The response after my last post was overwhelming. It warms my heart so much to know just how many of you are following along this journey with us. When I started this blog I never intended to do anything but help myself journal through what was certain to be one of the most difficult seasons of my life. The fact that so many of you continue to pray for us and shower us with love - the way you are now keeping this new life in your thoughts - is, well, humbling.
So many of you reached out to offer well wishes and congratulations. Many others of you were so overjoyed because you felt as though we deserved this baby. Those comments really got me thinking. They've actually had me thinking for quite some time. After Olive died we were told that we didn't deserve to lose her. When we lost our second baby we were told that, too, was a loss that was undeserved. Over and over these comments hang in my mind, and what I've determined is that if there is anything I don't deserve - it's a baby.
As I've thought about this for the last eleven months or so I've had lots of thoughts swirling around in my head - but could never figure out how exactly I wanted to write this post. I didn't want to seem ungrateful, I don't want to say something to offend someone else, but it weighs so heavy on me that to not say anything at all wouldn't feel right. Then one night this past week I was reading in a book I've referenced before on this blog, The One Year Book of Hope by Nancy Guthrie, and she began to speak to my heart.
"We live in a world that teaches us, "The early bird gets the worm," "No pain no gain," "There is no such thing as a free lunch," and "You get what you pay for." We're comfortable in this world where people get what they deserve, at least in theory. But when pain invades our lives, we quickly say, "I don't deserve this!" and claim our right to justice. Believing we have a right to fairness, we feel violated when we think we haven't gotten what we deserve.
But if we open our eyes to the rest of the world where most people do not live with even the basics of comfort and security that we enjoy, or if we look back on the living conditions and daily-life realities previous generations lived and died with, we realize that to assume we deserve a life free of loss and pain is not only unrealistic, it's arrogant."
I've said it before, and I'll say it again - we were never promised a life without pain. We are certain, absolutely certain that we are all going to die - every single one of us - yet when we lose someone or something, it shocks us. Many have heard me say that I firmly believe all of our days are numbered. Psalm 139:16 tells us, "your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Job 14:5 says, "A person's days are determined, you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed." Whether you believe in God or not - you know you are going to die. You know your children are going to die. Yet, when it happens - if it happens at a time when YOU are not ready for - well, then you don't deserve it, right?
Nancy goes on to say that in a perfect world there is no room for grace. Or mercy. "Suffering may be undeserved, but so is our redemption. A fair world might be a nice place for us to live, but it would only be as nice as we are. And we know we're really not that nice."
"Suffering may be undeserved, BUT SO IS OUR REDEMPTION."
One could say that this new life is part of the brighter side of our story, and I wouldn't disagree with you - but that doesn't mean I deserve it. There are so many couples who have suffered much more than my husband and I have. So many women who, month after month, receive a negative on that pregnancy test. Women who have suffered miscarriages, still births and infant loss - combined - in this one life! Why do I get a baby and they don't? Why do you have living, breathing, healthy children and your neighbor's one and only child is suffering from a life threatening illness? Why is the person who never takes care of them self healthy and free of disease but the marathon runner who is vegetarian is battling cancer? Does one really deserve anything over the other?
Yes, I feel thankful. I am humbled and honored that God has chosen us to have an opportunity to parent another child on this earth. Whether it be for a day, a month or many years - we will happily take on this responsibility no matter what the plan is. But I do not feel as though I deserve it. If there is anything the last (almost) eleven months have taught me it's that I need to stop questioning life. I don't know the answers to the above questions. I will never know the answers. The only questions I should be asking is: How will I respond? Am I responding out of love? Are my actions bringing God glory?
There is much to be learned from our pain. Maybe we didn't deserve to lose Olive, but her life wasn't about what we deserved or what she deserved - it was about bringing glory to God. So is my life. So is yours. That's a tough pill to swallow when you feel like you're at your lowest point. When Olive died I had a choice and I've chosen to glorify God through this journey - and remarkable things have happened, none of which I deserve but all He has freely given.