The following is part of a series of posts that will take you on a (very personal) journey with me through the story of our family. If you are just now tuning in, take a minute to start back at the beginning and catch up:
Post 1: A Journey
Post 2: Love Awakened
Post 3: Hope Deferred
Post 4: Worth the Wait
Post 5: A Longing Fulfilled
Post 6: Faith Tested
Post 7: Choosing to Trust
In the weeks leading up to our vacation to San Diego, God started providing for it in crazy ways. Like, really bizarre ways. It was the kind of thing that, at first, we were excited to share with others how God was providing for us, but then it got to the point that it was a little embarrassing just how much we were being blessed. Someone at South Bay gave us an anonymous envelope with a bunch of money in it. Another family heard we were going to San Diego and bought tickets for our whole family to go to the zoo, SeaWorld, AND a safari adventure. Altogether, there were over 10 different gifts that we received leading up to this vacation.
It was baffling to me. I couldn't figure out why God was blessing us so much, but was thrilled to be on the receiving end of it! Then the events of our miscarriage began to unfold and it seemed that our whole vacation may unravel. We weren't even sure if we should still go to San Diego.
As my heart and body ached while driving down to Southern Cal, the same question kept running through my mind over and over again, "How is this kind? You say that You are kind. How is this kind?"
When we got to our hotel, they gave us a free upgrade to a suite overlooking the ocean. Ok, that was a little weird. But, thank you.
And slowly it began sinking in...God saw this heartache coming down the pike for us and He wanted to do something to remind us that, right here in the midst of it, He is still kind and benevolent toward us. He's not cruel or mean-spirited. He didn't ruin our long-awaited vacation. He's been planning ahead this whole time to provide space for us to be together as a family, away from everything else, to grieve and heal. He provided for our every need while we were there.
It was by-far the most luxurious family vacation we've every experienced and we only ended up paying about $100 out of pocket for it. We stayed at a beautiful resort overlooking the ocean, went to a different theme park every day we were there, and Andy & I both got a massage. When we were walking up to LegoLand (the only park we did not have pre-purchased tickets for) someone walked over and gave us a buy one/get one free coupon. As he walked away, Andy and I kinda laughed and said, "This is unbelievable." Two minutes later another person walked over and gave us one free admission ticket. Hello!
The other way God provided for us during this time was through a close community of friends and family. Andy and I were completely overwhelmed by the love and support that was immediately poured out on us. We had only told a handful of people, mainly South Bay staff, that we were pregnant. But this small group of friends banded together and ministered to us in ways they may never fully understand.
I received daily texts from friends and family checking in on me, encouraging me, and sharing Scripture with me. Every text ended with the assurance of, "I'm praying for you," and I knew it was true. They were holding up our arms when we ran out of strength.
When we got home from our vacation we were shocked to find our refrigerator already stocked with food. The really eerie part was that it was pretty much exactly what I would have bought if I had been to the grocery store that day. Yes, I have a few friends that know me so well they can even buy my groceries for me. They put together a meal train, set up childcare to provide windows of alone time for me (which is how I've been able to write all these blogs), sent flowers and chocolate covered strawberries and gift cards.
I know that their hearts hurt with mine, and somehow that brought so much comfort. They've been eager for every update, have listened to me share my heart when I wanted to, and just let me be "normal" when I didn't want to think about it anymore.
I've been reminded through all of this that life is better together. God designed us to live in the context of community. When life gets busy and my task list seems out of control, may I never let "pursuing meaningful relationships"be the ball that I drop. There are a lot of other things that can be put on hold or said "no" to altogether. But, relationships are the richness of life.
Those dear friends and family members were the tangible arms of Jesus that held me tight and reminded me of His love. And sometimes we all need Jesus with skin on.
One last post coming tomorrow...