When I started this new blog, one of the main desires I had was to bring more attention to Christ and what He is doing in my life and in the lives of others. I wanted to bring more attention to His name. One way he showed me I could do that was by sharing other peoples stories of His hand in their lives. So I began to ask God to bring to mind people that I could have write for my blog that HE KNOWS their stories would be an encouragement to others who read them.
One of the first names he brought to my mind was my cousin, Amber. She is such a blessing to me. I am so thankful for her testimony and how she is allowing God to work in and through her. I won’t go into much because she wrote her story so beautiful and I know it will be a blessing and encouragement to others out there who might have gone or is going through what she is going through. Below is her story.
“I met my wonderful husband at Bible College several years ago, we have been married for three and a half years. We thought by now we would have a couple of kids and be in full time ministry, but that was not God’s plan for us. When Abie asked me to share my story, I wasn’t sure how I could sum up even just this past year or how my story could be a help to anyone. But God has been teaching me so many things lately, so maybe one of the things I am learning could be helpful to someone else. Following God is a continual process, a daily choice, and a minute-by-minute decision. The path God has brought us down hasn’t always been easy and I still struggle sometimes with trusting God’s plan. For the past two years, I have had many health issues. I have been diagnosed with a few different things, and am still seeing doctors who are trying to figure out what else is going on with me. When you have an autoimmune disease, every day is different – you have good days and bad days. After a year and half of trying to have a family, we conceived for the second time in the late spring. We were so excited about this baby but honestly I was very nervous. I prayed that everything would go well with this pregnancy but for some reason I just couldn’t shake the feeling or fear that I might lose this one. Little did I know that God was actually preparing my heart.
In May, my husband and I went to a candidate school/orientation with a mission board. My husband has felt God press upon his heart to church plant up in the Northeast, specifically NYC area. We were so excited about this orientation week, but the first night I started having pain. The rest of the week is honestly a blur as I spent a lot of time crying out to God and praying for a miracle. But God saw fit to take our baby to Heaven that week. I wish I could tell you that after a couple of weeks I bounced right back and am over it, but my heart still aches. I don’t know if it is normal to think about miscarriages as often as I think about ours, but I am thankful that I have the comfort of knowing they are with Jesus and never have to suffer on this earth. Yes, I miss them, think often what our life would be like right now with a year and a half child and beginning the third trimester of our second baby. But then I think of my health, how much I struggle now with working full time and keeping house, and the few ministries I help with at church – I am exhausted. Maybe God just knew my body could not handle the responsibilities that came with being a mom right now… In June, I came across a song called “I love you more” written by a lady after her miscarriage and I made this my goal. I saw God in a closer way and really did feel Him help me through this. He was there for me and even though I didn’t understand what he was doing, I was trusting Him.By the time August rolled around, it was looking like we were not going to conceive again any time soon. We have thrown around the idea of adoption, but my husband was certain we would end up having our own kids so kept putting it off. But on August first, as my husband prayed once again for a child, he gave it over completely to the Lord and said if we are supposed to adopt, we are willing, but asked for God to open that door. The very next day, we had a friend of ours (who actually adopted a baby earlier this year) ask us if we would be open to adopting a little baby girl that would be born in November. We were definitely taken back by surprise but said yes of course! We were extremely nervous and a little hesitant about meeting with this single mom, but for some reason we had peace.
After our first meeting with her, we were amazed with what God seemed to be doing! God knit my heart with this 28 year old woman, who has had a rough life and had an 8 month old baby, already overwhelmed with trying to care for her other little one. She had given up a child for adoption many years ago, has three kids in state custody, and said she knew she would never be able to take care for this one so wanted to give her a better home. Within the weeks to follow, we met with an attorney who said this looked like it would be one of the easiest adoptions, I got to go with this lady to her doctors appointments, heard this little baby’s heartbeat, saw ultrasound pictures, and we began to prepare to receive this baby in just three short months. It was crazy how everything seemed to be falling into place and really was evident that God was working this all out. Three weeks later, this mom went into preterm labor and gave birth to a little girl at just over 29 weeks gestation. Both this mom and the baby’s dad signed over their rights to us, it seemed without any hesitation. To make a very long story short, we spent four days with this sweet little baby in the NICU and she was doing phenomenal! Her lungs were developed and she was breathing on her own. It seemed God was working miracle after miracle! On the fourth day we got to hold this precious child and I will cherish that moment forever. It was such a sweet, wonderful time!
