Those first few weeks after George’s diagnosis consisted of bad news piling on bad news and were really really hard to process. I felt completely overwhelmed by everything and it culminated in our ultrasound at 25 weeks. The doctor came in, sat down, and said "I really hate to be the one to have to tell you this" ... he was a complete stranger. He had no relationship with us and he was about to deliver the worst information I imagine a doctor can ever deliver. He very gently, but clinically, told us that what we knew was a bad situation had gotten worse in every aspect. Our son had no more amniotic fluid, his kidneys were failing, and he would likely not survive into the third trimester. I don't think I cried while the doctor was in with us. In fact, I think Adam and I both asked really good questions, gathering as much information as we could, knowing we would likely forget all of it as soon as we walked out of that exam room.
I cried the whole way home. I think I cried the rest of that day and into the night. I don't think Adam and I exchanged more than a few sentences that day; mostly just checking in with each other and agreeing that everything sucked.
I don't like to remember that day or the several days following. It's still a raw wound that I hate to even acknowledge is there but if I try to erase that day from my story, from our son's story, his life suddenly doesn't seem as miraculous. That day my whole world changed. I suddenly found myself lacking the ability to pray. I didn't even know what to pray. My pregnancy went from being a bit worrisome to very likely to end in a stillbirth. How do you pray for that? What could I say to God at that point? My prayers for those days and weeks immediately after that awful day were tear filled and lacking in words. I simply cried in the presence of my Heavenly Father.
I had many teary conversations with friends and family in those hours after hearing the news. We cursed, we cried, we prayed. I tried to talk my way into understanding all of this crappiness and somehow being ok with it all. Looking back, there wasn’t anything I could say to feel better or understand all of this but just talking about it was somehow helpful. I also think that even though I wasn’t intentionally praying, simply expressing my fears out loud was some form of conversation with the God who hears me and loves me, and that had to be good enough for that moment. Thankfully, I know for a fact that it was good enough. God promises us that even when we are too weak to be strong praying people, He intercedes for us. What a comfort it is to know that even when I can’t find the words, God hears them anyway.
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for the good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” - Romans 8:26-28
It would be so easy for me to focus on those first two verses and leave out that last one. Why do I have to acknowledge that "all things work together for the good" ??? Why is my son not in his mama and daddy's arms if things work out for the good? It certainly doesn't seem good right now. My head understands but my heart still feels the pain. I understand that Gods timeline is not the same as mine and that maybe He has something very long term in store before we see "the good" in all of this but it doesn't help the pain right now. The honest answer today is that I don't know anything and that my pain, our family's pain, is real and present. The most beautiful part of that, however, is that even though I'm having a hard time with all of this God is still in control and he doesn't love me any less because I don't understand right now. He’s not any less capable of being God when I’m having a bad day. I guess that's why those verses are in context of each other. When I don't have the words to pray because I don't understand the good in all of this, He intercedes on my behalf. My tear filled, wordless conversations with Him are actually full of all the things I don't even know to say and all the things I wish I had the words to say.