Thursday, September 11, 2014

False positives and real hope

In response to my miscarriage, many women with good intentions told me about women they knew who got pregnant the month following a miscarriage. While I didn't want those stories to give me hope, they did. Maybe I could be one of those women?! Maybe that could be our story?

And I thought that might finally be our story when I did get a positive pregnancy test this last month. Until that positive test turned out to be a false positive. That's when the test shows up pregnant, but it's an error and you're not actually pregnant. This happens frequently with cheap tests, tests with blue dye, and tests that use the "+" to indicate pregnancy (instead of the two vertical lines). I learned all this after the fact, of course. Because the next morning I tested using a normal, reliable test and it was super negative. Like not a hint-of-hope negative.

And then all of the sudden I was propelled back into that place I found myself after the miscarriage. I began scrambling to make sense of why this had to be part of my story. Why did the false positive need to happen? Why not just a simple round of negative tests? I was coming up empty: no answers.

So there I was, shaking my pathetic, sad little fist at God. In my anger, I told Kyle "I wish I could just 'tell on God' to people. I wish I could tell people what He's doing to me, and that those people could go to him and say 'ok, enough God - you're pushing her too hard. Throw her a bone already. The false positive episode was too soon, and totally unnecessary'."

But God's time is perfect, so it wasn't "too soon". And God is sovereign, so His plan is never "unnecessary". God has already thrown me the merciful bone of salvation, and His sanctification is never "too hard", because He knows the exact amount I can handle. Despite all this, I still so wish I could be the woman who got to skip this part of her sanctification. But it looks like God is showing me I get to be the woman whom He is going to teach much to through this season of waiting. And not just boring old waiting - but painful ups-and-downs waiting. Yet it's precisely the ups and downs that have revealed how unstable certain aspects of my faith can be. And He's going after those parts of my heart relentlessly, not ceasing until every lie I am tempted to believe about Him is replaced by a truth and a faith that cannot be shaken.

I did the math the other day, and we've now spent a cumulative year of our lives trying to get pregnant (first with Drew, and now with this second child). That's a year of my life that God has been walking with me, and us, in the waiting.

So where am I at now? I've been working my way through the New Testament in my reading time, and lately I've just been draggingggg my way through Hebrews. Just one paragraph at a time. I was wondering why (most people like Hebrews), but in hindsight I can see that God landed me exactly where I needed to be in scripture the morning we realized I had gotten a false positive pregnancy test. Hebrews 11:1 says "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen". I looked this verse up in my ESV study Bible, and it says the word "assurance" also translates to "confidence. The confidence of things hoped for, but not seen.

So what is not seen? Certainly the pregnancy we've hoped for would be seen. Living in our own home would be seen. Finally getting to go on the mission trip I've always wanted to do would be seen. Us being able to afford adoption would be seen. Those are all desires that we have that would be seen, if fulfilled. And to be fair, those are not bad desires. But hope placed solely in those desires is not the product of faith, nor does it produce faith.

So what is not seen? The commentary further explains that faith is not a vague hope grounded in wishful thinking, but that faith is settled confidence that something that is not yet seen but promised by God and will come to pass because God will bring it about (paraphrasing the text).

So then what has been promised by God? God has not promised us another child. He hasn't promised us our own home. And he hasn't promised us infinite resources to travel the world ministering to orphans and adopting children.

But He has promised us our salvation, and our eternity in heaven (Ephesians 1:13, 1 John 2:25). He has promised us that He is all-powerful (Jeremiah 32:17, Revelation 1:8), that He is wise (Isaiah 40:28-29), and and that He is forever trustworthy (Deuteronomy 32:4). He has promised to never leave or forsake his own (Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:9). These are the promises that can't be seen.

God has been revealing to me that faith is unwavering hope that He will fulfill His promises. And through this waiting He has been refining that faith of mine, and removing any bits of my faith that are placed in things other than His promises. And I don't suspect that on this side of heaven He'll ever be completely done doing that in my life, but I know He's making progress. I also know His desire for my faith is that there will come a day when my ultimate hope cannot be shaken because it rests on His promises, and nothing else.

I wanted to end this post on a positive note, because we have much to rejoice in - and we are! God has been faithful to us - and especially to me, in the cataclysm of emotion that has been present these past few months in particular. I am sharing this story because God is the hero of it, and He'll always be the hero even if our story never includes us having another baby. We are celebrating that!

1 comment:

  1. I found your blog via cloth diaper searches, but I so relate to what you've written here. I'm so sorry you've faced miscarriage. It's a terrible hurt.