It also isn't about how I was sick for the long Thanksgiving weekend... all those plans of Christmas decorating dashed!
Instead, it's about how sick my heart feels for an 11-week along pregnant friend whose doctor just confirmed today that her baby has acrania, which means that her baby is developing without a skull. They were told that she's likely to carry the baby to term, but that it would not survive outside the womb for more than a few hours.
I can relate to the devastating feeling of dreams disappearing in a moment, and the notion that every expectation you once had has changed dramatically. When I try to imagine what she is going through, I just cry. While I can relate to her loss in one sense, carrying a baby to term that you know will not live is unbearable to imagine, much less have that be your reality, and one that I can't relate to. Honestly, it's so very hard for me to think about right now. I wish with all my heart that she didn't have to go through any of this.
It seems so cruel. I can see why people witness life changes like this and think our God is mean and abusive of his power. It's easy slip into that train of thought, especially when you're in the midst of a nightmare like this. God could have let Joshua live. God could have developed this baby's skull completely so there was never a cause for alarm. God could have let every sweet, tiny baby live whose lives were way too short. God could have saved many moms' and dads' hearts from breaking into a million pieces when doctors broke the news to them. But he didn't. WHY NOT? I've only asked myself that a thousand times, and I'm sure I'll double it by year's end.
But the thing that doesn't make any sense to me, is that although on the surface it seems so awful (and it is, trust me it is), God is still good. I don't love God for the things he does or doesn't do, I love him for who he is. When Addie throws a tantrum in the mall (like today), it doesn't make me stop loving her. I love her because she's my daughter. I probably do a lot of things that make God roll his eyes and slap his forehead, but he loves me because I'm His daughter. He also doesn't love me any more on Bible Study days or days I'm especially loving towards my husband. Likewise, I don't love God because he does great things for me, or hate him because he doesn't. I love him because He's God, and He's my father. Just because he's thrown some twists in life our way that we don't understand or like, doesn't mean I should stop loving him. I can be mad and ask questions, but I can't make myself stop loving him. He's my lifeline... I just can't. I've got to hold on for dear life, even when that's the irony.
I know that God is good and His purposes are good too. Even when that thought seems unfathomable, I know it to be true. I've seen that truth played out in my life and countless others. Why do we think we're so great and know what's best, anyway? Proverbs 19:21 says, "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." I have to keep trusting him. I have to keep trusting him. I have to keep trusting him.
Joshua is still as near to my heart as he ever was, even if not physically now. I longed for the day I could hold him as close to my heart as possible, and still have to pinch myself that it just isn't going to happen this side of heaven. But time has helped to start healing the wounds Joshua left behind, and I know that joy will be restored. I've already felt sprigs of green grass coming through the barren surface of my heart. I just have to pray now that my friend Erin will feel God's presence around her as she and her husband walk this road. I'm thankful that her trust in the Lord has been great ever since I've known her, but this is enough to shake even the strongest person. No one could've told me on August 31st that joy would come again, but it has, and it will. Same for Erin.
Lord, we don't understand your plans for us, but we know that you had written our days long before we born. Erin's baby is not an exception. Your plans are mysterious and seem confusing and unfair to us. Help me to see that your way is the best way and that you love us more than we can fathom. Be with my friend and her family, and catch every one of their tears in your hands. Teach me how to be a good friend right now and love them through this. And Lord, I will keep praying for a miracle like I've been doing these last few days. I know that it's possible, and I'm refuse to not expect it. But if that's not your will, then use this experience for your glory, and ease Erin's pain knowing that it makes you shine.
Those who sow in tears
will reap with songs of joy.
He who goes out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with him.