i have never experienced something so devastating as empty arms. the pregnancy was difficult, but the empty arms afterward...indescribable. the feeling has lessened over the last several months as we've healed emotionally, but there are times when it's still hard of course. i'm sure it was the feeling of empty arms shortly after jonathan's death that greatly increased my desire for another baby. (i didn't necessarily want the pregnancy that comes with it, only the baby, if that makes sense.) i guess it is because of the relationship a mother has with her unborn baby, but i felt i knew jonathan long before he was born; his habits, his movements, his personality, his food cravings, etc., and perhaps this allowed me the ability to "let go" much sooner. i did most of my grieving during my pregnancy with jonathan and i believe that's why i was ready for another baby before greg was. like most dads, greg only really began his relationship with jonathan once he was born...and therefore didn't have as much time to enjoy him like i did. for many weeks afterwards, having another baby was not even on the radar for greg.
after a couple more months of waiting
so...you can imagine my disappointment when i did not get pregnant right away. for some reason, i foolishly thought that after what we had gone through, we would have a baby in our arms nine months after we decided to. and then, month after month of not getting pregnant has been a bitter pill to swallow also. but each time, it has been like God is asking me (again), "so do you trust Me or not?"
ultimately, i know that God's timing is perfect. His ways are perfect. "But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations." ~Psalm 33:11 but in my impatience and weakness, i determined that God needed help, so i did what i thought would help things along, so to speak, and i began reading fertility books and started "charting." (not that there is anything wrong with this...but i believe i did it out of a lack of faith, which soon seeped into other areas of my life.) and to make matters worse, charting showed me that i might have a problem with my cycle which could be an obstacle to us getting pregnant anytime soon...and a possible delay to the "timeline" i have going for myself.
it was then that i realized that i was spending more time reading those fertility and pregnancy books then i was spending time in scripture and prayer with the Creator of life Himself.
two years ago, i committed to reading the bible from start to finish. interestingly enough, as i was reading through the books on my own, often they would match up to things going on in my life. for instance, i read about passover "coincidentally" just as we were celebrating passover at our church. or i would read a scripture that was completely relevant to something i was experiencing in life at that moment. it happened so often, that to call them "coincidences" would be ignorant of me. i only took time off from reading chronologically while i was pregnant with jonathan and after his death since i studied scripture topically during that time.
and so when i picked up where i left off a few months ago, i feel like God has met me right where we left off, and has been using scripture to encourage me in all areas of my life, even in my journey to get pregnant.
here are a few examples...
back in march of this year and after finding out that yet, once again that i was not pregnant, i was reading through Nehemiah of all places. the book of Nehemiah provides great illustration of how prayer and hard work can accomplish seemingly impossible things when a person trusts and obeys the Lord. Nehemiah constantly prayed that God would remember him with favor for what he has done: "Remember me for this, O my God, and do not blot out what I have so faithfully done for the house of my God and its services." ~Nehemiah 13:14
this scripture stuck out to me because i felt like it was something i could pray for myself; that God would remember what we went through with jonathan and He would look upon us with favor as we prayed for another baby. now, i realize by saying this it may appear that i am boasting in "what i did" by carrying jonathan, or that i feel like i "deserve another baby" as a reward because we carried jonathan. i certainly hope no one takes my words the wrong way. we would have done the same whether a "reward" or "blessing" was going to be given at the end of it or not. anyway, i know i don't deserve a single thing from God, but why not pray along the same lines that Nehemiah did? it's in scripture for a reason, right?
and then i came to the book of Job, which i was not excited about reading at all after what we had just experienced, but days after struggling through it, i finally came to the end and read about how the Lord restored to Job double everything he had lost. God restored everything double! whether that means literally double or just double the blessing, i decided why not pray for twice the blessing for ourselves after our loss? can't hurt, right? whether that means twins or just double the blessing for us, it didn't matter to me.
and finally, a very special person to me sent me this scripture she said the Lord laid on her heart for me during this time: "So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised." ~Hebrews 10:35-36
no matter what the answer to my prayer would be, these scriptures were certainly encouraging either way. never have i treasured scripture more in my life, and i know that this is harvested directly from my trial with jonathan. i'm sorry that it took losing my son to draw me deeper into His Word, but now i am so thankful for these precious words that bring me such hope and encouragement.
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." ~2 Timothy 16-17
"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." ~Hebrews 4:12
and the journey continues...in part six.