I have a question for you: What if the worst thing to ever have happened to you actually wasn’t the worst thing to have happened to you?
October is well-known to be Breast Cancer Awareness month, but, since 1988, President Reagan also declared it to be designated as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. If you have been following my posts for awhile, you will know that this month holds special meaning for me and how our journey from miscarriage to parenthood has been a winding and beautifully messy path – it has not been as long, or as dramatic as some, but a loss is a loss, no matter when or how it occurs, and ours has changed me.
I watched a show recently where a character has been diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time, but she makes a poignant comment when she tells someone, “I know this sounds crazy, but cancer is not the worst thing that ever happened to me.” She goes on to say that she has become a better version of herself and she is happier than ever, despite her diagnosis. Her comment got me thinking – I don’t think any of us would choose our crazy or painful moments voluntarily, but I can think of at least two other major and painful events/circumstances in my life besides the loss of my two babies, that have revolutionized the way I think about God, grace, life, faith, and love. While I could easily say “nah, hold the pain, just let me become a better person magically please!” it unfortunately doesn’t work that way. Sometimes, our moments of greatest pain, and greatest challenge, bring us to a whole new level of relationship with God and those around us. We have a greater awareness, re-ordered priorities, and a changed outlook on life.
I can say with certainty that I have a much stronger relationship with God and my husband now than I did before our world was turned upside down. I can say that I appreciate every little moment I have with my miracle little curly girl more than I would have had she been a “given” in my life. I can say that my level of empathy for those that also have suffered loss, or are experiencing health issues, is way higher than it ever would have been before. My appreciation of the miracle of the human body, and what God created it to do, is magnified tenfold. My level of pain when a precious child is hurting, lost, abused and neglected is so high that I literally weep for them and want to bring them home with me. I am changed.
I would not have chosen what happened in our life, but if I look back, it is not the worst thing that ever happened to me. The pain was, and still is, real. I still feel the hurt and shock and loss today. I feel emotions much more strongly than I ever have before. But, I also feel my God with me more than ever before. I understand more of His grace, His plan for me, His provision, His sovereignty, His Fatherhood, and the gifts around me from Him that I took for granted for 20-some years. To have not had that growth and that deepened relationship with God would have been the worst thing to ever happen to me.
If you think about all the movers and shakers in the history books, and in the world today, you will notice that most of them did not have lives untouched by grief, crazy circumstances or tragedy. It is often those moments that revolutionize the way we think and see the world, and can spur us on to greatness IF we are able to see the blessing in the pain, to learn from the hardship, and to lean on God like never before.
So. What if the worst thing to ever happen to you wasn’t the worst thing to ever happen to you? How can you see God’s hand? How can you make the best of the changes in you? How can you move on and move higher? How can you get through the pain and reach back to help someone else through it? God has a purpose for every moment, and is present even in the painful, blurry, hazy, scary moments if you just reach out to Him and trust.
These are some of my favorite verses that have helped me through my difficult times — Praise God for even those moments!
“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. – Philippians 3:7-11
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those that are crushed in spirit.” – Psalm 34:18
“My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” – Psalm 73:26
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4
“As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.” – Psalm 71:14
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ” – Jeremiah 29:11
This post is dedicated to all of the sweet babies that have gone on before us to be with Jesus — you are not forgotten and we look forward to the day we can see you again! Also, to those who are fighting the battle of loss, cancer, sickness, grief, or depression — be strong in Lord and hold onto His promises — you are not alone. ♥