Early last year, Brett and I prayed and decided to have one more child. It took us months to conceive (which has never happened before) and I found myself processing with the Lord a lot about why. One day, in early June, the Lord spoke clearly to me and said a word that I wasn’t familiar with. I looked it up and the word meant, “Behold, a son”. I treasured it in my heart and only told Brett. It was a huge encouragement for me as we finally conceived and waited to find out the gender. Brett and I tried to hold it lightly, knowing we can definitely miss it sometimes, but we started praying about boy names and came up with the perfect one. We only mildly considered some girl names, just in case.
Last month, as we headed in for the ultrasound, I felt so excited and nervous. It was time to find out if I did indeed carry the boy our older son, Johnny, has prayed for the last four years. The tech got a perfect angle and excitedly announced, “It’s a girl!” I was SHOCKED, but my heart leaped as I immediately pictured Elle and Esther as newborns and I knew I would love her just as much. It wasn’t until we were waiting to see the doctor about a half hour later that the reality of announcing this to Johnny began to hit me. I panicked, thinking of his broken heart and disappointment. I immediately told Brett we needed to get a puppy. I wasn’t joking.
As I began to think about how hard this news could be for Johnny, anxiety swelled and my own protective anger grew. I found myself wrestling with joy for a beloved daughter that I was surprised and delighted to meet via ultrasound. (She really is the cutest thing!) But the anger of how sad my son would be and confusion of why God said what He did to me was building too. We couldn’t find a puppy on such short notice (praise Jesus) so we bought a massive balloon filled with pink confetti and headed home, praying for our kid’s hearts.
As Johnny popped the balloon, he smiled wide with shock and a “you have to be kidding me” look on his face. Elle, on the other hand, was just shocked. After the initial excitement wore off, she welled with tears and said, “I don’t understand. I really thought it was a boy.” This was news to me as she hadn’t expressed that expectation out loud. My anger grew. Slowly but steadily, I found myself frustrated that we were all having to deal with the loss of a dream instead of just celebrate. Then I’d suddenly feel ashamed and frustrated with myself that it was even an issue. Of course, I am excited for this daughter we’ve been given. Her pregnancy has been a breeze compared to the previous six. She’s already been such a delight and will be a huge blessing to our family. Why couldn’t that be the only feelings we were all feeling?
Then it hit me. I feel disappointed. Not that I am having a girl. But that we are not having the boy we thought we were. That the boy we’ve all hoped for and dreamt of doesn’t exist. Oh, how the emotions came then. The anger raged and the shame of feeling disappointed began to swallow me. I wanted to run, to numb, to do anything but feel everything I was feeling. I spent two days trying to process with the Lord. At this point, I know running from feelings doesn’t work. I’ve also given up all of my numbing techniques, like drinking, so that wasn’t an option. I felt I got nowhere with my journaling. I cried many times to Brett expressing my anger, but mostly frustration. I didn’t want to be disappointed and I certainly didn’t want the baby experiencing anything I was. After two days of circling and crying, I woke up the third day and put worship music on full blast. I danced with Esther until the big kids woke up then invited them to join. As I stood and worshiped in the midst of my big feelings, thanking God for the child He’s given us and the safety I have to honestly process my disappointment with Him, it all began to lift. The heaviness, the anger. It began to fade into the distance and my heart finally felt free to actually celebrate in what we do have and the truth that God’s ways are higher than my ways- and that is good news.
I still don’t know what to do with the word the Lord gave me back in June. But I don’t have to yet. If I’ve learned anything in my years of loss and grieving it’s that we don’t always get an answer this side of Heaven. What I learned this month is that while I am fine dealing with disappointment over something I deem big or worthy of disappointment (like losing children to miscarriage), I really do not like even admitting I am disappointed over something I consider selfish or small. But the reality is, God cherishes my process, even over the smaller things. He’s not afraid of my honest anger, disappointment, or even my ugly behavior as I process. He is delighted that I trust Him enough to be honest and share my feelings. He’s more than happy to walk me through my thoughts and emotions. And when I am brave enough to praise Him in my pain, He is faithful to trade me joy for my mourning.
If you’re dealing with disappointment of any caliber today, know that there is a God who is interested in healing your pain, but more importantly in walking the journey out with you. There is no issue too small nor too big. He loves to be a part of it all. He loves to walk out every part of the process from beginning to end if only we will trust Him with our hearts, our emotions, and our journey. I pray you are met by the Prince of Peace today and in all circumstances.