Our baby Pax’s due date is coming up on June 15th. I feel like there have been so many pregnancy/birth announcements lately and each one is painful, especially now so close to my own due date. A lot of these birth announcements are my answers to prayers for other people, and I am thankful for God’s goodness, but they are still reminders of my shattered dreams for my life. Each announcement usually takes me about two days of extreme sadness to accept and move on. I used to be frustrated with myself for feeling this way. I felt guilty and tried to fight it, but now I have learned to accept it as part of my grieving process and I just get through it and then move on. I am also painfully aware when I go out in public that my two sweet boys are probably someone else’s trigger, a reminder of their own shattered dreams. Lately, I have been working less while my students are on vacation, and Josh is home more to help with the boys, so I have more free time to think and remember my many losses.
Of course I am still mourning my Lucy every day. Yesterday I felt especially sad and was missing her so much. I had to go to a doctor’s appointment and I cried all the way there. I finally pulled it together enough to wipe off my face and clean up my smeared make-up, walk in and put on a fake smile for the other people in the waiting room. I decided to look at a magazine while I was waiting and when I picked it up I noticed the date on the front “July 2013.” It made my heart sink. Anything that has to do with July 2013 makes me instantly sad. I remember after losing Lucy I dreaded that month like the world was coming to an end in July. I remember I almost couldn’t eat or drink anything that had an expiration date of July 2013. Fourth of July decorations still make me feel sick to my stomach. That was the month I should have welcomed my sweet daughter and now I should be planning my girl’s first birthday party. I fought back the tears and quickly put the magazine back on the table. I reached for another one to try to distract myself and immediately noticed the date on the front “February 2013.” You have to be kidding me. That was the worst month of my life, the month I lost my baby and my hope of any more healthy pregnancies. I basically threw the magazine back on the table like it was contaminated with the plague. It was so hard to hold it together for the whole appointment. I cried as soon as I got back into the car. I still miss Lucy every minute of every day.
I am just realizing, though, how deep of a loss it was for me to lose my ability to have healthy pregnancies. I think most of my emotional focus over the past year and a half has been on mourning Lucy. Now I am feeling the deep pain of the fact that I will never be able to just get pregnant and have a live baby. Almost all of the women who lost babies last year now have big, round bellies stretching with the life of their rainbow babies (which is what I have prayed for them.) How wonderful and hopeful that must feel. I can’t even fathom how amazing that must be, to get to the age of viability, to feel your baby kicking every day, to feel your breasts swell in preparation for the baby that will come. All of that is lost for me, and I am still mourning it now.
Adoption is beautiful and full of hope, but it is not for the faint of heart. It means putting your hopes in God’s hands. It means you don’t get to have nine months of bonding with your baby before you meet them face to face. You have to wait for that paper to be signed before you can allow yourself to love freely and give your heart to the baby, because that is when she is actually yours to love. It is hard to wait and not know, to keep releasing your hope and giving it back to God. It is hard to trust Him with your new dreams when you trusted Him with your former dreams but now they lie shattered all around your feet. I often think about how hard it would be to go through a divorce and see your dreams for your marriage shattered. I think about how hard it would be to lose someone you love and have had with you for years, like your spouse, your sibling, your parents. Shattered dreams.
As I said in a previous post, I am currently reading “Shattered Dreams” by Larry Crabb. I had low expectations for this book since my friend randomly bought it for me from the Salvation Army and we both knew nothing about it. It has been surprisingly insightful and encouraging. If you are struggling with your own shattered dreams, I highly recommend you read this book. I’m still not even half way through it, but I’m learning so much. I’m learning that the dreams I had were good, but God has a plan for me here on earth that is better, and He has a life, waiting for me in heaven that is the BEST (and it’s sweet in a way that Lucy, Jude and Pax got to skip right to the BEST.) Sometimes my good dreams have to shatter in order for me to realize my deep need for God and to see His plan for me that’s better.
It’s harder to discover our desire for God when things go well. We may think we have, but more often all we’ve found is our desire to USE God, not to ENJOY Him. Shattered dreams are the truest blessings; they help us discover our true hope. But it can take a long, dark time to discover it.
It is taking me a long, dark time to discover God’s truest blessing for my life and even when I stand here surrounded by the shards of my broken dreams for my life and for my children, He is working on my behalf. None of my pain will be wasted.
Dreams for good things may shatter, but our pain will always have a purpose. It will not go away, but it will do its work. It will stir an appetite for a higher purpose- the better hope of knowing God well enough now to love Him above everything else…and trust Him no matter what happens…We will not suffer in heaven. Every imaginable dream, everything from good parking spaces to good health, will come true. Pain will have no purpose then, so it will not be allowed….For now, while we still have such a hard time realizing that what’s good is not always best, suffering still has a function. As nothing else can, it moves us away from demanding what’s good…toward desiring what’s better…until heaven provides what’s best.
Having Lucy alive and with me right now seems right and good, and it is. Being able to get pregnant easily and have live, breathing babies seems right and good, and it is. Healthy marriages, good jobs, siblings who are alive, they are all good and right. My instinct is to cling tightly to what is good and scream at God, “It’s GOOD, it’s RIGHT! If you are good you should let me have what is GOOD!” But it is only when my dreams for what is good shatter that I am able to see God’s dream for me, something even better. I know that God is saving the best for last. My story will end with the best. And for the mothers who lost babies, our stories will end with a beautiful beginning- the beginning of our eternity with our babies, and that is one of the few dreams that cannot be shattered.
Matthew 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.