In recent years, there were days I thought it would have been better if I had never been born. I felt like a modern-day Job.
Since childhood, I had a very detailed plan for my life – get married, have kids, live near family. It was a simple plan, not too much to ask, and I thought God would give me those things because I had been trying to follow Him since the age of 5. It sounded fair to me.
Shortly after college, I got married, and the plan seemed to be coming together. Then, one day, my mom called me. She told me she had Stage 4 cancer – melanoma – and it did not look good. I begged God to let her live, but six months later she was gone, and with her, many of the dreams I had for how my life would look. How could God take the person who mattered most to me? Could I trust a God who answered “no” to my begging prayers? But all I heard was:
“My grace is sufficient for you. For my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:19).
A few years into marriage, we found out I was pregnant. Immediately, I started planning for this baby who would be born in March. A couple of months later, I experienced cramping and bleeding, the signs of a miscarriage. Again, I begged God to make it stop, to save this tiny life I carried. But the answer would be no. I grieved this tiny person I loved and had never met, and I grieved all the plans I had made.
A year later, we were pregnant again, and this time I was able to carry him to full term. Tage Thomas was born, happy and healthy. I loved getting to be his mama and relished in the slow days at home with him and in the joy that had come back into my life after heartbreak.
When Tage was about four months old, I could tell something was not quite right. He wasn’t making sounds, or smiling, or making eye contact. The doctor dismissed it as me being a worried, new mom. When he was six months old, I took him to get another opinion. This doctor immediately labeled Tage as “Failure to Thrive” and sent us for blood work. We were admitted to the hospital and told that Tage had a genetic disease. He would not live to see his first birthday.
The room spun. Again, I begged God to do a miracle. I told Him I would give Him all the glory if He would just spare our son. But instead, Tage got worse and needed a G-tube to eat. They sent us home to care for him in our remaining months, which were both wonderful and excruciating.
It was during this time that I started to blog about our journey. I knew from losing my mom that God doesn’t waste pain, and I wanted to be sure this pain wouldn’t be wasted either. Daily, I had to rely on God to give me the strength I needed, and He never let me down. His Word became more alive to me than ever before, and my soul found rest in His words and in the assurance of Heaven. I lived off of truth from verses like Isaiah 43:1-3 which says,
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name, (Molly); you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
Tage was 8 months old when I held him in my arms as Jesus took him. I felt a pain like I’d never known before, and yet God never left my side. I could sense Him in the room and in the weeks that followed.
A few months after Tage died, the genetic team told us the likelihood of having another child with this disease was high. Now, I grieved that I would never get to be a biological mother again. How could God do this to me? I begged God to let me be a mother somehow.
Since I was on maternity leave, I had a lot of time at home to grieve. I spent that year reading through the Bible, something I had never done before. I learned how to lament – how to be honest with God about how hard life was, my questions, and even my anger and confusion. I also learned how to encourage my own soul by speaking Scripture to myself. God became more real and personal to me than ever before!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11), and in the familiar verse I’d heard since childhood, I sensed Him whisper, You can trust me. So instead of begging, I finally surrendered. I told the Lord I would take whatever He gave me.
A year after losing Tage, I could sense my husband pulling away. We had gone on a marriage retreat earlier that year and committed ourselves to each other and our marriage, and I believed us. But one night, he told me he needed to let me go. I sought a counselor, and during our second session, he just walked out – he didn’t really give a reason.
Well, after learning to lament, I had a lot of words for God! I soon discovered evidence that my husband had been having affairs for years. I begged God to restore our marriage. Yet, despite trying to talk to him about it, he wanted out, and I couldn’t force him to stay. I was alone, without a partner or husband. People said untrue things about me, and I felt so vulnerable. But only then, did this verse have new meaning and power in my life:
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the strength of my salvation, and my stronghold. I will call on the Lord…” (Psalm 18:2-3a).
Shortly after my husband left, I had to sell our house – my home that I loved – and move into an apartment. So here I was- 32 years old, motherless, childless, divorced, and living in an apartment alone. This was NOT the plan I had for myself. I felt like a modern-day Job.
But in that tiny apartment, with only God Himself, I realized that I had everything I needed. I sensed Him with me as I unloaded the groceries and when I climbed into bed at night. I soaked up Scripture because it was Life to me. I had empathy for other sufferers, and I became a much better listener. Life wasn’t about me anymore. It was about God and pointing others to Him, and life had never been richer.
I wouldn’t trade those years for anything.
It’s been a few years since that time. God has given me the gift of another husband, who loves me more than I had ever experienced before, two beautiful step-daughters, and a 4 month old son, who smiles more than any baby I have ever seen. I have what I wanted. But the best thing I have, is Jesus Himself. He is life.
I don’t know where you are today or what weighs heavily on you. But I do know this -- what God says is always true. He always uses our pain for a purpose; He is always with us, fighting for us; He is always good, even when circumstances might make us feel abandoned. He can be found and WANTS to be found, if we will just choose to seek Him in the midst of our pain. He never wastes our hurts, and He is still working. His plans are better than our plans.
So, hold on, dear one, He is not done with your story.
Seek Him and live!
Facebook: Molly McCracken Huffman