04 March 2009

Spiritual Encouragment

Over at the Titus 2 Blog Party, Michelle has been listing a theme for every day.  The first day, Monday, was Spiritual Encouragement.  I had been planning to also write about these themes here each day, but God had set out another course for me.

So here I'm sort of catching up on my original plan, but more I'm sharing with you some spiritual encouragement that I have received from some cherished sisters and brothers in Christ.  (Warning:  this is going to be a long post, so if you have time, get comfortable!)

I suppose this is the best time as any to tell those of you who do not yet know what's going on, exactly what's going on.  I feel strange doing this right now because I have so many new people who have been visiting for the Titus 2 Blog Party, but I suppose that that is all part of God's plan for my life right now.  May all that I write be for His glory, because He is worthy.

Four days ago (Saturday morning for us is Russia) I began having some spotting.  Naturally I called my doctor here, who put me on immediate bed rest.  I won't go into all the details here of the following days.  We were up and down, with encouraging signs one hour and discouraging signs the next.  God laid out our path, and we followed, hoping for what we thought of as best:  Being able to hold our baby in September.

Late Monday night my bleeding increased and severe pain began.  After getting advice from my wonderful OB/GYN nurse in the States, we again called the doctor here, and I headed to the clinic to see the doctor on call.

Unfortunately Thomas was not able to go with me.  I headed for the clinic around 11:45pm, and we thought it best for Thomas to stay with Isaiah rather than dragging Isaiah around St. P in the wee hours of the morning.  They would not have been allowed to stay in the hospital with me, which would mean another taxi ride back home and utter confusion for poor Little Man.

At the clinic the doctor confirmed a miscarriage.  Here I'm going to skip some painful details.  I'm just not able to write about that right now, and I don't really think it's necessary.  The doctor was very kind and patient with my developing Russian.  Actually, having to speak Russian was a grace of God because it forced me to focus on communication and not only on my emotions.

As a medical precaution, I stayed the night in the clinic--they have a small hospital attached to the clinic for lesser medical emergencies, like having someone like me stay for observation.  The nurse that took me to the room had actually lived in New York for 11 years, and by that time, I was ready to speak some English.  She was very kind and compassionate, even giving me a hug and telling me everything would be all right.

Another nurse gave me something to help me sleep, and thankfully it worked.  I told her, I want to sleep; I don't want to think.  

Since I was by myself that night and the next morning, when I was awake, I did have time to process what was going on.  This might sound strange to some, and even overly pious to others, but the truth is that I never felt alone.  I was never forsaken by the One Who promises to never leave or forsake His children.  I was heartbroken (I am heartbroken), but amazingly, at the same time God gave me His peace that passes all understanding.  I didn't have anything with me except my cell phone, wallet and passport; so I couldn't read, but God graciously brought comforting passages to my mind.  He also helped me to remember the encouragement that people had written to me who knew earlier what was happening.  He helped me to remember things that had happened the past 3 days for which I could be thankful.  (let me know if you'd like to read that list--it's too long to include in an already long post!)

So, I mentioned spiritual encouragement, didn't I?  I have been blessed to receive an extra portion of spiritual encouragement the past several days.  One dear friend who has been through many times of difficulty shared with me something that her spiritual mentor shared with her many years ago:  God's gifts are good, acceptable and perfect.  I repeated that to myself during the early hours of Tuesday morning.  I rolled it around and around in my head.  I prayed about it.  It might seem strange to think about this time as a gift from God.  I know lots of people will probably balk at that statement.  My object is not to be offensive in this, but to share with you what is to me a very comforting truth that gives me strength to endure.  I believe that God is the Sovereign God of the universe.  He has established my path and guides my steps.  He was not caught by surprise.  All that my God ordains is right.  God is good.  All the time.

Please don't interpret the above statements to mean that I am not mourning.  As I wrote above, I am heartbroken.  I've been crying off and on since Saturday at really random times.  I'm sure that this will continue for a while.  Even as I type, the words have become blurred several times, and then I wipe away the tears.

Perhaps the most comforting thing has been hearing my husband pray for us during our times of family worship.  He thanks God for taking care of us.  He thanks God for granting our request that I not be in pain for a long time.  He praises God through his tears.  I am so thankful for my godly husband, who in the midst of his own grief continues to lead our family in the way of the Lord, by God's grace.

And now as I come to the end (at last, you might say), I thank you for reading.  Thank you for your prayers.  If you choose to leave a comment, I will do my best to reply, but as you can imagine, we have been overwhelmed with love and kindness and encouragement by our family and friends, so it might take me a while.  Please pray that we will keep our eyes on Christ.  He is worthy!


The Schwant Family said...

i cried with you as i read this. love you so. praying.

Kelly said...

Although words fail me, I can assure you of our love and prayers for you, Thomas, and Isaiah. Psalms 73:26

Danielle said...

