Have not I commanded thee?
Be strong and of a good courage;
be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed:
for the LORD thy God is with thee
w h i t h e r s o e v e r
| Joshua 1:9 |
The fear of miscarrying again was so intense at times during my second pregnancy and I had to constantly battle giving into it. So many things scared me on a daily basis.
But then I'd go in and have an ultrasound, or I'd have an experience while praying, or God would inspire me as I read His Word and suddenly I'd be on the mountaintop. So many times I remember thinking, "If I can just hold onto this feeling for the next 8 months I'll be fine." Then I'd go to the bathroom two hours later and see some spotting that caught me off guard and I'd be right back in the valley of despair.
Eventually I caught on to this ridiculous cycle and realized that my trust was not placed where it should be. Circumstances shouldn't alter the confidence I have in the Lord. I can't even tell you the amount of times I had to remind myself that I wasn't God and that He was able even when it seemed impossible from my carnal perspective. God is still able even when I am not.
I realized that it must sadden God every time my trust in Him plummets due to my carnal circumstances. And it sounds so easy to talk about it. But I'm actually quite terrible at it. I hate how hard it is to completely take my hands off of certain situations and just place them in the Lord's hands and TRUST Him. I feel like you don't realize how much you like having control until you find yourself in a situation where you have no control and feel hopeless, and then you realize it's not hopeless at all because the Lord has it under control. It's in His hope-filled hands; He IS our hope.
There are so many things we think we have fully given to the Lord to control and if you really think about it, there's still a part of you trying to control it. There are a lot of situations where we do things to "help" God in our minds that gives us a sense of control. If it's our health we're worried about, we can eat healthy and exercise. If it's a relationship with someone, we can get them a gift, have a heart-to-heart talk, or do a good deed. But there are some things, like pregnancy, where you realize God has the final say. It is just so out of your control that it almost hurts because all you want is a healthy baby, and you're so close, only months away from having one, yet you still can't control it. You can do things to help your baby grow, but you know deep down that it's the Lord Who opens and closes the womb. And when He's already allowed one child to die in your womb, the fear that it'll happen again is amplified to deafening proportions, and you feel panicky because you just want to find a way to ENSURE the health and safety of your child, but you can't. You just have to trust God.
After our first miscarriage the word "hope" became so much more than just a word to me. It comforted, motivated, inspired, and encouraged me. I studied it and tried my best to put my hope in the Lord and not in the things of this world. In some translations of the Bible, "hope" and "wait" are used interchangeably. And I learned that waiting on the Lord is hoping in Him; believing He'll show up with the answer just when you need it most.
But throughout my just over a month long pregnancy, I started to realize how connected HOPE and TRUST are. "Trust" became my word throughout my pregnancy. It showed up everywhere; I feel like the Lord was constantly trying to teach me to just trust in Him. You'd think it was the hardest thing I'd ever had to learn. And I'm still so far from really understanding what it means to trust the Lord. I feel like I'm just on the outskirts of learning how to fully trust Him.
But back to hoping and trusting. The only way you can have hope is if you trust God can do what you're hoping for in the first place. I feel like everything I write sounds so simple, but these thoughts were profound revelations in my mind during the 32 days I knew I was pregnant before finding out our baby no longer had a heartbeat.
I loved how God connected all that I had learned about hope with all that I was learning about trust. I felt like He was weaving things together in my mind that I never would've thought to put together. It's amazing how He inspires our thoughts and ministers to us in that way.
So through all of this learning, I was still failing a lot. And on the Saturday before my miscarriage, I was feeling crampy all day. It made me feel so nervous, but I was afraid to even say anything about it to anyone, like talking about it would make my fears come true. But towards the evening I was feeling so hopeless and scared that I finally texted a few friends and asked them to pray.
Melissa sent me a link to a list of scriptures for when you're fighting fear. I just kept reading through them that night over and over. There were two scriptures that really stuck out to me: Isaiah 41:13 and Joshua 1:9, but for this post I'm going to focus on Joshua 1:9.
My first miscarriage began when my husband and I were out of town four hours away from home. So my memories include stopping every 30 minutes to an hour at gross gas stations and rest stops on the way home. And I'm sorry for being graphic, but there was so much blood. Clots would just pour out of me every time I went to the bathroom and it was traumatizing.
So I had such a fear of that happening again and I specifically was afraid of the process of miscarrying again. Of course I didn't want to lose my child, that alone is terrible, but once you've had a miscarriage and now how painful and awful it is, it really adds to the fear. Picturing myself going through all of that bleeding was so overwhelming that I could hardly think about it without feeling overwhelmed.
That night, while my heart was filled with fear, I started reading through the list of scriptures Melissa sent to me. When I read through Joshua 1:9 a peace began to settle over me. The end is what struck me: "...for the Lord thy God is with thee WHITHERSOEVER thou goest." And right as I read that, the image of me sitting in the bathroom while miscarrying came to my mind. But the next thought that came to my mind was, "Yes, Jessica. EVEN THERE. Even there as you miserably and pitifully sit on the toilet bleeding and crying through the pain of losing another child, I will be with you even there."
And it's not that I became okay with the idea of miscarrying again, but it was the first time I felt like maybe I'd be okay if I did. Up until that point there were times where I had sobbed and pleaded with God to not let this happen again because I just couldn't handle it. I couldn't even handle the thought. I told Him I'd break; I felt like my heart would literally crumble if I had to lose another child. And it was still quite an overwhelming thought, but after reading that promise in Joshua and being reminded that the Lord would be with me holding my hand, even carrying me, through everything I faced, is what got me through that night.
That experience was five or six days before we found out that I actually was miscarrying again. And then I was facing another huge fear: Surgery. I was terrified of having a D&C. The thought of being so vulnerably displayed in the middle of the OR paralyzed me. Thinking about it now, after it's all over, still makes me cringe and cry. It's just terrible.
But once again, the Lord reminded me that EVEN THERE, in that cold operating room in the midst of my anger and sadness, He'd be holding me. He'd be right there and He'd grieve as they removed my dead child from my body. And He'd be right there in recovery as I woke up, holding me as I cried, helping me heal physically and emotionally. And He'd be with me every single moment of every single day after, mending my broken heart, and through each new blessing and trial I faced in the days, weeks, months, and years to come.
No matter what you're afraid of, whether it's the thought of miscarrying, getting into a car accident, losing a loved one, etc. God will be with you EVEN THERE in the midst of your deepest fears. If you rest in that promise you will find peace.
Whither shall I go from thy spirit?
or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there:
if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
E V E N T H E R E
shall thy hand lead me,
and thy right hand shall hold me.
| Psalm 139:7-10 |