The Other Side of the Storm

rainbow cloudsHave you ever gone through a trial in life and thought, “I am never going to make it through this! This is hard! Why can’t it just be over already?” Four years ago this week, I was there. I will never forget the look on the ultrasound technician’s face when she said that we would have to try the internal ultrasound to find baby’s heartbeat. She was trying to be positive, but I felt a knot in my stomach and the tears well up in my eyes. I knew what she wasn’t saying: my baby was gone!

This wasn’t supposed to happen! When I went to the doctor two weeks before because of some early difficulties, we saw a precious baby and a beating heart! The doctor dated me at 8 weeks, 1 day and started me on progesterone. My troublesome symptoms went away. For two weeks, I clung to the hope that everything was going to be fine. When it was time for the follow-up ultrasound at 10 weeks, I planned to go in, confirm that everything was normal, and then go back to our very busy schedule with little interruption! God, however, had other plans. The doctor was out of the office that Wednesday morning delivering someone else’s baby, but he called and spoke to me about my options. I honestly don’t remember anything he said past, “I’m so very sorry…” I cried and cried and cried some more. We opted to go off of the progesterone and then wait for nature to take its course without other medical intervention. The next four days seemed like normal days. My husband was busy with ministry responsibilities. Our fall revival was starting that Sunday, and the Youth Conference that our teens hosted was on the calendar for the Saturday following the revival. We were just a few weeks away from the annual school play that he had been tasked with organizing and directing shortly before the new school year started. I was busy helping finalize arrangements for the Youth Conference, preparing costumes for the play, and practicing piano music for both church and school activities. On top of ministry, we had three school age children and a lively toddler at home! I waited and waited and waited. We went about our “normal” routine. Finally, on the same Sunday morning that our revival meeting started, the physical process of losing my baby also began. I cannot count how many times during those next couple of days that I talked to the Lord, “Why me, Lord? I am busy serving you. This does not fit into my plans. I don’t have time for this. Can’t you just make it go away? Can I just wake up and realize that it was all just a horrific nightmare?” I was struggling…searching…wondering.

Have you ever been there? Maybe you are grieving the death of a spouse, child, or other loved one. Maybe you have lost your job or your home or your marriage or your ministry. Maybe you are facing an unexpected diagnosis of disease. The sky is dark and the wind is howling around you. This boat of life is being tossed around by the raging waves, and you find yourself struggling to see your hand in front of your face, searching for some glimmer of light in the darkness, and wondering if you’ll ever see the other side of the storm. I am here to tell you that you will! I cannot tell you why you are going through the storm. I cannot tell you how long it will take…BUT…I can tell you that God is already there on the other side of your storm! He knows exactly how long it will last, what lessons He is planning to teach you, and how you will be able to help others because of it!

Honestly, in the midst of my storm, there were times that I really didn’t care that God was already aware of what was on the other side for me. I thought that if He really cared, he would have taken me around the storm in the first place. (I know that’s not  a very spiritual response, but it is an honest one. Anyone who tells you that they have never struggled emotionally, even for a moment, during a time of trial is lying to you!) Even when I decided that God did know best and really did have my best interest at heart, it was still painful to talk about for a long time. As with all wounds, time has brought healing. The scars may remain, but with God’s help they have become a way for me to minister to others.

I will never be the same person I was before that day in September of 2013. I will never go to another ultrasound without a knot in my stomach and the feeling that the hammer is about to drop! I will never face the early days of September (or my due date in late March) without some sadness at the thought of the life that could have been. I will still cry when I read articles or watch commercials or movies that deal with the loss of a child. I will always, always, always miss my baby! No amount of time will ever change that! What has changed is my perspective about the storm! I will never know this side of Heaven all the reasons that God allowed those stormy days in my life, but the important thing is that He brought me through them! The storm was not the end of my story. In some ways, it was only the beginning….

God sees the storm from the other side
He knows the lessons learned
And just beyond the clouds He sees clear skies
He speaks peace to the raging storm
When peace cannot be found
He already sees the rainbow when we see only clouds

You can read more about my story and the lessons I learned from it in my five part series called “Suffering in Silence.”

Suffering in Silence: My Story 

Suffering in Silence: Did You Know?

Suffering in Silence: Ministering (Part 1) – Recognize Their Loss

Suffering in Silence: Ministering (Part 2) – Realize Their Struggle

Suffering in Silence: Ministering (Part 3) – Reach Out to Help

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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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Ah, Christmas! It is almost here! Christmas break began last Friday when school let out. For the children (and probably their teachers, too), it could not come fast enough!! Already, my children have been busy trying to guess which presents are theirs (No, they’re not labeled – more on that later!) and talking about our Christmas morning breakfast! The excitement in the air is almost tangible! As we prepare for this special holiday, I have been reflecting on some special traditions from my childhood, as well as the new ones we have started with our children. Continue reading “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”

One Big, Happy Family: Making the Holiday Season Enjoyable for Your Staff

christmas-554720_640Before I offer some practical ways to make the holidays enjoyable for ministry families, allow me to say that this is written primarily to help and encourage the pastor’s wife as she seeks to develop strong bonds with the wives of the men who serve alongside her husband. These “family” ties will be vital to the success of the ministry. Though your husband bears the majority of the responsibility for leading the staff, you can play a key role in helping the wives be active, excited participants in the many ministries of the church. Continue reading “One Big, Happy Family: Making the Holiday Season Enjoyable for Your Staff”