Praise God for the encouragement He has given you. You know my heart breaks with you, but you're right, He IS good, and He is faithful. Your testimony is powerful, that you can say that after what you've been through. Continuing to pray for you and Thomas.

Hugs again! (Can't wait to give you a real one!)

CristyLynn said...

E-thank you for all your encouragement during this time. Thank you for your love.

Kelly-don't worry about saying the right words, we appreciate your love and prayers

Danielle-I look forward to that hug in a couple of days, thanks, friend.

Carisa said...

What a BEAUTIFUL post, I am so sorry for your sadness and loss, so grateful for your trust in our Father.

Love, Carisa

Anonymous said...

This was good to read, Cristy. I love you.

CristyLynn said...

Thank you Carisa and Stacy. I greatly appreciate your prayers and encouragement.

atkins7330 said...

The prayers of many are with you and Thomas during this time of grief and rejoicing. Our God never changes He is the only constant in our lives and I praise Him for giving you the comfort of His presence in your time of need. I love you so very much.

Brittnee said...

My dear friend,
Mom called me last night and told me the news. How my heart aches for you! Jason and I spent much time in prayer last night and again this morning for you, Thomas, and Isaiah. How I wish I could be there to hug you! Your words are a testimony of God's grace and care for you. I love you and miss you! I hope to spend some "catch up" time with you in NC this summer.
All my love and prayers,

schupack said...

praying for your family

CristyLynn said...

Mama, it was really good to talk to you today; I needed that.

Brittnee, thank you friend. We're definitely due a "catch up" time! Thank you for your prayers. Please tell Jason thank you as well.

S-thank you, too, for your prayers. We think of you often, even though it was a short time, we miss you!

RSchulte said...

I echo the words of your friends. I am thankful you are able to hold on to the little "graces" he gives amidst this trial! Love you and are praying for you as God carries you and your family through this time.

Michelle said...

Cristy, Thank you for sharing all you did. I know first hand of God's amazing grace in such times of sorrow. I was immediately reminded of the two babies that we lost 1 year apart, both at 17 weeks pregnant. I will NEVER forget the peace and healing of my broken heart that the Lord provided. It was gut wrenching to go through, but I can tell I was not alone, and with the second baby, Ephraim, God's love and grace was so thick in that room when I delivered that baby that you could literally feel it! The nurse was in awe of what was going and she was ministered and more emotional than we were.

My heart aches for you and I praise God at the same time because I know He is good and I agree wholeheartedly that none of this is a surprise and I praise you for your ability to just rest in Him instead of needing to figure it out or cast blame on the devil or whatever. I want to encourage you that I believe you are right on target with what you believe and I am praying for your sweet family and mourning and weeping with you while resting in our Father's arms.

Amazed by His Grace,
She Looketh Well

mom slawson said...

Thank you for that wonderful testimony, Cristy. We are so very proud of you and Thomas and the witness that you are for the Lord Jesus Christ, the Great Comforter and Healer. You're very close in our hearts and minds as we sorrow for your loss and ours too.
Much love, Mom and Dad

Deanna said...

Have just lifted you up in prayer.
So very sorry for your loss.
May you rest and be comforted in the Lord,

hip chick said...

I will include you and your family in my prayers. God is good.

Jules said...

CristyLynn, I've only just met you recently through the blog party but I want you to know that I feel saddened by your loss. You have lost a child - one that was already beloved - and it's never easy. I'll pray for you and your family. I know that when my FIL died it was the prayers of others that got us through and gave us that peace that passeth understanding. Please don't feel as if you have to reply. I don't expect it and I'm sure many others don't either. We just want to encourage you as we can. Prayers and hugs, Jules.

Joy @ SAH Missionary said...

Oh sweetie, I am holding you up in prayer. It's ok to cry, let it all out.
My heart aches for you right now, especially since you are not close to friends and family during this time of loss. I pray that God will step in like He did in the hospital, as Comforter, and make Himself known to you, intimately, as never before.

Buildeth Her House said...

My husband and I are keeping you in our prayers. Nothing but the love of Jesus can comfort you during this time. Be blessed my sister in Christ!

Tina said...

I'm praying that God will carry you through this storm and that you will feel yourselves cupped in the palm of His hand.
In His love,

CristyLynn said...

Blog party friends,

I do wish that I could respond to you each individually, but right now I don't have the energy. Thank you all so much for your kind comments. Please do continue to remember us in prayer, as God brings us to your minds. One of the hardest parts right now is being so far away from family. Thankfully my health is good in general, and physically I am not hindered from doing my much-loved mothering for Isaiah.

I'm looking forward to getting to know some of you better through your blogs. May God bless you and your families.

By grace,

Shannon said...

Cristy, I am so very sorry. We will be praying for you and Thomas as you grieve the loss of your baby.

Shannon Musselman

CristyLynn said...

Thank you, Shannon! I continue to pray for your son as he develops and grows. I look forward to reading the announcement of his birth!