Check out Part 1 of this series to catch the first part of Kelley's Story in her journey of looking back to move forward.
As I sang along to the song "oceans" on each Sunday that fall, I began to pray and ask the Lord to make its lyrics true of me, personally. I asked Him to do absolutely whatever it took to cause me to trust Him, and without reservation. I wanted to be able to say goodbye to the stronghold of fear which had governed my life for so long. I was tired of battling for what I knew to be only an illusion of control; and I longed to experience the freedom of truly resting in His plans--no matter what that might mean, and no matter what means He might choose to use to bring this about.
I knew at the time that I was praying one of those "scary" prayers, where the fulfillment of the thing being requested of Him means the testing of the one asking. But I needed to move past fear and into trust in order to move forward in my spiritual life--and in life in general.
In the fall of 2017, I was given the opportunity to do so. At the age of 42, when my husband was 51, we discovered we were pregnant again. It was just about the time that my kids were at the age (then 5 and 7) that we felt we had overcome some significant milestones and could begin to relax a little, and maybe enjoy our lives as adults again.
Though we had actually been praying for many months regarding a decision to relinquish control over this area of our lives and allow Him to determine the size of our family, we were stunned when two little pink lines confirmed that we were expecting at such a ripe old age. We were thrilled, and yet we knew it would not be without risk.
After losing Eva, my subsequent pregnancies had been deemed "high risk," due to several factors, among which were my "advanced maternal age," my inherent clotting risks, and the fact that repeat c-sections presented the potential for uterine rupture. With my second daughter, I added gestational diabetes to the list.
Because of all those factors, my pregnancy protocol included injecting myself daily with blood thinners, pricking my finger 3-4 times daily to test my blood sugar (with Brooklyn), and twice as many visits to my OB than normal. In addition to those visits, I also had to have regularly scheduled ultrasounds with a Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist. It had been a lot to juggle before, and I was about to do it again at 42, with two young children in tow. But in spite of all the risks involved, and because this had been the one area in which we had actually grown to trust Him, we entered the pregnancy with great optimism. We knew His hand was on our situation.
Not being one to waste an opportunity, however, the enemy swooped right in and launched an all-out offensive against our sense of confidence in His plan. Though I had felt hopeful, to begin with, the first strike occurred during the initial visit to my new obstetrician. Due to my increased risks, he ordered an early ultrasound of a special sort. Being so early on in the pregnancy, only the gestational sac could be seen, with no baby in sight.
Although I later recalled that I had also gone through this with my second daughter, I didn't remember it at the time, and my OB did nothing to allay my concerns; rather, he exacerbated them by stating matter-of-factly that this did not "look like a good pregnancy." In fact, he told me that I should expect to miscarry within the next few weeks. Still, I was told to return for a second ultrasound a week later. I was crestfallen but tried to hold on to hope.
The second strike was launched at the following appointment. As my OB performed yet another ultrasound, he cooly announced that it appeared that the sac was collapsed, confirming his prior suspicion that this was not a "good" pregnancy. Fighting back the fear (and a torrent of tears), I pleaded with the Lord to intervene. A moment later, he made a funny face and said that his wand had been pointed in the wrong direction. It had been a false alarm. I was relieved but shaken, as he stated again that he still expected me to miscarry.
Leaving the doctor's office, the kids and I drove to a nearby park to try and get some fresh air and perspective. They played near a small stream while I sat down on a large boulder and attempted to bring my fears and concerns before His throne. A pair of sparrows alighted on a rock beside me, and I was immediately reminded of Matthew 10:28, which says, "Arent two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father's consent."
While fear threatened to undo me, the Holy Spirit gently reminded me of His faithfulness to me in the past; of how He had carried us through the tragedy of Eva's death and through years of brokenness and pain. How He had successfully led me through two other high-risk pregnancies and had blessed us with two wonderful, healthy children.
As I drove home from the park, a version of Great Is Thy Faithfulness was playing on the Christian radio station. I had known the hymn by heart since childhood, but right then I claimed it for my own. Though still scared, I resolved to maintain a posture of trust throughout the remainder of my pregnancy, should the Lord allow it to continue.
Many more opportunities to trust Him were placed at my feet. Once the threat of miscarriage subsided, other concerns arose over her growth, the potential for birth defects due to my advanced maternal age, and uterine rupture due to repeat c-sections. And although I wasn't paralyzed by the thought, I did fear the possibility that I might not survive the surgery.
While my prayers in 2015 had centered around trusting Him with the details of my life, my prayers at this point became focused on Him helping me to trust him with my very life. Sunday after Sunday during worship, I cried out to Him, asking Him to help me to let go and to fully entrust Him with the outcome, whatever that might be. As delivery approached, my mind found rest as I meditated upon His faithfulness revealed in His Word and in my own life. I knew that He was good and in control, and that "my times were in [His] hand," according to Psalm 31:15.
On June 14th, 2017, our third daughter, Ella Claire, was born. There were no complications except for a spinal headache. She was (and is!) perfect. I was just fine. One again, the Lord showed Himself faithful. In the end, one of the scariest trials I've ever had to walk through took me from fear to faith, proving to me once again that He can indeed be trusted in every situation and with every aspect of our lives.
So although our future appears uncertain at this point, and it's anybody's guess how long this trial will last, or how things might look on the other side of it, by looking back I know that I can move forward in faith and trust in my good Father's providential care.