It took all of my courage to do what I did on Sunday.
Church this Sunday was our Thanksgiving Service – where we (the congregation) bring the message – our testimonies of thankfulness to God.
I really wanted to be able to say something. I mean, I know I have a lot to be grateful for. But in light of my recent circumstances, anything I could say would sound trite and contrived.
If you have been reading, you know what a dark place I have been in. So scary to feel like you have fallen from grace, even if it is not the truth. I wasn’t really in a ‘testimony’ place.
I had prayed all last week, ‘Lord, if you really want me to share, speak to me. Say something, do something that would make this testimony authentic.’
All the way up to Saturday, I still hadn’t gotten anything to share. In fact, it felt pretty dark inside my heart. I talked with a friend of mine when we were on the train home from the city, and she said, ‘It’s okay, Katie. It’s still fresh. I would be surprised if you did share something.’
So, our service on Sunday started. My friend is furiously writing on a notepad all that she was going to share. My mind still felt blank. How could I say I was grateful? For what ? A second miscarriage? For a horrible experience with misoprostol that didn’t work and a D&C? For another baby I would never raise?
Still, there was a tug on my heart to share. That somehow, there might be healing, there might be peace, there might be a battle won – if I could only find gratitude in my heart. If only to stand against bitterness and anger that is always threatening to barge in, publicly voicing my gratitude to God might be the way to shut the door on it.
So, you know the mental games you play: ‘If my husband shares, then I’ll share.’ (He does. Opportunity 1 passes). ‘If the pastor comes over this way, then I’ll share.’ ( He does. Opportunity 2 passes). ‘I’ll wait until the last round of testimonies, then I’ll share.’ (Came and went. Opportunity 3….).
It was looking like I missed my chance. I still didn’t even know what I would say. The pastor shared his own testimony, and then it seemed like he was wrapping up. And then he said, ‘Is there anyone else who wanted to share?’
I could feel my heart beating in my stomach, and before I could think, up went my hand. It sounded something like this:
“So many of the beautiful testimonies today have been about how God has seen you through the storm. Well, I am still in the middle of a storm, but I felt like God wanted me to still give thanks.
“About this time last year, after a year and a half of trying, my husband and I were pregnant with our first. And we had a miscarriage. This year, about two months ago, I found out that I was pregnant with our second. And a few weeks ago, I had a second miscarriage.’ (There were a few pauses to get my emotions under control and find my voice. So awful, embarrassing and humbling in that moment. I hate showing emotion like that publicly. Ugh.)
“With my first miscarriage, I felt a lot of peace, and there were so many blessings along the way. I knew God was carrying me through. This time has been much darker for me. This has been much harder for many reasons. And to be honest, I have had a very difficult time feeling God’s presence. He has felt far, and I have struggled with finding something to be thankful for.
“Still, I know there are always things to be thankful for – so, I came up with a few.
“First, I am thankful that my babies are in heaven. I am thankful that we will see them someday. I am sad that I will never know them here on earth, but I am grateful that our family is with God right now, alive and well.
“Second, I am thankful for all the encouragement and love I have been shown. I am thankful for friends who have reached out with so much love and encouragement [including all of you out here in the blogosphere]. I am grateful for so many friends and people in church who would hug me with tears in their eyes or sit next to me and cry with me and not say anything. You all were God’s hand and feet and heart to me, especially in a time I couldn’t feel Him personally. I knew He was there because of you and your love for me. You were His presence to me – His presence through you. This church definitely has lived out, ‘Weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice.’
“I am grateful for my husband who has been my rock…who has prayed with me and spoke truth to me and had faith, especially when I didn’t.
“Third, I am grateful that I know that God will see us through. I am not on the other side of this yet, but I know that I will get there. I know that God has plans for us and for our family. I am grateful that my history with God tells me that He will get me through. And I am grateful for Him for doing this, and that next Thanksgiving, I will have a testimony of how God saw us through.”
That was about all I could get out. And after I sat down, I finally let all the tears I had held back silently fall.
Did I miraculously feel better after doing that? No, not really. But I believe that there was something that happened in the unseen world which was a step in my healing. It certainly was a sacrifice of thanksgiving I offered – nothing easy about it – but I believe it honored God, and He received it.
I still feel and see the fog around me, but it is not as thick. Not as heavy. Little by little, in ever so slight and barely perceptible ways, faith is rising.
[Photo Credit: Jerry Mercier]