At YoungLives camp two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to share about some of our story with Maizie by writing a cardboard testimony. We often end a week at Young Life camp with a visual display of the way God has transformed the lives of some of the leaders in the room. On one side of the board the leader writes what their state was before Christ and on the other side they share a way God has transformed them. This visual shows off God’s ability to transform death to life and to make old things new. To a room full of teenage mothers I wanted to put our story out there because I assumed that in a room with a few hundred moms there were going to be some who had also lost children during pregnancy.
I keep wondering how big a part of my whole story and my shaping Maizie will be. As I sat debating what to share, I tried to think about what has really been transformed by the Lord since December 6 when we were made aware of her death. Besides sadness, what did I really live in following the loss?
Fear. Lots of fear.
Fear that I wouldn’t have healthy children. Fear my body wouldn’t recover. Fear that maybe God wouldn’t be good to me. Fear that people would continue to hurt me. Fear that broken relationships wouldn’t be restored. Fear of being misunderstood. Fear this loss would cause irreconcilable damage on our marriage. Fear that the darkness would stay this dark forever. Fear that fear would rule my next pregnancy. Fear that I would always be imagining worst case scenarios.
And what has God slowly replaced that fear with? Hope.
Hope in Christ in all things. Not hope in a healthy next baby but hope in the One who has purchased my soul. Hope that God works all things out for eternal good. Hope that my future is secure with Him.
Satan can completely destroy my life on earth. If permitted, he could end it. He gave me a good run for my money in 2016. But he can’t eternally damn me. There is light, even in the darkness. Even if it is just the small glimmer of future redemption. There is always light. There is always hope.
I stood up to testify to the light I see even in the darkness. Fear is replaced with hope, even if circumstances don’t change. Hope did not come with a new pregnancy. Hope came when Jesus paid the price for my sins on this earth and made my eternity secure.
As I stood backstage at camp, I thought about how truly dark the first six months following our loss were. So painful. I couldn’t find myself during that time. I often couldn’t find God. My heart ached. My body went through so many changes. Some relationships couldn’t handle the strain. We had to fight to keep our marriage strong. It was so much pain.
Part of me wondered if I was silly for sharing the other side of my board. Can I really claim some victory here? It was almost as if Stan was whispering, “Do you have hope? Is God really good? Are you faking healing? Have you actually made any progress?” Part of me debated getting out of the line. “You’re right,” I thought, “I do still have fear. Some of me is still hurting. Maybe God hasn’t done much here. Maybe He will forget me and leave me.”
I realized that God’s work in this area is not complete; but it doesn’t have to be complete for me to start sharing about His work. In fact, it won’t be complete until I’m face to face with Him in glory.
I choose to claim victory, though I am yet to experience it fully because God has done a significant work to restore my hope. I believe that is the work God will do in my life – to bring me to FULL hope. Hope that will be made a reality in eternity. 2 Corinthians 2:14 came to mind, “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.” While I go forward, I want to march triumphantly. Even though its not over or fully complete, I want to claim the future victory that is mine. I have seen God work in the past eight months. I have seen Him transform my fear to hope.
I went out on the stage and I showed both sides of my sign.
Fear after losing a daughter during pregnancy.
Hope in Christ in all things.
What happened after I shared? I was bombarded by teenage mothers. Some who had lost babies early in pregnancy, some who had lost later like us, and one who shared about losing a twin in the delivery room. The last one asked how I grieved and how I trusted God because she has tried to just stuff it all down. I told her to grieve that baby and be as sad as she needs to be over the loss; but at the same time, to look to all of the promises of God and to know that she can trust His forever goodness.