far more than sparrows
even before i begin i know that this is one of the hardest posts i've ever written. i hardly know how to begin.
a few months ago, in another post, i alluded to a third tattoo that i had been wanting. yesterday i got that tattoo. and thus, it's time to tell the story behind it.
when i got my second tattoo i didn't think i would get another one. i had ideas of others, but i thought i was done. i was in the midst of the story - and in a way i still am. but we'll get to that...
sometimes, people say things that will change your life forever.
"we're getting divorced"
"i'm sorry, she didn't make it"
"that's not normal"
"will you marry me?"
this story revolves around the last of these. it starts about 3 years ago [2 years and 10 months to be exact] when peter and i took a trip to europe. we had been married for a little over 2 years, and we wanted to take a big trip, just the two of us, before we had a family.
so that was the plan - go to europe, come home, start trying to have a baby. in our minds and plans we'd be parents before the close of 2009. but that wasn't the case.
after a year - in the fall of 2009 - we started having tests done. and the doctors found nothing wrong. everything looked good. everything was as it should be, but things continued on just as they had. no problems. and no pregnancy.
then, about a year ago, came one of the happiest days of my life. tears of joy and disbelief started in my eyes as two solid pink lines stared up at me. it actually happened! we're finally going to be parents!
at that time peter was working from home, so i walked two rooms over and presented him with the test, throwing an "i'm pregnant" in for good measure. we celebrated. we prayed. we thanked God for answering our long prayed prayers.
i called my family members who all live out of state, made a doctor's appointment, and over the next few days we told peter's in-town family. only our immediate families and our closest friends knew anything was going on -- they were the only ones who had known all along. and until we knew everything was as it should be we weren't going to share. not until the end of the first trimester.
but we never made it to the end of the first trimester.
on the heels of one of the best days of my life came the worst day of my life. just over a week after the celebrations commenced, and a day after we received this package in the mail from my brother's family:
i woke up with a feeling of dread. i had cramps. i was bleeding. and we weren't at home. despite a phone call or two, and reassuring text messages that those things happen, and it would be okay...
i called the doctor.
we went to the ER.
and amidst many tears we told them what was happening.
they took blood, and did some tests.
they sent us home at the end of the night and told us it was a "possible miscarriage." but i knew what was happening. i had lost too much blood.
two days later we went to the doctor to confirm what i already knew.
there was no longer a baby.
we made the necessary phone calls. i spent days in bed waking only to cry, forced to eat meals brought to us by a few who knew what happened.
i was numb. i only knew how to cry.
i was mad at God.
i asked "why?" more times than i could ever hope to count.
i was mad at some of the people who did know who said the worst possible thing:
"at least you know you can get pregnant"
it's not consoling, comforting, or encouraging.
all it does is remind me of the process, and the fact that i was.
this last year has probably been the hardest of my life.
people ask how long we've been married, and immediately follow with:
"when are you going to have kids?"
and i truthfully tell them -- i don't know.
[side note: don't ask that question. just don't ask. if it's any of your business, you'll know.]
what i don't tell them is that i don't know if i can.
and every time i get asked that question -
it reminds me of that. that i don't know if i'll ever have children.
we've tried other things this year, all to no avail.
so now, we're looking at the adoption process.
so. why the tattoo?
in the midst of all of this i came across a passage in matthew.
a reminder that i needed. that i need.
are not two sparrows sold for a penny?
yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father's care.
and even the very hairs on your head are all numbered.
don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
not one sparrow falls to the ground outside of the Father's care.
every time i see the feather on my arm i think of that passage. i remember that God is sovereign. and though, almost a year later, i still don't understand why i lost a baby, or why parenthood is so elusive, that doesn't negate God's control of the situation.
it doesn't mean that he doesn't hurt with me, and cry with me. my lack of understanding does not change his mercy, his grace, or his sovereignty.
i truly believe that sometimes we have to come to the end of ourselves before we will hold on to God with both hands.
i know i've linked to this before, but i can't sum up what i'm feeling right now any better than this song:
would you dare to believe
that you still have a reason to sing?
'cause the pain that you've been feeling
can't compare to the joy that's coming.
the pain that you've been feeling
is just the hurt before the healing.
the pain that you've been feeling
is just the dark before the morning.
-josh wilson, before the morning