I picked up the pregnancy test from the store almost as an afterthought. It was impossible. I had had a miscarriage less than a month before. Yet I felt so different, so strange, and oddly enough, so like I had felt when I had first discovered we were expecting the baby we had now lost. I assumed the strange compulsion to purchase the test came from some misguided notion born of my raw, wounded soul. Perhaps my hormones were still fluctuating, causing me to misinterpret things, prompting symptoms that were just traces of what had once been, ultimately signifying nothing. Just a reminder of the loss. As I had learned weeks before, my body had betrayed me; it was probably up to some underhanded trick, inflicting still more pain.
I unloaded the groceries on that ordinary, tiresome Monday in late October, then went to the bathroom to perfunctorily perform what I knew to be a useless task. And then, incredibly, impossibly, unbelievably—there were two lines. The test said I was pregnant.
It was just old hormones still in my system. Vestiges of the child longed for and lost, mocking me. I wondered how much more pain I would have to endure.
But then I asked myself—what if this was real? There had only been one time. The doctor had told us not to try again until I had had a full cycle. We had risked one time, certain it would produce nothing. And yet. . .what if? Could it be true?
I recalled what I had done the last time, which was the first time. I remembered sinking to my knees on the faded linoleum floor of the bathroom, and using the side of the bathtub almost as a kind of altar, putting my hands together in prayer. I had looked out the large window at the green woods beyond, the sun peeking through the trees, and I had thanked God with my whole heart. But that miracle was not meant to be. We had lost that precious soul after a mere 7 weeks. Quickly I did the math. If the test I held in my hand were true, it meant that a mere 2 weeks after our miscarriage another life had been created. 2 weeks. 2 babies. One gone, another possibly just beginning to be formed. I couldn’t begin to wrap my mind around it. And if it were true, wouldn’t it mean that something would go wrong again? They were too close together. The doctor wouldn’t be happy. What if I lost this one, too? What if I got my hopes up for nothing? It was more than I could bear to think about.
I lay down in bed and reached out for my New Testament on my bedside table and turned to my marked place. I was reading through the New Testament, working my way through, and thought I would just continue in this moment of complete shock and terror. It would be easy to just read the next few verses, resume where I had stopped. I was sure they would be something mundane. Nothing of significance. And the first line I read, the line I was meant to read, was from 1 John 4:18:
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear
The love my husband and I share, the love given to us by God, the love that came together to make this soul and to create the last one—I felt overcome by it all. All my feelings of abandonment and loss and betrayal came before God’s boundless love for me. I could not even begin to comprehend all that was contained within that small verse. As the months passed, as our baby grew inside of me, I would repeat that verse to myself over and over again. It became the anthem of my pregnancy, the basis for my whole life and the life of my husband and child. When the terror of another miscarriage would creep in, I would repeat the verse to myself. I leaned hard on perfect love casting out all my fear and put all my energy into loving God, my husband, and my unborn daughter with a love that refused to know fear.
These days I need that verse again. My daughter is almost 2 years old. She is strong and healthy and kind and smart and the joy of our lives. We were ready to give her a sister or brother. We had opened our hearts to bringing another life into the world if God willed it. But then my husband lost his job. He found something new, a sales job based on commission. He is trying so hard, working grueling hours, gone more than he is here, and doing his best. I admire his courage. My heart aches as I watch him give all that he has to this new endeavor. But we are struggling. Money isn’t coming in. These are tough times. We have had to set aside our dream of another baby.
Marianne Williamson says that moving from fear to love creates a miracle. It reminds me of perfect love driving out fear. God knows we need a miracle right now. Every day I try so hard to trust in Him, to choose faith over fear, to let love grow in my heart instead of panic. Some days are easier than others. When I want to get up, I remind myself of that moment of complete unknown and utter fear, putting down the pregnancy test in the bathroom, opening up my Bible, and reading about love and fear, hearing the exact words I needed at that time. I think of what God did for me then. I know He is doing it again. I hand my life over to Him and wait to see the miracles.