Sunday, November 29, 2015

Am I Strong Enough to Do This?

Shortly after we lost Olive I found myself clinging to my Bible for dear life. I longed to understand what God was doing, why on earth He would take her - I was looking for answers.  I not only wanted to understand why she was gone, but I wanted to understand where she was.  I compared myself to a mother whose child had gone missing - I knew she was out there....but where?  Where was heaven?  How could she be here one minute and gone the next?

I remember the night I read it - the chapter in the Bible that knocked me back to my rightful place.  That was a humbling night, a night I don't think I will ever forget.  I had been reading the book of Job, after all, I felt as though I had a connection to him.  He had lost everything (literally) and I felt like I had lost everything.  I got to Chapter 38 and I stopped in my tracks.  If you have a Bible, or a phone, I encourage you to look it up.  It's not a long chapter, but too long to post  here.

The basis of the chapter is that the Lord tells Job to brace himself and be prepared to answer to God.  God asks him where he was when He laid the earth's foundation? Where was Job when the waters of the seas were contained or when he created the clouds?  He asks Job if he's ever "given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn it's place"?  Basically he is asking Job to humble himself and stop questioning the God of the universe.  It's a beautiful chapter - one I turn to every so often when I'm consumed in self-pity and doubt. 

Here I am, exactly 16 months later, ready to welcome Olive's baby brother any day now - and how foolish I've been lately.  I've not only been questioning God, asking God to give me signs but also doubting Him and His care and concern for me.

Truth be told I am scared.  I felt as though I was losing all confidence.  As the weeks flew by (this pregnancy has gone so quickly for us!) I felt the anxiety and doubt creeping in. I prayed that God would send me some encouragement, and He most certainly did.

Recently I had lunch with an old friend, a friend I haven't physically seen in quite some time, but one that is very dear to me and has often times shared words of comfort and hope just when I  needed them.  She gave me some bible verses to have with me when I am laboring.  I've been reading them each day as I know delivery is just around the corner. It dawned on me as I was reading that the reason for my fear was  not because God had left me, but because I was focusing too much on how I  was going to get through this. Not how God was going to help me through this, but how I was going to handle this labor, how I was going to push this baby out, how I was going to do this all on my own.

Silly me.

I lift my eyes to the hills.  Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of Heaven and earth.  Psalm 121:1-2

This verse, when I read it, quickly took me back to Job 38. My HELP comes from the Lord - the one who made the heavens and the earth!  How foolish I've been thinking that I could do this all alone.  Sure, I suppose one could argue that I'm the one physically needing to endure the labor and physically need to deliver this baby - but the mental, emotional and spiritual strength needed is much greater than the physical strength - and that, that comes from the Lord. 

As I prepare to welcome this baby I am NOT fearful of losing him - let me be clear - while I certainly can't predict the future, I've said all along that I firmly believe this baby is coming home with us.  It has nothing to do with where we deliver or how long it will take to deliver him - it was solely a fear of "am I strong enough to do this?" 

There was a time after we received Olive's autopsy that I believed my body had failed us, that it was my fault. I made up every reason why I was to blame: my body didn't know what to do, the birth canal wasn't wide enough so it cause her cord to compress, maybe I had lifted or twisted wrong leading up to her delivery and it put her in distress.  Any and all ways I could blame myself, I did. 

Looking back, I recognize that I had done nothing wrong.  Our providers did nothing wrong.  The EMTs did nothing wrong.  The hospital staff did nothing wrong.  Olive's death had nothing to do with where we delivered her or how long I pushed for.  It had everything to do with God's will for our lives and the beautiful and amazing way her life would bring Him glory. And as the last 16 months have proven, albeit extremely difficult at times, I am at peace with her life and her death.  It still hurts at times, but I have seen the beauty from the ashes - and part of that beauty is the new life we are about to welcome.

I don't know if we would have had another baby this soon had Olive lived.  I know it will be painful to not have a big sister there to welcome this baby with us, but she's in our hearts and in our minds and will be very present through us in that room on that day.  But more importantly, the Lord of all creation will be very present in that room as well.  His plan has unfolded in a beautiful way - not at all the way I would have chosen (more reason to be thankful I am not the one in control!) - rather "His perfect will in His perfect way."

I can't say I'm entirely ready - but I'm as close as I'll ever be.  I cannot wait to share our news with all of you - and continue to welcome your prayers, love and strength.  Feel free to leave any verses, quotes or words of encouragement or inspiration that have gotten you through a challenging time. I would love to have pieces of all of you with us that day as we welcome our son.

Whenever anything happens, I am there.  Isaiah 48:16