Today I was working in the flowerbeds. Pulling out weeds, cutting back bushes and flowers to get ready for winter. I haven’t been out in my beds much this year. This activity brought me back to the afternoon of May 21, I was outside planting flowers while the kids were napping. I was also taking to the Lord. It was in a way I have never spoken to him before. Frantic. Scared. Panicked. It was the day before we were to hear news of whether our unborn baby girl would live or die. I was digging and pushing and pulling and moving dirty in a crazed sort of way. Here were my words:
“Heal her. Just heal her. You can do it. You can do anything. You can do it. Please just heal her. Not Trisomy. Please not Trisomy 18 OR 13. Let it be fixable Lord. Please let it be fixable. You can do it. You are the creator of all. You can do anything. Please. Please.”
Those were about my exact words. I remember it so clearly. I would have done just about anything for God to hear my prayers and answer it in the way I wanted.
But He didn’t.
The next day, the phone call confirmed our fears. Our Ella wasn’t going to live much past birth if she even made it that far.
Oh, the hurt. I can hardly explain how it hurt. It was sharp and blinding. It was numbing. It's been over five months from that moment. Almost four months out from saying hello and goodbye. The hurt isn’t so sharp. But for me, it’s still painful. I suspect that I’ll always have moments of sadness for what “would have been.” But I have never thought back on that day and my prayers until today.
I was doing a Bible study lesson this week, grateful to be back into routine and back into studying God’s word. I cam across a part that made me want to throw the book across the room. I’m going to try to explain it. But before I do, I want to say, I know we all have pain and hard times in our life. It’s all a bit relative. Some have never lost a loved one. Many have never experienced the loss of a child. But hurt is hurt even if it not so drastic as that. So as I explain this, please know that this is where my heart is right now and I am not in any way trying to trivialize anyone’s heartache.
This study had us list 4 “pivotal moments in our lives”. Then we were to recognize God at work during those times. That was pretty easy for me. My four were:
· my move to Haiti
· my decision to move back to the States and work at Huntington
· meeting Shane
The author then talks about how God has clearly guided her steps. She shared how it seems that she could see Him more during the painful times (agreed) Her example of this is a painful breakup in college. She was so hurt and upset and depressed. When she began to climb out of that pit, she met her now husband. She goes on to say that now, she thanks God for unanswered prayers because if not,she would have not met her husband, and not been in ministry along side her spouse.
(insert book throwing moment)
Here is why I was so upset/mad/ticked off. Whatever you want to say. First of all, I get it. I get the whole “if/then” scenario. I get that if she would have stayed with her college man then she would have never met her hubby. I understand how God’s plans for us always are better than what we can imagine. But it makes me mad. That’s a good example, but how about the pain of death? Let’s put it bluntly. How about a dead baby? Where is the good in that? What good things will I “get” from this? I don’t think that I will ever say that I am grateful that she had Trisomy 13. Or that I am thankful that she is not here. I am not sure I will ever see His purposes for her death on this side of heaven.
After being mad for a bit and then calming myself down I began to see it differently. My friend always tells me to “nail it to the cross”. IT being whatever sorrow, anger, worry, etc, that I’m struggling with. So I tried to look at it differently. In this example, the author was given something. She was given a Godly husband, a ministry with her spouse. She went through a very tough time and the result was coming out on the other side seeing God’s great plan for her life.
That is one example, but serving God isn’t about what we get. It’s not about physical things like houses, cars, jobs, or even husbands (or wives). We may never see prosperity, wealth, good health, or physical healings from our walk with God. We could receive those things. But we may not. God calls us to serve Him and walk with Him not because we are going to get things. It’s not about us. It’s about Him and praising Him. It’s about his plan for us that is so much bigger than we know.
So I had to take a bit and see things from a different angle. My daughter was the gift from God. Having her will be a pivotal moment in my life. This time will be one where I can say with confidence that the Lord is with me. A result of Ella’s life will not give me anything physical but I am praying that I will be able to praise Him in the storm and also that HE will be exalted and glorified.
Another friend sent me this text yesterday. Such good words.
Had a thought for you… God has not taken Ella from you. He has already GIVEN you eternity WITH her. He is just watching over her for you till you get there. So for now you’re CHOOSING JOY because He CHOSE the cross.
Maybe I have this all wrong. Maybe someday I’ll look back on this and thank God for the unanswered prayers from my garden on that spring day. Maybe not. But it doesn’t change things for me in that I am still a child of the great Creator. The one who gives and takes away. I am still going to praise His name and give him all the glory for ALL good things in my life. And my daughter’s life, no matter how short WAS a good thing.
And I'll nail my anger at the unfairness of this to the cross. I'll choose to be happy today, no matter how hard. Some days it's very easy, some days that cloud of sadness seems to linger long. But I will. I'll be happy on this beautiful day because He chose the cross. He has taken my sadness and anger nailed there and replaced it with a promise. Amen!