A Thousand Stories

It’s time. Time to confess where my heart has been the last six months. I’m not proud of it, but it’s been a time of stretching and growing pains and just plain hard as I’ve grappled with some deep stuff that is beyond my realm of comprehension.

I have dealt with a lot of guilt through the duration of this pregnancy. Knowing that the Lord had taken so many sweet babies from friends of mine, I felt guilt over having what we believed to be a healthy baby. And my pregnancy has been so good that I have been afraid to tell others that I haven’t been sick. (I remember hating “those people. And that was before I was even married.) (Please don’t hate me.) The way the guilt manifested itself was that I wouldn’t really talk about the pregnancy. There was that fear that I would lose the baby. Or be insensitive to talk about it around someone who had lost a baby or couldn’t conceive. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around why God would give me a healthy child when He didn’t give one to so many others who frankly, wanted babies worse than I did.

I also dealt with some anxiety about this pregnancy. Well-meaning people have said that this is somewhat normal, but I knew that this was not God’s will for His children. I know far too many people whose identity lies in their “care” for others… to the point that they can’t celebrate what God is doing in healthy people because they’re so busy tending to the sick.

I didn’t want to be that person.

Ironically, I still found myself in a position that made it hard to celebrate this life inside of me, because I had told the Lord that I wanted this baby to bring Him glory, whether that was by life, or…. not. Knowing that the Lord had seen fit to take other children, whether through miscarriage or still birth, made me feel entitled if I were to assume that I was the exception and that God would give me a healthy baby. I have seen the steadfast commitment to the Lord of the moms and dads who have stood over a premature casket. I have seen that their faith is so tangible that you could feel it across states and computer screens and blogs. They know what it is to feel Jesus in the midst of grief stronger than any other force in the universe. And their strength and trust affects people in ways that they will never forget

Deep down, I sort of want that, too. I have come to realize that there is nothing on this earth that I want more than Jesus. I’ve made marriage my god and been miserable. I’ve people-pleased myself to death and been the most unhappy person alive. I have seen parents make their children their identity, and the whole family is wrecked because of it. No person or thing in this life is more valuable than knowing Jesus. I have known Him in good times and bad, and the deeper the grief, the more intimately I saw His heart.

He has taught me a lot through carrying this baby. About how to let Him absorb my fear and anxiety. He is still teaching me how to celebrate each day I get with this little life. And as strange as it sounds, He is teaching me that it is okay if He chooses LIFE for this baby. When I told a friend that I was okay with whatever plan God had for this child-even if that meant death or disability-she said, “Well, you need to be okay with God making this baby HEALTHY AND NORMAL.”
I had been focusing on the other options more than that one.
The truth is that I don’t feel good enough. I don’t feel worthy. Because I’m not.

But the truth is that He is enough. And because He is, I can relax. I will not suddenly wake up one morning unworthy and forfeit my right to parent. I will not hit 30 years old and instantly be unqualified. Because it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with Him.
I forget that HE is pleased with me. That is probably the hardest thing I have NEVER learned how to grasp. Despite my blatant sin and hypocrisy, He says He delights over me. If I could explain it, He probably wouldn’t be God.
Yesterday, my friend Kristin (@kristinschmucker on Instagram) posted this on her feed, and I immediately looked up the song and just bathed my fears and guilt in its truth:
Oh, I’ve heard a thousand stories
Of what they think You’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whispers
Of love in the dead of night.
And You tell me that You’re pleased
And that I’m never alone.
You’re a good, good Father.
It’s Who You are, it’s Who You are, it’s Who You are,
And I’m loved by You.
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am…
This love so undeniable I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable I can hardly think
And You call me deeper still
And You call me deeper still
And you call me deeper still into love
Because You are perfect in all of Your ways to us!
Kristin lost her sweet Sophia at 8 months along. And I promise you that singing that line–“you’re a good, good Father”– is not something she does lightly. She knows it deep down in her soul, because she has felt Him every step of the way. He became even more real to her when she rested in the “I-don’t-understand” and whispered, “I will trust you anyway.”
God has turned so much of my mourning into joy. It’s my favorite thing about Him. But I get too caught up in the fact that NOT ONLY does He take bad and make it good— but He can also take good and make it better. Don’t lose sight of Him in your journey. Whether things are heavenly or things are hell…He is there in the thick of it, demonstrating His power and glory among us.

He is PERFECT in all of His ways to us.

“Return, O my soul, to your rest, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.” Psalm 116:7

“But let him who boasts boast in this, that he understand and knows Me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:24

“This God—His way is perfect; the Word of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all those Who take refuge in Him.” Psalm 18:30, 2 Samuel 22:31