Thursday, 2 May 2013

Rejoicing in hope, patient in affliction {learning through trial}

I have some quiet moments.  I don't know how long THAT will last.  So, I wanted to share with you my experience from last weekend.

I think I can safely say that at the same time it was both one of my biggest trials and my biggest blessings, all wrapped up in one experience.

It's something that is going to instantly relate to many of you. You see, last Friday I thought I was about to miscarry.  I had a heavy bleed, late in the afternoon.  When I realised what was happening my heart sank, and the tears flowed.  An overwhelming sadness filled my heart, when I thought that my little, growing baby could have died.  Sobbing, I phoned Robert and asked him to come home.  I phoned family and asked them to pray. I let my closest friends know, so they could lift me to God's throne in prayer, as well.

I had to go into hospital, as the bleeding was quite bad.  I was examined, but assured that I was not labouring, and it was a "threatened miscarriage".  In other words - "we don't know what's happening, or what will happen".  There was nobody available to scan (I suppose it's not really a very big hospital, and it was a Friday evening), so we had no visual reassurance whether all was well or not.

I can honestly say that after my initial cry, I did not cry again.  I felt an overwhelming sense of God's people praying, and of God's peace and presence.  I *KNEW* that God had this situation right in His hands.  How can I trust God to give me children, and not trust Him after conception?  I didn't feel anxious... I think there were several people feeling that way vicariously, though! If I knew in the GOOD times that I was to trust and not be afraid - to be careful for nothing - to rest quietly in Him - how much MORE did I need to NOW?!

I rested over the weekend, but do you know what my biggest struggle was?  Waiting.  Being patient.  I had not had that scan, and we had no idea if we were just waiting for me to miscarry, or if the baby was, in fact, ok.  I had to WAIT, as I had no choice.

We mother's tell our children to "wait" a lot.  They want to do things, to know things, to have answers to things, for us to do things FOR them, NOW! It's a struggle for them to wait 60 seconds, never mind any longer.  Yet, despite us constantly telling our children to "wait", are we any better at it ourselves? I would suggest not! Certainly, I am not very good at it.

God tells us, in the Psalm I shared with you a couple of months ago,

"Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him:"
Psalm 37:7

I was managing the "resting" part, which was not easy, I may add.  The "waiting" part was proving difficult, as was the "patiently".  It seemed like an absolute age to wait from Friday night until Monday morning, for the scan.  To have evidence of what was happening, or not.  It seemed even longer, because I was having to wait.  I wasn't busy, doing my normal weekend jobs.  No ironing (which I am still trying to forget is sitting there....), no preparation for Sunday, no cleaning.  Just sitting.  With my feet up.  Thinking how long it was until Monday.

Do you know what I discovered, though?

Resting, and waiting, means you have more time to think, and speak to the Lord.  The clamour is forgotten, and the peace facilitates time to commune.  Even though the children were unwell, and the DVD player was in high use, I could still think on the things of the Lord, and come to Him in prayer.  A lot of other people were prayer for, and I could pray for the baby, too.

I still did not see to have the same assurance about the OUTCOME that Robert had, though.  He was SURE everything would be fine, and that I didn't need the scan.  I think many men are like that.  You know, the "''Al right" guys - not me and my "Justin case".   It may simply be that the Lord had given him the reassurance, but I wasn't getting it.  I KNEW that I would be at peace whatever the outcome, but I wasn't assured the outcome would be a perfect baby.

Monday morning came,  and I had the first morning for a while where I had no noisy children, and had the chance to read my Bible in peace.  I read first in Genesis, where my Monday mornings bring me just now.  I read about Jacob wrestling with God - a picture of us coming to God in prayer.  The blessing did not come instantly.  Jacob wrestled until he demanded a blessing.  I wasn't aware of the parallel at that point, but I continued on to read in the Psalms.  I was a bit behind on my Psalm reading, so read Psalm 11- 16.
I came nearly to then end, and then read these verses.

"I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. 
Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope."
Psalm 16:8&9

I had set the Lord before me all weekend.  I was not moved - my spirit had been calm.  My heart was glad, resting in Him.  But, that last part had just not been real to me - until that moment.  I  had been wrestling with "hope", and now God was blessing me.

I realised.  We are to have HOPE.  God tells us to HOPE in Him.

Verses came flooding into my mind about hope.

"Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD."
Psalm 31:24

"Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God:"
Psalm 42:11

 "Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:"
Psalm 146:5

 "It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD."
Lamentations 3:26

"hope maketh not ashamed;"
Romans 5:5

This last one was the one that kept going over and over in my mind.  I wasn't quite sure about how hoping could prevent me from shame, but I knew I was to hope - and I really felt it.  A quiet hope, that everything was ok.

When I was lying in bed a little later, before I got dressed, I was sure I felt a little kick.  I thought it to be impossible to feel it that early - only 13 weeks - but yet, it felt just like those early kicks.  Was it God showing me that the baby was ok?  Maybe, maybe not, but it certainly added to my hope - to my peace.

We got in the car, to go to the scan, and the CD player came on.  The title of the song came flashing onto the CS screen "hope"!!!!  I couldn't quite believe it!  I was pretty sure that God was giving me a message - I was to have HOPE!  Robert got a text from a friend "I hope you and yours are ok".