But on the fifth day, we got a call that I will never ever forget. The attorney called and said the bio-mom revoked her rights and wanted to keep the baby after all. My heart stopped. I have never felt so devastated in my entire life. It felt like my heart was ripped out of my chest. I could not believe that God would open such a unique and wonderful door, and give me a baby for four days only to slam the door in my face and take the baby away. The week that followed was spent in grief, but covered in prayers that the mom would change her mind. I thought surely God was just trying my faith, so I was determined to keep hoping in Him and trusting that He was going to work this all out. I had been praying God would get glory from this hardship, and imagined how inspiring this baby’s story would be! I was so hopeful and prayed more than I had ever prayed before. But the 10 day period came and went and she did not change her mind, she kept the baby.
I wish I could tell you that my immediate response was like Job’s “the Lord gave and the Lord took away, BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD” but it was not. I felt betrayed by God, did not understand why He would do this. . I felt like God did not love me or care about me. I thought He must be punishing me for something, but I couldn’t figure out what I did that was so wrong. I knew all the right things to say when people asked how we were doing, “ we know God has a plan” and “we are trusting He knows best”, but my heart did not feel what my mind knew to be truth. Verses that I had memorized as a child would flood my mind as I would go through the motions of my daily life, but I felt like I was in a daze. I would put on a smile as I would see many friends around me with their sweet babies, while inside my heart I was full of jealousy and questioning God’s love for me. But my husband, my parents, my siblings, and a few close friends kept encouraging me, and I know many people were praying for me.
I tried to keeping reading God’s Word, and soon found myself abiding in the Psalms. Though He has not answered my questions, God has given me comfort. Though my heart is still broken, He is my remedy. Though I still have bad days, He picks me up every time I falter. He has given me a new view of the life of Job. Though my loss seems so insignificant to what Job faced and what many other believers have lost, this was very hard for me. But I want me life to bring Glory to God. I didn’t want to be angry or bitter.
I think the turning point in this storm for me was when I read Psalm 27:13 “I had fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord” and I realized the reason that I felt like I was fainting was because I was not choosing to see God’s goodness in my situation. So I started looking for God’s blessings. I realized that God was so good to have the baby be born prematurely for two reasons. One being if the bio mom was using the certain prescription drug that she had a previous record of using, and the baby came full term, this little girl would have spent several months in the hospital due to withdrawals. (Sadly that is not uncommon in babies in this area)
The second blessing I saw was that it would have been so much harder on us if I had brought this baby into our home for four days and already had her nursery all set up. God did protect my heart from a bigger heartbreak. I also saw God’s blessing in the fact that the mom changed her mind on day five and not on day ten. And then I think of my health…would I really be able to care for a baby with all the issues that my body has? Maybe God knew it just is not a good timing with my health right now. This baby will probably have a rough life, and God allowed us to have her for her first four days… If the only reason was for us to pray for her, it is enough. We have prayed over this little girl so many times, and I know I will continue to pray for her throughout her life! Maybe someday down the road God will see fit to allow our path to cross again with this girl. These are the things I have chosen to look at instead of all the negative things. I choose to believe to see God’s goodness! Let me encourage you that no matter what trial or heartache you are going through, you can choose to believe in God’s goodness as well! God is always good, whether we feel like He is or not, and all He does is good. I came across 2 Corinthians 1:4 and realized that maybe God is allowing this trial in my life for me to be able to share His comfort with others. As I continued to spend time in Psalms, I read verse after verse about praising God and singing to Him. So I have asked God to give me a song from this trial that I can share with others. There are so many more things I could share with you, things God is teaching me, or ways He is working around me, but I will share only one more. The most recent thing that has helped me is focusing on someone else… I got to join a mentoring ministry at my church just a couple of weeks ago and it has been such a blessing! When you stop focusing on your own problems and instead try to encourage someone else around you, it’s amazing! Knowing that I will be asking this young lady about her walk with God makes me stay accountable with my own walk with God. I try to keep myself encouraged in the Lord so that I can be an encouragement to her!
I wish I had a happy ending to this story, but I do not yet. I also wish I could tell you that my heart is healed and that the pain is gone, but it’s not. Every day I have to give God my wants and desires again and ask Him to use and fill my empty hands. Choosing to believe God’s goodness is a daily decision for me. I still have bad days, nights where I cry myself to sleep, and days where I feel like I will break in pieces if one more thing goes wrong… but God has been so sweet and comforting to me. It is in our weakest moments that we see the true strength that only comes from God. My love for Him has grown deeper, and I pray somehow someway He will get the glory from my broken life.”