Rainbows

rainbow

We were in the car driving home from one of our many activities. The children were sitting contentedly in the backseat staring out the windows.

“Mom, we need to pray!” my oldest, Abi, shouted from her seat. I glanced in the review mirror at her.

“Okay,” I said cautiously, “what are we praying for?”

“We need to pray that those bad clouds over there are chased away by the good clouds over there,” she responded gesturing out the window. I looked at where she was pointing and realized that there were storm clouds moving in. I half listened, nodding in agreement, as she sent up a prayer for ‘no storms and for only good weather’.

We made it home just before the rain hit. Abi and I stood in the garage looking up at the sky. It was full of dark grey fast moving clouds. Every few minutes lightening would flash and thunder would growl low and angry.

“Mom, the bad clouds won,” she said with a sad sigh. I smiled at her.

“I know Peanut, but it’s okay. Maybe God knew we needed the rain today”. She chewed on her lip and asked,

“Mommy, why does it storm?”

“Oh,” I said thoughtfully, “well, you know the plants need a drink, and the clouds need emptying, and….” I was trying to think of something brilliant to explain storms when she turned to face me. She stared up at me, right into my eyes.

“No. Mommy, why does it storm?”  I felt my stomach due a huge flip flop and I suddenly knew that this was an important moment and that what came out of my mouth next was going to be significant. I licked my lips and drew in a deep breath.

“Because, if it never stormed, we would never have a chance to see rainbows,” I saw her little body relax and she smiled at me.

“Alright,” she said cheerfully and ran into the house. I stood there absolutely still, my heart pounding in my ears. That conversation was no longer just a little chat about the weather. It was a revelation to me from God. It was an answer to a big question that I had posed to Him several weeks before.

You see back in Genesis when the entire world was so wicked and horrible, God asked a man named Noah to build and ark, gather up his family and the animals and climb aboard for a little cruise. Once they were safe inside God caused it to rain for 40 days and 40 nights flooding the entire earth. When that was done He placed a rainbow in the sky saying,   I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Gen. 9:13

The rainbow was a sign of Gods covenant that he would never flood the earth again, it became a symbol of God’s promise. Now, the amazing thing about God is that He will never break a promise.  Ever. Psalm 89:34 says, I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered. If the Lord says it, it will be.  If that isn’t convincing enough, what about 2nd Corinthians 1:20, for all the promises of God in him are yes, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.  He cannot and will not break a promise, not just the one that He made with Noah, but all the promises in the bible.

Now, there are a lot of promises in the bible. ALOT.  But what isn’t promised to us is that there won’t be storms or trials in our lives.  Just like Noah and is family, we are going to encounter storms.  We are going to face trials.  Sometimes you will be able see the clouds in the distance and prepare for what’s coming and some will take you by surprise.  Some may be only a sprinkle but some will bring hurricane force winds and shake you down to your very foundation.  They are going to come, the bible warns us in 1st Peter 4:12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. And then again in John 16:33 I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.

 We will have storms; we will have trials, but with those storms comes an opportunity to see rainbows! Those true and never failing promises to you from your Lord and Savior.  What are some of those promises?

He will be your shelter and protection

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!    Psalm 91:1-2

He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.   Psalm 91:4

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.   Psalm 46:2

He will fight for you

When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.   Isaiah 59:19

 The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.   Exodus 14:14

No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent. For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, That you do not strike your foot against a stone.   Psalm 91:10-13

 He never leave you or forsake you…

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.   Isaiah 43:2

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged    Deuteronomy 31:8

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.   Joshua 1:9

 He will give you strength and rest

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  Matthew 11:28-29

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.  Isaiah 40:29-31

But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christs power may rest on me. 2nd Corinthians 12:9

He will give you victory…

Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With a long life I will satisfy him And let him see My salvation.   Psalm 91:14-16

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. Romans 8:37-39

 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1st Corinthians 15:57

 I know that some of you might be thinking, ‘Sure, Sherry, these things are all great and stuff, but it’s a lot harder quoting scriptures and trusting God when you’re actually in the middle of a storm.’   I get it, I really really do.  Remember back to the moment with Abi in the garage. I said that I knew the answer I had given her had been an answer to a question that I had asked?  It was a question that I had been asking for several months. I had asked God why?  Why did were we walking through, what I felt, was one of the biggest storms in my life.

In June, I had a miscarriage.  We wanted that baby; we were elated to be pregnant again and had felt it was an answer to prayer. A prayer that I had been praying for almost three years. So you can imagine the heartbreak and confusion that came after the emergency room doctor told me that I was no longer pregnant. It wasn’t just a little sprinkle, it was a hurricane. Fear, confusion, anger and grief; all of those swirled around throughout this storm.  It was wind so strong and devastating that I risked being torn down to the very bare bones of what I was made of. The thunder and lightning of it got so bad that I cried out in desperation, why dear Lord, why, did this have to happen! 

