" But Joseph said to them, don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."
And then there's Romans 8:28, "And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose."
So the hope is, I can't see everything there is to see. I can't see all the reasons today. But because of His Mercy..he has shown me some reasons and some purpose in what has been the most painful time in my life so far. And I decided about a week ago to write those down. I think that does something to your soul to not only think of His faithfulness in your life, but to record it. And then, you can go back to that list when you are (yet again) questioning His goodness or faithfulness. I was able to record many examples of His faithfulness throughout this journey... small moments where we knew God was orchestrating things in a way that only He could. One that he showed me about twins, and my friend..is His mercy in us having a different combination of twins. Hers are a boy and a girl. Mine were two boys. How much harder this all would have been if that were the same?? It's a small thing, a small comfort, but that doesn't make it less of a comfort or less significant, or take away from the fact that it IS one proof of God's ultimate plan and goodness. God has given me great peace about our future friendship and her twins..He's given me hope that I can love them in a special way. I know that won't be easy all the time, but that' s not the point. The point is, neither her or I have to do that alone. That task is overwhelming alone. But we are not alone. God is here now, and he's in our future. That lifts the weight that could be on both of our families, and allows all of us to rest peacefully in His plan.
Then, later last week...I got stumped. I was looking and asking Him for purpose in one last thing. And I'm sure this won't be the last time I realize another loss in all of this and seek out some purpose in it. I was asking Him to show me why He would have me feel like I was mourning alone. This is how I felt from the moment I got home 3 weeks ago. I was angry that my husband, parents, and best friends all got to hold my son and cry together, and I didn't get to be a part of it because I was recovering..and very drugged up for about 3 days. I didn't get to "feel"with them. I didn't get to cry over my dead baby boy with the people I love the most. And let me clarify too. I was and will always be so grateful and thankful for those who were there that night. Friends, family, co-workers, pastors, and ladies from Hopeful Hearts who graciously and with so much sensitivity took pictures of Titus...everyone who was there we are so thankful for. I can't imagine how they felt walking into that room, and how everything in them told them they couldn't do that, and yet, they were obedient, and did- and think blessed because of their obedience. I know my husband and I will always feel blessed by those sweet friends who came that night and mourned with my husband, parents, and I. I wasn't upset at them- I was upset that God would exclude me from that time- both physically and mentally. I felt completely on the outside. I started to "feel" when I got home, and suddenly no one was around. Or that's how I felt. My husband was back at work..I spent an entire night and day crying non stop. Literally. I could not stop. I've never felt that type of sadness and grief in my life. Ever. And then when the tears stopped, it seemed everyone was in "moving on mode" - myself included. But really, everyone (including me) was still so stunned and hurt, there weren't words to say. Why would He have it this way?? Why would He have me feel so utterly alone when I wasn't really at all? What could be the good in THIS? I struggled with that for a day or two. I could see good in our infertility struggle, in God allowing me to be a mom to twins for only 23 weeks, in losing our son Titus- the day of the funeral God showed me great purpose of his short life and I felt so much peace in that moment. But this, I was having a hard time with. And to be honest, losing our twin baby boy isn't always something I feel at peace about, I have many sad moments about that, or angry moments..but I'm always brought back to the Truth I know in what God's word says and to me that's the final word. There is no reason to try to think further than that.
So, what God showed me, is that even in the worst, most lonely pain of my life, He had something to teach me. I know I have not fully learned everything He has to teach me in this. But, here are the verses He showed me, and they all immediately soothed and calmed my angry, hurt, and agitated soul.
"But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works."
"Although He was a Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered." (talking about Jesus)
2 Corinthians 1: 3-4
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of ALL comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."
And after reading and praying- those were enough for now. I trust God will reveal more and more in the future as He feels I need to know more of His plan. He has taught me so much about how to serve and love someone in pain. My friends, my parents, and Bryan's parents have done this so well, and I know it extremely hard on them to know what to do. But here's what I have concluded. There is no manual to suffering well. There is no guide that explains how to walk with your friend or your daughter through losing her baby. But, presence says more than words or actions ever will. Choosing to show up, and just be with someone...through sadness, through awkwardness, through silence.. through it all is the biggest ministry I think someone can do for a person who is hurting. I also think, being sensitive to and open to talking about the pain. Again, it's hard to know when. But that's why we have the Holy Spirit. He leads us. And all we are responsible for is being obedient. Getting to talk through my pain with husband, my friends, and my parents was the most healing thing I have done in 3 weeks. And I think I will need to continue to do that from time to time. And I know now, I had absolutely no energy to talk about anything for 3 weeks- God orchestrated it at just the right time. Hearing their pain, their confusion, and their anger at God was not something that brought me down. But up. It helped me see and feel I was not alone. I hope that in the future..when God is using my pain to help someone, I can have the obedience to love that person in the same way I have been loved. I also want to be honest and really clear and say all of this is not easy every day!! It's a constant surrender- not a one time thing. I have to surrender my thoughts to God all the time! Especially seeing pregnant people due around when I was, newborn healthy babies..and of course twins and twin pictures are hard too. But the part I love is in those moments where I'm sad or hurt by that- I have a place and a Person to go to with that. It doesn't end on me and my hurt. Thank the Lord!
I am convinced that a person will never find any sort of peace in any trial without the saving grace and relationship with Jesus. There is no real comfort, or purpose, or meaning to tragedy without that. None. You can only say or hear "he's in a better place", or "this will make you stronger" so many times before you realize that's not what your soul needs to be truly healed from that pain and any relief those phrases gave you is fleeting.
And then at the end of the week, after all of that..to add extra sweetness and comfort-- God showed me these two verses. What I mean when I say that is, I was looking up something else, and came across these two. I love when that happens. And it rarely happens in my life unless I'm in a place of total surrender. It's not when I'm in a place of "I've got this" and not depending on God. He knew what I needed when I was looking in my bible that day. He knew my heart was broken and searching honestly for His purpose. He knew, and He chose to bless me in that moment. Here's what I found. We had not seen these verses before when choosing to name our son Titus.
2 Corinthians 7: 6, 13
"BUT GOD, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus."
"And besides our own comfort, we rejoiced still more at the JOY of Titus."
Sweet words to my soul. I am looking forward to the day when I can experience the nearness of God without so much pain. However, part of me thinks those are hand in hand for a reason. And I'm thankful that at the end of the day...my hope is not in myself, my husband, my friends, the medical world, or my future. It's in a God whose bigger than everything, and more powerful than anything on Earth. Thank you Lord for choosing to save me, and walk with me- all of my life.