Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Amazing Grace

Most of you are likely aware of recent events. I'm not quite ready to write about it here, in a public forum, but felt you should all know what is happening. Conrad wrote the following and gave me the go ahead to post it here. Thank you for the calls, texts, emails and prayers - they did not go unnoticed. :)

It's an interesting thing to be almost a dad........and then not. I'm definitely in a weird emotional spot, because I feel like my reaction to the miscarriage is right and appropriate, and yet I know it's not what many people would expect.

I'm going to try and explain in a little bit less vague terms.

Emily and I lost a baby a few days ago. She was in Reno visiting my parents for my sister's baby shower, and had our 1.5 y.o. daughter with her. At that point, she was about 10 weeks pregnant with #2.

There had been some odd complications already that we'd gone to see the doc for a few weeks back. It felt kind of like they took a stab at the cause and said, "Here, this could be it, take a pill", without a very convincing explanation of any kind.

At the same time, Em and I had already been feeling like this pregnancy was altogether different than the first. Something was off, and we weren't sure what. No cute baby nicknames sounded right. Em would often forget she was preggo. It didn't really feel real, even though we were taking all the right precautions, etc.

I got a call from her on Saturday that her complications were worsening, and I could tell what she was thinking. It's an odd thing to know a person so completely that you know their feelings, even when they don't. The difficult thing was that she was in Reno and I was in Indy, and she wasn't slated to come home until Tuesday night. For a guy who makes a living figuring out how to fix things, helplessness is like Chinese water torture.

Like I said, these odd complications during the past few weeks had given us both a clue that this wouldn't turn out with tiny footprints and an SSN on New Years Day. In his usual amazing way, God had put us both in a place where we were both left relying on Him, and no amount of effort would save the day. When Em and I spoke on the phone, we both said that we had a surprising peace about how this would turn out, for better or worse.

On Sunday I got a call from Em, and she admitted to me that she didn't want to fly back with our midget alone. This alone is a miracle from the Lord on par with the pillar of fire. Then, as usual, God provided. Randy (Em's dad) said he had a free ticket on US Air, and within a few hours, I was set to fly out Monday and come back with her on Tuesday.

Monday at work was a distracted blur. I got done the things I needed to, but in one of those autopilot/zombie hazes, working hard to try and forget that larger events were afoot. At 12:30 I got the call from Em. We'd lost the baby. I stepped into a dark, unused room to talk. She cried. I said I loved her and I'd be there soon.

And I wasn't surprised. And I wasn't mad. And I wasn't heartbroken. I know, I know. I should have been, right? But what can I say? The Lord had made it clear over the past few weeks that this child was His, and that things might not turn out with puffy cheeks and toothless smiles.

Em and I had decided when we first found out we were pregnant that no matter what, we would respond in faith. Our first child had clued us both into the fact that pregnancy and procreation were miracles, and despite the billion-dollar industry around it, doctors had only very tiny control over this God-given process.

So we (stealing ideas from our pastor), looked at each other and said, "Well, are we going to do this in faith, or not?" The answer was clear then, and the test was now here. Would we be angry with the Lord over our baby being lost? Would we cry out, "It's not fair, we don't understand!"


He's made it abundantly clear that this child had never been ours. Even the one we have already belongs to the Lord. They're both His to take in His time, for His purposes. Does the house sitter complain when we come home and "take" the house back?

And what about fairness? What about us not understanding? Not important. God has never operated by the silly definition of fairness that we hold so dear, like fools clutching to their invaluable pyrite. He's never made it a point to clue us in to his plan before it happens. It would be like trying to explain to a toddler asking "Why" how to calculate the orbit around the Moon. Frankly, I'd be disappointed if God ever acknowledged the arrogance of either of these questions.

So no, I didn't get mad in that little dark room. I didn't cry out at my mistreatment. I did the only thing I'd seen as an example under similar circumstances: I praised the Lord.

While [the messenger] was still speaking, yet another messenger came [to Job] and said, "Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house,when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!"

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
"Naked I came from my mother's womb,
and naked I will depart.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised."

In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
Job 1:18-22 NIV

This isn't to say I'm not sad. It's not to say I didn't want this baby to live and grow. But it wasn't the plan, and I'd be a fool to question the Planner in His wisdom.

When I finally got to Reno, Em needed hugs, one of the few things I'm truly talented at. We had a chance to talk it over, and I was grateful to discover that she'd been having the same conversation with the Lord in Reno while I was having it in Indy. We were sad, yes, and we would grieve. But the Lord is God, and He is good. He takes care of us in countless ways, and will do so always.

It's only Wednesday now, so I'm not going to claim that everything is settled and over. One thing I know, though, is that our marriage and our faith will mature and strengthen because of this, and because of our response to God in His will. Heaven knows there will be bouts of idiocy to come, especially from me, but I pray for the wisdom to lead the family I've been given to the best of my ability.

In a perverse way, I almost wish I could act more heartbroken just to avoid the weird stares from people I know I'm going to get. I can hear their thoughts, "You just lost a baby, dude! Why aren't you even upset?!" But I'll react the only way I can - with the peace that's been graciously given to me. And if they do ask why, I hope God gives me the boldness and clarity to explain.

I'm spent now. I'm sure there will be more to write later, but I've said what's on my heart. God is good, and everything else is meaningless.

I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.

Ecclesiastes 3:10-14 NIV


Shane said...

For me, words just seemed so hollow in this situation. I had no idea what to say. This, however, is a truly moving post. Thank you for sharing what is on your mind right now.
Know that we stand with you in your grief and praise.

suzy rowland said...

thanks for sharing....we love you guys.

ILv2Xlr8 said...

Out thoughts are with you all and your family. The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you.

-Erik and Tonya

Monica & Randy said...

no words... just (((((HUGS)))))