Stunned might be the best word to describe my husband Ted’s reaction when those two pink lines appeared. The ones that screamed, “Your wife is pregnant!”
We’d only been married eight months. Home pregnancy tests weren’t something we anticipated on our grocery list quite yet. The truth is, we weren’t entirely confident pregnancy would happen for us at all.
You see, Ted came to me with a history. A medical one, that is. Five years earlier, he’d been diagnosed with testicular cancer. Thankfully, it was caught early. The result was surgery and years of follow-up CT scans, blood tests, and chest X-rays. We were still strangers when he walked through the initial uncertainties of cancer, however I entered his life just in time to accompany him to his final CT-scan. I shared his joy when it came back clear, bringing that season of his life to a close.
While the CT scans were done, Ted’s worries weren’t.
The procedure had been straightforward, leaving what Ted referred to as “spare parts,” but he still wasn’t sure what that meant for us and biological children. Would he be able to father any? He was concerned that somehow his odds had been reduced too much.
It wasn’t a concern he fully voiced to me until after we’d been married a few months. I still remember the emotionally-charged conversation we had in the galley-style kitchen of the first condo we shared.
“So, you know it’s a possibility we might not be able to have kids, right?” Ted said.
“Wait … what?” I responded.
I’d just assumed that even though our odds were down, they weren’t non-existent. His fears caught me off-guard. While adoption was something we’d be up for, as a kid, I had just assumed that I’d grow up to have a biological child or two. And now, I was coming to grips with the real possibility that it might not happen.
Yet, here we were, three months later, greeted by these two pink lines.
One of us stunned. The other, merely semi-incredulous.
That doesn’t mean having kids has been easy. At times it’s been heartbreaking. Every day I walk past a picture in our house that reminds me that Jesus was the first to embrace one of my babies, not me. Nope, bringing life into this world hasn’t been as simple as I once thought it would be.
Perhaps it hasn’t been for you either. Maybe you’re in a place of struggling to understand God’s plan when it comes to having children. Whether it’s a much-desired pregnancy that isn’t happening, an adoption whose process is slogged down by bureaucratic red tape, or the death of a child.
Of course, I don’t have any easy answers for you. There aren’t any. But what I can offer is the truth that sustained me through our miscarriage five years ago and still carries me through difficulties today.
It’s this: God is good. No matter what. Amid betrayal. Amid trial. Amid darkness. Amid the death of a child. He remains good.
For weeks leading up to the death of our pre-born baby, every day I felt compelled to read Psalm 34. One of the verses that stood out to me was verse 8, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!”
At one point, I remember asking the Lord, “Okay, is something bad going to happen? Why are you prompting me to read this over and over again?” Looking back, I can see that He was planting this truth so firmly in my heart that when the bad did hit, I wouldn’t waver in my belief that He was indeed good … no matter what. Even in many, many moments throughout the grief process when it would have been easy to feel that He’s not.
And that is my hope for you. That in the waiting and the pain, that you too remember His goodness. That no matter what you’re facing when it comes to having kids, that you too can trust that the Writer of your story is good, even in those times your narrative doesn’t develop as you hope. Through the suffering of betrayal, trial, darkness, the excruciating loss of a child … He remains good.