Every holiday season, I reflect on past months and contemplate on what the New Year will bring. I have made it a practice to ask God, What do you desire to do in me? What are your plans for this year?
Normally He responds by giving me one word to focus on for the year, or a bible verse to hold on to in expectancy.
So, like every other year, I welcomed 2011 with the same questions.
We were expecting our first child and I looked forward to the months ahead. I anticipated with excitement the new season in my life, in our marriage, and in our family.
So, I considered it strange when I sensed God say, “Put on the full armor”.
Those words didn’t quite line up with my thoughts on newness of life, love, and joy. Perhaps I heard amiss. I hoped for something more along the lines of “Year of Jubilee.” A new baby, a new season of ministry—sounds more like joyful things. Doesn’t it?
But, those words continued to resound in me—“Put on the full armor.”
As January rolled in, a strange feeling overcame me. I sensed a looming battle beginning to brew. Uncomprehending my emotions, I brushed the feelings aside and focused on enjoying the holidays.
Then, eleven days into the New Year, I miscarried.
While attending an event at our church, I began to experience uncomfortable cramping. Cramps are nothing unusual for a first time pregnancy, so I considered it normal. I was wrong.
That very night, I woke up in unbearable pain. We rushed right to the ER, where doctors confirmed I miscarried.
Unfortunately, my body did not release the fetus well so I spent the following two days in excruciating labor pains. Cramping, back pain, vomiting, unable to walk without assistance, and the list goes on.
Year of Jubilee? Not so much.
After two days, the doctors at last performed a D&C procedure, and slowly I began to recuperate.
It took several weeks for me to get back to “normal.” I struggled to walk, and ascending a flight of stairs felt like torture. Fatigue and weariness set in due to anemia from blood loss. And, my raw emotions unraveled.
I’d love to say I found strength in the “joy of the Lord”, but I was far from making any joyful declarations. I questioned why God allowed us to experience such a loss. Why did He allow death to come and rob our joy?
I later realized I desperately needed the armor of God—the helmet, breastplate, shield, sword—every bit of protection, to guard my heart and mind, in order to stand and fight against every lie of the enemy.
Running to God with all my questions, I clung to His word for encouragement and hope. One day I came across these verses:
“Stand at attention while I prepare you for your work. I’m making you as impregnable as a castle, Immovable as a steel post, solid as a concrete brick wall” (Jeremiah 1:18-19, MSG, emphasis mine).
Do you know what impregnable means? It means invincible; unable to be defeated or destroyed; immune to attack; incapable of being tampered with; incapable of being overcome; having the strength to withstand an attack; too strong to be penetrated.
Why did God allow pain? Not to be cruel. Not because He wanted to hurt us. No.
God allowed pain to perform a deeper work in me.
He desired to teach me how to fight, believe, and stand when my emotions encouraged me to give up and give in.
He longed to establish me as impregnable, immovable, and not easily overcome.
I could not wrap my mind around all of this until months after the miscarriage.
In the moment, the fresh wounds ached and stung. How could God permit such sorrow and sadness?
Perhaps you’re feeling the same way.
Is the wound too fresh for you?
Is depression and despair all you see before you?
Please know “…he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal” (Job 5:18, NIV).
Yes, God does allow certain things to happen, but His intentions are never to see us suffer.
In the midst of your present circumstance, remember, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted” (Prov. 27:6, NIV).
God can be FULLY Trusted.
He is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Prov. 18:24). He will never leave you nor forsake you (Heb. 13:5).
He longs to establish you as impregnable, immovable, and not easily overcome!