Friday, April 12, 2013


“So, are you excited about your new arrival?”

“What do you mean?”

“Isn’t your wife expecting a baby any day now?”

“Oh yes, I understand now.  No, Melissa had a miscarriage a few months ago.”

This is the conversation I heard as Shawn walked down the hallway for his dentist appointment this afternoon.  You know, I was expecting to wait quietly for Shawn’s exam to be done and read a book until it was my turn.  Instead, that hour was spent thinking about the “alternate time line” that my life could have been.

I don’t think I’ve been in a similar situation before where everything fit right into place - except me.  I remember making the appointment 6 months ago and deliberately scheduling it before my due date so I would have it out of the way.  I remember being excited when I told them that I couldn’t have any x-rays done because I was finally pregnant again.  I remember them saying, “Boy, you’re sure going to look different when we see you next!”  I remember that last appointment and it was lots of fun.

Fast forward 6 months, and we’re back in the dentist office today waiting for our appointments.  As we walked in, I remembered the last appointment but didn’t think much about the pregnancy because it was over now.  Everyone in my life knows that I’m not pregnant anymore so I no longer have those awkward moments when people ask about the pregnancy and then feel awful when they find out about the miscarriage.  Well, I forgot about the dentist.

Shawn disappeared behind the door and I was left sitting in the waiting room – feeling empty and alone…literally.  I realized that they expected me to walk through the door and be about 37 weeks pregnant…and I wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of emotions that would come flooding into my head when I heard the above conversation.  I had a meltdown…and I mean, big time.  Not the kind where someone is wailing loudly and sobbing uncontrollably.  No, this was the kind of meltdown that no one would even know I was having because I kept it all inside.  It was the type of meltdown that tells you how much of a failure your intentions have turned out to be.  The type that says, “What were you thinking?  That’s not for you!”

I sat in the waiting room chair and just became lost in myself.  Why? – after 6 months of “healing” – why would this happen at the dentist office?  I only wish I knew.  The hour I spent waiting for my appointment time was a very productive hour…at least emotionally.  Let me explain why…

I’m reading a book right now called Anything by Jennie Allen.  I LOVE this book.  It’s funny yet painfully honest about our Christian walk.  So, as I’m having this emotional meltdown, I read the following from the book:

“Michelle and her husband had been trying to get pregnant for a long time.  She was aching.  As many of her friends went through multiple pregnancies, she sat watching and waiting.  We talked about God and unfulfilled dreams and wrestled with the unsettling fact that God makes babies and yet, for some reason, he wasn’t giving them one.  But I sensed there was something under all the pain, something she wasn’t saying.  I asked her, ‘What is the hardest part, Michelle?’  ‘I just feel so different from everyone, from all my friends moving on with their lives.’”

As I read that, I wanted to scream, “YES!”  That’s it!  I’m falling apart inside because I want to be normal and God isn’t letting me be normal.  Oh sure, I want a baby and that is the ultimate driving force behind the pain…but I want to be normal and get to enjoy the normal life that I’ve created for myself inside of my head.

I have a friend from college, Susan, who introduced me to a book that has literally changed my life.  It’s called Though None Go With Me by Jerry B. Jenkins.  It’s the story of a woman who determines to make her life an experiment in obedience to God.  Elisabeth Grace LeRoy promises to deepen her commitment and follow Christ, no matter the cost.  Here is the beginning of the story:

“Dr Hasper paused and looked from face to face.  ‘Beloved, wherever I go I encounter Christians with one foot in the kingdom and the other in the world.  Where are the Joshuas who will choose to unashamedly serve the Lord God and have the courage to so say?  I challenge you, make some decision.  Are you in or out, enlisted or AWOL, on fire for God or only lukewarm?  Do you remember Henry Varley’s pronouncement to D.L. Moody?  ‘The world has yet to see what God can do through a man wholly consecrated to him.’  Will you stand for Christ by God’s grace even if you have to stand alone?  Would you make the rest of your life an experiment in obedience?’”

