One of the joys of learning of our most recent pregnancy was the discovery of all of the women I loved with whom I would be pregnant. I would be a few weeks apart from several friends and only 3 weeks from my beloved sister, Jami. After the loss of this pregnancy, that joy became a bit of a hardship. Each time I would hear one of these sweet friends reference how many weeks they were, I would subconsciously calculate how far along we would be had our little one continued to grow. These subconscious thoughts fell like rain on seeds of bitterness and gave birth to the thought "I should be __ weeks pregnant."
My first period came. I shouldn't be bleeding. I should be pregnant.
We talked about "trying again" and considered waiting longer. I shouldn't be having this conversation. I should be due in November.
Friends announced their pregnancies. My second child should be older than theirs.
Time passed. Will aged. But my babies should be 21 months apart.
Another Cycle. I shouldn't be releasing another egg, I should still be growing a baby.
After listening to this bitter processing for a few months, my husband graciously pointed out the words I was choosing. He asked me how I thought they related to my belief in God's sovereignty... and I'm so grateful for his gentle, probing way of speaking the truth in love. My words revealed my unbelief. His word reveals the truth.
In a perfect world, one where Adam and Eve had not eaten the forbidden fruit, there would be no death and no loss... so, no, this is not what God designed for the world and in that sense, none of the stories we hear of death, sickness, hardship and loss "should be" happening. But the reality is, we do live in a fallen world, and however difficult it may be to understand, God is still sovereign over it. He still holds the pen that writes our stories.
He allows bad things to happen, and he somehow works them for our good (Rom 8:28).
My husband's kind suggestion to consider my word use was the vehicle that drove me from the third/fourth stage of grief to the fifth; from bargaining and depression, to acceptance; reluctantly acknowledging and imperfectly embracing the sovereign and perfect will of a Good Father for our family.
If our baby's heart had not stopped beating, I would be about 20 weeks now. I would undoubtedly be wearing maternity clothes. I would likely know his or her gender and be sewing matching outfits for Will and his little brother or sister. But God in his love for our family allowed our baby to leave my womb at what would have been 12 weeks. If I truly stop and consider his character and love for his children and then couple it with the knowledge of his sovereignty I cannot continue to use the language "should be." I cannot say that I know better than what he has omnisciently purposed for my life.
If I was supposed to be 20 weeks pregnant, I would be.
But I am not.
This is the lot God has given our family and trusting him means embracing the fact that our present reality is what "should be" because it is what is. This is his best for us. He knew all of my days before I was born, even the one where this little life left my body.
I am convinced that he grieved our loss with us; that although he allows it, sin, pain, and death wreaking havoc on the "good" world he created causes him great pain. Thats why he sent his Son Jesus. To make the sadness untrue by redeeming it, so that one day all could be restored to what would be had his children only listened. I long for that eternal day now more than ever, when all will be as we all have felt it should be. And he intends that it will. He promises that restoration.
My friend in Jesus, I don't know where you sit as you read this. I don't know what way you may be experiencing the ache of sin or brokenness. Maybe you have lost a child, a spouse, or a pregnancy; maybe you're in physical pain from injury or strain; maybe you are in a disappointing marriage or despairing over the sickness or behavior of your children... regardless I would imagine that there is something in your life that you feel "should be" different.
Let me encourage you, dear sister: There is no better set of circumstances for your ultimate good than that which he has given you and there is no greater gift for you than the eternity which he has promised. Set your hope in his goodness and sovereign care, even if your understanding (like mine) can't quite get there. Set your hope in the finished work of Jesus that has secured your inheritance, finally and forever.