I couldn’t get out of bed the morning after Gideon almost came. As I laid there my husband came over to see how I was doing. (He has, without a doubt, been the strength getting us through this all) I looked at him and said, “I think I am going to need some help.” I could see it in his eyes, I was scaring him.
I don’t think Dave has ever seen me this weak before. I’m convinced part of the reason he married me was because in college when we were playing flag football together he saw me jam my finger on the turf, dislocate it, pop it back into place, and then keep playing. That’s woman he married. Now that woman was curled up in fetal position in bed, crying, and not knowing how to function for months waiting for Gideon to come. But Dave fought for me, he wouldn’t let me stay down and so he made us an appointment to go see a counselor.
While at the counselling sessions, our wounds were so tenderly cared for with Godly focus and practical advice. We left there so equipped and empowered for the days that lay ahead. We came away with goldmines of truth that were implanted in our hearts to turn to when the days are long, hard, and bleak. These are a few of the things we have been holding onto…
Don’t try to shortcut the pain. “It’s human nature,” he said, “people try to take the shortest route away from the pain and towards pleasure. But it is not always the healthy thing.” No one wants to hear that there is no easy way out. No one wants to be told that you are going to have to sit in this hurt and this pain. We didn’t want it either, but we were not given a choice. So now what? I was 18 weeks pregnant when I found out about Gideon’s diagnosis, some Potter’s Syndrome babies come at 28 weeks and some come at 43 weeks, so either way, I had at least three months (probably more) to stew in the pain of bearing a child who would not live. I wanted to run for the hills, but even in the hills the pain was still there. So his advice was to not try to shortcut the pain, but instead accept it and ask God to work powerfully in me during my time of suffering however long it ends up being. His advice also came with the gentle reminder that seasons of suffering end up bringing you closer to God than anything else in life. He was right and that’s not something to shortcut around.
Do not project into the future, it only produces the worst case scenario. Up until he said that, worrying about the future is ALL I had been doing. Not only just with Gideon, in all areas of life. What about this? What about that? Oh no, what if that happens?? Thinking about every step, stage, event associated with our current situation has led my mind to go to some pretty terrible places. It’s a waste of time, something I always knew but was never strong enough to actually change. At one season in our counselor’s life he was faced with a life-threatening medical diagnosis, for him tomorrow was not guaranteed. He said each day became a reason for praise, he thanked God for simply waking up. The future did not matter because he had today. The same is for us, yes the future is scary but dwelling in it is not helpful. God has given me today and today I am pregnant, and I have a husband, children and a home to take care of. That’s today and that’s my focus. It is one step at a time living.
Dwell richly in all that you have to be thankful for because you have A LOT to be thankful for. No one can take the grief away that is ours right now. No one can make it any easier. But the pain of loss can live alongside a spirit of thankfulness. Even more than that, it is our very loss that has made us even MORE thankful than we have ever been before. Gideon has already brought Dave and I closer than we have ever been. In our twelve years together there has never been a season where our love, adoration, and grace towards each other has ever been greater. Our relationship is deep, in-penetrable, and supported by our faith in a God that neither of us can live without. Every touch, every kiss, every instance with my children has never been more precious. I soak them up and in every single day. I dwell on their words and I savor their smiles. I am more peaceful, more patient with them than I ever have been before because my thankfulness for them is so deep. No, this child that I am bearing might not be ours for very long…but he has been the glue that has congealed and held this family together and showed us what it really looks like to be thankful for what we have.
Instead of focusing on being in control, focus on being content. True confession, part of this planning mind of mine also mourned the loss of this probably (hopefully even) not being my last pregnancy. I deceivingly thought I was planning each pregnancy with “perfect” timing…how wrong was I? I still have the desire for another child, but it is not time for me to think about that right now and nor will it ever be time for me again to trick myself into thinking that ANY of this is in my control. And honestly, I don’t want it in my control, I just didn’t know what truly trusting God looked like until now. This was an especially important truth for us to hear in order to teach it to our children.
When you see me talking to myself, just know that it is probably one of those four truths that I am saying. Everyday is a cycle of taking every thought captive and refusing to let my mind go to the places that I know are not good.
I want to thank you for allowing me to write about this journey. In a lot of ways it not only helps me to heal, but it helps me to record Gideon’s life. I want to remember him. I want people to remember him. And I know that his little life means something and I believe it needs to be recorded. Just know it means a lot that you are with me in this. Your words of love and your hearts of prayer always come in the most perfect of moments.
Don’t shortcut the pain:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3
Don’t project into the future:
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34
Focus on the blessings:
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Contentment in loss:
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13