“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13
In January 2000, I found out I was pregnant again. Ruth was thrilled with the idea of a baby, Blake, a senior in high school, was a little weirded out!
Because of my history and the fact that I was 39, I was considered high risk. I was so sick, and on my first cruise vacation, I was wishing they would just throw me overboard at times, but grateful for this healthy sign of pregnancy. This was what we had always wanted and I took every precaution directed by my specialists.
Every two weeks, Ruth and I would head downtown for the sonogram the doctors requested, and every time Ruth would leave the appointment proudly carrying “her baby’s” photo. This little blessing appeared to be growing healthy and on schedule. Clint was in his second year of medical school and we were waiting on the “lottery” to see where his last two years of clinical rotations would take us. Blake would be graduating, and heading to William Jewell and our best friends were moving away, so a new baby would help this mamma’s transition.
On a rare day off in early March, Clint was able to go to the appointment with me, so Ruth showed him the way down the winding corridors. We were in the same examining room as always, with our familiar technician, but I immediately knew this appointment was different. After several minutes of probing with cold jelly and her doppler, she paused and said she would like to go to a “more sensitive” ultrasound machine. All the way down the hall, which was only a few doors down but seemed to be miles, Ruth was demanding her picture. Clint tried to quiet her by reassuring her to be patient. The transvaginal ultrasound did not alleviate our fears, but confirmed that this 12 1/2 week little baby no longer had a heartbeat.
That day we left the hospital was so different from the many other miscarriages I’d had prior to Ruth. I was sad, but not hopeless. I was grieving, but with an overwhelming sense of God’s goodness. We called only our closest friends, but with the going-away party for my friend that evening, I really didn’t want the word out yet. (These women had been through all the years of my infertility heartbreak and wailings. I knew they would be worried about me from past experience.)
During my season of infertility, I was filled with hopelessness. My life seemed to be always falling apart. But I was almost 5 years removed from that dark season and God was using another loss to show me a different kind of healing that He had worked in me.
While I was leading the woman in our farewell to our friend, 2 Thessalonians 3:16 was the benediction verse I was trying to encourage them with. “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.”
God was with me. It was clear that God was giving me a peace that I’d never experienced before. He was giving me a picture of the transforming work He was completing in me. (Phil. 1:6) Past miscarriages sent me into a hopeless state of despair, but not this day. “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but snot forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” 2 Cor. 4:8-9
“I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me; He freed me from all my fears. The oppressed look to Him and are glad; they will never be disappointed” Psalm 34:4-5
“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
On September 19th, she would have turned 16. I remember how God used baby Caroline Grace to show me the transforming work He was (and is) doing in me.