And then it was calmer.  It still rained and sometimes the wind would pick back up, but I held firm that solid rock foundation of the Lord and I waited.  Praying for an answer. Finally it came, in the form of a question from a little girl, who was just as unhappy about a real storm as her mama was about her spiritual one.  Because if it never stormed, we would never have a chance to see rainbows.

I don’t know what is going on in your life right now. Maybe it’s all sunshiny and clear, or maybe you’ve got a sprinkle, or some gale force winds. Whatever it may be the promises of God will always remain and be true and infallible. Hold on to them and remember to cling tight to The Lord, because he will get you through, the skies will part and you will see rainbows.

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.   John 14:27

Don’t let fear stop you from celebrating 

“What if something happens?” I remember thinking the day of the photo shoot. I turned that thought over and over in my head as I watch my husband and two children playing in the grass in front of our vehicle while waiting for the photographer. “Please don’t let them get dirty” I called, Spouse nodded and waved at me in response. I chewed on the inside of my cheek, my heart racing as I walked around to the back of the Jeep to get our stuff ready. I glanced up at my husband, he was busy monitoring the kids. I pulled the digital pregnancy test out of my purse and peaked at it. I felt butterflies in my stomach every time I saw those words: “Pregnant”. They sat there in dark bold letters on the oval screen. I smiled to myself, I was going to surprise him with the news during our photo shoot. 

After deciding to add a third child to our family we had began calling our potential third child “Pancake”. This was after an incredibly hysterical conversation between Glenn and Abraham from The Walking Dead regarding Glenn and Maggie’s pregnancy and “trying to make pancakes when pouring the Bisquick”. We talked a lot about Pancake. What it would be like to have three, how our oldest would react and how our youngest would handle not being the youngest anymore. We were excited and hopeful, patiently awaiting our Pancake. 
I got a positive pregnancy test on May 22nd. I took probably ten more just to make sure and was only finally convinced when the digital test gave me a clear “pregnant” reading. I called my OB and they did serial blood work to see that my HCG was climbing like it should. Everything looked great. I kept the little secret for about a week while I prepared the special announcement. I was going to surprise my husband during our family pictures, I wanted to capture his reaction to the news about Pancake. After all this was going to be our last baby, I wanted it to be special. 

The photographer arrived and smiled at me conspiratorially, she was as excited as I was. I carried a container of Bisquick and the pregnancy test hidden away in my purse. Spouse toted the chalk boards to the center of the park where we planned to snap the photos. We distracted the kids with a video on the phone and stood back to back, we were to write something sweet to one another on our chalk boards. Of course I already knew what mind would say: “Pancake, due January 2017”.  


We faced the camera and then one another. I saw his eyes slide across the words once and then again. I saw them widen with realization and then the giant smile lit up his face. That ear to ear grin of an excited dad to be. The camera clicked furiously capturing those first moments. Each snap ensuring that these memories would last forever. He wrapped me up in a big hug and asked how long I had known and a handful of other pertinent expectant father questions. I showed him the test and handed him the container of Bisquick, we laughed together at our inside joke and held each other tight. 


Today I would have been 24 weeks. I would have been over half way through my pregnancy. The kids and their dad would have been able to feel baby moving inside my swollen belly. I would have outgrown my jeans and moved into maternity clothes. We would have been trying out names, pulling out bags of clothes that had been saved from brother and sister. We would have been so much nearer a family if 5. But something did happen, we lost Pancake at 8 weeks. It was by far one of the hardest and worst moments in our lives. 

My answer the day of the photo shoot to the question of, ‘what if something happens’ had been, ‘Then I will have wanted to celebrate while we could. I would have wanted to cherish this baby while we could. I would have wanted memories and treasures. I would have wanted everyone to know how happy we were and how much we wanted our Pancake. I would have wanted Pancake to know how much he or she was loved. I would have wanted something tangible so in the moments when I feel that joy has left me, I would be able to hold tight and see what a gift I had to be able to have those special moments with my husband and children, all three of them”.  

Miscarriage is not uncommon, it effects roughly 3 million women per year in the US alone. It’s emotionally and physically painful. It’s something that almost every woman worries about when she first finds out that she is pregnant. It is a fear that robs many women of the joy of celebrating their pregnancies from the earliest possible moment. And it’s not fair. 

It’s just not fair that the fear of loss should prevent us from sharing the wonderful news that we are expecting. That It should stop us from telling those we’re close to that we are carrying something amazing within us. It’s not fair that the fear should prevent us from celebrating and savoring those moments that for far too many end way too soon. It’s unfair that in the midst of a loss, that fear we had, prevented us from sharing with those who could support us the most through it. 

Don’t let it. Don’t let the fear of loss, or societies recommendation of cautious optimism stop you from celebrating, from sharing, from cheering and shouting your joy. Own it. Savor it. Cherish the moments from the earliest possible second that you are able! Had I considered that ‘what if’ question and chosen to act on the side of caution, I would have missed out, the fear would have stolen the blessed memories that I do have of our Pancake. You may have days, weeks, months or years, but don’t let the fear of “what if” stop you from enjoying the moments you do have.  I’m so very glad I didn’t. 

