One of the messages that I have so carefully guarded on Crutchprints is the fact that there are times God chooses not to answer our prayers, for whatever reason, and that is ok. There are times that no matter how much we pray, fast, read scripture, believe, and cling – the answer is no. Understanding and accepting that we do not always receive the things we so heartfully seek takes great depth of faith and trust in God and his omniscience.
In November, I found out that I was expecting a child again. Last time, after believing that God had finally granted me the miracle I had prayed for 11 years to receive, I lost the baby at 14 weeks. Last time, I was prepared to shout from the mountaintops, “See! God listens! God DOES give us ALL the desires of our hearts! Don’t give up, don’t stop and you too will receive your miracle.” Then, I lost my child.
So when I read my positive test this time, I pulled in and went deeper to ponder these things and the way in which prosperity preaching not only reduces God to a formula (if we do X, God will do Y, we will get Z), but contradicts reality.
This verse has appeared to me a lot over the first months of this pregnancy. It is one of those verses that I’ve never felt a connection to. Yet, again and again it appeared in the oddest of places. After about the eighth or ninth time I started to wonder if this was some sort of sign. Again, ever hesitant to accept yet one more thing as a sign of positive promise only to be disappointed, I continued to secretly tuck my thoughts away and ponder them. Was God really doing a new thing? Today, at 7 months pregnant, IS God really doing a new thing?
Of course, all of this isn’t merely a faith issue. Any woman that has lost a child and then became pregnant again knows the fear that tries to torment and steal our joy and peace. Fear all the way through as we approach the date of previous loss, fear when we don’t feel the baby move, fear when the doctors inform us of all the risks. My existing health conditions and those risks only seem to multiply the trials. Yet, I had to make a decision early on. Was I going to embrace this “new thing” that the Lord was doing within me or was I going to remain unattached to my child and emotionally unavailable as he took form in my womb? The obvious answer, and toughest choice by far, was to be present in emotion, joy, and body.
Over the last few months many friends have approached me asking if I am going to share my miracle and my testimony. They understand that this is an answer to prayer and feel I must share this to give hope to other women struggling with infertility and pregnancy loss. I hear their hearts and agree to some extent. But something within me feels strongly reserved. First of all, there are still too many unknowns; secondly, the fact remains that just because God may have given me this gift doesn’t mean that he will give it to everyone else too. Would I be encouraging others or giving them false hope? I still don’t know the answer.
As of now, dear readers, I have decided that while God doesn’t always answer our prayers and give us what we want, he does sometimes still surprise us. He surely has surprised me. Is it a timing issue? Maybe. Is it a test? Possibly. But mostly it is a chance and opportunity to grow closer to him with joy, thanksgiving, and modesty as we humbly accept what we had grown to believe could never be experienced by us. Every day that I am pregnant I am experiencing something I had accepted was not going to be possible for me. Every day is a gift, every small kick brings joy, every bit of preparation is a celebration, every week closer I watch the viability rate rise and my faith soars. And no matter what the final outcome will be, all of this is a gift and surprise from God that I humbly accept today, here, and now.
Should my story encourage others? Yes, but not in the way that we are inclined to believe. God is not and will never be a formula. We cannot earn his gifts, his love, his surprises. But, he will give surprises to us when and as he sees fit and in those moments of joy we can stay present and enjoy them to the fullest. Today is my moment.