Over Labor Day weekend, my family and I drove a bit northwest to a lovely little spot called Bald Rock. It has no markers, except for (usually) several cars parked in a little gravel spot right off the side of the highway. All you can really see from the road is a small wooden bridge that crosses a little mountain stream – the kind of stream so small that it really doesn’t even need a bridge to cross over it. That wooden bridge leads to a large rock outcropping. You can’t really see what’s on the other side of that rock, until you cross that bridge and climb up that rock a bit. It’s not a big climb by any means….it just kinda looks like it at first. You can’t see anything but a rolling rock moving higher towards the sky. I’m guessing some people decide not to tackle it. Especially if they don’t realize how simple it really is. And what the payoff at the end is.
Because if you did happen to make the small, gradual 100 yard climb, you’d be greeted with something so spectacular, you, like most other first time viewers, would most likely be left speechless.
I was sitting right here on this rock, thinking this day about a lot of things. My next doctor’s appointment – Tuesday, 9/4th. And the fact that when the doctor made that appointment two weeks and a day ago, he said, “you’ll probably not be needing this. I have a feeling you’ll have delivered by then.”
And my first sweet little baby that was born into Heaven back in January. Today, Tuesday, 9/4th, was its due date to be born here into our arms.
And while I’m so happy for that little one who has had 7 full months of pure happiness in Heaven, I’m also fearful.
I’m afraid of what we’ll see and hear tomorrow. And what we might not hear (during that ultrasound). I’m afraid that while my mind dwells on one lost child, my heart won’t be able to keep trusting…beating… if I see the loss of the one I’m carrying now right in front of my eyes.
I’m afraid of what the following medical process would be. Followed by the medical bills. Followed by the grief. And more decisions.
I’m even afraid of what might happen if baby is still alive.
Basically I’m afraid of a whole bunch of things. And I don’t know which one will happen. And that is by far the absolute most difficult part of this journey.
I can’t think about buying baby clothes. I can’t think about buying a new car seat. I can’t think about rearranging the girls’ beds into one room. I can’t think about nursery paint colors. I can’t think about my ideal birth plan. I can’t think about the normal, comfortable, stuff.
Right now, I have to think about my life insurance policy riders and what it covers in the event of infant death. And what hospitals in the country will actually treat a baby with this condition. I have to think about whether or not we want the baby to be treated if it survives delivery. And buying two of anything I want to bury baby in. In case I get the privilege of carrying this baby long enough that I’d get to bury it. Then, I can keep one of everything I put in the ground.
And I get scared. Really scared. Mostly because I don’t know. And because it could be so many different things. I just can’t see what’s in front of me. Like, the top of that huge rock mountain I couldn’t see from the road.
And then, almost every time I get scared – which is several times a day – my thoughts lead to despair – I can’t do this.
It’s just too big of a mountain for me to climb. It’s too tall. And I become stuck. Paralyzed by my fear. My feet are stubbornly cemented to the base of that mountain I’ve been chosen to climb. And my heart stubbornly refuses to go on.
But I can’t dwell here at the base of this Mountain of Fear for too long. Because my soul craves peace. And I know the only way to get peace is found in Philippians 4, It starts with “Whatever things are true…think on these things.” And I have to stop my mind yet again. Because so many of my thoughts aren’t true yet. They very well may come true in the future. But I don’t know that now. And there’s no possible way all of them can. So right now, so many of my thoughts simply, yet, aren’t true. Even this diagnosis still lacks one simple blood test to have an absolute confirmation of truth.
Right now, the only thing I know of that is true is that my baby was alive 2 weeks, 1 day ago. And I have no reason to think it isn’t today. And this baby is a gift. And my God has taught me so much in the last three weeks about His peace, His love, His compassion, His mercy – I’ve been a Christian for 24 years and haven’t learned all this yet. And I am so very blessed. I have as many children in Heaven as I do on Earth. And I know I’ll see them again someday. And I don’t have to pray that they’ll see God here on earth, despite my blaringly imperfect self. They already have.
And really, knowing I could lose my little peach sized baby at any time – is a reality no different from the one every other mother faces with her outside-the-tummy vapor children. Most of them just never really, truly think of it like that. I know I never did.
When I do begin thinking on these true things. My Comforter, God Himself, in the form of the Holy Spirit, begins doing one of His most treasured jobs. He comforts me with Scripture. And the mountain begins to look a little more realistic. Like maybe just a little steady climb uphill for a little while.
“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
“But Jesus overheard them and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.” Mark 5:36
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Philippians 4:6
“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4
“They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.” Psalm 112:7
It’s true – climbing the Fear Mountain is tough. Many times it is off on the side of the well-travelled, normal, comfortable road every other Christian seems to be on. And it often isn’t marked. It can come up on us rather sudden like if we’re not diligently and soberly paying attention.
Sometimes, there are others climbing it already; sometimes we feel alone.
It (usually) looks massive. And it’s always impossible without God’s help. But sometimes, the height of that mountain is somewhat imagined. The things we’re fearing aren’t even true, yet. And might not ever be.
And, sometimes it just seems so enormous because we can’t see the top of it. We have no idea how far up we’ll have to climb or how long it will take to get there.
But, friends, God doesn’t call us to climb something impossible. Usually, we’re the ones raising those impossibles. He just wants us to keep walking. Gradually, steadily, upward, sometimes a few days, sometimes a few months, sometimes longer – and sure, sometimes we might get a bit winded, sometimes we might stop for a little break. But He encourages us to stay faithful. To keep going. One small step at a time. To keep pressing on. Because He knows what the prize is. He knows we’re walking towards His high calling for us. It is for His ultimate glory. And our becoming more like His Son which is our ultimate good.
He knows how breathtakingly beautiful all will be when we get to the top. Because with His help, we – I – will get there.