More hope.

Hope - based on God's ability to do all things well.

Like the Shunamite woman "It is well".

Hope maketh not ashamed?   That meant, that no matter what happened, I had hope - hope that I SHOULD have - and that I would not feel shame that I had not hoped at all.  Better to hope and for the outcome to not be the one I would choose, than to NOT have hope and everything be OK,  and to be ashamed for not putting my hope in God.

We went to the hospital, and inevitably there was a wait.  We were 15 minutes early, plus an extra 30 minutes of waiting after out appointment time.  Those minutes DRAGGED.

We were brought into the room, asked a few questions, and asked to lie down.  Unlike the other scans I have had, they turned the screen well away from my view.  Not even a glimpse for me, and Robert kept behind a curtain so he could not see either.  That further wait, whilst they searched for signs of life.

And then, those words.

"The baby is absolutely fine, look"

The screen was turned, and tears filled my eyes.  I blinked them back quickly, and acknowledged that Robert was right! But, so was my hope!  My hope had been placed in God, and I was not ashamed.  I had trusted Him completely, and hoped for the best, and He had fulfilled that hope that I had, giving me the assurance I had craved.

I called Robert round to look, because he had not been able to come to my first scan.  There, the baby was perfect - not only a strong heartbeat, but wiggling away!   Kicking, leaping and wriggling - as if to say "it's ok Mummy, I am fine".

It was one of the biggest feelings of relief I think I have ever felt.  What a joy!  What a peace!  What a thrill! To see the baby at the first scan was lovely.  To see it now?  Unspeakably perfect.

We let all our family and friends know, as quickly as we could, that all was well.  There was relief from all quarters.  I am pretty sure some may have developed some grey hairs over the weekend, such was their feeling of going through the experience themselves.

When I had a quiet moment later, I looked up the passage that my verse had come from - "hope maketh not ashamed", and my heart leapt and tears came, this time for joy.  I don't think you could find a scripture that summed up my weekend more perfectly, and my lack of scriptural knowledge had not shown me sooner.

"And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 
And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."
Romans 5:3-5

Reading it again, now, brings the same thrill to my heart.

I can GLORY in my trial and tribulation.  That trial taught me patience.  That brought me experience - an experience I can share with others, and hopefully encourage them, too.  That experience gave me HOPE... and why does that hope not bring shame?  Because of the love of God that is in my heart, and the Holy Spirit dwelling within.  With that love and presence of God, how can I do anything but have hope, and assurance and peace?  My trust in the sovereignty of God, and His perfect plan for my life, can bring me nothing but hope and peace.  No matter what happens, I have THE LORD.  He is all I need, and will provide for all my needs, whether in times of sadness or joy.

I am rejoicing today.  I know that many others have been through similar experiences without the same joyful ending.  My heart is sad for their loss, and I can now understand, just a LITTLE, what that must be like.

Ultimately, I don't know what lies ahead.  We don't know why this happened, or whether it could happen again. It could, and Robert and I have decided that it will be wise to have the most restful pregnancy I have ever had, without it being a complete "bed rest".  (Unless that is advised, obviously!)  I need to take care of myself, and not put any undue strain on my body.  We need to do all we can to preserve the life of this babe, whilst leaving it all in God's capable hands.

One thing I do know.  I have HOPE.   And, hope does not make you ashamed, because you KNOW that your faith and trust has been rightly placed upon God, who can not fail and only ever does ALL things well.

Please continue to pray for me, as I try and adapt our home life, so I rest more and stress less.  So that I delegate more, and do less (that's a tough one for me!).   So that I am more organised, and have a more calm routine. Again, a challenge for me.  I really appreciate all the prayer that I have had so far, and have felt it so deeply.  And, above all else, I pray that the Lord will use this experience to HIS glory.


  1. Oh Caroline, I've been in those awful early pregnancy scanning units-not a pleasant experience. So glad that your baby is OK. Do google rest and miscarriage as unless your doctor specifically advises you to rest, I'm not sure that there is evidence that it makes any difference.

    See this site

    1. I googled after I knew all was well. I went to our normal sonography department, which was nice. We only have a relatively small hospital, so no EPU.

  2. Oh, Caroline! You have written a lovely post! Thank you for sharing this story. The scriptures the Lord gave you are wonderful!
    When you posted that you were pregnant, we had just learned that another blogging friend was also pregnant, and I've been praying for you both!
    Wish I lived closer to come help you out! But I'm sure those needs will be supplied!
    Have a restful day!

    1. I think the blogging friend is mutual! ;-)

  3. many tears shed.......joyful ones!!! xxxx love to you all and praising
    God with you, His ways are perfect and all His ways are just, Becky xx

  4. Oh Caroline, reading that has brought all the emotion of last weekend flooding back... and I'm exhausted (this *is* about me, right? ;) )

    What a wonderful outcome after our days of prayer and concern and tears and wishing we could be right there beside you.

    But these truths that God gave you - actually, He flooded your heart with them - are SO precious. What a precious thing Hope is.

  5. that truly is what is was like - flooding my heart. God is good. Hope is, indeed, precious.