Deafening Silence 

It’s in the quiet moments that I hear it the most. The soft pop and hiss of tiny fractures spreading across my aching heart. It reminds me of that first step you take onto thin ice. You feel the millimeter of give beneath your boot, and hear the thick crack as the ice groans in protest under your weight. Your stomach plunges, your heart races, your breath rushes out in rapid steamy gasps. Frozen, you wait, knowing that at any minute you may plunge into the icy depths unsure if you will resurface. 

It’s in those quiet moments that I know it’s coming and right now there is nothing I can do to stop it. I know as time goes on I will be able to slowly ease back from the edge, creeping ever so lightly to a different and stronger path. But for now, I fall, over and over into that frigid painful water, struggling for breath, tears blurring my vision, fighting against myself while I attempt to gain my footing in flailing failure.


I know I’m not alone in this; a myriad of women have been exactly where I am. Many others are still here with me, picking up the pieces of their hearts, attempting to mend them. To put them back together as they were before. But, hearts can’t go back as seamless and as perfect as they were before a miscarriage. There will always be little chips, cracks and craters that remain. Little pieces of yourself that were lost along with your child. 

Miscarriage is never an easy word to say. It’s a word that brings nothing good with it. It’s a word that makes people uncomfortable. One that is spoken in hushed whispers and with solemn expressions. A word that carries pain and sorrow; a life changing word. It’s a word that steals away the innocence and bliss of pregnancy and leaves in its place fear and questions. It’s a word that thrusts you into an unfamiliar and scary new world; one you don’t want to be in. It’s a word that is often hard to say, even by those who have endured it.

Why is it so hard for us to speak freely about this? Not just for myself but for other women as well? Why is there such a hesitation to share our loss, our grief? Miscarriages are not uncommon, they’re not new and they’re not going away. So why do so many women feel like they have to suffer in silence, only sharing with a handful of family members and close friends? Why do we feel we can we only find solace within the secret groups of other mothers whose hearts are chipped and cracked like ours?


Maybe it’s because we’re subconsciously afraid that we will rub off on someone. That our bad luck can spread from person to person like a nasty unseen virus. Maybe it’s because we know how much it hurts. And we’re afraid that if we say the words out loud to someone who has been there as well that their heart, despite all the repairs, will begin to crack and creak as they are reminded again of their loss. 

Maybe it’s because hardly anyone knew that we were pregnant? Most women wait until it’s “safe” to share the news of the secret new life growing inside of them. Having been a Labor and Delivery nurse, I know that no one is safe. Ever. But if we haven’t told anyone about the baby, how do I tell them when its gone? Because that’s a really easy conversation to have. Do you say “So last week I was pregnant, and this week I am not” or “Please excuse my pallor and mascara runs, I lost my baby, the one you didn’t know about”. 


Maybe it’s because, right now we have near constant physical reminders of our loss that we can’t bear to see sad eyes, or hear “I’m so sorry” or “It wasn’t meant to be” or “there was probably something wrong with it anyway” or “you can always try again”. Maybe it’s because we want just one place where we can go and play pretend. Imagine that we are not shattered, pretend that we’re whole and perfect; that we’re not holding ourselves together with sheer will and Oreo cookies.

Maybe it’s because in a society that is so centered around choice that a determination of actual “life” has yet to have been made and that we are afraid our baby “doesn’t count”. That our loss is no real loss, our heartbreak is just our own making. Or maybe it’s the fear of being blamed. That somewhere deep inside that person who we have just told, is thinking it must be our fault someway or somehow. We had to have done something wrong, or definitely didn’t do everything right to be where we are. 

Maybe it’s none of those things. Maybe it’s just fear. That saying the words out loud will send us plunging through that thin ice again to drown again in our tears. Or a fear that talking about will make it easier and that easiness will mean we are forgetting. Not forgetting the hurt or sorrow, but forgetting the baby that flew away from this earth before we did.  

Maybe it’s because it really just sucks. And it hurts. And because we can’t say the words without crying. And because maybe we’re tired of crying, but feel guilty if we aren’t. It’s a crummy roller coaster ride full of ups and downs, that leave us feeling dizzy and disoriented.


It’s in the quiet moments that I know, regardless if I talk about it or not, say the words aloud or not, that I will slowly pick up the pieces of my heart and fit them back together. They won’t be seamless, it may be hard to get them to stick together, and there will always be gaps, but it’s in those places that I will tuck the little life that was a part of me for too short a time. It’s in those places that I will place the lifetimes of hopes and dreams formed during the too few moments we were together.  

It’s in the quiet moments, that I hear it the most. That soft hiss and pop of breaking hearts. It’s because of those moments that I know the silence must be broken. I have had a miscarriage and it hurts. I am slowly putting the pieces back together and while I do I remind myself that “He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles”. You don’t have to be alone in those quiet moments, I am here if you need me. We can heal together.