Disappointments

Since the moment we found out we were pregnant in May 2016, everything has been seasoned with disappointment. Nothing has gone according to plan. There have been incredible miracles and answers to prayers but the disappointing occasions often feel more numerous. 

 

  • Our first sonogram ended with the words “you’re miscarrying.”
  • Our first sight of the twins was accompanied by “they share the same sac and are unlikely to survive.”
  • Our second trimester began with “twin B is growing too slow.”
  • Our high risk pregnancy doctor weekly would tell us “the chances are small that both will survive.”
  • Twice the doctor would tell us, “there is no treatment for this, only termination.”
  • Toward the end we would chart the survival rates while hearing “twin B will not survive.”
  • A week before delivering we watched the doppler and knew what the doctor would say, “this is a very ominous sign but they are too small to deliver.”
  • Weeks after the twins were born, the respiratory therapist would admit to us, “there was no hope that Charlie would survive. We were given no orders for his care.”
  • For months, our phone would ring with the news that Charlie’s heart rate had dropped and CPR would be done to resuscitate him. Some of these moments we stood in the room and watched the horrific scene play out.
  • In February, we laid aside all hope to get Charlie off the ventilator and consented to the tracheostomy.
  • He would have another “code blue” event in April.
  • His discharge would be hindered by little to no weight gain for months.
  • And after 12 days home, we would have him transported by ambulance back to the hospital.

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Charlie was set to come home today. The discharge paperwork was written on Friday. The doctor rounded early to let us go as soon as possible. Our home health nurse arrived early so she could make the trip to the hospital. Then the phone rang. Discharge was canceled. My anger flared up. I became angry at the hospital staff. I was furious with God.

He has made my teeth grind on gravel,

and made me cower in ashes;

my soul is bereft of peace;

I have forgotten what happiness is;

so I say, “My endurance has perished;

so has my hope from the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:16-18)

We had a party to attend this afternoon. Despite all our self pep-talking, neither Cameron or I could muster the energy to act happy, social, or normal. Our hope was crushed and endurance was gone. Disappointment had struck us down to the core. In relation to other “disappointments”, this one should have been a breeze and easy to handle. All I know is that the perished endurance is a very real thing. Do I feel happy now? No. Am I content with the situation? Very much no. Do I feel like leaving this post like this? Yep. But I know there is no restorative power to just complaining. What my heart needs is truth. And a cow mentality. I’ll have to chew on truth a few times (maybe throw it up a bit… that’s the cow-way right?) before it finally sinks in.

Reading on in Lamentations 3 (verse 21 and following) using Matthew Henry’s paraphrase and commentary:

I recall it to mind; therefore have I hope, and am kept from downright despair.” Let us see what these things are which he calls to mind.

  1. That, bad as things are, it is owing to the mercy of God that they are not worse.
  2. When our comforts fail, yet God’s compassions do not.
  3. That God is, and ever will be, the all-sufficient happiness of his people, and they have chosen him and depend upon him to be such.
  4. That those who deal with God will find it is not in vain to trust in him.
  5. That afflictions are really good for us, and, if we bear them aright, will work very much for our good.
  6. That God will graciously return to his people with seasonable comforts according to the time that he has afflicted them.
  7. That, when God does cause grief, it is for wise and holy ends, and he takes not delight in our calamities.
  8. That though he makes use of men as his hand, or rather instruments in his hand, for the correcting of his people, yet he is far from being pleased with the injustice of their proceedings and the wrong they do them.

These are the truths laid out for me to chew on and repeat over and over. Corrie Ten Boom, a Holocaust survivor, once told a story of preaching about Jesus after the war to a group of Germans. At the end, a former Nazi soldier came to speak to her. She recognized him as one from the concentration camp she suffered in. He put out his hand to shake hers, she felt so unwilling to shake his hand because of bitterness and anger inside. Instead, she prayed that if God would give her the feeling of forgiveness she could at least make the effort to move her arm. And so that is how I feel some days when disappointment is as it’s peak. I pray that God would move my heart to accept these truths about suffering and all I can do is be diligent to read, pray, and meditate.

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