Exactly two years ago today I posted on our family blog that I was expecting twins.
I was shocked and thrilled and so ready for the challenge, I mean blessing, two babies would be. I knew I could do it. And I knew that I would love every minute of it. Well maybe not EVERY minute, but you know what I mean. And I had naivety on my side. I had NO IDEA what I was in for...
I planned on blogging about the insanity of twins and of three kids under three! I planned on sleepless nights, endless nursing, and more diapers than I could count. I planned on cute matching (but not identical) outfits, oohs and awes from strangers admiring the cutest little twin girls they ever did see, and tons of special moments when the overwhelming task of parenting becomes more than worth it in a single smile or baby laugh.
But nothing went as planned.
I didn't get to keep my twins after all. Instead, my lifetime of plans fell through, and in a blink I was standing at the gravestone of my baby girls. One day they were with me and the next they were gone. And I have been whirling ever since.
I never imagined that two years later I would be sitting here blogging about my life AFTER LOSS instead of posting pictures of my girls' first steps. I wonder who would have walked first, Aubrey or Ellie?
Life has continued to move forward however. Often times against my will. And I cannot believe that somehow, with God's strength no doubt, I survived the last 20 months. There were most definitely dark times. I never felt true hopelessness until I lost my girls. But once I got my bearings again (grief is extremely disorienting) I emerged from my dark, sad place, with a new hope.
I wanted to live again. I wanted to be a willing participant in life once more. Living did not mean leaving my girls behind and I wanted back in the game. So off I went...
And somehow I became crazy brave along the way...
Because I wanted to have another baby.
Before I lost my girls I thought I was brave, but I wasn't. I was naive. There is a difference. I lived my life not fully aware of what it could really cost me. Everything seemed to work out. I even believed it was my boldness paying off. The bigger the risk the greater the reward right? Nothing ventured, nothing gained...or some stupid, naive rationale like that.
True bravery is not just facing the fire, it is facing the fire again after you have already been burned.
Having another baby was my fire. And for a long time I did not want to take the risk. The thought of losing another baby was more than I could bare. I already had a son and he was enough. I should just count my blessings, nurse my wounds, and spend the rest of my life minimizing the risk and therefore minimizing the pain.
But something about that just didn't feel like living. After all, I did lose my girls, I did have my heart and world shattered in the blink of an eye, but I also had seven and thirteen life changing days with my sweet daughters. And I wouldn't trade those days for anything.
I didn't want to minimize my risk, I wanted to live despite it all. And that is when I realized that somehow, someway, I became crazy brave. I was ready to face my fire...
...and have another baby.
I wanted to at least try. And no matter what happened I wanted to face it because, although my heart could be broken again and that scared me to death, it also could be filled with immeasurable joy with the gift of a new baby.
Pain hurts, but it also makes the joy so much sweeter.
Now I am expecting again, this time a little boy. A constantly moving little boy I cannot wait to meet, and name, when we figure out just the right one.
But I have not faced the fire yet. My son is yet to be born. We bravely anticipate his arrival in a few months and each day I battle the flames. Flames of fear, helplessness, and uncertainty. And as I battle those flames I find myself refined by their fire, depending entirely on God's will and ever increasing in faith.
Only God's grace can turn a fire meant for our destruction into the very flames that refine us.
I do not have any guarantees but One, my Jesus and the hope he provides.
And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:7 (New International Version)
My Jesus will get me through. No matter what.
I know that many of my blog readers are facing an even hotter fire than my own. Some of you can't seem to get pregnant at all, others of you have tried again after loss only to experience another loss, maybe even many losses, and are growing hopeless and weary. And even others of you have had to face the unfair truth that your genetics make having a healthy baby statistically small or even impossible. All of these are heartbreaking situations. I want you to know that I am praying for you today. I am praying for hope, healing, miracles, and courage as you endure these hardships and persevere with faith. I also pray that your heart would be open to whatever God has for you as he gives you a NEW hope and future, for nothing is impossible with God.
Be crazy brave. Trust Him.
It isn't so crazy after all.
Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26 (New International Version)
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. Jeremiah 29:11 (New International Version)