I remember reading this and being drawn in to what I was reading (little did I know that this was the Holy Spirit doing His thing).  As a college girl, I was captivated by the thought of living a life wholly abandoned to God, forsaking all else.  And the night I read that, I vowed to God that my life would be an experiment in obedience to him.  That I would stand for Christ by God’s grace even if I had to stand alone.

But just like Elisabeth, I thought it was all fireworks and celebration.  I wasn’t thinking about the trials that God had planned for my future years as His child.  I just remember sitting in Susan’s chair in her dorm room – and sobbing at the conviction I felt to live my life wholly for Christ…and I was pumped at the thought of it.  In my ignorance, I was convinced that I could actually do this – what was I thinking?

In this same book, a pastor prays for Elisabeth as she begins her journey:

“Fairest Lord Jesus, to you who promise to be both father and mother to the orphan, I plead for a touch on Elisabeth’s life.  She seeks a closer walk.  May she be willing despite a cost you never reveal in advance, lest we faint at the weight of it.  May she follow completely the one in whom there is no change, neither shadow of turning.”

Praise God that we don’t know the future, lest we faint at the weight of it.  Praise God that I had no idea what the next 15 years of my life would hold as I sat there, dedicating my very existence to this God.  Praise God I had no idea that He would have me wait for 8 more years before marrying Shawn.  Praise God I had no idea that I would still be waiting for children.  Would I have jumped in, headfirst, into this life of obedience if I had known the cost?  No – which is why I’m thankful that God doesn’t reveal these things in advance.

Fast forward to today and I’m reading Anything and this is the last paragraph of the chapter:
“Somehow I thought most of my life following God was not supposed to be too costly.  Following God is flat costly.  It always has been.  It doesn’t make sense to us, but since this life, these few years, are not the climax from God’s perspective, he’s okay throwing a little wrench into the short plans we have to be normal here.”

What would I have done years ago, sitting in Susan's chair, if I’d known what my life’s journey to this point would be like?  I’m glad I’ll never know.  But this I know – I’ve never regretted surrendering my life to this Christ who saved me.  I’ve never looked back and wished I’d taken the other road.  If I had to go back and do it again, I would still choose this life’s journey for myself despite the fact that I knew what was coming.  Why?  Because there are so many other things in these last 15 years, apart from the heartache, that have made this life for me a precious thing. 

In the last 15 years, I’ve become an aunt five times over.  I’ve had the opportunity to “long-term” babysit for my two nephews and form a close bond with each one.  I’ve watched my sister commit her life to Christ and begin her own faith journey.  I’ve watched my brother become a successful businessman who is capable and most qualified to perform any and every task given to him in the business world.  I’ve watched both my brother and sister get married and have happy marriages.  I’ve experienced the unique and never-to-be-replaced experience of teaching young children in a classroom setting.  I’ve watched good friends fall in love, get married, and have children.  I’ve watched other good friends learn what it means to wait and trust in God, and been able to share this with them.  I’ve married the greatest man I know and now have a wonderful life with him.  I’ve watched my husband graduate from seminary, get licensed and ordained, and become a pastor – his calling and dream.  I’ve had the experience of creating a whole new life in a new place and gotten to meet many new people.  I’ve served on multiple missions trips to multiple places and seen God work in the lives of other people.  I’ve been a junior high church camp counselor and seen the next generation of Christ-followers learning about Him and having a blast doing it.

Oh yes, these last many years have been filled with the heartache of waiting, loneliness, emptiness, uncertainty – but this life I have is also overflowing with the blessings God has given me!

So, that meltdown I had was just a symptom of the bigger picture.  This life is costly if lived for Christ.  I WILL experience heartache and pain.  I WILL be different simply because God lives in me.  But praise God for this – and that HE is the one who weaves the tapestry of our lives to create a beautiful creation.

Is my life as an experiment in obedience to Christ – you bet it is!  And by God’s grace, I will continue on…

"In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world."  John 16:33

This one-minute song says it all...check it out!