hope I get a sister this time,” my 9-year son Joseph said while rubbing on my growing belly. He had become so attached to me since the discovery of our fourth pregnancy, and was excited about the possibility of finally getting the baby sister he’d hoped for during my previous two pregnancies.
Every day he’d kiss my baby bump and say, “Hey, little sister!” It was the sweetest thing to me. My husband Jeremy and I joined him in his excitement and were thinking pink too. No one could convince me that we weren’t getting our daughter this time.
“God promised us a daughter,” I’d say with confidence, “and this one is definitely a girl.”
I wasn’t waiting for a sonogram to tell me what I already believed in my heart. We were having a girl this time around, and her name and the color scheme for her room were already decided. Finally I’d have some estrogen added to my testosterone-filled home, and after years of football, wresting, and Tonka trucks, I couldn’t have been more excited about all of the girl-time and tea parties my mini-me and I would have.
I was so in love with our daughter-to-be, and eagerly anticipated the day when I’d share all of the Dear Future Daughter affirmations and prayers I’d daily write in a special journal for her.
My dream of having a sweet princess was finally coming true. Or so I thought. It turned out that we weren’t having the little girl we hoped for. In fact, we weren’t having a baby at all.
At 14 weeks pregnant, during a routine prenatal appointment, we discovered that our precious sweet pea had gone to be with the angels. I still hear those gut-wrenching words spoken by the Ultrasound Technician as I laid on the examining table of the cold, dim room – “I’m so sorry, Mrs. Collins, your baby doesn’t have a heartbeat.”
I’ve heard many heart-breaking words in my lifetime, but none that carried such a deeply penetrating sting as those. My heart that was filled with so much joy just a few hours prior had instantly shattered into a billion tiny pieces.
I prayed that I was caught in the middle of a horrible nightmare and someone would wake me, but that wasn’t so. The nightmare was real, and so was the pain that came with it.
The physical and emotional pain weighed me down; I couldn’t eat, sleep, or get out of bed, and I wept for days on end. Losing something that was extremely dear to my heart broke me in places that I didn’t know were breakable. It shook me to my core, and brought me to a state so low that bottom seemed upward. Depression hovered over me, and the only words I had the strength to utter were, “God, please help me.”
Feeling empty, dejected, confused, and forsaken, I needed God to help me, desperately.
I needed Him to fill my void.
I needed Him to restore my joy.
I needed Him to give me peace.
I needed Him to remind me that He had not abandoned me in my weakness.
And in the darkest of the midnight hour, when my pillow was soaked with tears, that’s exactly what He did. He heard the prayers I prayed through every teardrop and my present help came to my rescue. He wrapped me ever so sweetly in His loving arms, showered me with His amazing grace, and the Father of all comfort and compassion comforted me in my trouble (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). When I wanted to completely fall apart, His grace was the super-glue that held me together, and it continues to do so five weeks later.
Though the pain is still prevalent, I am healing; though I think about and miss our angel baby every single day, I am grateful for the special angel my husband, sons, and I have watching over us; and though I do not understand why God allowed this to happen, I trust His plan and His promise that He causes all things to work for my good.
Life has a way of unexpectedly knocking you to your knees, but as the cliché says, you’re then in the perfect position to pray. Through this difficult challenge, prayer and God’s Word has been my sustaining grace. Whenever grief fills my heart and emotions overwhelm me, I run to the Rock that is higher than I (Psalm 61:2), and cast all of my anxiety at His feet. It is there, at the foot of the cross, where I find the strength, comfort, peace, and grace to walk through the valley of tribulation.
If I never understand why the Lord is taking me through this particular trial, I do understand that it will all be used for His glory and the greater purpose He has for my life. If nothing else, pain – when you don’t allow it make you bitter – produces strength, develops character, draws you closer to the Lord, and prepares you all the more for your purposed destiny. Because I know that my present suffering does not nearly compare to the glory that shall be revealed in me (Romans 8:18), and that after I have suffered a little while, the God of all grace will restore, strength, and establish me (1 Peter 5:10), it is well with my soul. I echo Job in saying, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him (Job 13:15).
I find the most assuring comfort in Isaiah 43:2-3a;4b and for whatever difficulty you may be facing right now, I pray that it soothes your heart in the amazing way that it does mine.
It says, “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior… because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you.”
Glory to God!