Lettered Hope

April 15, 2018

Jessica ScheksComment
IMG_5841.JPG

A lot can change in a year.

Last year I wrote this post in tears as I celebrated and mourned our second child's due date who we lost on September 2nd, 2016 and anticipated Resurrection Sunday the next day like never before.

I remember how the months that stretched between losing her and her due date were full of despair. I was clinging to the Lord with all the strength I could muster, and it wasn't much.

Mixed into that grief was the roller coaster of trying to conceive. Each month was met with tears and heartache as I realized that, once again, my womb would remain empty. I cannot begin to explain how this type of grief adds to the depth of the grief of loss. It was more than enough to make me feel like I was drowning. Looking back, I have no idea how I made it through. It was hands down the hardest season of my life and yet I felt ashamed; as if I did not deserve to grieve so hard, and so I kept it locked up in my heart.

Trigger Warning: Scrolling past the photo below will bring you to the announcement of a healthy pregnancy.

sgXYZUfHQPG62djqgy4dNg.jpg

This past December, I took a pregnancy test expecting it to be negative just like it had been every other month for over the last year. It was only three days before Christmas and I was dreading the holidays because I felt anything but festive. And yet this time, the test was positive. It was five in the morning on December 22nd, 2017, and suddenly I was filled with joy. I was carrying our third child! The best Christmas present I've ever received.

The first trimester was so scary as I went through tests, began taking blood thinning shots two times a day, and had a few scares. Not to mention the awful around-the-clock morning sickness that made me lose 15 pounds. However I think the sickness helped keep me distracted from worrying too much and reassured me that this was a healthy pregnancy.

And here I am on April 15th, a day that was filled with only sorrow last year, now filled with joy. I am just days away from being half way through this pregnancy and instead of tears falling as I type, I feel our third daughter, Ella Brooke, moving around in my belly. She is due September 5th, just three days after her big sister's birthday. And I am secretly hoping that they will share a birthday.

IMG_5857.JPG

As cliche as it may sound, God's timing amazes me. In the thick of the wait I would not have said that. I probably would have cried if someone said it to me. But nevertheless, I cannot believe I've made it this far in a pregnancy. I used to ache as I wondered if I'd ever get to wear maternity clothes and have a cute little bump or if I'd ever have an adorable profile shot of my child in an ultrasound. It still feels so surreal to me.

I've always loved the name Ella. Once we found out we were expecting a girl I knew that was the name I wanted to use but we could not think of a middle name we liked. I never in a million years would've guessed I'd use the name 'Brooke' but it just fits. Ella means 'light' and Brooke means 'God's promise.' To me, she is the light of God's promise.

I haven't blogged for months and I hope this post serves to encourage because I know how devastating a pregnancy announcement can feel. Goodness do I know. But I pray that for each momma reading this today who finds herself still in the wait, that she would recognize God's faithfulness in my story and claim His faithfulness over her own life and story. He is good. And He does good.

 

Psalm 30:11

Faith, Miscarriage, Wednesdays In The WordJessica ScheksComment

This is a hard scripture to talk about today. I'm kind of surprised that I included it on my list of verses to talk about this year for this series. But here goes nothing!When I was pregnant for the second time I saw a post on Facebook with this verse and it resonated very deeply with me. I had walked through a season of heartache and was truthfully still grieving the loss of our first child, but I was pregnant with our second and I was rejoicing. This verse described exactly how I felt.

Isaiah 43:1-3

Wednesdays In The Word, Miscarriage, FaithJessica ScheksComment

I love the bold promises in this passage of Isaiah. As I was meditating on this verse this morning and thinking about what I may write about, my mind immediately went to flash floods for some reason. Like the name suggests, flash floods happen really quickly and are super dangerous. They blindside you and take over everything in their path before you even have time to react.

Genesis 39:21

Wednesdays In The Word, Miscarriage, FaithJessica ScheksComment

But the Lord was with Joseph.Those words bring me so much comfort. If you don't know the story of Joseph I'd encourage you to read it because it is one of my favorites. Essentially, Joseph was his father's favorite son and his older brothers were so jealous and full of hatred that they sold him into slavery. Fortunately, Joseph found himself favored by Potiphar, an officer to the Pharaoh of Egypt and he was made overseer of Potiphar's house. Eventually, due to some really unfortunate circumstances at no fault of his own, Joseph wound up in prison and was there for two whole years before being released. Chapter 39 is about Joseph's time in prison.

My Umbrella Box

MiscarriageJessica ScheksComment

And the thing is, you can tell each box is infused with love. On her website, Alaina says: 

"This project and ministry is my dream that came from piecing some of the broken places of me back together."

It's quite evident that she spends a lot of time personalizing each item which makes it that much more special.

Psalm 145

Wednesdays In The Word, Faith, MiscarriageJessica Scheks2 Comments

This entire chapter of scripture brought me so much comfort shortly after my first miscarriage. For some reason Psalm 145:16 came to my mind within the first few days after my loss and it brought peace to my aching heart. A few months before my miscarriage, and about a month before I found out I was pregnant, I was visiting my best friend Julie down in Springville, Alabama. I was sitting next to her in church...

