Thursday, April 27, 2006

Fairy Tale Endings

When I was a girl, every fairy tale had a happy ending; and every story was a fairy tale. Then, I got older, and fairy tales didn't come true anymore. Life got hard; bad things happened. Every story didn't end happily ever after: my sister died; my baby died; I had to move (across the country) because of a job transfer; life really didn't look happy at all. Added to my own heartache was the pain of watching my daughters learn that every story doesn't have a happy ending.

We recently found out we were going to have a baby. After 9 pregnancies and 4 miscarriages (two late ones), my husband and I were nervous. We knew that not every pregnancy ended with a healthy baby; sometimes it ended in the hospital with a dead baby and empty arms! So, we didn't tell people for over 3 months. By that time, our girls had guessed and were extremely excited. As you can imagine, word spread quickly. For our oldest daughter, though, who best remembers our previous losses and experienced her own grief most deeply, the news brought not only excitement, but also fear. As a mom, that was hard.

When we found out that the baby I carried had a 1:80 chance of having Trisomy 18 (you can get more information at http://www.geocities.com/wilsfordmindy/), I experienced a totally new kind of fear. Because we didn't know if the baby was healthy or not, we chose not to tell our children, but they could tell Mom was upset about something. The waiting was excruciating. For one week, we were waiting for a second result, to see if perhaps the first was an anomoly. It wasn't. Then, we spent another week waiting for the ultrasound, wondering if the doctor would even be able to tell anything and what our next step might be. Each day was long and as the ultrasound drew closer, it became more and more difficult not to be anxious.

Romans 8:28 is a verse may churchgoers will recognize. The verse says "All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose." You hear it outside church circles as well, but few realize it is a Biblical principle. Growing up in church, I thought those words translated, "God will fix-up my mix-ups and life will feel good; every story will have a happy ending, even the ones where I make all the wrong choices and the mix-ups are totaly my fault." Unfortunately, as you well know, I was completely wrong. All things do work out for good, but not all things feel good, nor are all things good in and of themselves.

Matthew 6:33 and 34 say, basically, not to worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow has its own problems. Today's trouble is enough for today. Instead, seek God's kingdom (or keep your eyes on Jesus) and He will take care of the details. It isn't any more a promise of fairy tale endings than Romans 8:28, but a great admonition not to borrow trouble.

Phillipians 4:8 says to think about what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, whatever is of good repute; if there is anything excellent and anything worthy of praise, this is what you should focus on. Thinking about a baby with a chromosomal abnormality that is considered "incompatible with life" does NOT fit this description, but it was hard, as we waited, not to imagine the worst.

As a spiritual life coach, I knew borrowing trouble wasn't what I wanted to do. Instead of going where my mind naturally wanted to run, I chose to focus on what was true. John 3:16 says that God loves the whole world, including me. Psalm 91 says that he who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty; a comforting thought. Romans 8:28 is just as true in the midst of a storm as it is when life is good, and I thought about that. Over and over in my mind ran the words to an old hymn, "Be still my soul. The Lord is on thy side. Bear patiently the cross of grief and pain. Leave to thy God to order and provide; in every change, He faithful will remain. Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend through thorny ways leads to a joyful end."

Fortunately for us, this time the story has a happy ending. A detailed ultrasound revealed a healthy and normal baby boy - our first (and probably only) son! Though this fairy tale is on its way to a happily ever after ending, it is not a guarantee. More than a happy ending, though, I wanted to keep my eyes on Jesus as I walked the lonely road of fear and doubt. It was not fun, nor was it easy, but God's grace was enough. He held me tight in the midst of my fear, and together we weathered the storms that buffeted my faith. How thankful I am to know Jesus is in my heart, and that His promise to never leave me or forsake me applies even when my story doesn't end happily ever after and life doesn't feel good. My circumstances don't determine what is in my heart. A relationship with Jesus does.

4 comments:

Rebecca said...

I am taking this as a genuine miracle.

Miniskiff said...

Sweet Marchauna,
What an amazing and beautiful path you are walking. What I hear more than anything that is much louder than any of your fears is the beauty of your faith and the strength of your connection to Jesus/God. How beautiful.
And I am so touched you would share this.
Life is so amazing and filled with so much emotion...and life! But even when my fears become their greatest, I have to say the one thread that holds me together is knowing that God loves me and I am not alone ...and I have only to reach out and trust. Easier said than done... But I remain willing every day to surrender my heart into his keeping.
I may not understand all things that come into my life but I know through all things I am coming to know and trust my faith that much more.
How beautiful you are! I appreciate your open heart as I am sure does the little boy cradled inside you.
Blessed be!
Min

Anonymous said...

Thanksgiving for all He has given us and will give us....you are an example of "keeping the faith"

Love YSIC,
Aunt Marion

Lori said...

Hi Marchauna,
I just wanted to say congratulations to you and Chris. When is that sweet baby boy due?