This is my tenth Christmas without a baby.
Twice we came close.
Once with a positive pregnancy test in October that would have been the answer to my “announce a baby on Christmas” prayer, but instead left me crying on the bathroom floor. That was the year the holidays were just too hard and I never hung a single decoration.
The next time was in 2014 when our little to-be-adopted baby was born in October… and died in November without ever leaving the NICU.
Through it all, I’ve learned to be thankful for the gifts I have, and I carry an unwavering hope for someday, but there isn’t hope for this Christmas, and that leaves me feeling empty and lost as the holidays unfold. I find myself fighting a desire to pack up the dreams and throw them away. To pretend everything is fine and I’m not broken over my broken body.
I’ve struggled lately, that’s the truth. I was pretty much a teary-eyed mess between the anniversary of our baby Annie’s birth and death. I noticed the big kids tiptoeing around me, with worried looks on their faces. I would force a smile for them, then sit in the kitchen and wipe tears for twenty minutes.
It was the loss of what could-have-been, but that was only part of it. I was also crying because I hurt over what-may-never-be.
So, friend, I get it.
I get the feelings of hopelessness and the desire to just pull it all together but feeling so miserable it seems impossible.
I get the tears that just fall whenever they want, not when you want them to. The way you lay crying into your pillow at night, or hold your friend’s baby and your whole chest hurts from the way your heart is breaking.
I get the way the season brings so much wonder, and all the questions of whether or not you’ll ever be able to share your childhood wonders with your own child someday.
I get it.
This season I keep coming back to one phrase: TRUST WITHOUT RESERVATION.
About a month ago I cried through a whole Bible Study one evening. I spent half the night trying to bite my lip hard enough to shock my body out of it’s choice to create tears, and eventually started flipping through my Bible.
I saw it then. Right at the front. A neon orange sticky note with the words trust without reservation scrawled across it.
The definition was written below it in sloppy cursive. True faith does not limit how God works, it just knows He will.
Here I find the thing to cling to through another holiday season without a baby.
My God doesn’t always move the way I want Him to, but He always moves.
I know this in theory, but also in fact. Though I’ve never born the babies I long for, I have welcomed home two older adopted children. And it was all God, and all good. It wasn’t what I planned, or what I would have written into the script of my life– but it was still God working.
I want a baby and I know God can work miracles in my body and my life to bring me one.
Yet, I am choosing to trust without reservation. I am choosing, again today, to not place limits on how God works.
I am choosing to say, Whatever (whenever) You determine, Lord.
Wherever you are, God is calling you to unreserved trust.
He may not move the way you want Him to, but He is moving.
So this holiday, if you are facing another Christmas without the baby your heart is crying for…
or without a husband…
or without a loved one…
or without financial ease…
or without health…
Know this today: You do not need to face this Christmas without God’s presence. And when you choose trust, you are ultimately choosing to experience God in a whole new way.