James 1: 2-4 Count is all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
I had plans to blog after our doctor’s appointment on Monday (November 8), but I had no idea that I would be sharing sad news. And, I must say, I am not sure how to even begin to blog about this, but I know that I should.
I have meditated on the above scripture and others like it to find strength. Before I continue, I will acknowledge the danger in using this passage in James to speak to my trails, when these Christians were facing actual persecution for their faith, not just the trails of everyday life. I do not wish to rip this text out of context, or to elevate my situation to the trial of persecution. However, I believe that we can glean truth from this passage about facing those life-trials.
Monday, November 8, Stephen and I were to go back to the doctor for a regularly scheduled appointment. I was 10 weeks pregnant. However, Monday morning I started experiencing some concerning symptoms. I called the doctor’s office and they encouraged me not to worry, they could be perfectly normal. That advice and the statistic that only 5% of pregnancies experience miscarriage after hearing a heartbeat calmed my nerves. (We saw and heard a heartbeat at our first appointment.) However, when we got into the ultrasound room and they began to look for the baby, they asked me to go empty my bladder, because they could not see past it. When I returned to the ultrasound room, my face was streaked with tears; I knew something was wrong. As they continued the ultra sound, and looked for the baby, their silence and grim expressions began to confirm my fears. I could see the still shadow of my baby, no heartbeat and much smaller than it should have been. They told me that the baby had not developed past 7 weeks and there was no heartbeat. The symptoms I had experienced were my body beginning to miscarry.
They left us alone in the room for a few moments and my wonderful husband prayed over me. He thanked God for being good and gracious and asked him for strength. I took this news much harder than I would have imagined. I did not realize that I would actually grieve so strongly.
As I sit here today, I am not trying to act like this is not a big deal, because it is. I am not trying to act like it does not hurt because it does, immensely. But, I am trying to remember as James says, “The testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” Steadfastness is perseverance. Trials teach us how to persevere and perseverance actually matures our faith. Steadfast faith is faith that does not give up, is not shaken, and is strong enough to stand by others as they suffer. I have to want what God has for me more than anything else, even a child. God wants to produce in me steadfast faith, and he uses trails to do so.
I am grateful that God does not spare me from heartache. It is through this heartache that my faith is made steadfast. It is through this heartache that I learn how to better minister to hurting people. It is through this heartache that I learn to lean on God’s strength.
So, here I find myself, broken, empty, lonely, confused, and grief-stricken, all for the sake of steadfastness. And, because I know my God has a plan, I would not have it any other way, for the sake of steadfastness.