During my pregnancy with Isabelle, we attempted to prepare for the craziness that would come with having a baby in the house. Additionally, we began to prepare for the idea that it would never be just the two of us again. Even when our daughter would head off to college or get married, she would still be a part of our lives. We would always worry about her. It would never be just Matt and me again.
Today, it has officially been six months since Isabelle was born and then soon after went home to be with her Heavenly Father. So what do a husband and wife do with six unexpected months alone together? I know that Isabelle will always be a part of our family, but her role looks very different than we had planned. I don’t have the luxury of looking in her bedroom to see her little face or later in life, calling her on the phone to check in. Instead, it is just Matt and me here on earth working daily towards living holy lives so that we can one day see her again.
With our unexpected six months, Matt and I have learned a lot about the strength that comes from faith, the importance of a God-centered marriage, the power of prayer, and the significance of perseverance.
My faith is my strength. The past six months have been a roller coaster of emotions. During the early weeks, I questioned how I would ever move forward and function like a sane adult again, without breaking down in tears every time I saw a pregnant woman or baby. However, as the months slowly passed, I realized that with God as my strength and Matt at my side, I had been putting one foot in front of the other for weeks. It wasn’t easy, but I was walking. I attribute each one of those steps to God and am thankful that he gave me Matt so that I would not have to walk this grieving journey alone.
Like any traumatic event in a family, it really tests the strength of a marriage. I am so thankful that Matt and I chose to put God in the center of our marriage from the very beginning. He was the glue that kept us together during those early, very difficult weeks. Now, six months later, our marriage is stronger than ever. In a way, Isabelle is responsible for the continued durability and strength of our marriage.
The outpouring of prayer and support since July has redefined for me what it means to be a part of the Christian community. I have described it before as being like receiving an enormous group hug from around the planet. It is as if each prayer helped me to stand upright so that I could see where I was walking. During the days that I would rather lay down, this was a tremendous blessing. I have been blessed in so many ways by the prayers of others. It has been humbling and is a daily reminder of where our focus should be.
The last thing that Matt and I have learned during these six unexpected months is what it means to persevere. There have been days since July where I have waved my fists in the air in frustration wondering why God chose this path for us. There have been times where I was angry and questioned the strength of my faith. There have been huge hurdles that we have had to jump over. Despite all of this, God has taught me what it means to persevere. He has taught me what it means to keep pushing as hard as possible during the race even during the moments where your muscles are throbbing, and you are beginning to trip over the rocks in your path. The beautiful thing about pushing through throbbing muscles and tripping over rocks is that, although your legs hurt for a while afterwards, eventually your muscles get stronger, and you learn to navigate the rocks. This makes you a better runner.
So what have Matt and I done with our unexpected six months? We have relied on God, each other, and our community’s prayers to keep us moving forward. We have learned that prayer should be at the center of everything. We have learned that we are not alone on our journey in life. We have learned what it means to persevere and be all the stronger for it. Most importantly, we have learned the importance of living a God-centered holy life, because heaven is our goal. We plan to be there one day, and what a beautiful day it will be.