Another intermission post.  Please read part one, part two, part three, part four and intermission one to catch up if you need to.

The reader with the "what is a good gift" question is still sorting out her second post, but since her comment brought up an important question, I thought I'd stop to share the conclusions that I came to and how I came to them.  Conclusions and the pathways to them will be different for each person and each situation because God loves us so much that He likes to work individually with each of us.  This is simply my experience.

After my third miscarriage, I felt angry, alone, confused, helpless, and so, so sad.  No one I was close to had miscarried to my knowledge.  My own mother had nine successful, full-term pregnancies, and although she was sympathetic as only a mom with a hurting child can be, she had no experience of her own to help me out with my swirling emotions.  Jeremy and I talked about it a bit, but I knew he was hurting, and I didn't want to add my pain to his own, so I kept back a LOT.  Plus, he's a man, and he doesn't see things the way a lady does.  A lady in my church had experienced a few miscarriages after giving birth to two children, and she advised me to simply find joy in my two living children and be content.  (To her credit, that is absolutely not how she meant her words to come across.  I know she struggled long and hard before she could come to a place of peace, but that is the message I took away from our short conversation, and it only left me with more questions and more guilt.)  However, being content wasn't my trouble.  With all of my pregnancies, Jeremy and I weren't trying to get pregnant.  We simply weren't trying awfully hard not to get pregnant -- well, with the exception of these last two pregnancies (this one and the one before that miscarried) with those two we were being more careful not to conceive.  No, my trouble was with all the random emotions and grief left in the aftermath of my babies' deaths.

What do I do with all these terribly strong feelings?  How should I feel?  And more importantly, how should I choose to act regardless of how I feel?  Then, with all the emotions aside, what do these repeated miscarriages say about God?  What in the world could He possibly be thinking?  Why is He okay with this?  Is He okay with this?

I didn't know those answers, so I asked Him.  Over and over and over I asked Him, and a tiny bit at a time, He gave me answers.

He told me things like, "Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:9-11)  I, personally, am a flawed parent, but if my children ask me for something good for them, I will never purposefully give them something harmful.  God, however, is not flawed at all.  He knows everything, and therefore He knows what is harmful and what is not.  He will never, even accidentally, give me something harmful.  He loves me too much.

He showed me that, "Children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward." (Psalm 127:3)  If He flat out tells me that children are a gift, then how can I say they aren't?  Even if they are a gift that I never get to see while I'm on earth, they are still a gift, and God only gives good gifts.

He said, "Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." (James 1:16-17)   Don't be deceived!  "God, help me not be deceived.  Help me not deceive myself!" I prayed.

Then there was Job, a man in deep distress over the deaths of his children.  "At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:  “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.  The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”  In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing."  (Job 1:20-22)   Who am I to judge God's character by what *I* think He should do?  Do I know everything that He knows?

Recently, I read a book called Letters From A Skeptic by Greg and Ed Boyd, a son and father who wrote letters back and forth that ended up being published.  Ed, the father, struggled with a lot of the same questions I found swirling in my heart.  If it is true that God is real, than He either isn't good all the time, or He doesn't really care about my feelings.  Otherwise, how can you explain all the pain and suffering in the world.  One of the things that Greg, the son, points out is that we are looking at it all from a very limited perspective.  We only see our point of view, and our point of view says, "I had a baby, and now I don't.  Where is my baby?  Why can't I keep him or her?  This hurts, and I don't like it at all."  I have a choice.  Do I decide that God is bad because I couldn't keep my baby?  Can I acknowledge that possibly He knows more than I do, and possibly He did the very most wonderful thing He could do by taking that baby back to Heaven so quickly?

Now, let me inform you, I grew up in a solid church that preached the Word of God.  I graduated from a Christian school and went on to attend a Christian college.  (All of this really means nothing.)  What means something is that God has rescued me from the Hell I deserve for the sins I have committed and continue to commit.  I believe whole-heartedly in what God says about Himself in the Bible. 


When real, painful life gets played out on the stage of my heart, all the memorized verses in the world don't always mean a whole lot.  There has to be something more.  There has to be Someone more.  That's what God ultimately showed me.

When Mary and Martha grieved so drastically over their dead brother, Jesus did, too.  "When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.  “Where have you laid him?” he asked.  “Come and see, Lord,” they replied.  Jesus wept.  Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”" (John 11:33-36)  Sure, He could have stopped it.  He had reasons for not doing so, but His heart is still moved by my grief.

"You yourself have kept track of my misery.  Put my tears into your bottle—aren’t they on your scroll already?" (Psalm 56:8)  Oh yes, He cares.  I know He cares.  His heart is touched with my grief.

God takes an active part in comforting us when we are sad.  "May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be blessed! He is the compassionate Father and God of all comfort. He’s the one who comforts us in all our trouble so that we can comfort other people who are in every kind of trouble. We offer the same comfort that we ourselves received from God."  (Second Corinthians 1:2-4)

For me, it came down to this.  Do I really believe what God says in the Bible, or don't I?  He says He is good.  He says He can turn any bad thing into a gift.  He says He loves me and wants to comfort me.  He caused my pregnancies because He is the author of life, and He gives children as gifts.  He did not cause my miscarriages, but He could have prevented them if He chose.  He's God, after all.  But since He is God, He has to know a lot more than I do. 

Maybe I did need to learn contentment with where I was in life.  (And possibly I learned it a little too well, as my next post might show.)  But much more than that, I needed to settle my relationship with God.  I needed to know Who He really is, and what my response to Who He is should be.  Everyone struggling with troubles like this will have different things to work through with God.  My response ended up being to turn turn into His arms for comfort when I couldn't find it anywhere else, to snuggle my face into His chest and cry my eyes out, "This hurts, God!  I don't like it!"  and as He hugged me closer, to acknowledge, "You are good.  I don't understand.  I don't have to understand.  I just need to know that You are good." 

It wasn't magic.  I mentioned earlier that I sat in a strip of sunshine on the couch and decided.  Well, it wasn't a twenty-minute thought process like my blog post made it sound.  It was more like a four-year thought process.  And that decision did not change my emotions, or my sense of loss.  Rather, it confirmed in my mind that God is good.  That is all, really.  God is good, and He proves it to me over and over -- even though He doesn't have to because He is, after all, GOD.

Intermission over until my friend guest posts.  Back to my story...
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