Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Pregnancy Post I Hadn't Planned on Writing

I know I still need to get caught up on an Easter post, too :)

But for today, this is the pregnancy post I hadn't planned on writing. No, I am not pregnant... at least not anymore. I debated whether or not to even blog about this, but felt that it was important to do so, mostly so that it might potentially somehow help someone else.

Earlier this month, I miscarried. Again.

I didn't start this blog until I was pregnant with Isaac and we had received news of his prognosis; but prior to conceiving him, I had a missed miscarriage with our first baby at 13 weeks. I remember that time so clearly... being pregnant for the first time and blissfully unaware that anything bad could happen. I do, though, remember asking my OB at a prenatal visit I had around 10-11 weeks what my risks were of miscarrying at that point, and he shared that since the baby's heartbeat had been detected on the doppler, the risk at that point was small.

Yet we found the narrow odds... and I was devastated.

I remember sitting in small group one night as we were watching and discussing the NOOMA video entitled "Rain." I just broke down and and started sobbing. Around the same time, my mother-in-law had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer (and she has been in remission for some time now! Praise God...). Things felt so hard and I was so ready for the rainy storms to pass. I wanted sunshine and rainbows again.

Little did I know what was a few months around the corner, and that Spencer and I would walk through what has unarguably been the most difficult circumstance of our life: losing Isaac.

Difficult trials and circumstances that we have walked through in the past certainly don't preclude us from experiencing them in the present or future; Job would certainly attest to that. And I know some of you would, too.

So earlier this month, I experienced another miscarriage. It was very early, and truthfully, I am okay. I suppose that for me, while there is some disappointment and frustration, I guess it all feels sort of relative to what we've experienced in the past. For us, having lost Isaac has caused this to not sting so badly; but I recognize that for some, an early miscarriage even at 4-5 weeks would be devastating... and I want you to know that it is okay to feel that way.

I hope that for those of you who have lost a child and desire to have more children, this post serves as some encouragement for you that you will be okay even in the midst of more hardship. God is so faithful in meeting us where we are, providing enough grace and peace for each moment, and I know He will do the same for you, too. It is in times like this that I look back on God's past faithfulness and am reminded that He will continue to be faithful in the present and the future.

Psalm 57:10 says "For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies."

I pray that truth would encourage your heart today.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Hope in the Hard Places

I've been trying to write this post in my head for almost two weeks, and to be honest, it just really hasn't come together! As I shared previously, I was fortunate to attend a women's retreat sponsored by my friend Erica's church the first weekend in April. Nancy Guthrie shared some poignant and challenging thoughts on the topic of hope in the hard places, and used the book of Job as the cornerstone of her series. When I came back from the retreat, Spencer asked me about what I learned and what stuck out to me. Truthfully, I had a hard time answering... not because I didn't know, but because I was still processing so much of what Nancy shared. And even still, I find myself challenged by what she shared as we looked deeply into the life of Job. While I was pregnant with Isaac, I found myself reading through Job quite frequently. I felt so drawn to his story, and even more so to the way in which he responded to his sorrow and suffering. I was particularly comforted by the fact that this righteous man grieved so deeply and so openly. He didn't just grieve inwardly and give an appearance of having it all together on the outside; he grieved outwardly, too... fully revealing the depth of his sorrow (Job 1:20). Nancy shared with us that, "Real faith doesn't minimize how much loss hurts, but magnifies how sufficient God is." And I would add that He is the only thing that is sufficient enough to carry you through deep sorrow. What I found particularly challenging was this: after Job openly revealed the depth of his sorrow... he worshipped God. Job 1:20-21 says: "At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” I remember how hard it was for me to want to worship God. I remember not being able to sing songs in church, and I remember how the upbeat, cheery songs would almost make my stomach turn because I was aching so, so deeply. I think, though, that my view of what it means to worship when I first considered Job's response was a bit too narrow. Because truly, I believe that worship isn't just singing on Sundays. It isn't just singing along to Christian music in the car. True worship stems from remembering who we are in light of who God is, and we respond to Him in that proper place. And so those times when I cried myself to sleep, begging God to just be near? That's worship. The times when all I could do was open my Bible and read, yearning to find words of comfort and hope there? Countless times when even though I couldn't sing one word to one song in church because I was sobbing too hard to get any words out, but I stood up with the rest of the congregation anyway? That's worship. Nancy shared with us that as Christians, we worship because God is worthy, not because we feel like it... and in that, we find that God often then changes our feelings. I know that has been true for me. A few other great nuggets from Nancy as she walked us through the book of Job: - Genuine faith is revealed when we hold on to what is true about God, even when we suffer. - Goodness and godliness are no guarantee that we will not have to suffer. - The same circumstances that Satan uses to get us to reject God are often the same things that God uses to draw us closer to Himself. - God's love is an active commitment to our ultimate good and eternal happiness. - (In some cases), rather than providing healing, God will provide Himself. - Suffering provides us the opportunity to move from knowing about God, to knowing God in an intimate way. And she left us with this question: Has the suffering in your life allowed your faith to be proved genuine? It is my hope to be able to answer with an honest "yes."

Monday, April 4, 2011


This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a women's retreat through my friend's church and was privileged to hear Nancy Guthrie speak and Laura Story perform. Admittedly, I haven't had time in a while... in a long while... to really sit and think and evaluate where I am at this point in my journey of a mom of two, one of whom is in heaven. I've been so caught up in the momentum of being a working mom and trying to juggle all that comes with that, that I haven't had a chance to sit and really ask myself, "How is your heart with all of this, Stacy?" This weekend allowed me that opportunity. And I realized, that while I can still rarely share about Isaac without tears (which I know is perfectly okay), that over the past year, God has really worked so much in my heart. I remember a while ago blogging about how I had so much trouble singing certain songs in church... songs like "Blessed Be Your Name" and "Mighty to Save" (both of which we sung this weekend, and the ladder being written by Laura Story herself). Even though both of those songs still evoke floods of tears, I find myself in a place where I can finally sing those words with a heart that is fully postured in a position of belief. One of the things Nancy talked about this weekend as she walked us through the book of Job and addressed what it means to have hope in the hard places, was the truth at the end of Job 1. Verse 20 reads: At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship... She talked about that even though Job was stricken with grief, and maybe didn't feel like it, he still worshipped God. Can you relate to that? I know I can. I know that there have been so many times that the best I could, do that my greatest act of worship in that moment, was to simply be able to stand up with the rest of our church congregation as they sang, and instead of singing myself, shed rivers of tears. Gradually, I was able to eek out words here or there during our time of singing. After Laura performed for us on Saturday evening, I had a chance to share with her about Isaac and how much her song "Mighty to Save" meant to me during my pregnancy and in the weeks and months that followed. I shared with her how during my pregnancy, I sang those words with such conviction, knowing that God was capable of healing and saving my son. I also shared with her how for a long time, I really wasn't able to sing that song, and would flip it off when it came on the radio because I felt so hurt that God's answer to our prayers for healing on this side of heaven was "no." And I shared with her how the words to that song played such an instrumental role in allowing me to view Isaac's life in light of eternity; the fact that God did save Isaac, that in Jesus's finishing work on the cross, He did conquer the grave and save Isaac for all eternity. Laura's newest album was just released this year, and on it is a song called "Blessings." You can watch the video for it here. (Be sure to pause the music at the bottom of this page before viewing it). It is worth the 5 minutes of your time it takes to watch it. I am just now getting to a place where I can say, "Yes... I get it. I understand what you mean" when I hear these lyrics. I hope this song touches your heart the way that it did mine, and for those of you who may be struggling in a hard place right now, that it would comfort your heart.