That’s right. Baby Ratty #6 is on its way, due to arrive the beginning of October 2016. I would love to write that “we are elated, filled with joy, and so excited to make this announcement.” But, that would not be the whole truth. Even though it may not be glamorous, I’d rather share the full story. When we found out we were pregnant, we were filled with joy! We told Elle and Johnny that morning and we all had a big dance/worship party. We were full of smiles and delight. And please hear me- we ARE excited for this child. However, we have dealt with the hard reality of having 3 children graduate to Heaven while we were praying for their life here on Earth. The past month has been a roller coaster of emotions, feelings, warfare, and surrender. We aren’t out of it all yet, we are right in the process, but I’d love to share our reality and invite you to pray with us.
In just the past four weeks, we have been alerted twice by my doctor that “things weren’t looking good” and I have had to go in for 2 ultrasounds to check for miscarriage. To our delighted surprise, a strong heartbeat and perfect measurements were found at both ultrasounds. This was a new experience for us as we have had quite a few ultrasounds where we have mourned and cried staring at the picture of our lifeless children as we say our last goodbyes. Three times we have had a doctor unable to find a heartbeat with monitor, and were ushered into a surprise ultrasound for a “better look”. All three times, we prayed and believed for God’s hand to be on our child’s life. All three times, we chose hope and denied fear. There were even times we refused to accept our child’s death and petitioned God for a miracle, asking for resurrection life and had to go back in, days later, for another daunting ultrasound experience that was heartbreaking. You see, ultrasounds have not always brought us the same positive experience so many parents have had. The sappy happy moments you see in movies. Instead, many of ours have been awkward, filled with an eerie silence after the tech finally says, “I am sorry for your loss”. This is trauma. And unless it’s worked through and given fully to Jesus, trauma sticks and causes new symptoms like anxiety, fear, and more.
As I have walked through the loss of our 3 children, I have wanted to be the strong Christian who is filled with faith and hope. My heart desires to follow and trust Him no matter my circumstances. However, when we got the two calls the past month that my hormone levels and body were not showing promising signs of life, I couldn’t muster any hope. I couldn’t find any strength. Instead, I decided to do one of the most brave things I’ve ever done. I looked into the eyes of my husband (and later our pastors), and with tears in my eyes, I admitted, “I don’t have any fight left in me. I don’t have any faith this will work out. I don’t even know how I would have hope in this situation…” With loving tenderness and care, Brett confessed he was in the same boat and together we wept and knelt in prayer. We confessed to Jesus that “our flesh is as weak as it’s ever been, but our spirits are willing to say yes to Him”. We asked for His strength to be perfected in our weakness. We asked Him to let “Faith come” as the scripture promises. We took every promise He has given to us personally and in scripture and called Him out for it. Later, as we spoke to our pastors, we confessed it all to them again. We admitted we were weary and didn’t know what to do. With love, they reminded us that like Moses needed his people to help hold up his arms, its okay for us to let them hold up ours now. They didn’t ‘should’ on us or shame us for our lack of a proper Christian response. They prayed for us and encouraged us that we are loved and covered. Then, when we walked out of our appointments and announced the baby was fine, our people celebrated for us while we were in too much shock to remember how to.
So here I am. Pregnant, feeling horrible physically (this has been my hardest pregnancy yet), and experiencing a range of emotions and thoughts that I am sometimes convinced I may need to be checked into a ward for. But, I am here. I am a loved and perfectly imperfect daughter of the Most High King. I am still pressing on and fixing my eyes on Him. Taking every thought captive and throwing it at the foot of the cross. Declaring He has already paid the price for every shortcoming I have and believing He is interceding for me in the process. Leaning wholly and completely on Him because I have no strength left. Inviting Him and trusted individuals who are wiser and more experienced that me to speak truth to me where I can’t seem to hear it for myself. It’s the most vulnerable I have ever felt, the weakest I’ve ever been, yet some of the bravest steps I’ve ever taken. If you need me in the coming weeks/months, you can likely find me a crumpled heap, totally surrendered to and dependent on Jesus and His strength. It may not be pretty, and I am definitely not done, but I am covered and protected by Him in the midst of this maturing and transforming process. I will come out of this a better version of me on the other side, reflecting more of Him, because that is what He does. He’s done it for me before, I know He’s doing it now, and I am sure He’ll do it again. (Romans 8.28)
So pray for me and with me. Not from a pleading place of “oh please Lord” but from a confident place of victory with “Thank You Lord” for He has already won. Regardless of what happens here on earth, He wins. He is, and always will be, on the throne. He is the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and if He can handle my shattered, broken, pieces of hot mess, He can certainly handle all of yours too. So be brave with me. Be vulnerable and surrender everything to Him and tell some safe community around you what is going on. I read somewhere recently that our society is obsessed with reality tv, but the problem is that even that isn’t real. We crave and are looking for people to be real with us, especially people in leadership. Don’t try to manage yourself alone, you were never meant to. And don’t be ashamed of your process, you were meant for double portions of honor- even in your current state.
Isaiah 61.7 “Instead of your shame you will have a double portion, And instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion. Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land, Everlasting joy will be theirs.”