Thursday, December 15, 2016

Loved and Named


"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!  Isaiah 49:15  NIV (photo courtesy of Glen Ewart)

Years ago I had a miscarriage.

Our first-born was almost three when I discovered I was pregnant with our second child.  Glen and I were so excited that we did not practice the wisdom of waiting at least a month before announcing our news to friends and family. We told our son, Sean, that he was going to have a baby brother or sister.

We started thinking about names.  I liked Nathaniel for a boy, and Samantha for a girl.

I went in for my first prenatal appointment.  All was well.  I was thinking about car seats and strollers.  I already loved this child and had plans for our future.

About three months into my dreams for our child, I learned I wouldn’t need that stroller or car seat anymore.  There is no future in a miscarriage.

I went to a specialist.  He told me I might have an ectopic pregnancy.

When you first learn that a loved one has died, your response is denial. Facts don’t matter.  I was in denial. I was irrational. When the doctor told me I might have an ectopic pregnancy, I experienced a ray of hope!  Foolishly, I asked, “If the problem is that my baby is growing in the wrong place, can’t you just move it, surgically, into the right place?”

The doctor didn’t laugh at me. He became angry!  Angry that I had the audacity to call my baby a baby!  He yelled at me, “You do NOT have a BABY!  That is TISSUE.  Dead tissue.  It has to be surgically removed!”    

The doctor’s anger actually helped me.  Until that moment I had been fighting back the tears that had been flowing ever since I’d learned that I was miscarrying.  It was tough.  But being told, with anger and scorn, that the person I loved, had named, and with whom I had planned a future, was NOT a person, aroused all my maternal anger.

I lifted my head and straightened my back.  I did not cry.  “That tissue was my baby, whom I loved,” I said.

I scheduled the surgery and I grieved my baby.

God loves us.  None of us are disposable.  Each of us is named. God has plans for our future.  Don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise.  My foolish hope that the doctor could change an ectopic pregnancy to a viable one is not foolishness to God.  God moves all of us from death to life.  He grafts us into Christ so that we may live.
peace.jpgThe LORD make his face shine on you   
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
  and give you peace.
Numbers 6:25-26

The other night I had a panic episode as soon as my head hit the pillow.  Unfortunately, this is not unusual.  Panic doesn’t hit me because I am worrying about something, or because I’ve found a spider in my bed, or for any reasonable reason whatsoever.  Panic just hits me because I have faulty neural-wiring.  

The next morning, on my knees, I was praying about this.  I have, over the years, asked God repeatedly to remove this affliction.  The answer - so far - has been, “No.”  That morning I took another tack with God:

“It’s my heart I’m worried about, Lord.  I don’t think it can take this kind of a beating so often.  It’s not healthy!”

I waited, quieting my thoughts, listening for God’s response…

In my mind a picture suddenly appeared.  It was a manger.  It was THE manger, and the infant Jesus was in it. But this manger was not in a cave or a stable or a grotto, as was that first, most famous Bethlehem manger.  This manger was in my heart.

That simple image reminded me that, no matter what my circumstances - even including the state of my health - my heart, full of HIM, is safe.  Wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, elections, faulty neural-wiring, etc….  My heart, full of HIM, is safe.  This is a peace that outlasts and overcomes every circumstance.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6