It had been over six years since I saw a positive pregnancy test. My first two pregnancies had tragically ended in early miscarriages. Since those early days of marriage, I often wondered if I would ever conceive again. As each new year slowly ticked by, my diagnosis of unexplained infertility loomed like a mysterious fog that wouldn’t lift. But here I was. Standing in my bathroom on a warm April afternoon, holding the most unexpected news in my hands. I was pregnant. Against all odds, I had conceived again.
I felt a surge of joy and excitement pulse through my body. But just as quickly, I felt a surge of fear and anxiety strike my heart too. What if this pregnancy doesn’t work out? What if I miscarry again? What if I tell my family only to watch them mourn another loss with me?
My heart felt like a tornado of emotions.
I wanted to embrace the joy of this miraculous news, but I was deeply afraid to celebrate. That’s when words from Psalm 138 gently reminded my heart of a life-giving truth: “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever” (Psalm 138:8).
The outcome of my story was not in my hands, but in God’s. God was in control. He allowed this pregnancy to take place, and He would carry me through whatever path He called me to walk down. Whether joy or sorrow, God was with me. He was in charge of my story. My job was to follow Him and trust Him.
The days slowly ticked by during the initial few weeks of my pregnancy.
My doctor scheduled weekly appointments since my pregnancy was considered high risk. At my 8 week appointment, my eyes filled with tears as I saw the precious little heartbeat pulsing on the screen. I squeezed Zack’s hand as we both looked at the little beating miracle before us. Neither of my early two pregnancies made it past 6.5 weeks, so this appointment felt like a milestone victory.
The weeks continued to slowly tick by…until we hit 11 weeks. I was experiencing some light bleeding and decided to schedule an extra appointment to check things out. My heart was torn by fear and hope. As my doctor optimistically conducted the ultrasound, her demeanor suddenly changed. She got quiet as she observed the screen. Then, without looking at me, she sadly said, “I’m so sorry honey, but there’s no longer a heartbeat.”
The words stabbed me in the chest.
My mind went still. I stared at the ceiling in silence, gripping Zack’s hand. Silent tears streamed down my face. I didn’t want to believe what I was hearing. This pregnancy was supposed to work out. This was the miracle that was supposed to have a happy ending.
As Zack and I made our way out of the office, down the stairs, and into the parking lot, I lost it. The flood gates opened. I cried a hard cry that I hadn’t cried in years. Zack held me close and cried too. We stood there sobbing in the parking lot until we couldn’t cry anymore.
Zack took the rest of the day off work as we grieved the loss of another baby.
The next few days were even harder as we told our family and friends. Everyone was devastated. Even though we received incredible support and love from those around us, the world felt black. I knew theologically that God was my hope…but I didn’t feel hopeful. I cried out to God, asking Him to give me a deeper trust in Him. He did. But it was a daily journey of ups and downs.
In the midst of this pain and grief, the story took another unexpected turn. Exactly one week after my miscarriage took place, Bethany found out she was pregnant. The joyous news came at a hard time for both of us. As you can imagine, I was still grieving my loss, but wanted to celebrate with my sister. She faced the same struggle.
I cried behind closed doors and asked God why.
Why would he take this baby from me? Why would He allow my sister to get pregnant at such a sensitive time? Why did He see fit to write the story this way?
The answers never came audibly. But deep down, God comforted my heart in ways that only He could. It was during this trying time that God brought the greatest peace to my heart. As I turned to His Word for strength, I was reminded again that, “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever” (Psalm 138:8).
Even in the midst of pain, grief, loss, and unanswered questions, God had a greater purpose for me. And in that greater purpose, I knew that He loved me deeply. God helped to see that I could mourn the loss of my baby while at the same time rejoicing with my sister’s news.
Many of you have emailed me and DM’d me questions over these past 8 months asking how I’m doing with my loss and Bethany’s pregnancy. I have been deeply encouraged by your care and concern. However, I would be lying if I said that every moment has been a piece of cake. I am still grieving my loss and some days are harder than others. Some days I cry out of sadness for “what could have been.” Some days I cry for the baby that I never got to hold. Some days I just cry and just wish I were still pregnant.
But although my heart breaks for my own loss, my heart does not break for my sister’s joy.
One thing that God has been pressing into my heart is that I can weep and rejoice at the same time. I have the freedom to grieve my loss while at the same time celebrate my sister’s joy. With Christ’s strength working in us, I believe it is possible for all of us to do that at the same time. We don’t have to live exclusively in one camp or the other.
As Romans 12:15 so beautifully reminds us, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Over these past 8 months, I have been encouraged by so many amazing godly sisters (online and in person) who are living this verse out with so much grace and love. Many of you have been supporting me 100% with your prayers and sympathy while at the same time supporting Bethany 100% with cheers and congratulations.
This is what it means to live inside both camps. We weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. With Christ’s strength, we can embrace our own seasons of disappointment while simultaneously celebrating with those who receive the very blessings we desire.
I believe this is what God calls us to embrace as Christian sisters, and it’s a beautiful thing to behold.
The reality is, we will all face unfulfilled longings and disappointments at some point in our lives. I know I’m not the only one. How we choose to respond to these hard circumstances will either lead us down a path of sorrow and anxiety, or down a path of joy and contentment.
Throughout my whole marriage, I have seen God use my trials for good and He has grown me in my faith. He has deepened my walk with Him. He has helped me see that true joy isn’t about getting the “fairytale life,” but about finding true contentment in my relationship with Christ. God doesn’t promise me an easy life on this earth, but He does promise me complete and total satisfaction in my relationship with Him.
Over this past year, I have seen first hand that God has a unique and beautiful story for each one of our lives. His story is tailor made for each of us and will look different than those around us. Sometimes our story is filled with joy and celebration, and sometimes it’s filled with tears and grief.
But no matter what comes our way, we can confidently put our trust in the Lord because He is the author of our story.
Discontentment and friction often arise in our hearts when we forget who holds the pen to our story. When we look around and begin comparing our story to others, we lose sight of the fact that God has every person on a different path. His timing is not the same for all of us. His plan is tailor made for our individual journey and for our greater good.
When we fully trust God to write His story for our lives, we can look around and genuinely celebrate what He is doing in the lives of those around us. We don’t have to compare and despair, but rather joyfully celebrate His gifts and blessings that He gives to others. Regardless of what my future holds, I pray that God will always give me the strength and grace to weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice.
Our hearts will be most content when we remind ourselves that we are not on this earth to build our kingdom, but to build God’s. And each of our unique life stories and journeys are a beautiful part of God’s greater and grander plan. I don’t know what my future holds, but I know the One who holds my future. And in Him, my heart finds peace and rest.
I would love to chat with you about this below.
- In what ways have you faced loss or unfulfilled longings while someone you love received that exact blessing?
- How are you currently struggling to trust God to write your life story?