Yesterday I received devastating news and it did not have anything to do with whether or not I was pregnant. I guess a change is nice. I had recently been offered a publishing contract, but yesterday they retracted their offer. Supremely bummed is the best description I have for how I feel.
I was so excited to have my book available for those whose hearts are tender and fragile and in need of some encouragement. For a short time, I thought self publishing in an e format would be good, so that those who are currently dealing with infertility could benefit right away. The day after I submitted my book on Amazon, I received the offer for a book contract. The thought of having my book in print was nothing short of thrilling, and I realized that a print copy of my book was probably a better tool than an e version. I imagined how nice it would be for a friend to be able to hand a physical copy of my book to someone they love, letting them know that they are there for them. When we are hurting, we are less likely to seek out a resource for ourselves, but if one is handed to us, we might just read it.
Unfortunately, the physical copy of my book may take longer to become a reality. Putting my book on Amazon for 4 days was the reason my book was turned away even though I had not sold a book. I literally had a publishing contract in my hands but had it taken away with no further explanation. I did not know that publishing on Amazon for 4 days would cause a problem. I wish I would have known that ahead of time, but I did not. I would love to be able to ask the publisher why that was a stopping point for them, yet I am not sure if a greater explanation or more answers would help me feel better. The truth is, I have only one choice: learn how to move forward with the way the story is being written.
I was not even used to the idea that I was actually going to be a published author. Every time I thought about it, it felt surreal. I felt like I was living in a movie or living someone else’s life. I starred at the contract that they had offered me and got excited butterflies at the thought of the journey I was about to embark upon.
Brace yourself, I am about to make a connection to the fertility journey. This experience feels all too similar to those who experience a miscarriage. One day you are day-dreaming about the future and then in an instant you are left mourning a hope, mourning a life that you never got to meet. It is unexpected, and there is nothing you can do about it. There are no answers that will satisfy. The only option is to learn how to move forward with the way the story is being written.
If miscarriage or a similar disappointing situation has been a part of your story, allow me to share with you what I have been reminding myself. Your story began long before you were born. The Bible says that “all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16). God is the only one who knows how many days we will walk this earth in these physical bodies. I believe God has had a blueprint of our lives since the very beginning and he allows us to play a part in filling in the details (free will). All of the suffering that has been allowed into our story was not a part of the blueprint, the original design. God grieves when we grieve. He does not inflict pain, but he allows it only because he allows free will. If we are honest, we are glad we have free will because then we have the opportunity to know what real love is. Unfortunately, in the fallen world we live, free will also means the chance for suffering. The only way we can move forward when we are at a part of a story that has temporarily turned for the worse is to trust the one who holds the blueprint and can guide us safely out of whatever circumstance we find ourselves in.
I am praying for God to guide a friend of mine through her pain. On Monday of this past week, I learned that a friend was pregnant. On Wednesday, I learned that she had miscarried. I was moved to tears on her behalf. I remembered how I had sat and listened to her talk about the life growing inside of her. I could see that it was difficult for the reality to sink in. She had a child growing inside of her, something that was too incredible to wrap her mind around. (I think that is the case for any pregnant mom.) Yet, if that beautiful woman experiences a miscarriage, the reality that she had a life inside of her is no longer difficult to wrap her mind around. A new challenge is presented: “How do I wrap my mind around the fact that I will never have a chance to hold my baby in my arms on this side of heaven?”
If that is your story, I genuinely mourn with you. Miscarriage and disappointment over a book contract do not deserve to be in the same category, yet I am always struck by the fact that so much of the suffering we experience on earth looks alike. Suffering seems to take a similar shape each time. It usually includes some options. You can choose depression, despair, hopelessness, pain, sadness, anger or even a combination of these things. Thankfully, God adds some other options into the mix that actually push the negative options out of the way. He says, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:26). He also says, “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:1a-3). When we cling hard to God through difficult circumstances, we do not fall as easy prey to depression and despair.
So many times in my life, the idea of “keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus,” has come up. Today is no exception. I am thankful for a warrior princess that apparently lives within me. When I received the news, I went to my room and wept – the whole time crying out to God, letting him know that I knew he was there. I knew he has a plan. I did not want to be going through what I was going through, but I was determined, even in my pain, to move forward, trusting his lead. I know I have an enemy that enjoys my pain and looks for every opportunity he can get to increase my pain. When we are in pain and do not go to God with it, our pain increases. On the other hand, if we look at what Jesus endured on our behalf, we can be encouraged. Jesus knew that there was joy on the other side of the pain he had to endure. We have that same assurance because God promises to “work for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Clinging to God amidst our pain is the prerequisite to the joy to be had on the other side.
There is joy waiting for you. There is peace to be grabbed a hold of now. Turn on some worship music, dig into the Word, fall on your knees… Do whatever it takes to put yourself in His arms and allow him to comfort you as only the God of Comfort can do.