What a difference a year makes.
In so many ways…
In one single year of my life, my son went from being a baby who couldn’t feed or walk or talk on his own, to a fully fledged toddler with an opinion on everything.
In a single year my husband went from being an employee, to the MD of his own successful business and brand.
And once, in less than a single year, I went from being a girlfriend, to a fiancé, and then finally a wife.
And this past year? I have gone from being excited about trying for a second child, to pregnant, to not pregnant, to pregnant, to not pregnant again, to tests … and finally to wondering if I will ever actually be a mother again.
So anyway the following Bible verse was one that I found at the start of 2018, soon after my first miscarriage had happened:
‘Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son’
(Genesis 18: 13-14)
It was Mother’s Day, and it was also one of those finding out that we were still not pregnant again days too. One of those tears in the bathroom, then pick yourself back up off the floor kind of days…
To be honest, that kind of day is always a hard one to swallow when you’re hoping for an ever-elusive pregnancy, but particularly when it happens to fall on mother’s day as well.
And of course, rationally speaking I know that mother’s day is just a commercial invention, and only really another day like any other. But the sting of it hurt all the same…
So this verse, so full of hope for miraculous change was something I desperately needed to cling onto… And I mean, if God could provide a baby for Abraham and his wife Sarah, who was way, way beyond a childbearing age, then He could easily do it for me too.
But recently I’ve begun to think quite differently about our situation. Because I don’t think it’s really possible to walk the path of loss and pain without being changed by it in some way…
So here I am today, another year on, and long gone is that girl so desperate to be instantly and miraculously rescued out of all pain and disappointment in her life by the benevolent father-Christmas type God character of her youth who would happily bestow fast passes, life hacks and short cuts through pain to anyone who was good enough, or full of enough faith.
Instead today, I believe something altogether quite different. I believe in a God who sees me and loves me and walks alongside me; a God who is familiar with suffering and sorrow, close to the broken hearted, and says that there’s actually blessing to be found inside of our mourning.
And of course I still hope in the promise of a happy ending ahead of us too, but it’s just that I now realise it’s not necessarily guaranteed to come along this week, this month, this year, or even this side of heaven.
And do you know what? I can finally say that that’s okay with my soul because He is God and I trust that the story He is writing with my life is far better than any other version I could write for myself.
And what’s more, he is weaving our story into a part of His bigger story. And His story is that He is healing and restoring and making all things new.
The truth is that right now we still don’t have our much hoped for happy ending in sight, the one which looks like God giving us a healthy second child.
But we do have a sure and certain future hope to hold onto because our hope is anchored in God, and not just in what our circumstances look like.
What’s more, in this unexpected year of disappointments and disruptions to our plans, we’ve also encountered a lot of grace which has been beautiful in its own way.
We’ve had chance to sure up a few weak spots that have shown themselves under pressure; and so we’ve grown stronger in our faith, stronger in our marriage, and stronger in our resolve to be the best version of ourselves that we can be – and for each of those things I feel thankful.
So whatever challenge you might be facing in your life right now, and however discouraged you might feel about it, just remember that an awful lot can change in a year.