The Prayer Night
I read a rather interesting quote by Carolyn McCulley today: ““Men trust God by risking rejection. Women trust God by waiting.” I don’t know that I would be so quick as to characterize all women and men one exact way but, it got me thinking about the hardest waiting period of my life….the wait between the first ultrasound specialist appointment (read about that here) and the second.
Somewhere in the desert-like waiting period, my friends and family decided to host a prayer meeting for our little baby-without-a-brain. It would be hosted at one of my friend’s house….people would be invited that were in the area and also, an e-mail would be sent out to other friends and family to let them know to pray at the time as well. Pray for what? Well, I guess there were really 2 options.
#1 – Peace and comfort for carrying a baby that would die right after birth.
#2 – A miracle.
I did not believe God for a miracle so, I was going there for reason #1. Or, more frankly, I was going there so other people could pray about #1 for me. You see, after that first appointment, I had closed down the line of communication between me and God. I was kinda done with Him. I didn’t quit on Him because I expected Him to act differently, or swoop in a miraculously make me happy amidst the pain. I don’t know what I expected Him to do with this situation. When I reflect back on it, I realized that I stopped talking to God out of a liassez-faire attitude….just forgetting about it…”realizing” that it wasn’t helping….that no matter what I said to Him, my little one still was going to die.
So, the day of the prayer meeting came. What does one wear to a prayer meeting for their baby-without-a-brain? Nothing much was fitting me at that point besides pregnancy clothes so, I wore something elastic-y. How cruel is it that this baby continues to grow and I continue to grow right along with it? Man, I thought, it would almost be easier if this little one didn’t survive until birth.
There we were, gathered for prayer. I remember drinking something cold and eating something chocolate….I thanked everyone for coming and then we began to pray….people took turns praying and reading prayers that others had e-mailed to them. Some women were standing, some sitting. And this went on for a while. I was emotionless. Eyes closed, head bowed, sitting there….with no emotion. I had constructed quite the wall of pain between me and any sort of attempt of comfort of reassurance. Those were not things I wanted…I wanted to sit in my depression and just shut everything else out.
Then, here came God, talking to me through the wall that I had built to keep His comfort out. Prayers continued around me but, I heard none of them. All I heard was Him. I didn’t want to here Him.
Oh how difficult it was to ignore that voice – the voice that was like pulling up the down comforter on a cold night.
“Natalie. You are not alone.”
But I AM alone. Nobody here gets what I’m going through. Just let me stay here alone, cold, and miserable.
“Natalie, You are my child. And this child is My child.”
I resisted like crazy but, the fire of His peace was melting the ice block wall of pain and depression that I had constructed. He kept talking….and when He wasn’t talking, just His presence alone melted the thick ice block that had formed around my heart. His voice and His presence were too much for me. I stood, but my knees could not hold the ache in my soul….so I turned around, fell to my knees and face-planted into the couch I was just sitting on.
I don’t know what was happening around me….I still was in that tunnel hearing type of mode….but I started to sigh my desires out to the one who had just met me in my valley of despair. And as they flowed out, the tears started to come. The crazy thing was, they were not the same tears that I had been crying for weeks. These were different – the hot, salty tears of being plucked out of the stormy sea and placed in the safety of a boat.
Yes, the sea was still raging. But I was safe in the boat of the one who made this baby-without-a-brain. I was not alone. I had friends and family around me to lift me up. I had people around the world that got an e-mail forwarded to them about this baby with anencephaly and they were forwarding it to their friends. Pastors around the world were praying for our little one on Sunday mornings. My situation mattered and it caused people to turn to God. Amazing.
The desert of destitution was no longer an option. The voice that told me that I did this to my baby was quieted by that “still small voice” that told me I was His and He was mine.
I still braced myself for the death of my baby and did not hold out hope for a miracle of any sorts. Not because I didn’t believe it could happen…..rather, because I fully knew that I would survive if all I had left at the end of this was my son-who-would-actually-live, my husband, and the God who sees me.
“She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” – Genesis 16:13