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love and the other door

“I hate You,” I cried out loud on my knees on my closet in our house in a small town in Tenn. “Are you serious, God?” “Where in the world are you?” I whimpered. I remember I spent significant time on the floor of that closet, unable to see through the tears in my eyes and hair in my face. Each February 13, I always feel a tiny bit of grief when I remember the due date of a very first baby. Summer 2012 was a tough season. We had been excited to announce the upcoming baby and had already bought the What to Expect When You’re Expecting book. So many dreams and so much joy…all brought to an abrupt halt.

It began in June when I went for the first sonogram and nothing could be seen, so I went back a second time in which the same happened. I had blood tests each time showing I was, indeed, expecting, but simply not seeing anything. In the meantime, summers are busy and full of trips for student ministry, so we were keeping busy with different outings and camps as student pastor and wife. At Centrifuge, I kept my phone around, so I could wait to hear the results from the last blood test I had taken the week before. They called and suggested I return after camp to give more blood. Needless to say, it was difficult to keep my mind on camp.

Back home, I went back to the doctor, and this time, I went to the OTHER side of the waiting room, not the side where all the pregnant ladies were waiting. The side I had sat on before. I had to go though the OTHER door, where all the other ladies who were not expecting sat. I felt incredibly nervous as I looked to the OTHER side, wanting so desperately to be over there with all the other happy moms. I felt the twinge of jealousy. Another day, another blood test, as I went through the OTHER door. This process had drawn out over several weeks, so I was ready to be done.

July 3, 2012 came and the nurse called and simply told me I was not pregnant. I managed to mumble a “Thanks,” and hung up the phone in stunned disbelief. After all this time, I imagined this was how it would end, but I clung to hope - until that moment.

I wish I could say I handled it well and my faith was super strong. I would love to say I was stoic and still full of joy. I absolutely was not. It was a struggle. To celebrate the July 4 holiday the next day, our student ministry had planned a trip to the Memphis Redbirds baseball game. I was really not feeling like people that day, but had no desire to stay home alone and think either, so I went. It felt like a weight I could not escape. An unmanageable reality. No matter what, nothing seems to take away the pain.

After that dreadful news, nothing made me feel better. I desperately wanted something, anything, to make the painful feelings subside. I also noticed that somehow everyone around was expecting. Seriously. Everyone.

The next Sunday morning, I went to church to lead my small group of junior and senior girls and a sixteen-year-old girl was at the table, holding a sonogram…of her baby. My heart jumped into my throat with shock and disbelief. I had no words for God, except maybe, “Are You serious? Do you know how painful this is?” “Really, God? Do you even care that my heart aches terribly and now this?” I really wanted to run out of the room and sob, but I touched that picture and God allowed me to love her and her baby. He even allowed me to ask her how she felt as the months passed, meanwhile praying He would bless me with my own little one. I know that, when I wait, He strengthens my heart (Psalm 27:14). I am only human and the Word of God did not always make me feel immediately fine, but He strengthened my heart while experiencing the agony of this piece of humanity called grief.

Each February 13 is greeted with a little heartache, even this year. I have never spoken much or written about this experience until now, but I feel the time is now and I pray it helps someone else to find hope in the middle of a struggle. For anyone who has experienced loss, we know time does not heal all wounds, but it does make it easier to manage. Time also has allowed me to see God’s goodness. For those of us who have experienced loss of any kind, there is no immediate fix or miracle mend for the hurt. I do know that God cares about us so much, He collects our tears (Psalm 56:8). It is a small comfort simply to know He knows me this much. No tear goes unseen by our Father. Loss of a baby, relationship, dream, whatever it is, He is big enough to handle it - and our emotions. No matter the kind of loss, it seems difficult to believe that God is still good when our hearts ache. I am so thankful we have a loving Father who sympathizes with us. He can handle our angry words and fearful distress. When we go to Him, we need not fear criticism, but receive His mercy, grace, and help (Hebrews 4:15-16).

The following year, the only words that made me feel better was to remember that if we had experienced the life of that baby, we would never know the love of my Linley, born in 2013. I still keep up with the girl in my small group whose son is four months older than my girl. We ended up expecting babies at the same time. I see pictures of him now and remember how God showed me love through that incredibly dark and confusing time.

God has an unequaled way of showing His faithfulness and goodness. July 3, 2014, my Ella Kate was born. Such a change of emotion from that day in 2012. Oh, and that What To Expect When You’re Expecting book? I threw it away.

Sweet friends, please know that we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Please approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that YOU may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Hebrews 4:15-16

This Valentine's Day, lean into the love of our Father and accept His infinite, indescribable love.



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