And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Sixteen weeks into my second pregnancy, the doctor did not find a heartbeat. The baby had stopped growing just that week. As the nurse hunted for the heartbeat with the sonogram, she kept saying, "Oh, I'm sure everything is just fine. Let me get the doctor in here, because he can usually find it." She left the room, and I laid there, praying. I prayed for peace. You see, I sort of already knew that everything was not fine. Through some other circumstances of the week, God had planted the seed, preparing me that even in your second trimester, things are not always clear and easy.
After the doctor didn't find a heartbeat, I went in for a sonogram. Then I got dressed and went into the patient counseling room, where he explained our options. I would basically have to deliver the baby, tomorrow, in the hospital. I was calm, but I think it was more the calm of shock than peace at that point.
I went to pick Amanda up from her friend's house. I told my friend what had happened. Before I got home (about two minutes away), she had already called our mutual friend whose first baby had been stillborn. She called me and told me she was coming over. I protested, but she came anyway. I called two other people to start prayer chains into motion (one for my ladies' Bible study, and one for our adult Sunday School). I asked them to pray for all of it to happen quickly the next day, and for peace for Terry and myself.
It didn't go quickly. It was a long day, but they kept me very medicated (which I hate). But I did have peace. I had peace as I waited through that night until I could check into the hospital the next day. I had peace in the days and weeks to come. I didn't understand it--why was I being spared the grief that I had known friends to experience after miscarriage? Did I have no feelings? Yes, I grieved the loss of that little baby boy, but I truly experienced the peace which transcends all understanding. What's more, my heart and mind were guarded. My heart was guarded from the pain and hurt and confusion that deep grief brings. My mind was guarded from the doubting questions, "Why would God let this happen?" "Did I do something wrong?" "Will I be able to have another child?" I was able to trust in God's plan for our family.
I was absolutely floored and surprised by the peace, but I shouldn't have been. It is what the Bible tells me I can possess, and I did. Additionally, I had specifically prayed that for myself, and requested it from my friends and family. It was answered prayer, and I accepted the answer for myself.
Does this mean that if you have grieved or mourned deeply over a loss that you are less spiritual than I? Absolutely not. I add this so that no one leaves with that impression. The Bible mentions grief, wailing, and mourning as something fitting. Just as I had to keep reminding myself that the peace that I experienced was from God, and was a fitting reaction for me at that time in my life, mourning and sadness have a place as well, and do not indicate a lack of faith or trust in Him. He uses different methods of teaching on all of us. We also all have different in-born temperaments. Just know that peace is a promise, and when you are ready, make sure you claim that promise.
There's more to the story, and it will wrap up my week of Philippians tomorrow.
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Day 1: Praying from Philippians
Day 2: Parenting in Philippians
Day 3: Standing Out in Philippians
Day 4: Self Confidence in Philippians
Day 5: Strength and Gentleness in Philippians
Day 6: Peace in Philippians
Day 7: Showing Concern in Philippians