Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Part of our Story: He Prepares Us & Promises His Presence

I know what you're probably thinking, "Is this post going to be long and sappy?"....well...yes, possibly.
And would I rather post pictures of sweet little baby cheeks or pictures of couples who are head-over-heels for each other? Well....yes, but there will be plenty of time for that in the future.
So, even greater than my desire to post sweet little pictures, is my desire to give God the honor and glory that is due to His name, by telling of who He is and of all the marvelous works He has done.
And boy...has He done a marvelous work in our lives recently.
So, with all that being said...that is the intent behind telling you, Part of Our Story.

A few days after Christmas, Del and I drove up to Big Cedar Lodge to spend some time together before the 2nd Semester of his 3rd year of Med School started up. It was a great time to get away, especially because while we were there, we found out I was pregnant! We had been trying to get pregnant for a  little over a year at that point, so we of course were beyond thrilled when we saw that blue plus sign on the test.

As we thought about all the pregnancy details that day, we just kept saying, "Wow, this is really perfect timing!" However, when we got home and really sat down with a calendar, we realized that there really were some MAJOR obstacles that needed some serious prayer.

So...just to name a few...we realized that:
....Del doesn't get done with his 3rd year of Med School until June 27th....
....which means he would do one of his month-long Away Rotations all of July....
....then come back and spend all of August Studying for his Step 2 Board Exam...
.... TAKE the Exam on August 25th...
....I would be 40 weeks {and possibly due} on August 27th....
....then he would leave again for another month-long stretch for the month of October....

....OH AND NOT TO MENTION, our insurance {that we had been paying maternity coverage on for the last 3 years} is no longer carrying private coverage, so as of March 15th you're being dropped....
....which means that because I was "already pregnant", no major insurance company would pick me up because I have a "pre-existing condition".

All of that added together equals a prefect recipe for TRUSTING GOD when you have NO IDEA how your, "Wow, this is really prefect timing!" turns into "Wow, how in the world is this really going to work out?"

Questions just started racing through our head and we went into total Fix-it mode. I started talking with my employers about how we were going to work this out with my job. Del started making phone calls and scheduling his away rotations and board exam, along with talking to as many insurance reps as we could possibly squeeze into a day. But we knew all along that God's plans are perfect and He doesn't make mistakes. So, being that we were studying Isaiah 37 in BSF,  I began to pray the prayer that Hezekiah prayed in Isaiah 37:20, "Oh LORD, our God, {however you desire to work this out, I just pray that you do it} so that all men on earth may know that YOU ALONE, O LORD, are God." And that's where we left it. We work as if it's up to us, but knowing all along that it's all up to God.

And so we just continued on... just like anyone else would do. We took it one day at a time, one prayer at a time, one phone call at a time, one insurance rep at a time...until we finally settled on a plan that we could live with... and that wouldn't completely break us financially (since we would possibly have to pay for this pregnancy out of pocket).

Through God's Sovereign Hand....and talking with family, friends and employers, we decided a good first step would be to switch from a private hospital here in town to UAMS. One reason was because we could possibly get some discounts because Del is a student there...but another major reason was because I kind-of-sort-of-not-really "knew" the doctor we would be switching to. And by "knew", all I really knew was that her name was Samantha, I had met her sister once, and that we attended the same Bible Study. Which for me, that was enough of a connection to be excited about the switch! So, I canceled my 8 week appointment at the private hospital and scheduled my 10 week appointment with Samantha. I was a little bummed out that we had to wait so long for our first appointment....but I quickly got over that because I knew the further along I was, the more we would get to see on the ultrasound.

Well...Tuesday, February 1st finally arrived and it was the day of our first appointment. That morning, I woke up early to attend Bible Study, where we were studying the words of comfort that Isaiah gave to the nation of Israel in Isaiah 40. Just like Isaiah gave these words of comfort to Israel 150 years before they knew they needed them, I was sitting there with no idea that in 3 short hours I would be clinging to these same words of comfort.
He truly does go before us and prepares a way for us.

"The Sovereign Lord who comes with power, and His arm rules for him...and yet, He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart." (Isaiah 40:10-11)

10:45 arrived and it was finally time to meet Samantha for the first time in person! It was a wonderful moment meeting her, and then we heard the words we had been waiting for, "Are you ready for your first ultrasound?"
YES! Of Course we were!
As she turned the machine on, we joked and laughed and told stories....until the air in the room became still and quiet, and the laughter suddenly stopped. We quickly switched rooms, and went to a higher powered ultrasound machine....that unfortunately showed us the same results.
Samantha left the room, then came back in to talk with us... when suddenly her eyes welled up with tears.
It was true. I had miscarried.
My uterus was measuring at 6 weeks, but there were no signs of a baby inside.
I felt like someone had kicked me in the gut.
The three of us just sat there and hugged and cried together. It was a special moment, and one I will never forget. I told Samantha that through all of the crazy circumstances we had been working though, I knew God led us to switch to UAMS so that He could give her to us for this exact moment. And for that I will be forever thankful. She asked if she could pray for us, then left the room so Del and I could have a few minutes just to ourselves.

