Saturday, 20 October 2012

Rainbow breaking through...

On Sunday I taught at our church's Kidzone - like Sunday School. We started a new topic; 'Heroes of Faith' and I taught on Noah. All week Sam has been asking about Noah. He has a couple of Noah's ark toys and so learning about Noah has got his attention! He has been asking alot of questions about the significance of the rainbow. It had fascinated him and there's no doubt in his mind that God keeps his promises and the rainbow is a symbol of that.
Fast forward 30 years or so - do I still have that childlike faith? Possibly not. I've been struggling the past week or so but am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel now. I'm finding that the times of real struggling are getting fewer and further between and are easier to recover from, but they still hurt. Sam's asking about the significance of the rainbow has got me thinking. There are times when I feel that God doesn't keep his promises because here I am suffering from infertility and having lost three babies in the space of a year, and missing my beautiful Emilie. But then I remember that God's promise was never that I wouldn't suffer - it was that in my suffering I would know that he is near. This is one of my favourite verses: 'When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.' (Isaiah 43:2) and I can list many verses that promise me the same thing:
Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.";
Psalm 23:4 'Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.';
Isaiah 41:10 'So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.'..... And the list goes on.
I can honestly say that I truly believe that God has kept these promises and know that, inspite of how dark things have got, he has been the one constant throughout all of this. There is a term 'rainbow baby' which refers to babies born after a stillbirth. For me the symbol of the rainbow has another meaning. Like the people in Noah's time and Sam with his childlike faith, the rainbow reminds me that no matter what, God is holding on to me and won't let me go.

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Thursday, 11 October 2012

.....and weep with those who weep....

Romans 12:15 (NLT)
Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.......

This is a difficult post to write but something that I feel I need to share. Anyone who has experienced any form of infertility and/or pregnancy/infant loss will be aware of the term 'marker baby'. A marker baby is a baby due or born at the same time as your baby was due/born or your IVF/IUI procedure baby was due. I have many marker babies for Emilie and marker babies for my first miscarriage who have just been born or are due imminently and I adore them. Don't get me wrong, it was initially very hard, but in time and with the support of my friends I was able to bond with and enjoy these babies. The support aspect is vital though. There is no way someone can experience infant loss, or pregnancy loss, and be instantly truly happy and accepting of other peoples situations if the news is not shared in a sensitive manner or if the truth is blurred. There are now marker babies for my second miscarriage growing and developing and there is a very selfish part of me that wishes it was me. Seem good friends of ours are expecting a baby at the same time as I was and they came to dinner to tell us the news. I could tell that it was hard for them to tell us. My friend wrote me a letter - which I treasure - talking about how much she valued our friendship but understood if we need space at any point. Over the past year they have truly wept with us and have sat in the dust with us as we experience the pain. We are able to rejoice in their news with them and, even though there may be difficult times to come, we know that our friendship will survive this.
Each time someone announces a pregnancy I feel a real need to rejoice with them and have started to even feel that this is my duty as a Christian. I think that this is a dangerous place to be. I was reading Roman's 12:15 and there it is, written down for me: "rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep". I have found rejoicing very hard over the past year but have tried my best, as have our friends tried to weep with us.
I often think the rejoicing is easy, isn't it? If people around you are happy their happiness rubs off on you. It's infectious. In the same way if people are grief stricken their sadness can rub off on you too. It's an uncomfortable feeling and the natural thing to do is to want to get away from that grief. Why, after all, would you want to feel that way? I know that our friends have stepped out of their comfort zone to weep with us even though it is uncomfortable for them. For this I am so grateful.

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