I’m pretty good at stomping out the lies. I do my best to identify wrong thoughts and replace them with the highest truth I know. This practice has kept me stable and allowed me to move forward. But it’s not enough to have peace of mind.
The greatest struggle since Brody died has been deciding how to make peace with the truth – the ugly, terrifying truths.
This happened. To me. This happened to my family.
I am not immune. The ones I love are not immune.
I don’t have some special guarantee. (I really believed I did.)
Jesus is not a get-out-of-suffering-free card.
Sometimes you lose a battle even when you fight well.
Sometimes, you do your part, and it looks like and feels like God does not do hers.
For most of my life I have known some of this to some extent, but I did not fear tragic loss or suffering because I believed they did not ever have to be part of my reality. Of course, that illusion has been shattered. Choosing peace while learning to accept the possibility of future suffering has felt impossible. Trusting God even when there’s no guarantee of a miracle is a deeper calling than trusting a God who always says yes.
I am only ten days from my due date, and I want to finish well. But fear has some pretty convincing arguments as I approach the birth of my second, second child. How do I respond? I can conquer the lies, but what do I do with the weight of the overwhelming truth?
I have decided that my most effective option, despite all the scary unknowns, is to commit to respond to whatever happens with love. Perfect love casts out fear, and that is becoming clearer. I don’t think I can make fear completely go away, but I don’t have to feed her. I can throw her outside and ignore her howls.
When fear asks me the scariest questions, “What will you do if this baby doesn’t come home? What will you do if this baby is sick, if this baby dies too?” I will declare that I will do what love demands. Yes, such a tragedy would break me into a million pieces, but I don’t need to plan that out; I don’t need to go down that road in my mind. I can simply say, I’m choosing love. Every step left along this arduous journey, I want to be patient and hopeful and kind. I will trust and believe the best, even if that makes me all the more vulnerable. I’m not seeking comfort and happiness first – I’ve never believed in that. I want to boldly pursue love, even when it feels like too great a risk.
The unknown doesn’t have to overwhelm me because my compass is set. Many things are beyond my control but in preparation for and in response to all things, Christ will strengthen me in love.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
… 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through Christ who gives me strength.