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!