In myself I have nothing to give, but through Christ I am able to share Hope with you this Christmas Season!
THIS IS MY TESTIMONY
Born of Suffering, it is a Revelation of Hope
A glimpse of Liberty in Christ.
My hope for you (anyone reading or hearing this testimony of God's provision) is that Jesus Christ, the Word, the Amen, creator and light of the world, who spoke this world into existence, was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, was crucified, died, was buried and arose 3 days later and who is currently preparing a place for us in heaven, shine upon you and whisper to you in that still small voice, so that you too may truly and always abide in his glorious shadow. May you come to dwell in that secret place spoken of in Psalms 91.
Revelation 12:10-12 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, [ye] heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
Some of you may know that our family has recently been in a most terrible storm. Tuesday, July the 13th, a sonogram confirmed that our baby's sweet little heart had stopped beating....
My mind raced.
“How could this be?
Are you certain?
I don’t understand.
I just saw it’s tiny heart beating, so merrily on sonogram, a week before.
Whatever went wrong?”
It has been incredibly difficult for all of us.
It is a tragic reality to be sent home from a sonogram only to await the laborious loss of your baby and to pray that it is only a nightmare from which you will soon wake.
Imagine, if you will, that you’re walking through a seemingly beautiful field, laden with wispy flowing grasses and flowers, and you are so blissful it seems as though you are floating… weightless, not a care in the world….only to be abruptly startled, by the horrifying realization, that in fact, you are in a meticulously disguised mine field and have just stepped on an active land mine. Instantly made aware that you may not survive and will most assuredly not escape injury. That is where I feel that I stood on July 13th, 2010.
I will attempt to describe where this nightmare has taken me- not for pity or sympathy but in hopes that it will provide a vantage point for observing the reality of where I now reside...a place where I pray you will join me.....a place called HOPE.
What is it called when one simultaneously feels unable to take a deep breath, is sad and angry, confused and exhausted, disappointed and abandoned, fearful and weak, and completely incapable of doing anything to change one’s own feelings or circumstances? Whatever you call it… label it what you will. This is me- apart from Christ.
How does one even begin to tell their other children, who have been asking every day- “Momma, will the baby come see us today?” because their little hearts are so eager with the anticipation of meeting their new little sibling that it seems all they talk about.
Just what do you say that will somehow help them to understand and to process the situation, when you don’t even seem to understand it yourself? How do you guard their little hearts from the toilsome grief, the anger, resentment, bitterness and despair that you feel trying to grab hold of your own? How do you protect their minds from the depressing confusion and doubt you are experiencing? How do you help them preserve the innocence and beauty of childhood, with it’s carefree nature? And what about everyone else, how do you begin to break the news of your suffering to the scores of people with knowledge of your once joyous expectation? These are but a tiny sampling of the questions that have plagued me.
It is by far, one of the most challenging battles I have ever been drafted into.
Yes, I say battles….because of the violent war that is waged…
not only upon one’s body,
not only upon one’s body,
but indeed, upon one’s spirit, mind, emotions, relationships, future hopes and dreams as well.
I have been on the front lines now on 5 separate occasions.
I carry many invisible scars, having been bombed with the excrutiating guilt, the confusing isolation, and nagging shame as well. Words seem the most impotent media for elucidating the torrid agony of wondering if it is somehow all your fault and the fear that accompanies.
Head spinning I began to wonder…
"Is there some unconfessed sin for which I am reaping the consequences?
Was there something I did wrong?
Did I remember all my vitamins?
How could this happen again?
Did I drink enough water?
Did I get enough rest?
Am I getting too old?
Maybe if I hadn’t…?
Should I have…?
If only I had…?
And it doesn’t ever end there…. Much like the visually narrowing appearance of the previous questions, it is a downward spiral into a place I call….the valley of the shadow of death. Miscarriage is indeed death, though much of the world fails to recognize it as such.
Psalm 23:4 states "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou [art] with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."
and that is just what it has done...the precious rod, the Word of God, has indeed comforted me!
Having been very foolish in the past, I now now realize that in my pride and ignorance, I was tromping through this mine field I like to call my life without being armed or ready for battle…sure I wore the helmet spoken of in Ephesians 6, but what was I forgetting?
It is a miracle, and absolute testimony to God’s grace that I am here to tell my story. I survived. While I confess, I do NOT believe this is a battle one can ever fully prepare for in advance, I DO know and believe that once you become aware that you’ve been drafted, you absolutely MUST be armed with the Sword of the Spirit, quick on the draw, and clothed in the FULL Armor of God, else you become emotionally maimed or worse!
I am battered and bruised but….
thank God for His armor...
I am still here!
2 Corinthians 4:8 reminds me of the chorus to a song by Delirious which we occasionally sing in church. Goes like this....
"I'm pressed but not crushed persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I'm blessed beyond the curse for his promise will endure
and his joy's gonna be my strength "
I know there are those reading this who have also experienced the painful reality of miscarriage, and my heart aches for you too. I am not sharing my story to simply inform you that there is but one more person who believes they can somehow relate to your pain, as I know that would not provide comfort….I am writing however, in the hope that you will allow me to share a glimpse of my own painful journey to healing….to HOPE. Perhaps you too, may find a way to rest in the sweet harbor I am about to describe.
