Re-learning the Promises of God

Written by Heather Isaak

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promises-heatherI am a mother,  but I don’t have a child to hug. I can’t brag about my baby’s first steps, the first day of school or graduation.  I have no photographs.  But I am a mother.  My children are in heaven.

After only two months of “trying” my husband and I were thrilled when our first pregnancy test came up positive.  We couldn’t believe our good fortune.  Although I was terribly sick throughout the first trimester, our enthusiasm for this new journey never wavered.

Life and death

After experiencing extreme stomach growth in my second trimester, we were relieved – although slightly overwhelmed – to discover at 18 weeks that we had not one, but two little ones growing in my womb.  We embraced the news with enthusiasm, albeit slightly tempered by the knowledge of the road ahead.   Things were definitely about to change.  Fortunately, we didn’t really know what the road ahead held.

Just prior to 20 weeks – after only 2 weeks of getting to know our twins — our world was shattered when my water broke, and I went into pre-term labour.  To this day the words I heard that night echo in my head.

“I’m sorry, there’s nothing we can do.”

That night I held my sweet baby girls for the first and last time.

Everything stripped away

After losing our girls – Avery and Sophie – my life consisted of doing what I needed to in order to survive.  I wandered around with empty arms and an empty heart.  My saggy stomach and full, aching breasts were just some of the reminders of the dreams that had been lost so quickly.

Although I was functioning in the most basic sense of the word, in the months that followed I felt like  I was drowning.  Nothing could pull me out.  I was angry, confused and struggling to deal with my grief.  I felt very alone.

Everything I used to identify myself my was stripped away. My job, which I had found so fulfilling only days before, felt empty.  Instead of being something I eagerly talked about and engaged in, it was a chore.  I had to go, but found no joy in it.

I was still a wife, but even that couldn’t take the smallest edge off the pain.  My husband had an unbreakable commitment that sent him across the country for six months.   Although still part of a couple, I was completely on my own.   And he was alone too, working through his grief in hectic and unfamiliar surroundings.

What I knew about God

In this very dark place I found myself questioning God for the first time in my life.  I am a logical person, and have lived my life that way.  To me, if God says it, it is true.  Therefore, there is no room to question. But in the months following the loss of our daughters, I fought to reconcile what I knew about God with what I felt about Him.

I knew that He loved me and had a plan for my life (Jeremiah 29:11).  I knew that He had promised to never leave me or forsake me (Joshua 1:5).  But I no longer felt either to be true. I felt that by questioning Him, He would certainly walk away from me – if He had not already done so.

I realized that some of these promises I knew about God had a big “if” attached to them in my mind. In my thinking, however unintentionally, the promises were conditional.  God would never leave me or forsake me if I never got angry with Him.  He would never turn his back on me as long as I never shouted questions at Him.

In a time where all I could find was anger and questions when I spoke to God, I was sure that He had turned his back on me.  In my mind He had every right to do so.  My journal was filled with anguish, raw emotions, and fury.

God’s promises do not change

As time went on, God clearly showed me that He had never left.  Instead, He waited until I was ready for Him.  He showed me how He had walked the journey with me.  Only then did I realize the full extent of what He meant with His promises.

Not only did He refuse to leave – He was an active participant in my life.  He cried as I shouted in pain, He sheltered me when I could take no more.  He whispered encouragement when I lay alone in the dark at night.  It was only as I stepped away that I felt the separation.  I created the distance between us,  He never did.

God’s promises are not conditional. The strength of His promise lies in what He can do, not what I do.  I can choose to distance myself from God. I can have unconfessed sin in my life that takes away the closeness of our relationship, but I cannot alter the truth of His promises.   My questions cannot lessen who He is.  My times of doubt do not diminish His strength.

I know now that when my heart cries out in unendurable pain, the sound of it does not drive Him away.  He pulls in close and whispers the promises I have read so many times but am only beginning to truly understand.  He loves me in ways I haven’t even dream of yet and He will never leave me.

As my husband an I walk our journey of grief a year and a half after the loss of our girls, I continue to see that God is walking every step along with us.  He walked through the shock and raw pain of our initial loss.  He was there as the ache of another pregnancy loss shook us to the core.  He is still journeying with us as we deal with all the emotions that a third pregnancy has brought along.  And I know, regardless of the outcome, that he will continue to walk this journey with us.  God is bigger than my questions.  His promises do not change. As I place my life in His hands, I will not be disappointed.

