Little Pink Lines=Positive
by Shauna Wallace
A pink stick was the last thing I expected at age 43. The lines didn’t lie, not even when I tested again, you know, just in case I botched the first. Frozen in disbelief, I lingered in the cramped water closet. What now?
What would I tell my husband? He dreamed of the day our 10-year-old youngest would fly the coop and make us empty nesters. Our oldest was 23. Excitement snuck its way in as I wrestled my thoughts around the timing and prepared to take a sledgehammer to James’ balloon.
By the time he got home from work, we were already a family of seven. I knew what car we’d need, how to rearrange all the bedrooms upstairs to accommodate a nursery downstairs and the ways we would navigate the adventure of starting over.
I summoned James to our bedroom. “Can I see you in the bedroom?”
His reply was not the most encouraging, “It’s been a really long, hard day. What do you need?”
I persisted, “Just come here. And you might want to sit down.”
How do you break astounding news? Just come right out with it.
His reaction wasn’t exactly enthusiastic, but he immediately accepted it. If it was God’s will, it was best, and we would make it work.
Our children, on the other hand, were ecstatic, but when I went for my first ultrasound, one of the most exciting times in our family’s life became one of the most devastating: “There’s no baby. It’s a blighted ovum, so no fetus ever developed, but your body thinks you are pregnant. Look, it looks like there are two yokes.”
That didn’t help.
God, I don’t understand! Why would You allow this to happen at our age when we weren’t trying? How can there be no baby?
My heart sinks and tears threaten as I retell and remember. It’s been eight years.
I answered myself with all the pat answers—the things we know or say to somehow make sense of the inexplicable. It wasn’t a viable fetus. It’s for the better that your body rejected it. Yada, yada, yada, yada.
But here’s the deal. In my heart, there was a baby nestled to my bosom. There was a baby sleeping in the new nursery downstairs. There was a baby strapped in an infant car seat in the new eight-passenger SUV. There was a baby welcomed home by four older siblings. There was a toddler squealing in play as the others adored him or her.
It was such an odd time, because I decided that the doctors didn’t get the final say. The Lord did. Thus began several months when I stood firm that God would change the story. He didn’t say He would. I did. I declined the DNC, and waited for signs of life.
Others believed and prayed with me.
The morning my body miscarried the empty sack, the answer was obvious. There would not be a baby.
Waves of grief brought closure, but not answers.
Recently, legs tucked into Queen Ann chairs at the local coffee shop, a young wife shared her shattered heart and shocked faith. She miscarried, too. I listened, I shared, I agreed: It’s so hard.
It’s hard to grieve something that didn’t exist outside your womb and heart—an entire life that lived in you and your imagination.
She’d held her miscarried sack in her hand. It held everything that should have been.
I did too.
There are no words. There is no explanation because we really don’t know. But at some point, with this or any kind of tragic disappointment, God brings us to a point where we have to decide once and for all for ourselves:
Is He good?
Is He good when He answers with what we ask and is He good when He doesn’t?
Is He good when we have reason to rejoice and when the bottom falls out of our world and dreams?
Is He good on the mountaintop and in the valley?
And what do we say when someone walks through the darkest time of their life and faith? Here’s what I would say: don’t do what Job’s friends do. They’re convinced they know exactly why Job suffers the loss of everything except his whiny wife and life. It must be sin, they say. His children must have sinned. If not that, surely it’s because he lost his purity and integrity.
The answer is D: none of the above. They are clueless. They get off to a good start in Job 2:13 (NLT), when they sit silent with Job for seven days and nights. They recognize that his suffering is too great for words, so they do not say a single one. I feel like they should have stuck with that!
Instead, they attempt to comfort him with platitudes as valuable as ashes, a defense as fragile as a clay pot, empty clichés, and explanations that are lies (see 13:12 and 21:34). At one point, Eliphaz insists, “If you will listen, I will show you. I will answer you from my own experience” (15:17). The thing is, we can have a similar experience with a completely different explanation, so we can share our experience, but it’s not necessarily someone else’s answer. His buddies offer well-intentioned but arrogant, self-righteous opinions and counsel when all Job wants is encouragement. “If it were me,” Job says in 16:5, “I would encourage you. I would try to take away your grief.”
What great insight for all of us. We can always encourage someone. Acknowledge their hurt. Acknowledge their doubts. Assure them God sees, hears, and cares. Assure them He is good. Pray with them. Pray for them. And just encourage them.
Only God knows the why of what they are going through, so just focus on being the who He uses to encourage and comfort them in a dark time.
Much love and many blessings,
Women are drawn to Shauna’s teaching and Bible studies because of her in-depth yet conversational and practical approach to scripture’s truths as they apply to the nitty-gritty of daily life. The more she studies the Bible, the greater her grasp of God’s grace and love and the deeper her passion to see others experience the power and freedom of surrendering entirely to Him. She is a wife, mother and working woman who gladly and transparently connects with women wherever they are by sharing the good, bad and challenging of her life story, past, and present. Learn more at www.shaunawallace.com.