I don't know when I started to believe that God's love for me was conditional. Perhaps it stemmed from my need to be a people pleaser. Somewhere along my life, I got the whole "be a peace maker" confused with being a people pleaser. What does this have to do with my journey with God? Well, it's huge actually. Somehow, I had it in my brain that if I wasn't being perfect, I wasn't pleasing God. It was so out of control in my mind, that I would even make a mental checklist of what to ask for forgiveness for every night...because, I thought that would keep God from loving me. I even believed it would keep me from heaven (which, by the way, is NOT biblical!!!!).
This was the beginning for me. This realization that I really wasn't sure that I was loveable. Although my perfectionism has been a great asset in my career as a nurse, it was my downfall as a human being so to speak. It seems so depressing now that I write it out...but, it indeed was a depressing relationship I had myself in with God. It is hard to comprehend that someone could love you even when you push them away. It is hard to imagine that I was just as pleasing and just as loved when I was totally screwing up as when I was "being perfect".
So, it's January 2010. A new year. A new start. I wish I could say that this is where things turned around for me. That I had a renewed faith so to speak. I don't really remember a lot between the miscarriage in November of 2009 and getting pregnant with the twins at the end of February 2010. I do remember that Andrew and I had set sort of a "time limit" on trying for another baby. Not because we were putting a time limit on God...no, no, no. Quite the opposite. We had decided for our own mental state, that we would only "try" for a certain amount of time and after that, we needed to just "live our lives" like Ella may be the only child we would have...and that we would praise God for that and be content.
But, we did indeed get pregnant. Not with just one...but, two babies. And we were so incredibly overjoyed. It was the perfect fairy tale ending for God, right? Girl has miscarriage...but, then she gets pregnant with twins! Oh yes, it was easy to sing God's praises in that glorious moment! In my mind, God had redeemed himself! (Yes, I just said God "redeemed" himself. This is how dysfunctional my relationship was with Him. Bad things=God doesn't love me, I'm not pleasing Him; Good things=Yay! God loves me again afterall!) You can laugh, but the sad thing is that more people have this relationship with Jesus than would admit or than you realize. We all to some degree have had trials. How often do we praise Him during the difficult? Rarely, I would guess. How often do we praise Him when things are going well? Oh, yes! Then we are lifting our hands at church singing at the top of our lungs that "God is so good!"
So, I was living the dream. Andrew had lost his job in 2009, but quickly found another that has been such a blessing. I had a miscarriage, but relatively soon after was pregnant with twins. Pretty good, right? Here I am pregnant with twins, working part time as a nurse (which I loved), yet still mostly at home with my beautiful little Ella. We lived in a nice home. I drove a Lexus. We were on a budget because of Andrew's change in pay, but hey, we were still making it all work.
On May 30th, 2010, Andrew threw me the most spectacular surprise 30th birthday party. I was completely shocked. I was about 15-16 weeks pregnant and growing and glowing. I will never forget the joy that day. I remember my friend saying "go look out back! There is a DJ and everything!" No way, I thought. I mean, we didn't even get to have a DJ at our wedding. (We had a good ole Southern Baptist Wedding. No dancing. No alcohol. It was beautiful...but, I LOVE to dance). So, we danced the night away and it was even more special than my wedding day. It was my last day of complete bliss for a very long time.
And then June came, and I knew something was not right with my body. I had had some mild bleeding, but nothing too concerning in the eyes of the professionals. I took it easy for a few weeks, but I knew I was having contractions. And I knew they were real.
So, I went to see the specialist. She confirmed, that yes, something was wrong. I'll never forget the feeling I had when she said "I don't know if this pregnancy is going to make it to viability and there is not much we can really do to keep this from happening."
My dream was quickly turning into a nightmare.
"But, you see this a lot, right? And those women end up having healthy babies, right", I asked with a desperate need to hear that all hope was not lost.
"I see miracles all the time in the world of medicine." she said.
I really don't remember anything else she said. I was too busy listening to this voice in the depths of my soul whisper over and over and over again in my head "Sarah, you are not alone. You are not alone. You are not alone."
I know I sobbed and grieved deeply for many days. I would ask God "why would you give me something so perfect, then take it all away. This does not feel like love!! Why don't you love me!!! Why would you tease me? What kind of God gives something so beautiful, only to take it away?"
You are not alone. You are not alone. You are not alone. It was the whisper in my heart, soul, and mind that I would hear over and over again.
(to be continued)