More Personal Stories
Unreasonable joy: Heather’s mom walked her own journey
Unthinkable loss: Miscarriage and stillbirth

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18 Responses to “Re-learning the Promises of God”

  • Nikki C says:

    thank you so much Jamie!! For your words of encouragement and your prayers!!!! I needed the reassurance that you gave me!! <3

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi NikkiC, I want to remind you that grieving does not mean that you are questioning God’s plans and purposes in your life. Being sad and emotional is a reflection of how valuable this little one is in your life. God does not condemn those who mourn but rather promises that they will be comforted. Stuffing your hurt and sadness is not comfort but it is not being honest with yourself, with your friends or with God. There are so many Psalms that model that for us: honest about the emotion but remaining steadfast in faith and trust in God. Psalm 13 says, “How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?” But then David ends with “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.”

    So Lord I pray for Nikki and ask that You would comfort her. Give her places where she feels free to let her emotion pour out and people who can grieve with her. Allow her to be honest with You, with her husband, and with herself. As she mourns this loss I pray that she would discover in new ways Your blessing and Your presence. And Lord I pray that You would bring a child into this family and give them an opportunity to have the joy of being entrusted with the life of one of Your children. In Jesus’ name amen.

  • NikkiC says:

    As I read your story I began to weep because I know exactly how you felt and where you were with God! My husband and I have been trying to conceive for a year and half when we finally got pregnant, I lost it at 6-7 weeks! Total heart break! We are Christians and faithfully followed God and stood on his promises… So going through this is SOOO hard and then when I allow myself to grieve, I get angry and feel like something is wrong with me for feeling so sad and emotional!! Every month I pray and believe and HOPE, I stand on Gods word and that’s all I can do! Trying my best to keep a smile and pretend that I’m ok!! Please pray for me!! I know no matter what, God has a plan, no matter what, He is the Lord, no matter what, I choose to love and serve Him

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Thanks for the story of God’s faithfulness in your life PJ.

  • PJ says:

    I too have lost babies. Both of my pregnancies were lost at the end of my first trimester. My husband and I labored in prayer for 10 years before the first pregnancy occurred. After the crushing loss, we clawed our way back to a position of hope but, again, lost the second. My two children are in heaven with the Lord, and I will meet them some day. But… God was not finished. He knew the plans that He had for us. Plans to bless us and not to harm us… plans to give us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Would we be faithful to hear His voice? Would we lay down our own plans for us and follow His plans instead? Long story short… I am the mother of three beautiful children. Children not from my own body. They don’t look like my husband or I. But they needed a forever home. They were children that had been rescued… made wards of the State for their own safety. They were infants, born to those who had harmed them, or would have. My ‘chosen’ children are now 11, 13 and 19. All born again and serving the Lord. Three more souls for the Kingdom of God. I love them so much – I can’t imagine anyone else raising them. God gave me such mercy and compassion for these children who did nothing to deserve their beginnings. James 1:27 says that “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress. My three orphans have brought me so much joy! I had so much love to give! I pray that God will show you how to live your life to its fullest doing His will and purpose on this earth.

  • Cass says:

    I have read all these comments of miscarriage and infertility. I have been touched deeply and identify with them. I really did not know that many women and men have this problem. My husband and I have been together for 15 years and still have no children. We have been told that we both have infertility problems and our best option is to try IVF. However we are not sure if this procedure goes against the bible and we not sure if this is Gods plan for us. Like others, we have gone through the journey of asking God, “Why me”, self blame, wondering if its punishment for past sins, even though we have repentent and asked God to forgive. In the meantime, the pain, envy, emptiness eats away at us. The possibilty of never having the joy and privelidge of carrying a baby in me, of giving birth, of breatfeeding really makes me sad.I try to find comfort in my nieces and godchildren but am always reminded that they are not mine.My in laws are also consistently asking us when are we having children. We have not shared this with any of our friends or relatives as the society we live also tends to measure your worth on one having children. Everybody can see that we are both approching the age where child bearing will be, according to science, impossible. Does anybody have advise on IVF?

