support from friends and family are key to that.
I was so encouraged when I read this. Yes, this verse refers to our faith as Christians in Jesus, but today I also think it refers to my faith and trust in God for a family. I don’t see it yet, there’s no evidence to support my faith, but I do believe that we will get to hold our own child in our arms. One day I might tell you why I believe this so strongly!