Thursday, November 29, 2012

Grief, Surprise, and Joy

Today I've been surprised and a bit blindsided by grief. We're approaching what would have been Jenson's due date--Dec. 8. It seems I've been avoiding thinking about him, writing about him, journaling about anything at all for weeks now. I decided today that what I've been avoiding is really the guilt I feel about losing him. I know in my head that it's not my fault, that it was just something that happened and I didn't cause his death. But I wish . . . I wish I'd taken vitamins right away, that I hadn't been so angry and upset when we learned we were expecting him, that I'd wanted him from the very first day, that I had loved him and fought for him sooner. I, of course, am convinced that none of that had any bearing on what happened, but I can't help but feel some regret.

My hope is that those feelings will encourage me to envelop the new life growing in me now. We are expecting a baby in July, and this baby came as an absolute surprise. Only God knew this was going to happen--it wasn't planned, prayed for, I didn't even know if I wanted another child after losing Jenson. I'd pretty much decided I didn't.

A few weeks ago on a Wednesday, I was headed to the doctor to see what was going on in my mouth--it was a virus that made my tongue raw and my gums sensitive. On the way there, I got really honest and personal and just asked the Lord what was next for our family--if He wanted us to have more children and if so, when and how--biological or by adoption. I just wanted Him to tell me so I could have it all squared away in my mind and heart. I assumed He would remain silent on the matter, instead preferring that I find out when the time was right. He whispered, "I knit you together in your mother's womb." And for whatever reason, I assumed He meant that we were done with kids. That would take a little getting used to, but that was fine. At the doctor's office, I gave her a list of various and unrelated symptoms I'd been having and she suggested we just draw some blood to see what was going on. The tech told me it would be a couple days before the results were back.

Later that night, I went to the youth group's service. They were talking about unconditional surrender, leaving your nets like the disciples did and following Jesus. It was such a good sermon, I had to take notes--I found a receipt and wrote on the back. "Maybe God wants to interrupt your life to call you to something greater." Surrender was later defined--relinquish possession or control of to another by demand or compulsion, to give up in favor of another, to give up or abandon, to give over or resign (self) to do something. "The call is to abandon yourself to whatever Jesus wants."  I considered this an invitation to surrender the whole subject of family--present and future--to whatever the Lord had for us. I prayed that the Lord would just take complete control of the situation and I would accept whatever that meant. During the closing prayer, the verse I'd heard earlier in the day was repeated. That night, I read a blog about a man whose son had been born and died the same day and the wonder of how God had knit his body in his mother's womb so perfectly and how his body had served it's purpose for the time it was needed. That comforted me in my loss--how I'd seen his little tiny body and it also had served its purpose while he needed it. Three times that day, I'd heard the same verse repeated. I went to bed comforted and more relaxed.

The next morning as I was preparing for a friend to come over, my doctor called. "All the tests came out negative except there was one--it said you're pregnant." WHAT?!? So the question I'd asked the day before had been answered three times in one day but I just couldn't understand at the time. I knew right then that God had been telling me I was pregnant. It was the exact thing He'd said when I was waiting to know if I was pregnant with Ben. Perhaps I should have known what God meant, but I just couldn't fathom it on Wednesday.

Jason and I have been in shock since learning of this pregnancy. We keep thinking about how crazy it is with three kids and how much moreso it will be with four. But I'm beginning to realize that God has it all worked out already. He is in the details with this child, just as He has been with the others. All I need to do is trust Him to supply our needs, to work out details we just can't figure out yet, and rest in Him. Since He gave us this child, He will give us all we need (and likely other things we want) to care for this child. I'm an over-planner in some cases, so it's hard to be still and let things happen; however, I know without a doubt that God is supremely faithful and so good. He will take care of everything.

So I'm considering it pure joy, my sisters (and brothers), as you read this--that losing Jenson has taught me so much about God and His goodness and faithfulness; that God has a plan for our family that now includes a fourth child; that God will provide all our needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus; that we will be OK. Please pray for us over this next year--that God would help me to grieve in a healthy way and would relieve my feelings of guilt; that God would show us His provision for the needs we now have with the new baby coming; that we would trust Him all the more to raise our children in His ways. Thank you.

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