  • kitty says:

    Hi Hether!
    After reading your story,my heart really felt for you & your husband knowing the pain & grief that you went through.Yes, for sure God’s promises never fails us but we tend to fail these promises when we neglect him or disobeyed his commands. I do go through so many trials at home with my husband and children. Sometimes, I cry & cry and I ask myself why I am going through all this pain and even at times I complain to God and say that I am just a human being and cannot hold onto it, like to throw the towel(fighting in the ring) but I always hear his small voice telling me “I will never leave you, neither forsake you”. There on, I realised that God is always there with me, no matter what the circumstances are and how big it is. I then rebuild my relationship again with him, praying and reading his words and reciting his promises whenever I face any trials and now the Holy Spirit has developed a stronger foundation of faith within me which I really praise the Lord for that.So for now, I sing and praise God during my trials and I know God will also help other Sisters in christ who also suffers like you and me.
    May God bless you & your husband.
    Be an overcomer and stay strong with your faith in God.
    Love you in Jesus name, will pray for you.

  • Dee says:

    My heart goes out to you. I too am childless and as I have gotten older, it really hurts so much. I am thinking of adopting thought. But, I will pray for you and your husband..I don’t know what God is trying to say or have you learn, but usually everything turns out for good..I believe in prayer so I am praying for you…God blessyou.

  • Yara Rodriguez says:

    This message is for Marianne,

    Marianne I don’t know if you will read this message, as it is being written a year after you posted your comment to Heather’s story. I however, you do get a chance to read this I would like to say that I totally understand how you feel. I have had 3 miscarriages, two of them in the second trimester, and can relate to what you said about being able to forgive yourself for not being able to bring you babies into this world. I for a long time blamed my body and even resented it for not being able to function the way that a normal woman’s body should function. I often times hated my body’s inability to hold a pregnancy and was often miserable when I saw other mother’s with their children. I too felt that my arms were empty and my heart desiring greatly to share all of the love I had stored inside for my children. I discovered however, that the best way to deal with these feelings is actually passing that love on to others. I am the Children’s Ministry Director at my church, and I take advantage of my ministry to share the love in my heart with the children in the ministry. If found that by actually helping, listening, giveing pats on the back and hugging these children, i was actually healing. Once I began to share that love with others I began to feel better, I will never forget my children, they are forever in my thoughts and God often allows me to visit with them in dreams (dreams of them playing in a beautiful flower garden and sitting in the lap and arms of our father). And so I urge you to share this love that you have stored up in your heart for your children with other children. Everytime that you do something for a child, picture yourself doing it for those 6 angels that you have waiting for you in heaven, and you will see how it will make the pain and resentment feel less burdensome. I wish you good luck in your pursuit for another child and pray that the desires of your heart be answered by our heavenly father, come to a point with God however, when you can say. “Lord, whatever you decide is alright with my soul.” Only then will you find true freedom and happiness. I love you in the love of our Lord and my prayer is with you.

  • BBBarbara Barbara says:

    Dear Heather and all who commented,
    I clicked through on this title because I too needed to be refreshed in the promises God; I am an angry, heart broken woman these days, tired of the crushing pain life can throw at us. My circumstances are different, but I related to your entire story. As I read, I needed to stop several times and cry with you. I hurt with every detail and my heart shattered at your words.
    The intensity of the grief made me shift my focus from me, to each of you. I pray my thoughts inspire you to not let go of hope. Your hope is safe in the hands of the Almighty and here’s why….Romans 5,
    “…and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
    Hold on to the fact that God does not disappoint. He is our hope and He is faithful!
    And still another, this is from
    James 5:10-11
    Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
    The Lord promises to reward our faith and to trust Him to come through for us. When Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John10:10, he meant that not only for the life to come, but in this life as well. Your words have forever changed me, Heather, and I will pray for every desire in your heart to be fulfilled, because “Oh, what a testimony you will have!” You will bring us all to our knees in tears, then to our feet in cheers, all to His glory!
    I really hope I’m not too wordy but, lastly, this is to Marianne,
    Hold on to hope, sweet woman, it never disappoints. Pray away bitterness by practicing the presence of God…He is right beside you. Look for Him in everything because He’ll show up. Your age is not an obstacle for God, not even a blip and you did not fail to bring your children into this world. That is a blatant attack from Satan. Reject those thoughts immediately.
    The Isrealites have a name for the Lord who protected and fought the physical and spiritual battles(like hopelessness, guilt and bitterness)they faced so often. Moses made a banner and held it up over their camps during fierce wars. I will pray that the Lord’s banner is held over you. The name of the Lord who fights for us is “Yahweh Nissi”, “The Lord our Banner”. This banner, or the Lord Himself, is your identity as it was theirs, your protection as it was theirs, and your certainty of victory over every enemy or circumstance. You too will have a testimony for the ages and it will turn so many to God! He will not let you down. Marianne, even if by your fingertips, hang on to hope. I will be praying for you the whole time, I won’t forget, I promise.

