The Plan

In March of 2017, my husband dropped a bombshell on me. He said, “Whenever you’re ready to have kids, I’m ready.”

Up until that moment, we’d been focused on “the plan.” My husband was going to get into the police academy. We were going to raise enough money to replace one of our cars with a reliable family car. And then we would start our family. It seemed to me to be the smartest, most logical thing to do, the best way to guarantee a secure future for our children. But the more I thought and prayed about it, the more I realized that I was putting God in a corner. I was so focused on getting all of my ducks in a row that there was no room for God to work. So in April, I stopped taking birth control. I said, “Whenever You think we should have a baby, God, I will be ready.”

Toward the end of May, we found out I was pregnant. But then in July, an ultrasound revealed that our baby had no heartbeat. There was no obvious cause. I was healthy. There hadn’t been any complications that the doctor could see. He just assumed that something had gone wrong during the child’s development, which he said was common.

The doctor gave me two options: I could either wait to miscarry naturally, which could happen anywhere and at any time, or he could prescribe some medication to jump-start the miscarriage. I chose the medication and planned to miscarry over the weekend. But the process lasted much longer than that, approximately three months. And even then my body’s cycle was off. I saw the doctor again in February of 2018. He put me back on birth control to get my cycle regulated. He said it could take anywhere from four to six months before I would be physically ready to try again.

This was not something I ever expected. I knew a few of my coworkers had experienced miscarriages before giving birth to their children, but in my naivety, I believed it wouldn’t happen to me. I thought I’d conceive and give birth just as seamlessly as my mother and my sister-in-law had. Instead, this had happened. I felt hurt, confused, depressed, betrayed. I’d taken a chance. I’d gotten rid of my plan and put my trust in God. This wasn’t how things were supposed to turn out. Growing up in church, I’d always heard that “God is good all the time.” It was something I’d known as a fact for as long as I could remember, but it didn’t feel very true to me during those trying months.

In the midst of all this inner turmoil, I could almost hear my own words echoing back to me. “Whenever You think we should have a baby, God, I’ll be ready.” That’s what I’d said. But what I actually meant was, “I’m ready now.” That was my mistake; I thought I was giving up my control and surrendering to God’s will when, in reality, I was just coming up with a new plan. And, once again, shoving God into a corner.

I was reminded of Peter then. After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples on the beach. Peter was the first to approach Him but not the first to speak. He’d denied his Lord three times and was probably feeling lower than dirt. While they were all sitting together, Jesus asked, “Peter, do you love me?” Only in my case, I felt like God was asking, “Becca, do you trust me? Do you trust that I know what’s best for you, I want what’s best for you, and I know exactly when to give it to you? Do you trust that I love you, despite what circumstances I put you through? Do you trust in my provision alone or are you still trying to be self-sufficient?”

I was. I am. Daily I struggle to surrender my illusion of control to the only one who is actually in control. My husband and I could have the best paying jobs this world has to offer, but circumstances can still snatch our money away in creative and unexpected ways. (We only have to look at my previous blog post to see proof of that.) Our security is not found in our bank account; our true and lasting security is found in Christ alone. He could’ve given us a baby at any time, whether I was on birth control or not. And He would’ve provided for that child whether my husband had a better paying job or not, whether we had a better family car or not. It only took losing my first baby for me to realize that.

When the time came to stop taking birth control and try again, I was still scared. I still dreaded the thought of another loss, another disappointment, another six months of recovery time. But I had a new confidence in my God’s goodness and in His perfect will. Whether we had a baby or not, I knew my husband and I would be just fine.

Last week, it was with humble and joyful hearts that we told our families that we’re expecting. Our baby is due to be born on June 11, 2019. And we look forward to whatever comes next.

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It seems this story is going to have a happy ending, but I know now more than ever that nothing is guaranteed. The end of this month will mark the end of my first trimester; the chances of miscarrying are lessened but it could still happen. Or the baby could come early and with complications. Or I could give birth to a stillborn child. There are so many hard possibilities, painful realities, things that have happened to countless mothers all around the world. My miscarriage experience was terrible but also wonderful because I feel like my eyes have been opened.

Losing a child is more common than I ever realized. The women and men who have gone through it suffer in silence because it’s painful to talk about, because they have family or friends who maybe haven’t been as supportive as they should’ve been, because they don’t want to burden other people with their problems. Or for a hundred other reasons. All I can say is: I see you, mother of angels. I know that feeling of helplessness, father of angels. I’ve felt that physical pain, that unbearable heartache.

