All in His Time

The first time I met the child of a friend, my heart yearned uncomfortably for a baby of my own. It was painful, and there were tears… but, it wasn’t our time yet.

A few years later, when this realization escalated and became a daily conversation and discernment, it was beautiful, and there were indeed many more tears… but, it just wasn’t our time yet.

And finally, when we felt called to conceive a child of our own, what a glorious feeling it was when we embraced that call. We encountered a new freedom we had never experienced before, but, painfully, and with so many more tears, our freedom and joy turned to the devastating loss of an early miscarriage just seven short weeks later….

It still wasn’t our time yet.

I look at this synopsis of our three years of marriage and it’s painful to recall. How is it that I long so deeply for a child to call my own, but yet our time still has not come? It is easy to wallow in the grief and ask, why? What makes us different? Why is it that we lost our first child? What’s wrong with me? I. Just. Don’t. Get. It.

Those questions will forever be on my lips, but one realization has been placed so assertively on my heart throughout it all: God’s timing is precarious – it is hazardous to our own plans; we usually don’t ever want it, and sometimes, it even feels unjustified and unfair.

I ask, why, Lord? Why couldn’t I have it my way just this once?

why, lord

I’m not going to sugar-coat it. Sometimes God’s timing sucks. Yeah, I said it. God, that sucked! I was so ready to bring my child into this world, next April. I had imagined plans for her nursery. We had shared the exciting news with our family and close friends. I had consented to the fact that I could not drink beer for the next 40 weeks (oh yeah, that one was a huge sacrifice of love). My heart was changed. But then you took that away from me, and it sucked.

And I feel like a roller coaster of emotions. Every. Single. Day.

(Insert long deep sigh.)

But, regardless of my ability to contrive the antidote to being a mess of emotions, or answer why we lost our first child, I am okay trusting Him on this one. Because the truth of Christ still remains: The cross surely was not fair to Mary’s plan for her son, but, she trusted that God’s plans were bigger, albeit more mysterious.

What my empty womb cries out as an injustice, my sweet Lord cries back as a blessing. What is so lonely and so heartbreaking could destroy my heart if it weren’t for this reality: We are now and will always be parents. God did gift us with a child. He did answer my prayers and my longing heart. Regardless of the longevity of my sweet little one’s life, she did indeed gain life.

And although losing my child still sucks and I have to bury her before I ever got to hold and kiss her, I will always know her and be known by her. And the incredible loneliness I feel without being able to bring her into this world is given peace by the knowledge that I will always be her mom and I will meet her someday.

Because we chose to give her life, she will live in the gaze of our Lord for all eternity.

That alone deserves my praise and gratitude – that my Father in heaven would be so kind to gift us with this life. Joyous. Precious. Vibrant. Beautiful. That plan doesn’t at all suck.

To know that Our Father in heaven loves our unborn child as radically and unconditionally as He loves those who live 100 years on this earth changes everything. This is what brings my heart peace. This is what causes me to trust in God’s plan. If He can bring joy out of even the most devastating situations, He can take care of my weary little heart.

I don’t know what our future holds for our journey of parenthood. I pray that the Lord surprises us with so much good. But, I’m not holding my breath for my “perfect” plan to be conspired, for there is so much anxiety when we try to do it our own way. And I don’t want any part of that.

To the couples:

  • who have so many kids random strangers feel the need to remind them (rather rudely) that contraception exists,
  • who are due to have their second and have no idea how they will be able to handle two under two,
  • who find themselves pregnant with their first (or second… or third…) and only receive negativity from their in-laws,
  • who are judged because they don’t have any children but secretly have been struggling with infertility,
  • who have suffered multiple miscarriages and are criticized for continuing to try for their own,
  • who desire so much to adopt, but just cannot afford the cost of the paperwork,
  • who have authentically discerned waiting but are constantly bombarded with the question: “Why aren’t you pregnant yet?”

God has a plan.

It may be precarious in comparison to your own. But, He’s got your weary little heart covered.

I promise to pray for you and to love you. I pray that God gives you peace in even the most perilous of heartaches, and the most aggravating of frustrations. And, may Mary be at your side as you encounter the cross. May she teach you how to trust and have hope that God’s plans are bigger, more exciting, and more fulfilling than your (and my) own.

God’s peace to you today and always, amen!

A small note: We decided to name our daughter Sarah Grace. Although we don’t know for sure if our unborn child was a girl, there is a small part of me that believes she was. She is named Sarah because of God’s promise to Sarah and Abraham that although they experienced years of infertility, He still fulfilled the promise of new life. I pray God doesn’t make me wait as long as Sarah to conceive again and bring a healthy baby into this world, but I do believe His promises are true. And there is so much hope that our time will be soon. And she is named Grace because it is grace alone that gives me the strength to move forward.

Sarah Grace will always be a reminder of God’s love, peace, and hope. And for that, I am forever grateful.

Rachel Penate is a 20-something year old Wisconsin girl at heart who has a slight obsession with the band Switchfoot. She loves most: working for Life Teen, a hot cup of coffee, the smell of the ocean, running my little tooshie off, my dog Gus, handsome husband Robbie, and above all — my Lord.

PS: If you or someone you know has suffered from infant loss and/or infertility, we recently started a Life After Loss Facebook Group. Feel free to message me (Jenna Guizar) if you’d like to be added to it.

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  • Reply
    October 13, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Thank you for this beautiful reflection.

  • Reply
    October 13, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    Crying and reading this, such a beautiful perspective.

  • Reply
    October 14, 2015 at 8:09 am

    Wow, thank you so much for your openness and incredible reflection! You are courageous in speaking out for all of the couples who struggle with infertility!

  • Reply
    Dee Guzman
    October 14, 2015 at 11:07 pm

    Thank you for your testimony, reading it just confirmed me that God’s timing is better than ours. My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for the last 6 years, but it hasn’t happen. A lot of the times I have the same questions you had, why us? When are you going to answer my prayers? Haven’t I waited enough? What am I doing wrong? And later I relialized what you said about God’s timing always being perfect and that his plans are always better than ours. I’ll be praying for you and your husband, and I can a sure you that God will answer your prayers and mine real soon! 🙂

    • Reply
      October 15, 2015 at 4:20 pm

      Oh Dee, I cannot even imagine that longing. Truly, the most paralyzing question we can ask is “Why me?” And indeed it is important to ask because it is a part of our healing process. But, I think the thing that has moved me so much recently has been the even greater call that the Lord has placed on my heart to ask Him instead “What have you already given me?”

      Being grateful has been an incredible antidote to the pain and sadness.

      Hang in there my dear sister! You have my prayers!

  • Reply
    megan w
    October 17, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. I can’t imagine your pain, or know the courage it took to write this, but I thank you for stepping out and letting others know they are not alone.

  • Reply
    Mike Mergler
    July 28, 2016 at 9:36 am

    Rachel, just came across your blog in searching out potential character names for a new script, and I’d like to send you a copy of a movie that is coming out soon, but I have no address to mail it to. I don’t text or twit or face. But we do have a website where you can view a trailer. http://www.stmichaelmovies.com and my email is [email protected]. I thought you might like to watch and write about what you see. Mike Mergler, St. Michael Movies, 937-671-2880.

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