  • Marianne says:

    In the 25 years we have been married, I have lost six precious babies with miscarriages. I’ve watched and listened to my sisters have their babies and all the phone calls with conversations about their kids soccer, school, birthday parties, recitals, etc. I love my neices and nephews and at the same time I am more lonely and mad about not having my own family. God made the world because He wanted a family of His own, I understand that. I’m going through lots of anger and don’t know which way to direct it – I need an outlet – maybe to write this helps. I keep very quiet and don’t complain even to my husband about the daily pain I still feel from the quiet home that we share. I listen to the neighbors laughter with their children and grandchildren. I see a family in the grocery store and the mother fixes her little girls hair and strokes her back and I am filled with envy and pain for the littlest things – intimate closeness – that only a family can bring. My husband is a work-a-holic and I don’t know where my place is – other than by his side. So, I just give it to God, lay it at His feet, but I am dispairing in my heart, for no-one else to see… and I will NOT be comforted… on this earth. I’m 45 and there is only a slim chance that I will have another baby, but I’m still praying for the Lord to give me a son or daughter – in His mercy. I’m just asking for prayer, for the bitterness to leave me and for me to forgive myself for failing to bring my babies into the world (for what-ever reason). Thank you for letting me vent and please pray. God bless your ministry.

  • kettly says:

    Dear Heather,
    thank you so much for your story. I myself have a similar story. In part I thought well, the Lord gave the Lord take it away who am I to question Him? But I come to realize God must of the time does not always answer us the way we desire Him to do. Many times we forget who’s in command we need to follow. Well, Heather reading your story led me to know and realized that I have never truly allowed myself to grief for my child, and I believe now it’s time that I do. And know that God our Father is able to more concerning you and me about us being a mother than we realize.

  • Pella says:

    After reading your experience, I just felt prompted to pray for you. God’s promises are true, I’ve experienced them and May God continue to fulfill them in your lives. His Word says ” What shall separate us from the love of God………..Nothing”. God loves you so much and he is happy that you’re sharing this testimony. Personally I’ve been moved and strengthened by your experience. May God richly bless you two and may he bless you with the desires of your hearts as you continue walking this journey of life.

  • Kerry-Lee says:

    As i read this story this morning, i couldn’t do anything but weep… i have walked the road too, of losing twins and four other pregnancies too… we have now come to a bridge of both sided fertility problems, and although its the most challenging road my husband and i have ever had to walk, i will continue to trust in my Fathers promises and love, for i know He has plans for us too… i also know that Infertility is not from God, and as scripture says in 1 John 4: 17, as He is so am i in this world…

    Heather, may Gods richest blessings be upon you and Your husband, and may your arms be filled… but more so may God always fill your heart with His unfailing love.

    God Bless.

  • Heather says:

    Hi Heather!
    It is so good to read stories like yours to help us realise that God is always there with us, throughout our joys and sorrows. It also helps us to know what is God’s will for us and encourages us to keep our relationship with Him, despite what challenges we face.
    May God continue to be with you and your husband as you work in his vineyard.

  • Maria Teresa Suarez says:

    I really so blessed reading your article entittled Re-Learning the Promises of God. I relate this story to my life now because I am now facing an illness that difficult to know and to accept in my life due to my children. I was diagnose a breast cancer last February,2009. When I heard this news from my Doctor, I felt so depressed and I asked question also to God, Why He let me to have this kind of illness and out of a million people of this earth Why Me? But God has every purpose in our life and He only want us to learn how to trust Him, seek on Him, ask and find Him. And it is true that God never leave nor forsake us. He just want to warn us that we are His Children and He chooses us. Praise God that now I am healed by His stripes. All we can do is to accept the situation and continue to serve Him no matter what kind of illness that we will have. Just focus to serve the Lord and follow His will for us. God bless you and more power!!!

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