The last two days the nausea has died down, like way down, like so-thankful-but-makes-me-panic-a-little-and-feel-like-something-is-wrong kind of died down. I am eleven weeks along as of yesterday, and my nausea usually accompanies me well into the 16th week (or 20 weeks with the boys!) So maybe it's a girl...or a miracle...or God just saying enough already. Either way I am thankful.
I had the thought today that I often underestimate the things I can do with God's strength. I think I have a tendency to overestimate my own management abilities and discount the supernatural wisdom and grace that could permeate my life if I were to only ask and trust more.
Recently we have been studying the book of Ruth in our ladies bible study. It's such a fascinating story (did you know that Rahab was Boaz's mom? It's like people forget to mention that; not that it really matters but I think it's cool). So much significance in the names, backgrounds, laws, the small details of the story come together seamlessly to present a beautiful picture.
I was struck yesterday by the contrast of Naomi in the end of Chapter 1 and the end of Chapter 4. In chapter 1, she has lost her husband and sons, and returns to her homeland bitter and empty. She declares that God has struck her and dealt her this mighty blow. And then in the end of chapter 4, as she holds her new grandson who will carry on her family line (and be the great-grandfather of King David), the women surround her and declare that she is blessed among women. In the darkness of chapter 1, Naomi could not foresee that God might have great plans for her. That her tragedy could end in sweet triumph, even being part of the genealogy of the Messiah. I wonder if she felt embarrassed of the things she spoke against God, of the ways she turned from Him in her bitterness.
I think of bitterness this time of year. Next week it will be five years since our first miscarriage, and the due date of last summer's miscarriage. I think of our healthy children, of the sorrow that has brought us together, of the many questions that surround a pregnancy that does not end in life. I think I know just a little of what Naomi expressed about the emptiness she felt at her loss.
And yet there is grace for today. Somehow in loss there is a new appreciation for life, a relief and joy that as each week in a pregnancy passes, the hope that this one will end in a baby grows a little more.
If I could re-write my story, would I take those lost babies out? Would you edit out deaths and sickness, disappointments and trials? I hope not. There is something unique about the fire of suffering, something that is both forging and fortifying, and I don't think our souls would be complete without it. But it can be so suffocating at the time.
There is grace for those moments when it's hard to breathe because you feel as though your heart aches so strongly. There is grace for the explanations, for the questions, for the weeks of longing and remembering when it seems as though everyone else has forgotten. There is grace for due dates that come and go without babies. There is grace. And though it is painful, I have found that grace is always enough.
Such a comforting thought that Christ, our great Mediator, was a "man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering." (Is. 53:3.)
Wherever you are at today, whatever is in your path, I hope you can meet it with grace.