I’m so sorry.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any answers for you, just a virtual hug and, hopefully, some encouragement. There is hope, joy, and comfort to be found in the arms of our Heavenly Father. No matter what your experience has been with people who claim to follow Christ or with church or with religion in general, I hope you find Him one day and come to realize how much He loves you, even when life seems to scream otherwise.

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14 NIV

“But I will sing of Your strength; in the morning I will sing of Your love, for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.” Psalm 59:16 NIV

“Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that He will lift you up in His own good time. Leave all your worries with Him, because He cares for you…But after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who calls you to share His eternal glory in union with Christ, will Himself perfect you and give you firmness, strength, and a sure foundation.” 1 Peter 5:8&10 GNT

Goodbye, Bruce

On October 24, I woke up to a phone call from my husband. He very calmly explained that he needed me to pick him up and take him to urgent care because he’d been in a car accident on his way to work…at 4:30AM. He’d been trying to reach me ever since then but, since my phone goes on Do Not Disturb mode from 7PM to 6AM, I’d missed his first thirty-eight calls. He assured me that he wasn’t severely injured, just had bad whiplash and wanted to have his shoulder and neck examined.

So I drove out to pick him up at the Whataburger across the street where the accident had occurred. The driver who had hit him ran the red light, smashing into his truck at the driver’s side tire. My husband was fairly certain his truck, a Mazda with over three hundred thousand miles on it, was totaled. As I drove him to urgent care, we fell silent. That truck had been given to him as a gift from his aunt right around the same time we started dating. There were a lot of memories associated with it (I called it Bruce, he called it Betsy). Of course, we were thankful he and the other driver were okay, but it was sad and kind of surreal to realize that we’d never drive that truck again.

The PA at urgent care took an x-ray of my husband’s shoulder and said everything looked normal. She suggested rest and Ibuprofen to help with the inflammation. We spent the rest of the day processing everything that had happened, trying to plan our next steps. My husband was sure he’d be able to borrow a work truck until we could find a replacement vehicle. Once the officer who was present filed his report, which had witness accounts stating the other driver was at fault, we would be receiving a call from their insurance and hopefully a check.

Or so we assumed.

Well, the other driver called their insurance and said my husband was at fault. Which prompted a call from our insurance. My husband hadn’t thought to get the names and phone numbers of the witnesses since it had all been included in the police report, but now he was being asked to contact those witnesses and have them call our insurance so they could corroborate his story. The officer’s report, my husband found out, hadn’t been filed yet and probably wouldn’t be for another week or two. As you can probably imagine, we were feeling really discouraged at this point. After venting a little to my mother-in-law about the situation, she suggested we contact an accident attorney or personal injury lawyer. So we did.

Updated 11/16: Two and a half weeks later, agents from both insurance companies have assessed the damage done to Bruce/Betsy and confirmed it as totaled. The police report has been filed. Now, we’re just waiting for the other driver’s insurance to accept liability and contact us with a) Bruce/Betsy’s estimated worth and b) a check to cover “pain and suffering.” My husband’s work needed their truck back so he’s driving a rental, the cost of which falls under “pain and suffering” as well as the physical therapy he’s been doing for his neck (a problem with his alignment was discovered upon a second visit to the doctor).

My husband’s been on the look out for a new truck but it’s dangerous to get our hearts set on anything when we don’t have a price range, or even a guarantee that we’ll get enough for a down payment. (We have some money saved up but not nearly enough.) At the beginning of this adventure, I started off with an almost zen-like peace, confident that God knew our plight and was actively working for our good. I still believe He’s working, but I’m struggling to hang onto that peace, especially because all we can do right now is wait.

It’s kind of funny. Around this time last year, we were dealing with my husband’s torn meniscus. I’ll be wary next year when fall rolls around. (Just kidding, but not really.) Oh, life is challenging, isn’t it? Challenging and unpredictable and wonderful all at once. This being the month of thanks, I’m trying to focus on all the good things we have. Like a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, food in our fridge, jobs, relatively good health, and one working car. That’s more than a lot of people can say. I have to remember that.

We’re really looking forward to Thanksgiving, when we get to see both my husband’s extended family and mine. My parents and siblings will be staying at my house for the whole weekend. It’ll be a tight squeeze and there will be a mess to clean up once Monday rolls around, but I know it’ll be a lot of fun. Things always seem a little brighter when family comes to visit.

If I don’t post anything else this month, happy Thanksgiving everyone!