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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Learning to Pray Like Job.

Almost every person that I have shared our good news with has cried tears of joy when they hear we are expecting again.  I think they are relieved.  "Whew, now Katie and Josh will be OK.  They can be happy again."

I have been reluctant to tell people just for that reason.  I am worried that people will expect us to be OK, all better now that we have a new baby on the way.  That I won't be able to have sad days or weeks.  I will need to be happy from now on out.

The truth is that I am thrilled to have the hope and excitement of a new life growing within me!  However, that has not made my grief disappear.  I am not instantly cured of my sadness.  I have not moved on from Jack.  There are lots of feelings and worries that have been surfacing even more now.

Before we lost Jack, we always knew we wanted to have 3 or 4 kids (more like 4) and that they would have to come pretty close together since we were already 30 when we got married. Our plan was to wait until Jack was about 9 months old and then give him a sibling.

When Jack passed away we wanted another baby as soon as possible.  We knew that a new baby would never take the place of Jack but my arms were so empty they ached.  God knew the perfect timing to send our second baby.  I was so bereft in my grief that I worried I wouldn't be able to ever be happy again.  I was as low as I could imagine.  I truly thought that I might be the one woman who would never recover from my grief.  I could not see my purpose on this planet now that my son was gone.  Months and months had passed during the dark cold winter and spring, without the news we longed to hear.  I worried that Jack had been my only chance at motherhood and God would not trust me with another of His sweet children.  I knew it was not true but as the days came and went I wondered...

And then, one morning, one word changed it all: Pregnant.  Pregnant!  It is as if a switch flipped and I was instantly anchored to this world again.  I have a purpose here; a baby to nourish, love and protect.  I am needed here and now.  It matters how I care for myself because it affects this baby.  I started wearing my seat belt again.  My will to live returned.

I would say that pure hope and joy lasted a couple of weeks.  They were wonderful weeks.  I was on a cloud being lifted out of the dark fog of hopelessness.  I could see a future for our family again.

Then the fear crept in, as if to steal that joyful cloud out from beneath me.  I also struggled with morning (noon and night) sickness so severe that it isolated me for much of the summer.  Isolation is not good for someone who is grieving.  Isolation acted to amplify the fears and doubts creeping back into my heart.

I began to feel a guilty.  I felt guilty for being happy again.  Guilty for picturing our new little family of three.  Guilty for holding this new baby close inside of me, feeding it, protecting it, growing closer to it; all while Jack is not here.  His sweet broken body is in the grave.  I cannot protect him anymore.

Nightmares began to haunt me.  Pregnancy nightmares seem to be more vivid to me.  Perhaps it is because I wake up so often in the night that I am never in deep sleep.  I lay my head down and all of a sudden, in my dreams, the baby comes too early and then leaves us far too soon.  We are alone again.

Even though there was nothing wrong with Jack when he was born and there is no reason to think this baby will go though anything that Jack did, I worry.  I am terrified it will happen again; that we will lose this baby, too.

When I sit back and take these worries to God, I can clearly hear His reminder that I am putting myself in control again.  Of course I am overwhelmed by the thought of being responsible for this new life.  I was not made to give and take life.  I am a mother, not a god.  I care for the precious children that God sends to me, for the time they are here.  I find myself getting away from those truths often when I spend too much time alone.

Thankfully, writing is how I work these things out.  I can see so clearly what I need to be doing: calling friends, answering the phone when they call, getting in a walk when I can and spending time reading Scriptures.  Today I finally made it to the end of the book of Job.  This man loved God more than anything and even through the unimaginable trials of losing his 10 children, his farm, his livestock, his friends and his health, he STILL trusted God.  In the end, God returned to Job what he had lost and twice as much as he had before.

What's the catch?  God did this AFTER Job had prayed for his friends.  The same friends who had hurt Job in the way they tried to blame him for his own troubles.  Job forgave them and prayed for them.

"After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before....The LORD blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first."
Job 42:10,12

Unlike Job, I don't have any friends who tried to blame Jack's death on me, far from it.  There are some people, however, who I could stand to forgive.  I have begun to pray for them because I figure that if I can take a positive action when I think of them, I will lessen my anger and hurt.  I have decided I need to really get specific and pray regularly for these people to have peace in their hearts, wisdom and discernment in their professional lives and most importantly, that they come to know the unbelievably healing love of Jesus Christ.  I pray that Jack's life and death move their hearts towards their Savior.  I pray they truly know His love and the sweet peace that comes with it.



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