Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pondering the Seasons

After I lost Isaac, I asked the Lord to close my womb. I knew that my body could not physically take another round of hyperemesis gravidarum. I didn't think my heart could take another loss either. 

Most of the bad memories of that pregnancy and birth have faded, but I do vividly remember seeing the entire bottom of the bathtub turn bright red when I threw up while showering. I remember growing weaker when the bleeding would not stop and the concern I'd pass out before I could get help. At that time, Isaac was still very much alive and kicking in my womb. He died weeks later.

I've been part of several studies, and to date, I am the only woman I know that suffers from HG to this extent who has had as many pregnancies as I have. I can take comfort in the fact that I did not let it limit me. His strength shines in us when we are at our weakest.

I realize not everyone feels the call to surrender in the same manner, but I was strongly convicted my womb belonged to the Lord. When I took this to Clint, he said he had been feeling led in the same manner but did not want to be the one to bring it up because it was my body which would take the toll. Then, God sent us friends who had been challenged by the Lord in the same manner followed by a group of Christians who felt the same leading. It was a time we felt the Lord leading us so clearly.

Writing about it is much easier than it was. I had fears. How in the world would I manage to care for many children? My youth could not see the skills I would develop or the grace that would arrive in just the right moments. How would I survive the severe vomiting? Again, I didn't see what God would teach me this time about endurance and patience and being weak. I learned about getting through the moment and not worrying about the next. HG is a lonely disorder; it isolates you. God taught me about solitude and listening for His voice through that. Did I truly trust God knew more than my human reasoning? It was a leap of faith because that road did not look like anything I wanted to go down! It looked horrible! Some parts of it were much worse than I imagined!! It was so hard. Surrender means to submit to authority. Our desires, our will, our sticking points fall to the wayside when we surrender. It costs us something to follow the Lord. It is so very worth it. He was faithful to lead, sustain, and teach me. What we think will be a loss turns out to be a big gain!

I have beautiful scars that tell the story of a girl who followed where the Lord lead and learned incredible things she can now use for His glory. God not only knew what He was doing He was giving me what I had prayed years for: a broader witness for Him! My story of hyperemesis gravidarum and pregnancy losses has been around the world. So many people from different countries have read the story that I have lost count! I have made so many friends through it. My relationship with the Lord has deepened. I couldn't see where He was leading at the beginning. Now I see! The path less traveled has views few get to experience! If you are convicted God is leading you to do something, and it is in line with Scripture as a whole, I encourage you to run, not walk, and don't look back.

On a side note, I wonder how many prayers we think go unanswered simply because we will not follow where He leads because it looks scary or embarrassing or might cause us emotional and physical pain or insult our sense of pride or cost us something in some way? We get so greedy and expect things to be easy. We forget God requires much of us and that this life is likened to running a long distance race. 

The doctor tells me I am still very fertile and healthy and while there has been plenty of opportunity, I have not conceived since Isaac. While I can't say what the Lord's plans for the future are, I do believe my reproductive life has ended. God has been gracious to me. I am grateful but not joyful.  I am a little sad still but relieved too. It's a different place than any I have been. I am trying learn all I can.

My youngest is 5, about to turn 6, so I still have young ones, but I do not have little ones. I have had babies around for so long, I really don't know what life is like without them. There are no diapers in the house. I don't have to worry about middle of the night feedings. The baby toys and furniture are getting dusty in the attic. For the first time ever, I am giving away children's clothing, toys, and furnishings! It's a new season in my life. One thing I did not expect when I felt called to give God that part of my life was how very much I would grow to love it or how sad it would be when it was finished.

I am going to miss having babies.

I am going to miss feeling my babies move inside of me and knowing that God is doing something miraculous right inside of my body.

I am going to miss my family taking joy in those first movements and talking through my belly to our "wee one" with prayers and songs and sweet messages of love.

I am going to miss my husband's tears, special look my way, and deep gratitude at the gift of a new child. He has never worn the same expression at any other moment as when he was holding one of our children for the first time.

I am going to miss the newborn stage with the sweet smell, soft downy hair, warm tender skin, deep sleeps, startles, and snugly breastfeeding times.

I am going to miss the toothless grins, new teeth, awkward attempts to control their body, rolling, sitting up, crawling, pulling up, toddling, and learning to make those chubby little legs run.

I am going to miss the deep belly laughs only a baby can give along with the first sounds and words as they learn to communicate. Those sweet hugs and sloppy kisses, how my reassurance can make it all better, them letting me see things differently through their eyes.....

I am going to miss all of those things and many, many more, but trust there will be new things in this new phase of life I will also fall in love with and cherish just as much. I will be savoring each of these in turn because I know seasons quickly change. 

This is a new journey I am on, and I know if I am humble and willing to surrender where the Lord leads, I will grow to love this journey and He will work just as much as He did in others.