I am especially thankful for the Word of God which has sustained me through this trial and for our many wonderful friends and family who called us, prayed with us, cried with us, and brought us meals. May the Lord bless each one of you in a special way for ministering to us.
It may not make sense to many reading ... you may be wondering...how anyone could find a reason to give thanks in the midst of such horrible circumstances. Actually, it doesn’t make sense to me….but I will tell you, I didn't find the reason to rejoice....it simply found me. It sought me out! This is the testimony I have been given.
In the last few days a song that I once sang in front of the church, as a youth, has resonated in my mind, and in my soul. I had no idea it would later become an anthem for me…a battle cry of sorts. Allow me to share it with you here:
"In the eye of a hurricane, in the center of the storm,
in the chaos there's a comfort, a harbor safe and warm.
Strong winds may blow, but they can't change what I know....
when I hold to the Rock that the wind can't erode.
Suffering brings strength
and strength gives us heart.
Heart shows the hope,
God gives from the start!”
- Eye of the Hurricane by Trace Balin
I should tell you now that Ryan and I decided to name this baby (Hope). Though the only name we had previously thought of while I was still pregnant was Glory, we have come to realize now that we were really being blessed with Hope.
God was graciously revealing himself to us in and throughout this trial, and even though we mourn the loss of our precious baby, our hope is not gone....it rests in Jesus. He alone, is our comfort and strength...the Rock to which we cling, and only through the knowledge of Him can one find reason to sing such a song.
To God be the Glory!
2 Corinthians 5:4-9 For we that are in [this] tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing [is] God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore [we are] always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, [I say], and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.
Praise God! Our baby will never know the pains of this groaning, burdensome world. How glorious it must be, to be present with the Lord... the very hope of our salvation.
Our Hope will never die! Our Hope conquered death! We have been blessed, and we’ll be blessed still!
Jeremiah 17:7-8 Blessed [is] the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and [that] spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
Do you see it?
Do see His promise in the previous passage from Jeremiah.
My cold heart was weeping,
that verse warmed me so….
like rays from the Son,
I will see His glory!
I have received His promise.
His promise of more blessed gifts,
just like my Hope-
of fruit unfailing,
this promise from my Lord.
Fruit of the Spirit, and of the womb…
I opened my Bible and there it was,
gloriously blazing promise,
penetrating the depths of my despair.
If only I will trust Him
Proverbs 3:5-7 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Though I do not understand why the sweet little life of our baby had to end so soon after it began here on earth, I know that you do Lord, and I’m trusting your Word when you say….
Romans 8:18-39 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected [the same] in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, [then] do we with patience wait for [it]. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what [is] the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to [the will of] God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? [It is] God that justifieth. Who [is] he that condemneth? [It is] Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Reveal your Glory Lord.
I pray that His Glory might be revealed to you now,
and to all who are blessed to hear of His merciful goodness.
It’s there for the taking.
Way before our needs ever were,
His provision for Hope has been.
The provision is…
and forever He will be!
Jesus, the Word made flesh, is our provision, our HOPE!
Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
2 Corinthians 1:2-5 Grace [be] to you and peace from God our Father, and [from] the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed [be] God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
The Hopeful Surveyor's Wife
My dear sweet sister shared this song with me back in July and it touched my heart because even though we had already settled on naming our baby Hope, we had not told anyone at that time.
also I providentially happened upon this, most beautiful and thought provoking post about the comforting rod: http://www.gracegems.org/Watson/comforting_rod.htm
A very special Thank You to:
my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ who carries me daily enabling me to share, and who allowed me the sweetest blessing of holding little Clay in my hands long enough to memorize every fearfully wonderful, observable detail -
Jesus, you are indescribeable. Such detail and care have you taken with your creation...I am in awe!
You are the reason I sing and the Rock to which I cling... I love you Lord. You are my only Salvation!
my very amazing husband, Ryan, who has suffered each of these tragic losses right along side me and yet found the strength to love and comfort me despite his own pain-
Ryan, I thank God every day that He put us together. You stand a mile high in my eyes for the way that you nursed me through each loss. You are my wonderful man and I adore you. The world needs more men like you!
my precious children- Caleb, Christopher and Victory who are so unselfish and become giddy and joyous with each and every expectant announcement we make. They have mourned the loss of their siblings whom they were never blessed to meet with such love and tenderness-
Your tears have touched me so deeply and I love you so. I look forward to the day that Jesus wipes away all of our tears and I have faith that our family will stand complete on that day.
each individual who so sensetively attended my healthcare-
Sometimes yours is a thankless job, but I am so incredibly grateful for the love that has been shown me.
I pray a special blessing upon each of you
our friends and family who visited us , prayed with us and provided for us through our losses-
Thank you all!
my sweet little babies ~ Joshua Abel, Abigail, Clay, Joy, Hope-
I think of you often. While our acquaintance on this earth was brief , each of you have forever altered my existence and for that I am grateful. Mommy loves you and is blessed to have been made aware that indeed...
I was a chosen vessel which God used to form you, 5 eternal, beautiful souls.
I was a chosen vessel which God used to form you, 5 eternal, beautiful souls.
What a blessing!!!!!
Denver Doula for permission to use the photo featured in the post which captured my heart when I saw it-
May God bless you and work through you as you minister to the needs of expectant women.