First, I would like to thank everyone for your love and support of Angela and I during this time in our lives as we mourn the loss of our son, James Adam. It is truly a blessing to receive all the words of encouragement and your continued prayers.
For those who are not familiar with our story, this is not the first loss of a child that Angela and I have been through. We have gone through two miscarriages prior to losing James. We lost our first child August 3, 2011 and our second on February 15, 2012. Both loses were difficult to process, for me the first was harder than the second. Having a child was something that I had desired for many years and struggled with why things were taking so long. Why is having a child so difficult for us, and easy for others? I was constantly comparing what God was doing in my life to what He was doing in the lives of others. So, when we lost our first child, I was completely devastated. I stopped asking: Why is it easy for others to get pregnant? And started asking: Why did we have to lose the baby? Why are so many of our friends having children and we have to struggle to get pregnant? And when we do get pregnant, why do we have to lose our child?
There was a lot of resentment and bitterness towards others and towards God. I hated the fact that things had to be so difficult for us. Why is God allowing these things happen to us? Why can’t things just be a little bit easier, just a little bit? Some things in our lives don’t seem to happen very easily. It is easy to let Satan influence us into doubting God’s sovereignty in our lives.
When we went through our second miscarriage, dealing with the loss was not as hard. It was not as hard as the first, because of God’s grace and mercy in placing a dear friend in my path with some of the most loving and encouraging words that anyone could speak. He didn’t try to make me feel better or try to make sense of why things happened the way that they have. But he was there to say that it sucked, and sorry that any of it happened. He encouraged us to seek after God, to stop asking why these things are happening to us, and start asking what He is doing in our lives through these events. He encouraged us to retreat. Take some time away from everything and incline our hearts towards God.
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.” Psalm 73: 25-28
It was during this time of retreat that God revealed to us that we were not pursuing the calling that He put on our lives, foreign missions. God used these terrible events in our lives to draw us nearer to him and show us how we needed to be obedient to His commandment to preach the gospel. I let Satan influence my heart towards bitterness and resentment. Satan meant those things that happened for evil, God meant them for good.
So here we are, the days after we lost our third child. This time is different than the first two. This time the pregnancy was farther along, 20 weeks. (The previous miscarriages happened around 8 weeks.) This time it was not a miscarriage, it was pre-term labor caused by complications in the pregnancy. Complications that so many of you prayed would not end up in pre-term labor. So many of you, along with us, prayed that the doctors would be proved wrong and God would work a miracle and allow Angela to carry James for at least another 4 weeks. The time when the doctors say that viability exist, the time when James had a fighting chance outside of the womb. Simply, we were praying for a miracle, a miracle of science and the miracle of life. The phrase that I used often during this time was that, “Our God Is Able.” How true that statement is, He is able. He is our creator and sustainer, our father and savior. He is the beginning and the end. He is God Almighty. He is the Great I Am!
Our God is able to do the miracle that we asked for, but in His sovereign will He did not perform the miracle that we asked for. However, He absolutely performed a miracle, not the one we asked for, but the one that we needed. The miracle of being able to spend 25 minutes with our son before passed. The miracle of touching him and holding his hands and seeing the different ways he resembled us. He had Angela’s lips and my long toes. He was truly fearfully and wonderfully made. While we mourn the loss of James, we are thankful for the time that we got to spend with him while he was still alive. We praise God for His mercy and grace for preparing our hearts for that precious time with our son.
The days after, honestly, have been difficult but not unbearable. We still have moments when we break down and cry for our son. We still have our moments of questioning God. But that is exactly what they are, moments. They come and they fade away because my hope is not in having children. My hope is in Christ.
When Angela and I got married we used a group of verses from Habakkuk as the scripture that our marriage would strive to emulate. “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut from the fold and there be no herd in the stall, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread in my high places.” Habakkuk 3:17-19
We will take joy in the God of our salvation. Even though things aren’t easy and our journey seems to be filled with suffering and loss. God, the Lord, is our strength. There is a huge similarity in the previous two losses and losing James. It is that Satan intends this for evil. He intends for us to deny God and become bitter and angry. But God intends this for good. We are not sure what that is right now, but we wait eagerly for Him to reveal it when the time comes.
I have written previously about dealing with our miscarriages and how a certain song has helped me in working through my anger and resentment. Please click the link below and listen to the words of the song and the message within it and know that God is better!