I laid awake last night staring at the ceiling and wondering where to begin. The goal is to tell you a bit of my testimony so you can know a bit about who I am, but where do I begin? My life on paper sounds like a fairly typical story for the first part of my life. I was raised in a Christian home, and went to Sunday school every week. I accepted Jesus into my heart at age 3 while sitting on my bed with my mom and dad, and I was baptized on Father’s Day when I was eight years old. Like many, I floundered come high school, my faith dwindled as I struggled to figure out what it meant to me apart from what my parent’s taught me.
Halfway through college I split up with a long term boyfriend after realizing I wasn’t where I knew it needed to be. That’s when my husband came along, and after a 2 month dating period, we were engaged and married one year later. Up to this point, I can’t really say my life was interesting or out of the ordinary, but half a year later things began to change.
I was pregnant. We were ecstatic! We began to dream about our soon-to-be family of three. Our parent’s were going to be first time grandparents and they began to dream too. About eight weeks into the pregnancy things began to changed. I had been spotting and ended up in emergency. The doctor checked and said I wasn’t big enough for where I was in the pregnancy and the baby probably wasn’t growing. Tim drove us home and before I could make it up the stairs to our house I collapsed in the deepest emotional pit of despair I had ever felt. I was unable to catch my breath and my legs were too shaky to walk on, Tim had to help me up the stairs to the couch where I began to cry inconsolably. My dreams were shattered. The next day I got a phone call from my doctor after having had an early morning ultrasound. “Your baby has a heart beat and is alive, but has embedded itself into your tube, you will need surgery to remove it.” My heart stopped. That baby, MY baby, my LIVING baby was going to be destroyed. I had failed. I had been given something so precious to look after nurture, and protect and I failed. No one at the hospital that day seemed to care that this was my child, they told me it was a blob of cells and that it wouldn’t feel anything. “But it has leg and arm buds and a HEARTBEAT”, I cried to them. I knew how big my baby was… I had read my books, I followed the progress. But not one nurse cared, not one doctor had compassion. They looked at me crying and thought I was crazy to be so attached to a “group of cells”.
The next day I went home feeling empty; something so wonderful has been torn from me. It was the hardest season of my life. I didn’t fear death, not for me, not for my baby. I’ve been around death all too many times in my life having been to as many funerals as my age. I knew it was part of life. I was riddled with fear and couldn’t figure out where it was coming from, and on top of that I thought of myself as a failure. I failed my baby, I failed to take care of what God gave me. I was devastated. I didn’t think I would find contentment again. I grew restless and depressed.
Eventually, following my ectopic pregnancy and a miscarriage, we ended up with 2 beautiful little girls, but my questions for God continued. Then, in November of 2008, we had another blow to the family. My mom was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and was given 2 months to live. Oh, how my heart ached! “When is it enough God?” I wondered. Why do some people experience no pain, and others so much. Yet, strangely during this time I found myself pulling in closer to him. I knew if I was going to survive I needed him, although I was still so angry with him. None of it made sense. It was very confusing to try to hear my head that wanted God and my heart which was still angry with him battling back on forth over the whole thing.
We ended up with 2 years with my mom before she went home to heaven. During her last few days in the hospital it was an horrific battle. In the middle of the night we had to hold my mom down while she screamed and struggled to go home. She was fighting for her life and yet losing it so quickly…and not quick enough all at the same time. We would pray for God to come and take her, but he didn’t at the moment. I kept wondering, where is that peacefulness that everyone talks about when someone dies? Then, for a brief second she opened her eyes in the dark of the night and stared at me. I could see heart-breaking fear in her eyes. It stiffened me as we locked gazes for that brief moment. I recognized that fear. It’s that same fear I had felt before with my baby, and I understood. It’s a fear that makes you wonder if God really is in charge. You wonder, has he got it? Will he save me? I leaned over close to her ear and promised that it was going to be okay. I said, “Mom, you’re working hard, now close your eyes, and take a deep breath. You’ve seen everything there is to see here.” And she did, and peace began to take over…finally.
In a strange way it all began to make sense, none of this was my plan. It never was. I had felt as though I had failed for not being able to take care of those babies who didn’t make it, but it wasn’t God’s plan for them to born into my arms. I felt sad that I was losing my mom so early in life, but it also wasn’t God’s plan for her that she would grow old here with us.
Time and time again, he began to show me that he has a plan, and that he’s in control. All my feelings (the feeling I had failed, the sadness the depression) had all spawned from that same fear that I saw across my mom’s face as she died. What if God doesn’t have it? What if he won’t save me? It was then that I started to give my life to him, piece by piece. I knew I had to if wanted to find rest and comfort again. Cautiously, trusting him a little at a time. I began to feel peace for the first time in years.
I have found freedom in God knowing I can come to him and he doesn’t see me for the things that I do well, or poorly, my successes or my failures. When I come to him hurt by the things he has put in my life, he doesn’t wonder why I feel that way, he already knows. I am not any less valuable to him for the things I mess up on; and equally, that person you see who seems to have it pulled together is not any more valuable to him for appearing to have it all.
He really does have a plan, and I am seeing little by little how he is turning my life into a bigger picture. I can come to him without fear of his plans. Yes, sometimes they have been scary plans and painful plans, but they are better than mine. And the things that I fear today will seem so small when I, too am standing next to him one day like my babies and my mom have already discovered.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.“ As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
*As a token of blessing for the words written by one another, we have agreed to pray over each post for the other person*
Dear Father God,
thank you for Sarah, for the courage she has in sharing the sorrows that have become part of her story. Although from our human perspective, we see them as painful times, we know that You are almighty and sovereign. That these worldly pains that we must endure are part of our time here. I ask that you bless the insight that Sarah has provided, and that you use her words as Your words Lord, that the things that she has freely written, speak into the lives of those who read them. Thank you for this small minuscule corner of the web…we pray that it serves your purpose Lord.
In Your Name, Amen.