I love having the opportunity to attend the church I grew up in, and that’s exactly what we got to do yesterday. It was a service full of worship (awesome!!) and a short reading from Lamentations 3. The verses he wanted to focus on were 21-24.
As he read the verses coming up to 21, I thought, “How many times have I felt like this in my life?”
The answer was a lot.
The writer is basically spilling his guts out about how awful his life has become…and then verse 21.
At first I thought it was a bit random that this declaration of God’s love and mercy was in the middle of these other verses going on and on about how hard life was, but as I thought on it some more I took a trip back to difficult times in my life when I felt like life probably couldn’t be much worse.
I especially thought back to my pregnancy – to the time I was carrying my son who was going to die.
During my pregnancy, I wrote weekly-ish updates on Facebook to keep everyone posted on what was happening as we found things out.
God is so good.
I remember what I felt. I remember feeling so broken I wasn’t sure if I would ever be whole again. I remember wishing I could just know if my son would live or die. I remember the people who would share articles about that stupid statistic of how many couples get divorced after losing a child, not realizing who might be reading it and hoping it wouldn’t be us. I remember thinking how unfair this world is and how much I really hate it sometimes. I remember wishing the time would just come already, so I wouldn’t have to be in the limbo of the unknowing. And I remember wishing for more time when it finally did come.
I remember how my heart broke – how it’s still broken in places.
And then I went back and read those things I posted on Facebook. Here are some bits and pieces:
March 5,2014 – The day we were told there was something definitely wrong, and we had an amniocentesis performed.
…Our joy and peace are not dependent on our circumstance; they depend only on our God who is always faithful. So we will take everything as it comes. God has already used our baby for huge things – we have the opportunity to share our faith in Jesus with our friends and family but also with the doctors at the University of Iowa. So even if our baby never takes a breath on this earth, the victory is still the Lord’s. If it’s born healthy, the victory is the Lord’s, and if it is born with all of the problems the doctors expect and still survives, the victory is the Lord’s. He can try, but Satan can’t win this one.
We will continue to pray for healing and breakthrough for our little one. I’m so thankful for doctors who can take care of us, but they are limited in what they can do, so our hope is not in them and what they can do. Our hope is in the Lord who can do immeasurably more than we could EVER ask or imagine, and He will provide…
March 11, 2014 – Preliminary diagnosis of triploidy syndrome
…All weekend long the song “Our God is Able” was running through my mind, and I know that is true. He can do so much, and our hope is in Him. It seems like around every corner is more bad news for baby Leeland, but he is in good hands and so are we.
I’ve really come to realize more than ever that Satan will steal your peace in an instant if you let him, but also that God will restore it just as quickly when you remember who He is and who you are in Him…
March 16, 2014 – 20 weeks, the day we were supposed to lose him.
…God is so big, and healing Leeland would be easy for Him. It’s times like these that I’m so thankful that I can put my hope in the Lord, knowing we are secure in Him. What is impossible for humans – for doctors – is absolutely possible with God. He is the one that knits our baby together. We are full of expectation for God to continue to show up and defy what the doctors say, but even if Leeland doesn’t survive, we will still be glad for the things God has shown us and the way he has provided throughout all of this. God is good. He is the giver of life. He is the one that sustains Leeland, and I know that if Leeland doesn’t live that he will be with the Lord. God is not the taker of life, but He is present in everything and will continue to bring good out of our circumstances…
March 26, 2014
…I know that God is the one who sustains his life the same way He sustains mine. There’s so much peace in knowing that. We continue to hope and pray for miraculous healing in Leeland but more than anything that God’s will in this would be done and that he would be glorified through Leeland’s life. His plans are always so much better than ours, even if we don’t see it…
May 6, 2014 – one month before I would give birth
…Right now we are continuing to pray and speak healing over Leeland every day and live like we will be bringing a healthy baby home. It’s not impossible, and if we do, Leeland will have an amazing testimony to share as he grows up and bring glory to his Father in heaven. But even if that’s not the case, and we never get to bring him home, he will be home with the One who already loves him more than we ever could. I can’t help but think about Jesus and how He loved us so much that He chose to die, so we could live. That is where my hope lies. Because I know it was that selfless act that means whether Leeland lives on this earth or doesn’t, the victory is the Lord’s, and we will be okay. No matter what happens, all the glory will be for our God, who is always good and who works everything for our good…
Says my soul.
Therefore I will hope in Him.
You see, as I went back and read through each post, I realized a something.
God used the words that I had written months before to minister to back to me. I remember writing all of it, but I had no clue that those words would speak to my broken places and begin binding up some of the wounds. I had no clue that God would use the words I had written to show His love for me.
And as I continued reading I thought, “what kind of person, who is carrying a baby who could die any day, says those things?”
Well, the same kind of person as the one in Lamentations – one who knows the Lord and is sure of Him.
Those verses don’t say “I declare” or “says my mind.”
Those verses say, “says my soul.”
Says my soul.
As the body cries out in Lamentations of everything that is failing, the soul speaks. Even though my world seemed to be falling apart on all sides, even though everything seemed terribly unfair and painful, my soul still spoke of God’s truth. My soul could declare the things that my flesh could not.
The Holy Spirit reminded me in my deepest places of who He was. Even if I didn’t realize that He was speaking into me, it is so evident as I reread my updates.
No person, without the intervention of the Holy Spirit, would say the things I did, and I don’t say this out of boastfulness. I say this because I honestly couldn’t believe the things I wrote. After Leeland was born, reading my words kind of shocked me. But God showed me how present He was in the midst of our journey by those words, as I realized I couldn’t have written them without Him. If it weren’t for the Holy Spirit prompting my soul to speak truth, my updates would have been dismal and depressing, but even after having lost my son, I was encouraged.
The soul speaks in the midst of trouble, and it’s a beautiful thing. It is a beautiful thing to see the words of someone who is in ruins declare of goodness of the Lord. Lamentations has encouraged and humbled me.