2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Miscarriage, Faith, Wednesdays In The WordJessica ScheksComment

The Father of mercies and the God of ALL comfort. That amazes me and convicts me all at once. How many places do I go every single day looking for comfort, even if just for a moment, that are not the Lord? Sometimes I go to my coffee or a dessert, sometimes I go to my husband, sometimes I go to Netflix, sometimes I go to Marshall's, sometimes I vent to a friend. But if I would just go to God and seek His face, I would be surrounded by His comfort. We make it so complicated; we allow ourself to wallow in sadness sometimes because we seek comfort in all the wrong places.

The Privilege of Heartbreak

Jessica ScheksComment

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the privilege of heartbreak. It sounds impossible, but not when God is involved. I truly believe that the deeper the pain we experience, the deeper we get to experience God. He enters into our pain as He comforts us, heals us, strengthens us, and grieves with us and it allows us to get to know Him in a deep and intimate way.

Isaiah 25:4

Wednesdays In The Word, Miscarriage, FaithJessica ScheksComment

Isaiah 25:4 covers it all; we are reminded that He is our strength when we are poor, in need of something, or in distress, He is our refuge from the storms of life, He is our shadow that we have the privilege of abiding in when the heat of a trial becomes too much for us to bear, and He protects us like a wall protects a city during a storm. Nothing enters into our lives that He has not allowed to pass.

Psalm 61:2

Faith, Miscarriage, Wednesdays In The WordJessica ScheksComment

No matter how far away He feels, He's ever so near, working on me and my story. No matter where I go, no matter how hopeless it seems, or how far away from God I feel, I will keep crying unto Him... When your heart is overwhelmed, cry out to God. He is so, so faithful to meet us in our moments of despair. In the middle of our mess, He enters in with peace, sits with us through the night, and helps us move forward in hope to the breaking of the dawn.

Psalm 139:7-10

Faith, MiscarriageJessica ScheksComment

As I've said before, while I was pregnant with our second child I was so fearful. I had already had one miscarriage and I could not fathom going through another. I often told the Lord that I'd rather die because I figured I would anyways as a result of another heartbreak. I truly felt like I could not handle it. As I entered into what would be the last week of my pregnancy, I began experiencing some scary symptoms and dread consumed me. 

The Depth of Heartbreak

Faith, MiscarriageJessica ScheksComment

Recently Michael and I were invited to our friend's house for dinner. All week long I was so excited! I couldn't wait to get through the week and hang out with our friends.  

Then the day arrived and as each hour passed I grew more and more anxious. My mind was flooded with so many what-ifs. There was another couple invited as well and we are really good friends with both couples. The women are some of my very best friends! So why in the world was I so anxious?

Genesis 22

Wednesdays In The Word, MiscarriageJessica ScheksComment

After my first miscarriage I read Angie Smith's book I Will Carry You and it was so comforting to me. Angie lost her daughter, Audrey Caroline, after carrying her to full term. At around 20 weeks pregnant Angie and her husband were told that their daughter had a diagnosis that was "incompatible with life." They chose to carry their little girl instead of terminating the pregnancy like doctors suggested and so many beautiful things have been born out of Audrey's life despite so much heartbreak.

Isaiah 61:1-3

Wednesdays In The Word, MiscarriageJessica ScheksComment

Isaiah is one of my favorite books of the Bible because it contains so many promises that I cling to. I still remember the first time I heard this verse and it stopped me dead in my tracks. I was listening to a Bible study online and when the pastor spoke about this verse I fell in love with it. At the time I wasn't even experiencing extreme heartache or suffering, but these verses spoke to me even then.

He Is Faithful

Faith, MiscarriageJessica ScheksComment

Someone recently told me that she admired how deeply my two miscarriages have affected me. That was such a refreshing thing to hear because I often feel unworthy to even feel so much grief over what society calls "blobs of tissue." But she reminded me that my grief was my own and if I feel this way in my heart, then I need to allow myself to feel this way without guilt.

Jeremiah 1:5

Wednesdays In The Word, Faith, MiscarriageJessica ScheksComment

The verse starts off by saying before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. This tells me that conception is never an accident. Long before a child is even conceived, let alone known about on Earth, God knows all about that child. It's hard to even wrap your mind around! But it is so comforting to think about God knowing everything there was to know about my two sweet babies before they were even created.

Psalm 56:8

Wednesdays In The Word, Faith, MiscarriageJessica ScheksComment

This verse contains so much wonder! I am continually struck with surprise and gratitude each week as I write about scriptures that have meant a lot to me throughout this hard season of my life going through two miscarriages. I say surprise and gratitude because it is crazy to me that until I endured suffering, all of these scriptures were just words on a page. And I am filled with gratitude that God has called me to this path of suffering where I get to know Him in the most intimate ways.