Romans 5:6

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Ministry in Miscarriage

Cohutta Springs - where I spent 3 days in our room alone with the Lord overlooking this view

Before you begin to read about the Lord’s faithfulness to us through this journey, please know that my aim in this is not to gain pity.  Your prayers weigh more important to us than pity.  God is working all things together for our good (Romans 8:28).

Over the past several weeks Joseph and I have often referred to everything as “surreal”.

After waiting to become expecting parents for eleven months, the Lord’s faithfulness reigned over us and we confirmed that we would be holding our long anticipated blessing in February 2015.

The joy we felt was unlike anything we’ve experienced.  After so many prayers… after waiting… after so many tears… finally!  It was surreal that what we had hoped to be for so long was now a reality.

In September 2013 the Lord promised me Hebrews 6:14b-15 – “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.  And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise.”

Abraham received the promise and blessing of a child after he PATIENTLY waited.  I asked that the Lord teach both Joseph and me to completely trust Him, to wait for His timing and to rejoice through the journey.  Though this was much easier said than done, I clung to this promise.

In March 2014 I was told that it would be “difficult” to ever become pregnant.  In April 2014 I had to have a sonogram to measure cysts my doctor said we needed to evaluate for surgery.

Rather than finding cysts, they found nothing.  NOTHING.  God’s faithfulness over us has proved true over and over.  Imagine that:  God healed me COMPLETELY prior to ever seeing my doctor the second time.

Joseph and I know that this was nothing short of a miracle.  God chose to heal.  He chose to remind us of His goodness, though He didn’t have to.  He chose to love on us and remind us of His promise to us.

My “banner verse” for my life (Romans 5:6) reminds me of the Lord’s perfect timing in every single situation.  Infertility was simply an area we had to surrender to the Lord.  We had to learn how to be content as a family of two.  We had to remain teachable as God continues to mold us.

Infertility taught us much more than we anticipated, but the wait was still difficult.
In June 2014, after several positive pregnancy tests, Joseph and I were elated that our wait was over!  God’s promise was being fulfilled! (I constantly reminded myself of this as I dealt with the bout with nausea and bizarre cravings.) 

The first week of July 2014, just weeks after we found out about our pregnancy, Joseph and I were to be on a trip with the student ministry I am privileged to work with.

After just two days in north Georgia, I knew something wasn’t right.  After I spoke with my nurse about my symptoms I was put on bed rest.

I was so frustrated.  I was looking forward to camp with our students for months.  But the Lord had other plans.

He had me in our hotel-style room at camp for three days by myself through out the day in order for Him to speak.

All of my symptoms were pointing to miscarriage, but He was teaching me to love Him and trust Him regardless of the outcome.

The Lord loved on me in such a strong way over those three days.  His love over Joseph and me is not conditional.  Nor can our love for Him be conditional.  I had about ten minutes of screaming to the Lord asking why He would bless us with a baby after waiting all those months just to take them back.  He spoke so clearly, “My promise remains.” 

His love for me had not only been shown in my pregnancy.  His love over me is constant.  He reminded me of this through Joseph.  The way that Joseph chose to minister to me and love on me through those days showed Christ’s love.  Being so selfless and so attentive, Joseph’s actions caused me to gain a better understanding of the Lord through it all.  Regardless of the outcome, God had promised us to be with us.  His attentiveness to our need for comfort was not dependent on my wavering levels of trust in those moments.

In our hearts Joseph and I were still hopeful that everything would be fine.  We continued to seek to learn all that Lord desired for us to, striving to never allow the spirit of unbelief to settle in our hearts.

My sweet mom drove almost seven hours to pick us up from camp early.  Then, turned right around to drive us home. On our drive home through the night into the morning I was trying to simply process all that the Lord had been teaching me.

While I was in the room over those few days alone, God continually reminded me of the hope we have in Him.  Hebrews 6:19 – “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”  Our hope in Him simply does not disappoint, regardless of our circumstances.

After the second day, I knew deep down that we had lost our baby.

I had lots of questions.  I know the Lord didn’t mind my asking, because with each one He lovingly directed me to His Word.

Deuteronomy 15:6 – “For the Lord your God will bless you, as He promised.”  He is for us!  His gift of a child had been given to us and He was declaring over us that we would once again know the joy of pregnancy, but to also know the joy of having a child here with us.

Psalm 27: 13-14 –“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord
 in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”  The Lord so sweetly comforted me through these verses.  Joseph and I have been given the gift of “the land of the living” in our salvation in Christ Jesus.  But here, He was nudging me to pay attention to the necessity of waiting.  Through our circumstances we have been called to be strong and to take heart -- to wait for Him to act on our behalf.

The strength that He has called us to requires that Joseph and I depend on Him.  In difficult circumstances our first inclination is not to want to surrender our emotions in order for the Lord’s strength to carry us.

I have learned that the act of waiting is active.

I have seen how our waiting for answers requires active faith.  Waiting bids us to pray fervently.  Waiting causes us to depend on Who He is.

Infertility was never a road either of us thought we would walk.  It was “surreal”.  The Lord’s healing caused us to trust more deeply.

Pregnancy felt “surreal” because our wait had been so difficult.  Our excitement was almost uncontainable!

Then, this past Monday (7/7/14), after our miscarriage had been confirmed, it all felt “surreal”.

Rather than seeing our baby on the monitor, we saw the words “empty uterus”.

Despite how I thought I would react regardless of the outcome of Monday’s appointment, the “surreal” was that Joseph and I felt the peace of God sit so heavily in the room with us as we were told the news.

For us, there is ministry in miscarriage for many reasons.
To know that despite what medical professionals told me, I am able to get pregnant is a huge sign of God’s faithfulness over us.

To recall the moment when I was told, “Mrs. Charlton, all of the cysts are gone! You will not need surgery” revealed God had chosen to preform a miracle just for us.

God’s faithfulness doesn’t waiver!  Our hope in Him is secure.
Our circumstances do not determine our faithfulness to Him. 

Though going through a miscarriage was painful and difficult – physically, emotionally and spiritually – we know that the Lord has called us to share our story.

When we were told at our appointment Monday that 25%+ of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, I immediately thought of all of the women who have walked through this silently.

Our culture has somehow made women believe that miscarriage is a taboo topic.  I believe this is nothing short of a scheme of the Enemy to cause couples to believe that they must carry the burden of losing a child alone.

Galatians 6:2 tells Christ followers to “bear one another’s burdens” for a reason.  God is reminding us to see past our own needs and selfish desires in order to minister to those He has allowed us to be in fellowship with. 

When we become serious about actually “being the Body of Christ” it becomes far more difficult for us to become discouraged when we walk through a loss or other unexpected circumstance.  When we love on one another as Christ commands His followers to do so our faith is strengthened and God is glorified.

There have been and will continue to be difficult moments for Joseph and I to walk through after this loss.  However, the peace that the Lord has given us far outweighs our grief (Philippians 4:7). 

Our encouragement to others is to find strength in the joy the Lord gives you.  Our joy is not based on our circumstances; rather it is rooted in Who He is.  It’s okay to admit that there are difficult situations.  Through those moments, we must recognize how the Lord is cultivating more faith within us.

Psalm 28:7 – “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.  My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”

He sees the big picture.  He knows how He desires to use our current heartache to minister to others as we simply go about our lives. Do not remain silent about all He is teaching you.

We are honored that the Lord allowed us the privilege of knowing a child, even though only for a few weeks.

We are grateful to belong to the God who holds all things together. (Colossians 1:17)

We are privileged to share our story of His faithfulness with others.  He is worthy of our praise!