When Resurrection Comes
I have been a Christian for most of my life. I was raised in the church, I have attended bible college, and even studied at a Christian graduate school. I have lived and breathe Christianity and I firmly believe that miracles are real. Given my background, I thought I knew God. I thought I knew how to live the Christian life. I thought that if I prayed hard enough, behaved well enough, and kept my emotions in order, God would answer my prayers.
Boy was I wrong. And one day, not so long ago, my whole world came to a screeching halt.
After 31 years, I finally met my husband in 2011. We fell in love and married the following year. And we both heeded traditional wisdom so we waited a year to start a family. The day that I peed on a stick and discovered I was pregnant was euphoric. Finally I was being given the desires of my heart! For decades I had focused on serving others, building my career, and loving God, and now was MY time.
We heard our little peanut’s heartbeat at nearly 7 weeks. Everything looked great! We started to plan for our baby’s arrival on April 30th, 2014. I started a registry, I downloaded a million baby apps, and we announced our impending birth. I went back to the doctor’s office two weeks later for a routine ultrasound. I went alone, as it was only a routine appointment. All was well. Life was speeding along. And then...
“By now we should be seeing a heartbeat.” Said my doctor. “It should be blue on the screen.” At first I was not fazed. All I could think was he should press the button that makes the baby’s heartbeat blue.
But no. That’s not the way it works. In that moment I found out that I was not being given the desires of my heart, but instead I was walking into a nightmare. I became a part of the 25% of women who miscarry. My baby had died at 9 weeks. And the subsequent three babies failed to make it out of the first trimester.
Some people may say that I never knew my babies. Some may say that I was carrying only cells. But every heartbeat I heard belonged to my child. And now my children were no longer living.
Grief is a complex beast. Some days you can smile, while some moments you erupt with anger. And in the midst of it all, church was the last place I wanted to be. As I looked around the congregation, I would see mothers with babies. I would see people who were living their dreams and I was jealous. The congregation would lift their hands in praise and sing about being filled with God’s glory. How could I sing about God’s glory when babies were dying in me????
But in the midst of it all, I clung to one scripture. Psalm 30:5 says, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”
Life isn’t all about the happy times. There’s weeping. As I walked through grief and disappointment, I saw that my theology had been so very off track. God never promised to give me the desires of my heart if I was the perfect Christian. Actually as I read scriptures I saw that suffering was an integral part of the Christian life. Joseph was imprisoned, David was on the run from his king, Paul was shipwrecked, the disciples lost their leader to a violent death, and even Jesus was crucified.
And as I rediscovered the bible, I encountered hope. Yes there was weeping, but joy came! Joseph became prime minister. David became king. Paul built the first century church. And Mary met the resurrected Jesus.
After Jesus was crucified, the bible says, “Then the disciples went back to where they were staying. Mary stood outside the tomb crying.” (John 20:10-11). Mary stayed. The other disciples left but she would not relent. She would not give up. She refused to leave. She knew there was more to the story. She had no idea what that was, but she knew Jesus and she knew that His death could not be the end. So she stayed in the garden and grieved. She did not try to hold her stuff together or appear to be holy, but she let rip! She wept. She screamed. She cried so much that she couldn’t recognize Jesus! But she encountered resurrection. She encountered one of the greatest miracles history ever recorded.
Moment by moment, day by day, I followed Mary’s example. I stayed in my garden. I refused to give up. I held on to what I knew of God, and with a tiny bit of faith, believed that my story was not over. I cried. I screamed. I grieved.
And my joy came! Two and half years later, I gave birth to Victoria Joy. She is everything her name denotes; she is victory and she is joy! And now Elliana Grace is here. Elliana means, “my God has answered”. Yes. My God has answered. Miracles are real.
We live in a fallen world where sickness rages and sin pervades our lives. There’s rejection, fear, and abuse. Weeping truly endures through the darkest times. But in our grief, there is a miracle working God who breathes resurrection. And no matter how bleak the night has become, joy comes in the morning!