Our journey to parenthood took longer than anticipated, as many of you know, but the lessons learned pertaining to His faithfulness are too numerous to mention. Therefore, making our journey well worth it.
This week, our first baby would have had their first birthday. I choose to celebrate their little life because of all the Lord has taught me through them.
Celebrating someone I have never met, but whom I prayed for, hoped for, and experienced my first pregnancy symptoms from isn’t rooted in me wanting to harp on the topic of our miscarriage. Rather, my celebration stems from my thankfulness. Though losing our baby was the most difficult, most painful experience Joseph and I have faced, I am thankful that the Lord entrusted us with the story.
Rather than adorning our home with balloons and lighting a candle on top of a cake for our little one this week, I am celebrating by choosing to remember His goodness to us.
I celebrate by remembering the joy I felt seeing a positive pregnancy test for the first time. After being told that my dream of becoming a mother may not come to fruition, I was elated to finally see a positive test. The joy that washed over me was like none other I had experienced. I let out a sigh of relief and tears of excitement as I shared the news with Joseph.
I celebrate by remembering my first pregnancy symptoms, though some weren’t so glorious. I felt like I was living a fairytale during the first days and weeks of our first pregnancy. Joseph and I were so thrilled by our news! We had become weary while waiting for our prayers to be answered, and our news became the beginning of a different season for us.
I celebrate the child I never met because through them the Lord reminded me that He certainly does hear our cries. Psalm 116:2 (NLT) “Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!” Through our first baby, the Lord encouraged our hearts by reassuring us that He is far superior to any reports that we had received by medical personnel. Though I heard the report that I may never have a baby, my heart never allowed me to believe it. I knew that the Lord was near to us and heard us.
I celebrate our first baby because our marriage was strengthened and our relationships with other believers grew deeper. The love from others that Joseph and I experienced through walking through our miscarriage is unexplainable. Family members and friends grieved with us and loved us well. Joseph and I learned how to seriously press in to the Lord more and how to handle tragedy together.
I celebrate our first baby because I learned contentment through knowing of them, even for a short while, then losing them. Through our first pregnancy, the Lord fulfilled a promise. I don’t take that lightly. After our miscarriage, Joseph and I had to come to a serious place of contentment and surrender. We had to be fine with knowing that it was a possibility that we may never become pregnant again and that the baby we would never meet may be the only one we’d ever have. Arriving to that place wasn’t easy for me. The days after our miscarriage were difficult, but full of the Lord’s grace. God sweetly ushered us into a place of truly experiencing His peace. I learned of His sufficiency like I had never known before. He was enough.
The baby clothing and cutesy things I had been storing up in hopes of one day bringing a baby home began making their way to the homes of children who were welcomed into the world by our friends.
As I relinquished those material possessions, I’d hear the Lord say, “I’ve got you.” I cried a lot, not surprising to any of you who know me well. I cried over mourning for the child I’ll never meet, but I also cried because of the faithfulness the Lord chose to bestow upon us. He continually reminded us that He entrusted us with all that we had experienced. The decision to become bitter about it or to choose to strive to glorify Him in it was completely up to us.
I celebrate the child I never met because of how I experienced the love of the Father through them. Through anticipating their arrival for only a couple of months, I gained greater perspective pertaining to Psalm 37:4. “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” After the miscarriage, I learned to truly desire the Lord and Him only. I learned what it meant to only want to be in His presence, to long for Him to move, and to want to please Him. When He became my heart’s desire, He honored His promised and daily renewed me and filled me with Himself.
I celebrate the child I never met because they are a part of our family’s story. In His mercy and grace over us, God chose to bless us with Ada. We found out she would be arriving just three months after our miscarriage was confirmed. She is seven months old now, and being her mom is far better than I ever imagined.
But what if God had chosen not to bless us with another baby? I would have still celebrated. It’s not up to me to determine the circumstances in which I praise the Lord. My obligation is to praise Him despite my circumstances.
Even now, with Ada here, the Lord continues to whisper over me, “I’ve got you.” I’m constantly reminded of His presence as I speak the same over Ada when she’s fussy. “Shh, shh, shh. Sweet girl, I’ve got you.” And He nudges me so gently, “And I’ve still got you, Sydney.”
It’s easy to become weary in our current situation and wonder if the Lord is paying attention to us at all. Pay attention. He’s beckoning you to hear Him say, “I’ve got you.”
Some reading this are still in their season of waiting, and have grown weary there. Listen to Him! He’s got you. In the moments of wondering how you’re going to get everything done--- laundry, dishes, paying the bills, preparing meals, and your long list of to-do’s at work --- hear Him whisper, “Shh, shh, shh. I’ve got you!” When you wonder if anyone sees your efforts at work, or if they care He says, “I care. I see. I’ve got you.” When your mind lingers in that place of simply wanting to know when your life’s goals will be met – marriage, kids, career, etc.--- rest knowing that His plan for you is far better than you know.
In your seasons of waiting, wondering why you experienced tragedy, why you haven’t known joy like you’d hoped, choose to celebrate. Lamentations 3:25 (NIV) “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him…”
Choose to celebrate Him, the giver of good gifts even when your circumstances are less than desirable. Choose to honor Him in how you handle difficulty.
Though I have chosen to celebrate our first child, I still have moments when the memories of our miscarriage overwhelm me. This week has been difficult. I will probably always wonder about their personality or who they would have looked like. But I will always be grateful, because I know that without them, without experiencing losing them, we wouldn’t have Ada.
Be encouraged knowing that the Lord loves you enough to see you through whatever difficulty or trial you find yourself in. There will always be a reason for you to be downtrodden, but He is a greater reason to celebrate through your circumstances. Your prayers may not be answered the way you hope, but you can know for sure that your prayers are heard. He knows what He’s doing. Isaiah 55:9 (NIV): “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
You are loved, Baby Charlton, and you are worth celebrating!
“I never got to hold you, or bounce you on my lap. I never got to read to you, or watch you as you nap. You slipped away so quickly, before I said your name. And I want the world to know I loved you just the same.” ~A. Peterson