A rollercoaster ride – Sufferering Well

This is more and more a roller coaster ride. By this, I mean the aftermath of losing my baby.

One day I am totally fine, and the next day I feel like a complete wreck. Or, insert “hour” for “day” in the previous sentence. Some songs make me cry and sob, or I’ll read something in a book or magazine that just sends the pain of it all into overdrive.

I prayed so much for this baby to be healthy and survive, but that didn’t happy. Example of bursting out in tears – Eric and I are in the car on the trip that I’m about to describe. Flipping radio stations – can’t find anything decent. Garth Brooks song… okay, that sounds okay. Except, he belts out the chorus, “Sometime I thank God for unanswered prayers…” and I turn the radio off and just start sobbing.

But, I am better than I was a few weeks ago. I’m not angry at God anymore.

Eric took me to Myrtle Beach for Mother’s Day. I was at the lowest of lows the week prior to that. I was worrying myself. I honestly did not want to do anything. The ONLY thing that kept me going was Katie. I *had* to get up in the morning for her. I *had* to make food for her. I *had* to exist for her. I ate because I had to, but food had little taste or pleasure. And I couldn’t drag myself up out it. I was sad, angry, miserable, grieving. The normal emotions post-miscarriage I’m told. Eric wanted me to get away from it all. So, we went to Myrtle Beach for 2 days/1 night.

He got us an Ocean Front room. Being from the coast, you would think that is something I had done before, but I hadn’t. And it was amazing. As soon as I heard the surf and the felt the ocean breeze and saw that amazing view from our 8th floor balcony, I felt the pain melting away. And I felt closer to God. Closer than I had since the problems with the pregnancy began.

But the closeness didn’t end there. Every night, and even through this ordeal, I read a devotional for the day and my Bible. I pray a little, but not as much as I’d like usually. But this is the one time of day that I have time. And I don’t miss it. I’m very religious (pun intended) about it.

That night, after a terrific dinner out, a swim in the pool, a relaxing time in the hot tub, and some alone time with my sweet husband, I go out on the balcony to read my devotional.

This was the devotional for May 12, 2007. And these were the lines that got to me and God used to speak to me.

When we don’t understand the circumstances that surround us, it’s easy to be shaken by life’s alarms. Peter’s generation experienced the same thing. His warning was simple: “Do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you” (1 Peter 4:12).

The trials and heartaches of life may sound like a call to evacuate—to run away or to respond to life in ways that are disheartening and destructive. But we would do well to listen more closely to our Lord. The trial may be nothing more than a reminder that our trust is to be in God, not in people. We can trust Him in those times when the alarms start to sound.

And then the quote of the day – “Life’s challenges are not designed to break us but to bend us toward God.”

On top of that, the scripture verse, particularly in the NIV translation just really spoke to me.

I Peter 4:12-13,19 – 12Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 19So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

What got me too was a devotional in that area of my Bible that said the gist of I Peter is suffering (usually for Christ and by your testimony, but the lesson is the same). And we are to “suffer well” instead of wallowing in our pity or grief. We are to use our suffering and the way we respond to it as a testimony for Christ. We are to suffer well.

And honestly, I was not suffering well. I was suffering miserably. In my head, and even voiced to those closest to me – “These type of things don’t happen to ME! Mandi doesn’t have painful, bad things or drama happen to her. I’ve had an easy, charmed life, so why is this happening to ME!”

It was like “something strange” to me. But Peter said in verse 4:12 – Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.

It was just a huge hit in the head – I was not to be surprised as though something strange were happening to me. God was going to use this to reveal His glory (vs 13) and I was to continue to do good and commit myself to God (vs 19). I was to “suffer well.”

As the sea breeze gently blew and the darkness of the sky met the ocean, I just saw the surf and heard the it as it broke on shore. It was tranquil and it allowed me to talk to God like I hadn’t in so long. I told Him that I wasn’t going to be miserable anymore. I wasn’t angry with Him anymore. But I told Him that I expected something good to happen out of all this. And I was ready to be used by Him to help that be accomplished. I just prayed He would give me the wisdom and courage to be used when the time came. But I wanted something good to happen out of the pain. Isn’t that what He promises?

The tears came, but these were different tears. These tears were the type that you cry when you forgive someone or when you have been forgiven. When a relationship with someone close has been restored and mended.

And as I sat there, I heard the sea crash onto shore, and it reminded me of a hymn from my youth… one I’ve always loved to play on my trumpet (and now I want to again soon).

Words by Horatio G. Spafford, 1873
Music by Philip P. Bliss, 1876

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

The author wrote this after his daughters died in an ocean shipwreck and he was visiting the area where they died. He really did suffer well!

But what spoke to me was the peace that immediately God sent to me. Actually He had been sending it the whole time, but I just then allowed myself to feel it. The peace that I felt while the sea billows crashed onto shore… and “Whatever my lot” I should say, “It is well, it is well with my soul.”

And I did… I started singing it quietly on the balcony. I was crying and singing and was genuinely worshiping God like I hadn’t in a very long time. I felt the Comforter there with me and it was amazing.

Eric came out then, and we talked. We stayed up a couple more hours and we read the Bible together and prayed and shared our hurts and pain over this loss together. And I’m so grateful for my husband.

Myrtle Beach was exactly what I needed. I don’t know if that devotional that night would have had the same impact had I been at home, hurrying to bed after a busy day. God knew what I needed and provided it.

It wasn’t the first time in the past couple months those devotionals have been used to speak to me… I’ll share more of that later. But for now, I wanted to share what happened that night at Myrtle Beach that helped me lose most of the anger and deep sadness.

Oh, I still miss my baby terribly and I’m desperate to hold the little one in my arms. But the pain I feel now is different… it has a peace about it. A peace that the Bible describes so perfectly – it is the peace that passes all understanding. It is God’s perfect peace.

2 responses to “A rollercoaster ride – Sufferering Well

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