Today was a difficult day. March 2, 2020 marks 10 years since I last watched my son’s heart stop beating on ultrasound. 10 years since I gave birth to my first stillborn child. 10 years since I last held Joseph in my hands marveling at his tiny perfectness. 10 years since I experienced the worst year of my entire life- a year marked by trauma and loss; heartache and pain like I had never experienced before and have not experienced since. 10 long years and yet it seems like only yesterday at times.
I spent much of my day in tears and angry at God. Why? Why do we carry the crosses that we carry? Why does God ask so much of us? This day is normally very hard anyway, but when I combine it with the other crosses that I am carrying, it has been overwhelming. My tears have flowed freely and often.
It was ironic that today fell on a Monday as I had Junior Youth Group to teach. The lesson I had chosen was on hope. I told the kids that the lesson was just as much for me as it was for them. We watched snippets of the movie Soul Surfer and discussed how God can use the trauma, setbacks, and disappointments in our life to help us become stronger and more faith-filled. These experiences can open up opportunities that we wouldn’t have had without the burden of those heavy crosses. We talked that God can use every situation in our lives to bring about good… if we only allow Him to do this.
I know this. I know it in my heart and in my soul. But as a broken human being sometimes it is near impossible to remember, especially when I relive those terrible, dark days and nights where my heart was pierced in a way I never thought possible. I almost felt foolish trying to teach the kids to trust in God’s plans when I had spent my day so angry at the plans that He had for me.
God can handle my anger, my disappointment, and my fears. He knows me so intimately that He already knows my thoughts and my feelings before I scream them out in pain. But like Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, He understands my pain and my desire for the cup to pass me by. He sees each one of my tears and He knows the reason they fall… He knows that “my soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Matt 26:38). And He is there waiting for me to accept His comfort and His love.
It’s hard to lose something we want and love so badly. It’s devastating to think about what could have been, what might have been, and what we believe should have been. I think of my children and I wonder… I wonder who they would have looked like, what they would have sounded like, how they would light up to see me and want to be underfoot. I long to hold them, to kiss them, to tell them I love them. I know we have the promise of heaven and of meeting once again, but on days like today, I wish heaven were here.
I am reminded of Jeremiah 29:11 that says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” On days like today, I cling to those promises and those plans. I trust that God has a plan that is greater than the one I had in mind. It’s not easy when I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and my heart is burdened by the crosses that I carry and by the aching it feels for my children.
Not as I will, Lord, but as You will.