Have you ever been in a place where you needed to accomplish something, but didn’t feel like you even had the strength to get out of bed? I have been there many times in the past few years, but the most overwhelming time was more recently, just a short seven months ago.
Let me open the door for you to darkest days of my life in the hopes that you find courage, even a small amount, to continue moving forward in whatever you are facing in your life.
The day after my husband was released from the hospital for reconstructive arm surgery (due to the combination of a box cutter, a water heater, and a really bad decision) we both arrived at the OB/GYN’s office full of excitement and anticipation. It was a short 30 minutes later, after an ultrasound, that we sat in the waiting room, joking around and already planning how we were going to announce our second pregnancy together. Our first, some 2 years prior, had ended as abruptly as it had started with the loss of Avery, Our Small One. I was diagnosed shortly thereafter of a condition, which untreated, makes getting and sustaining pregnancy impossible and dangerous. But we had overcome that and were excited to go into the New Year with great anticipation of our newest family member.
That anticipation gave way to disappointment and great sadness as the doctor walked in the room and said, “I wish I had better news for you.” My heart sank, my face fell, and my hopes were shattered. Our baby had no heartbeat. At 8 weeks into our pregnancy, our baby had never progressed past 6 weeks of gestational age. I was stunned and in disbelief. We had fought and worked for two years to get my body healthy enough to even think about conceiving. We were successful and now this? Why this?
The days and weeks that followed included many tears, a lot of waiting, an eventual dilation and curettage (D&C), a memorial service, and months of passing what should have been milestones such as gender reveal, nursery planning, baby showers, and lots of pounds gained on my part.
There was a period where I didn’t leave my house for 10 days. I showered daily but barely got dressed in anything but pajamas. I watched a lot of movies and I was simply stuck in my despair. I was mad at God. I was angry because he allowed us to get pregnant but didn’t spare the life of our child and He let us go through this … again.
But I knew that I could not stay there. So one day, I got up, showered, got dressed for work, left the house, went to work, returned home and went to bed. It wasn’t much, but it was a small step towards healing. The next day, I did the same thing. For weeks, my routine was the exact same from day to day, with no variations in schedule. Then one day, I began to feel life coming back into my heart. I began to miss being around people. I began to miss hanging out with friends and church members. And as the months passed, my heart began to heal.
And that healing continues even though I miss what could have been with Riley. The excitement. The anticipation. They joy. But from this loss I have found hope. Hope because I am in deeper relationship with God and family and friends than I have ever found myself. Hope because I know that this is not the end of our story.
But every story of healing has to have a beginning. And the beginning of my healing is found in a Bible verse that I stumbled upon one day.
“Go with the strength you have” (Judges 6:14). Those are the words God spoke to Gideon as he tried to coax him out of his hiding place to become the next Judge who would free Israel from the grips of their oppressors (see Judges 6).
Now what you have to understand is that Gideon was not a warrior. He was not even a solider. He was found hiding in a wine press, threshing wheat so that he could eat. On top of that, he was from the smallest family in all of Israel. And yet God still called him mighty warrior. Before he ever picked up a weapon, or fought a battle, God saw that if Gideon would just start his journey, that would be all the strength he needed.
And that is what I needed. I just needed enough strength to start my journey. Just enough to get up day to day. Just enough strength to go to work. Just enough strength to be social and start hanging out with friends again.
That “just enough” strength is often times all that you need to start a great journey! Like Gideon, and like me, no matter what impossibilities you are facing, all you need is this …
“Go with the strength you have!” Nothing more. You do not need to sit around and wait for this season to pass, or wait for something to change. You need only to begin with what little strength you have and you will begin to see that God can take your small offering of courage and turn it into a great and might work.
What impossibilities are you facing today? More importantly, what strength do you have that you can use today to begin moving forward again?