I recently published an article with Scary Mommy (read here) on my changing beliefs on the legality of abortion in America. It was heavily edited, which I approved, knowing the audience is different than the one reading here. I am … Continue reading →
Dearest Cora, It’s been five years today since we held your body; your soul already residing in Heaven. It feels like a whole lifetime has passed since you’ve been gone. Your dad and I are completely different people after you. … Continue reading →
This blog post was written specifically with family and friends of those grieving the loss of a baby in mind, just in time for the approaching holidays. I know you feel helpless to ease the pain and sometimes have no … Continue reading →
“Grief is the last act of love we can give to those we loved. Where there is deep grief, there was great love.” Since Layla, we’ve visited and laughed with friends for hours. I found myself in the grocery store … Continue reading →
Since our last blog post, we had a meeting with Carolina Donor Services about what Layla qualified to donate. We found out she qualified to donate her heart, kidneys, pancreas and lungs. All of these organs would have gone to … Continue reading →
We had a physical shower with Cora because she was my first and I wanted some normality of that pregnancy. Twenty five or so women came and celebrated her. Each person brought prayer cards and a piece of fleece. My … Continue reading →
I am currently 29 weeks pregnant. The day I delivered Cora, she was 29 weeks 5 days old. This thought is with me every day at work; it’s with me every time I go a few hours without feeling her … Continue reading →
We officially have our third girl in the Shrader house! We had our anatomy scan yesterday and nothing has changed with the prognosis; the baby still has a fatal condition. Nothing has changed with the way we will approach her … Continue reading →
I truly can’t believe I’m about to write this again. We have devastating news regarding our current pregnancy. Last Wednesday, I had an official ultrasound and the doctor was able to confirm my fears. Our baby is going to die. … Continue reading →
Most of Abenezer’s story is his. We’ve decided to tell this part of his story, because honestly it’s a huge part of why he is a part of our family. When we decided to adopt, we opened ourselves up to … Continue reading →
This blog post is written by my husband, Josh, in his point of view. He originally came to me with the idea and I think it’s a great perspective because with pregnancies, especially complicated ones, men don’t have much of a voice. Here’s Josh’s take:
Where to begin? I think first and foremost I should thank Our Lord for salvation, for redemption through His blood. Secondly I would thank all of you for all the prayers that have been sent on our behalf. The peace that I have is God given as a testament of the prayers of the faithful. The difference between how I ‘think’ I should feel and act in contrast to how I actually feel and act is God given. I’m at peace and leaning on His love. Praying His promises back to Him. All those questions of why? Why me? Why us? Why now? Those questions are irrelevant. God loves me. That isn’t a question. Understanding that the Love of God is not in doubt, I have to quit asking why and start saying ‘thank you.’
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:2-5
God has put Rebecca and I in a place where we are loved, surrounded by believers, to test our faith and our grip on this world. Will we hold to what we see, or hold to what we believe? The lead pastor at the Summit challenged our church to pray and understand what he calls the “Gospel Prayer.” It says:
“Father, there is nothing I can do today that would make you love me more; nothing I have done that makes you love me less.”
”Father, your presence and approval are all I need today for everlasting joy.”
“Father, as you have been to me, so I will be to others.”
“Father, I’ll measure your compassion by the cross and your power by the resurrection.”
So that’s where I’m trying to focus. That’s the truth I’m going to ‘see.’ God’s goodness, His justice, is not subject to my interpretation or understanding. I believe that He is good, He is love, He is wise and I am not. So, as far as the unknowns that surround our pregnancy, the doubt we have, the disbelief, the sense of injustice, all come back to this. I’ll measure God’s compassion for me by the cross. So when I start to get irritated, hurt, angry, I try to remember that Jesus died for me. By striving for an eternal perspective, I will be less likely to be caught up in stress and heart ache of today. Less likely, but of course I’m going to fail. The hurt and sorrow will obviously be present. However I feel, when I want to whine like a child that “it’s not FAIR!” I come back to this: injustice is a creator God, becoming human, being tortured, beaten and executed for the crimes of someone else. That someone else is me. It’s you. The crimes of an entire race against a Holy God nailed Him to a tree. So whatever injustice I feel, it’s the result of the same brokenness that Jesus died to heal.
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6-7.
So we turn it over to God, and leave it in His capable hands. Where I fail in life most frequently is where I try to take control from Him and work things out for myself. The God and Father of the universe does not take our lives lightly. He does not make mistakes. So we are going to lean on His eternal wisdom and perspective and trust that He is good, and will work all things together for good.
Psalm 139:13-14 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
One of the most difficult personal obstacles going forward for me is this blog. Letting the whole world into our lives; into the intimate details of this uphill climb we face. To be open and honest with everyone is to be exposed and vulnerable. But the truth is God has brought us into this storm, and He is the only one who can bring us out. The lessons and insight we hope to gain from our pregnancy should be shared. I don’t want to get in the way of His will, and He will use this story and our testimony for good according to His will. We are not super Christians. We’re not pioneers in grief or loss. We’re average people called to trust God in the face of our circumstances. We will doubt. We will question. We’ll be tempted to think we know more than God. The cross is enough for me to believe in the goodness of God. The resurrection is proof He has to power to redeem a lost world. Will our child survive to be born in September? Will we have the strength to endure the loss of a life we’ve known so briefly but loved so dearly? Will our little boy/girl (still don’t know) be born and require a lifetime of special needs care? Will our strength hold out? Will a lifetime of special needs care prevent us from having other kids? Prevent us from adopting? Will the decision to trust God get harder as time passes? I don’t know the answer. In all likelihood, I will never know all the answers. My God is greater than my circumstances. We, as people, are God’s possession. (1Pet 2:9) Our child, therefore, is God’s possession. My relationship with my future children will ultimately be a stewardship until uniting them with the Father. So I will attempt (and fail, often) to remind myself that our child was never ours, but His. He loans us children, trusting that we will raise them to honor Him.
It’s made me question where is the greater source of heart ache; in the heart of a parent who lost a child to the Lord near birth, or in the heart of a parent believer who has a healthy child for a time , only to lose them to doubt, unbelief, and ultimately eternal separation from God. Jesus loves our children so much He died to save them! To save you! Imagine for a second, that you stand as a family before the Lord of Hosts. He welcomes you as a child, embracing you with all the love and warmth that ever existed. Then He turns to your child, and says “Depart from me…” The horror. The unrivaled terror that creeps into my very bones. And you can replace the word child with mother, father, brother, sister. This is the truth. No man comes to the Father but by me. (John 14:6) Maybe He will take our child home sooner than later. Today is the day of salvation for those able to choose.
Maybe I won’t be tested as a steward of a young life. I can’t know all the eventualities and possibilities. So I will lean on Him, because nothing surprises Him. John Piper visited our church recently and reminded us that God doesn’t need a plan B because plan A always happens. The trials of our lives are here so that God may be glorified and praised. Will you praise Him despite your circumstances? Will we continue to, despite ours? He died to redeem me. I should be honored to suffer to glorify Him.
Rebecca and I appreciate all the prayers and encouragement we have received and will likely continue to receive. As difficult as it may be, we want to share with you, the amazing power of a risen God. However the next 6 months play out, we want to give God the glory for what He’s done and is doing in our lives.