God continues to teach me through Caroline even now. It is such a blessing to know He's still using Caroline, and not just in my life, but in others' as well. I got to share her story with someone new today. After I finished telling the story, the sweet woman I was telling said, "Thank you for being so open about it and being willing to share your story." That's not an exact quote, but close enough. It made me realize that by being obedient to God's call to write this blog and share our story in other ways, He's being glorified. I mean, I know that, I guess, but it's just little ole me. I'm nothing special apart from God, but He uses experiences like today to remind me that my obedience is not in vain.
I've also recently seen how my journey with Caroline has encouraged other moms going through something similar. I love that God can use me to give hope and peace to others walking a difficult path. It's such an honor. Especially now that we're kinda "on the other side" of the whole thing, I can see how God has worked and is continuing to work through Caroline. What a wonderful, humbling, and awe-inspiring knowledge. I don't know why God chose me for this. But I feel incredibly blessed that He did.
The title of this post is "Deserving." I have a few things to say about that particular word. First of all, I don't feel at all deserving of what God has done and is doing through me because of Caroline, like what I mentioned above. I literally sometimes sit back and marvel at God's grace to me. At His use of me. I feel so unworthy of this whole thing. Even though I have chosen to be faithful to Him and to "let" Him use me, it's been His power doing all the work. I can't take credit for much of anything that's happened. He's been there every step of the way, guiding and directing my every movement, thought, and blog post. He's carried me when I couldn't find the strength to go on. He's held my hand when I had enough strength to trudge along, letting me know I wasn't alone. He's shown me glories I never even knew existed. He's blown my mind with what He's done.
I recently surpassed 18,000 hits on this blog. I never in my wildest dreams thought that many people would spend time reading my blog. I thought there would be, like, 25. Haha. And mostly my family. It just goes to show that God is bigger than anything I could imagine, and can do things I never fathomed. I don't deserve to have thousands of people reading this story. I don't deserve for people to say such sweet things to me, to encourage me in my journey, to let me know I've influenced them somehow. It is absolutely awe-inspiring. God is too good to me.
But there's another side to that "Deserving" title. I hesitate to even go here, because I don't want to offend anyone, but I just feel a burden to speak. I'll explain, but there is a little background I need to give first to make sure I portray this whole thing clearly.
I announced recently that Cameron and I are expecting our second child. We are ecstatic. We're trusting God that no matter what happens, it's His plan and we'll be ok. Going through pregnancy after a loss like ours can be pretty nerve-wracking. You wonder, a lot, about what will happen with this new child. You wonder if the anencephaly is going to recur, or if there will be something else wrong, or if you're going to somehow lose this one too. You almost feel like you can't be overly excited, just in case. There's a lot of just in case. I took a ridiculous amount of folic acid before this pregnancy trying to reduce the risk of recurrence. In fact, I'm still taking it. Just in case. We waited a little while to reveal my pregnancy just in case I miscarried. I've been tempted to go in to my doctor several times, just to make sure the heart was still beating. I haven't, because I try to surrender my fear to the Lord whenever I start to get worried or anxious. If I really thought something was wrong, I would go in, but it's just anxiety and fear.
And finally, there's my appointment with my specialist. It's this coming Wednesday. I'll be getting a sonogram to check for nuchal translucency and anencephaly. We should know immediately if the anencepahly recurred, and hopefully pretty immediately if there are any other neural tube defects. Talk about anxiety. I'm not terribly nervous about the appointment, because I'm trusting God as best I can, that He's got it under control. He knows this baby already, and nothing's going to surprise Him. He's proven that He will be with us if the worst were to happen, so I know I'll be ok. But the waiting to find out...ugh. No fun.
As we've been going through all this, we've had a lot of support from family and friends. We have so many people praying for us it's kind of ridiculous. I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from so many.
But I have to confront something that several people have said to me. I just have to, because I want God to be glorified, and I don't want to be the object of someone's misguided admiration.
I've had a few people tell me they're praying for me, and that no one deserves a healthy baby more than I do, so they hope everything goes great with this pregnancy. They say I deserve a healthy pregnancy and baby. I truly appreciate the sentiment. It means a lot that people think so highly of me when it comes to motherhood. You people have more faith in my parenting abilities than I do! Haha. And I truly believe that people who have said this just want me to have something good because I had to have something hard before. I appreciate it. It's extremely kind of you to say so.
But I don't deserve jack.
What I deserve is death because I have sinned. God gave me grace in salvation to exempt me from that particular fate. The fact that I am living and breathing is a gift from God to a wholly undeserving human. The fact that I have a roof over my head, food in my stomach, and a husband that loves me is all God's grace to me because He loves me. What I deserve is death. But He has given me life.
Even if God asks Cameron and me to go through losing another child, it will not be based on my merit, or on my shortcomings. It would be because we live in a fallen world where loss is a reality. If we have a healthy child and get to raise him or her until they are adults, then get to enjoy them into our old age, that is not going to be because I deserve it. It's going to be because God loves us and is gracious to us. If I fall into the trap of assuming that I deserve happiness with a child, I am puffing myself up, making myself more than I ought. I don't deserve anything but death. Anything else is a gift from my marvelous, loving, amazingly powerful and generous God.
As with Caroline, I cannot want or love this child more than I want and love my Savior. God is sovereign. He is in control. And He knows what's best for me. I hope and pray that God's will lines up with mine this time, but I need to be willing to accept that God might have bigger plans for me. No matter what, I want my time with this child to be glorifying to God, whether it's for a few months or several decades. I want this child to be with me in eternity, so I will do all I can to show him or her the way to Jesus.
So, in every way, I am undeserving. I am undeserving of God's grace to me. Undeserving of being used by Him in the way He has used me, reaching more people than I ever imagined. Undeserving of every good and precious gift God's given me, including this precious life growing inside me. I am wholly undeserving, but so very grateful for grace.
God is the only one deserving of praise and honor. My Savior deserves my worship.
I deserve nothing.