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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If I Never Had a Sorrow

sun-and-rain-shannon-story-7250I am currently mulling over a few different topics for my next article, but I thought I would share a couple of blogs that have been an encouragement to me recently. My husband has begun writing a series of articles about dealing with hurt. He has posted the first two already, and I have been blessed by what he has written. You can view them at his blog, http://www.iknowwhom.com. Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to make a quick, last minute trip up to Avon, Indiana, to see Jennifer, a college friend of mine who was in town for a pastor’s wives meeting. Though we only had a little while to chat (while we shopped at Goodwill – Who can beat that combination?!), I thoroughly enjoyed our time. She introduced me to another wonderful pastor’s wife named Leah, who blogs at http://embracingrace.com. I believe this was a God-ordained meeting, as I needed some encouragement that day! Leah, Jennifer, and the other ladies in their group were and have continued to be an answer to prayer! Last Sunday, a special speaker at church read this poem at the conclusion of his message. (It was written by his wife, Ashley Allen. You can check out her blog at http://lcid-counsel.blogspot.com) It spoke to my heart, and I thought maybe you would enjoy it, too. Continue reading “If I Never Had a Sorrow”

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

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Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

“I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak…” Acts 20:35

 “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love…” Romans 12:10

“Remember them…which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.” Hebrews 13:3

As Christians, we are to follow the example of Christ by willingly serving others (Philippians 2:7). Our relationships in this life, both with other Christians and with the lost, are to be characterized by charity, kindness, brotherly love, and any of the other virtues that we would want bestowed upon us in our time of need (Luke 6:31). Sometimes, in our service through the ministries of the church, we look for ways to help behind the scenes. (Who puts up the seasonal decorations you see when you come in for services? Who cleans the nursery or the bathrooms? Who vacuums the hallways or changes the lightbulbs?) These areas of service are necessary and important to the work of the church, and those who do them should not be overlooked when we are giving out our thanks. Investing in others, however, will often require that our service literally become more hands-on! No matter what our insecurities or fears, we must reach out to offer support to those who are grieving loss. Continue reading “Suffering in Silence: Ministering (Part 3) – Reach Out to Help”

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

woman-crying11It was a beautiful fall morning in my classroom. My 3rd-5th grade students were busily putting their homework into their assigned baskets and getting their supplies ready for class to begin. Just before we officially began the day, someone popped into the classroom to say, “Pray for Mrs. X. She is at the hospital now and will hopefully have the baby soon.” One of her older children was in our class, and we were all excited to meet this new member of the family. There was an extra special excitement in the air now. We said our pledges, and I bowed my head to lead the class in prayer. I asked the Lord to bless our day and keep our minds focused on what we needed to learn. I began to pray for the mother in labor with her precious baby, and that is when I lost it. With a very shaky voice and eyes filling with tears, I quickly ended the prayer. I hurried to the door and closed it behind me, barely making it out before the tears began to flow freely. My baby would have been due in a matter of weeks! Continue reading “Suffering in Silence: Ministering (Part 2) – Realize Their Struggle”

Suffering in Silence: My Story

th_ribbon“Well, you seem like a very strong person.” With that statement, she fought back her own emotion, threatening to reveal itself, and uncomfortably ducked into another room, leaving me standing in shock as I muttered, “I try to be.” I think she really was trying to be kind, but her words stung.  Was I chosen to go through this because I was strong? Why was I the one that had to be strong again when others never had to go through this at all? If I really were that strong, why did this hurt so much? Was it supposed to hurt less because I was strong? There were a lot of questions during those long, dark days. There were days that I didn’t want to be strong; I just wanted life to go back to “normal.” I wanted to wake up and realize that this was all just a horrible dream: I wanted my baby back!

Continue reading “Suffering in Silence: My Story”