"I'm supposed to have a baby in my arms right now."
"I'm supposed to be pregnant right now."
These are thoughts that run through my mind constantly. As soon as they surface I feel a pang in my heart and my stomach drops a little as I think of all the things I'm supposed to be doing right now. It's not that I'm angry about it, it's just that the unfairness of it all often makes me feel sick.
But I don't want to live my life paused in the "supposed to's." I hate that I don't have a baby in my arms or body right now, but I believe that the Lord is sovereign and if I were meant to, I would. This quote by Elisabeth Elliot is one of my favorites and a great reminder that God knows just what we need:
This quote can be a hard pill to swallow because I have had exactly what I wanted twice within my own body, only have to have death rip it away both times. But nevertheless, I believe that it's true; I know He never allows a second to pass without ensuring that my needs are met.
Since I've lost two babies, naturally, one of my greatest desires is to have a child in my arms. Waiting (patiently) to be blessed with another child is so hard. But I recently read a blog post where a mother who struggled with infertility and loss shared that as she waited, and so desperately desired a child, she began praising God for the things she was able to do without children. I'll admit that when I first read that idea I thought to myself, "Well that's a little ridiculous and over the top.. I'm not going to praise God for not giving me what I want more than anything..." But I couldn't stop thinking about it, so a few days later I begrudgingly gave it a try.
It was painful and caused my stomach to churn when I first started rejoicing in these things, but it has definitely helped in shifting my perspective.
So now, when I wake up at 10 on a Saturday I thank the Lord for so much sleep. When I'm exhausted, I thank Him that I'm able to drink coffee full of caffeine. When I go shopping and buy something simply because I want it, I thank God that I don't have to buy diapers and other supplies. When I go to a cafe and sit there all day sipping coffee and reading and writing, I thank God for my free time.
Since my empty arms feel so heavy, I am constantly thinking about my babies who have passed away, or the "supposed to's," or wondering when it will be my turn again, so I'm never at a loss for things to thank and praise God for.
I recently read a prayer that really resonated with me about how we can bring glory to God in the midst of our own pain:
"I pray for the strength to bear my pain;
the grace to benefit form it,
and the devotion to offer it up
to God as a sacrifice of praise.
Joni Eareckson Tada
That is a hard prayer to pray but I think it helps us from becoming bitter and helps us to grow in harsh conditions. I don't want to only flourish under perfect conditions when everything is sunny and bright; I want to flourish when the storm rolls in and it's dark and hard to see what lies ahead.
I don't want to just praise God in the storm,
I want to praise Him for the storm.