the story of the happy baby [part 3]
Note: You can read the story of the happy baby, part one HERE and part two HERE. And here’s my “small print” – I want to tell our story with grace and love and I want to be very, very real about it. I pray that if you’re reading this and are at a different place in the adoption or infertility journey, you will not find this painful or frustrating to read, but that you will be encouraged by the hand of God at work in all things, through our story.
I want to be clear: not everyone's story is the same. Not everyone handles loss the same. And not everyone handles joy the same. There were parts of my grief that I handled very poorly. There were parts that Christ-in-me handled very well and I am thankful for that. For the most part, I was given much, much grace to kick and flail and cry and work through the dismay of losing three babies in six months.
Once I'd opened myself to the idea that not only was God going to restore my heart, He was going to make way for me to hope again, I began to experience a sweet calm. We were going through some other life changes at the time...a job change, a move, some family difficulties. And in all of those, I was beginning to know how to look for God at work. I was starting to receive healing through quiet times of prayer and solitude. I was able to start to see what Daniel saw, that even if God does not "behave" as we want Him to, our response and faithfulness need not waver. Though He slay me, yet I would trust in Him [Job 13:15]!
At the start of that new year, we were part of a precious time of prayer at my brother's church. Men & women I didn't know (and some I did) prayed for our hearts, for healing, for our family, for our desire for children. Women laid hands on my belly and interceded, asking God to heal my womb. As one girl prayed, the Lord gave me a strikingly clear vision. I saw myself a year down the road, holding a red-headed baby girl and introducing this baby to the girl who had prayed for us. This gave me such a cherished picture of this truth: it is okay to hope. It is SAFE to hope. For my hope is in Christ Jesus. There was nothing about the vision that lead me to believe it was a specific prophetic word, but rather a clear understanding of God's goodness.
For the span of about a year, I saw the nearly-visible hand of God moving through my life, working and administering healing to my heart. We went forward with the bloodwork and believed we had an "answer" to the losses, we began taking the supplements designed to help me sustain a pregnancy. We moved to a new town, were able to share our story with new friends, began to experience a refreshing sense of community and grace in our new church home. Finally it was time to try again.
When I saw that faint blue "plus sign" on the stick, we notified those closest to us and we geared up for what --we prayed-- would be a healthy pregnancy. Our church surrounded us with love and prayers, our families did the same. We were hopeful and we were asking God to give us this baby, but we confessed aloud over and over that even if He did not - yet we would praise His name.
And that was the story He wanted to tell in us.
He wanted to tell the "even if He did not".
Because nearly two months in, I began to lose our fourth baby to miscarriage.
In what, to me, has been one of the most beautiful displays of God's faithfulness, I had zero anxiety or anger over this loss. I was deeply saddened - we'd had such hope! - but I was not despairing. I went through the process naturally again, with two dear friends attending me during the miscarriage, while my husband had to work. Our church family brought us meals for two weeks, in the wake of that loss. Friends poured out their love with letters, gifts, words of encouragement, text messages. We were loved and cared for so very, very well by our church community. It was an enormous gift from the Father.
In the weeks that followed, as I healed physically from the miscarriage, we asked God how exactly He intended to grow our family? We'd spent nearly the whole year prior asking Him to move and we'd begun talk of adoption before we got pregnant that third time. About a month after the miscarriage, we even attended an informative meeting with an adoption agency, but left feeling discouraged and disheartened. It seemed as though our options were narrowing. We weren't ready to go in for full-blown fertility treatments, and we weren't feeling real confident about applying with the agency we'd visited. Yet we knew we were not to give up hope. We believed God was going to grow our family.
And then one month after that meeting, I was sitting in a friend's living room telling her we just didn't know how God was going to move, when I the call that literally changed our lives.
[coming up...the final piece to the story of the happy baby!]