As we sat there and cried, all I could think of were the verses we studied earlier that morning;

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (Isaiah 40:29-31)

Even though I was completely blindsided by the news of the miscarriage, He had truly prepared me for this beforehand. And as the next few days passed, the same thought kept running through my mind, "What if I would have chosen not to do my Bible Study this week, and completely missed these Truths?" You see, there are so many days where I think I can go through the day just fine without spending time in The Word. So, as I look back on this situation, I think about all of the times I've missed His comfort, His peace, His guidance, His understanding...all because I chose Self instead of God. But I am so thankful I didn't miss out this time.

So, the next few days...and then weeks consisted of lots of blood work, lots of medicine, lots of tears, and also finding out that the transmission in my car had completely broken down and that I would need a new one. Ughh.
When it rains, it pours. Right?
But even though life was pouring forth trials, God continued to pour forth comfort and strength through the Book of Isaiah. I felt like with every day that passed, God was hand picking verses to strengthen me each step of the way.

Verses like:

"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." (Isaiah 41:10)

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. " (Isaiah 43:1-2)

You know the saying, "When God repeats something, you might want to listen because He's trying to get your attention"....well, God kept repeating "I am with you, I am with you, I am with you". Even to the point, while we were sitting at church one day, the pastor said, "The most frequent promise in the Bible is, 'I will be with you'." WOW. And really, what else do we need? As a believer, if we have the presence of the One True God of the Universe, we truly do not have to fear anything. Not even death.

Now, I'm not going to sit here and tell you that, "because I have Jesus everything is perfect"....because ultimately the situation is still very painful. I mean, lets be honest....do I still cry every time I see the tupperware we were using to clean out closets as we prepared for the nursery? Yes. Do I still cry as we continue to get emails from people we contacted on Craigslist about cribs? Yes. Do I still cry as we cancel and rearrange our summer schedules because we no longer have a "Due Date"? Yes. And do I still cry over nothing because my body is still working out the pregnancy hormones, but yet I don't have a baby to look to and say "oh but he/she's so worth it" (so I just appear to be a complete lunatic)? Yes.
But is this trial worth it if God receives glory from it and I grow in my relationship with Him? Absolutely, 100% Yes.

James 1:2-3 says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." 

James doesn't say "if you face trails", he says "whenever you face trials." In this life, we will face trails of many kinds, so how will you respond when they come? For me, as I look back on this trial, I am overcome with thankfulness. Thankful that God desires us to grow deeper in our relationship and understanding of Him and His ways, and is using this to accomplish that....Thankful that God has increased my compassion for those that walk through situations similar to this one....Thankful for friends that have come along side of us, to pray with us and cry with us....Thankful that we serve a God whose Word is living and active and speaks Truth to us in our times of weakness.

Ultimately, I can honestly look back and say that I'm thankful for this trial. Because, during trials I find that I am always more sensitive to God and the Truths from His Word. And without that sensitivity, I would have skimmed over and missed out on all of these wonderful lessons He's taught me this month.
So, in the end I can honestly say that (even though it's painful) I wouldn't trade learning these Truths and lessons for anything.....even for a baby. Because it's His Word that will endure forever, and that is what I want more than anything else. It has been my lifeline these past few weeks, and I can't imagine living a day without it.

Thank you Lord, for sending your Son to die on the cross so that we can have a relationship with You. You are worthy of all worship, honor, and praise.

Thanks for listening to Part of Our Story. I hope you will join in with us as we praise The One True God who doesn't make a single mistake. He is in complete control and is Worthy of Worship.


kate said...

Beautifully written. My sleeve is now wet with tears because your words bring glory to God. I am so sorry for your incredible loss, and I rejoice that your intimacy with Christ is that much stronger. He is good. I will be praying for you and Del and this entire situation. May He bless you with His perfect timing. Thank you for encouraging and challenging me today not to miss my "lifeline" and the Truths He so abundantly gives us.

Stefanie said...

Thanks for your sweet words, Chels, and know you & Del have been in the Lawsons' prayers. I love that you are allowing God to show how Christ can be supreme in a person's life ... that the Giver is enough, even when the gifts don't come the way we hope they will. Thanks for letting Him speak life through you.

The Walkie Talkie said...

I.Love.You....and Del...and that sweet baby who is now dancing with Jesus. To God be the glory my friend...Beautifully written. And now I will go spend time in the word...so I don't miss what God has for me today. still praying, JBeth

Sarah Fries said...

Wow. Thank you so much for sharing your story and your strength. I'm so sorry for your loss and am going to continue to pray for healing and joy in the mist of this situation. I really needed to read that today and I'm so grateful for your sharing even though our sufferings are a little different right now I feel like we are on similar pages. I'm holding on to those verses you put up b/c they all spoke so deep to me. Stay strong and know that I am praying for you.

Kristina said...

Praying for you, Chelsea.

Marc & Michelle said...

Chelsea, thanks so much for sharing. Those truths and verses are so great to hear right now. We love you guys and will continue to pray for you. We love you and miss you two a ton.

Emily Richardson said...

You two are awesome and so encouraged by your words. I know how hard this must be and am praying for you guys!! How great God is to provide truths to us and speak directly to our hearts when we need to most. His love never fails! Praying for healing in provision for you two.

Jen said...

Thank you so muchnfor sharing your story, I am touched and inspired by your faith.