This Is Her Story: We’re Not at Happily Ever After Yet.
Carmen Smith is a 31 year-old wife to an incredibly handsome, incredibly bearded fellow and
mom to one precious daughter, Charlotte Grace. She and her family currently live in Florence, SC.
Carmen values discipleship of women and loves playing a small role in true bible literacy of women. She blogs (sometimes) over at thesmittysbittys.wordpress.com
Social media brands have claimed stake on the word “stories.” Instagram stories. SnapChat stories. Sometimes you find yourself in the throes of living vicariously through someone’s “story”. Celebrating with them, laughing with them, or even hurting with them. What seems to be consistent, though, is there is always a piece missing. You never get the full story.
My outside story: A combination of a bearded stud of a husband, a REALLY (really) cute little girl, and in general, a lot of fun.
My inside story: Deep pain and grief.
When I came to know the Lord at 25 years old, my life changed very quickly. Within a year I met and married the love of my life and within another year we realized the Lord was calling us to be parents WAY sooner than either of us thought (especially me).
Our outside story: A happily married couple who, in December of 2014, made a fun announcement to social media telling people to hold on to their stockings because our first baby was on its way.
Our inside story: We had been to several doctors because after trying for almost a year, I knew something wasn’t right. It was not only sadness, but real anger with the Lord (and everyone else) every time I got another negative pregnancy test. I knew something was wrong. Better yet, I knew the problem was not with Jordan; it was with me. I was broken. My body wasn’t doing what it was supposed to. Yes, we got to make that announcement to social media and it was a day I will never forget, but on the inside, I was terrified. Terrified it wasn’t real. Terrified that nobody would even care enough to celebrate with us. Honestly, I was terrified that someone who had been trying to have a baby like we had would be offended or broken hearted at our announcement just like I had been EVERY time someone announced their news in the time that we were trying.
Fast forward to 2016. Our daughter had turned one and we both knew that the whole “accidental” or even natural pregnancy thing wouldn’t happen for us. We knew we would need more help to make my body do what it was supposed to do to even prepare for a baby. We knew the Lord was able. We trusted and we prayed. We were ready to grow our family. We made the appointment to talk to our doctor about starting up the treatments again like last time. Only the Lord had a surprise. We got pregnant on our own. Naturally. We were floored. We couldn’t believe it, but we also knew that God was in it from DAY ONE. We went to Charleston to celebrate our anniversary in October and to quietly celebrate between us two that we were getting to expand our family.
Our outside story: Husband and wife celebrating a wedding anniversary, window shopping at fancy stores and eating all the food we could indulge in this side of the sin of gluttony.
Our inside story: A visit to an ER. At dinner, I felt a gush of blood at the dinner table. Something was wrong. Sparing many details, the Lord, again, showed up. The baby was FINE! We cried with one another and celebrated how faithful the Lord was. Monday we came home and went to our doctor and saw that precious baby moving its arms and legs. Our radiology tech (who also goes to our church) celebrated with us at the Lord’s provision. We talked with our close friend about her taking pictures of us to announce the pregnancy 2 weeks later on a Sunday.
That Monday everything changed. I had my 12 week checkup. I just didn’t feel right. The past two weeks, my pregnancy symptoms that were SO STRONG just slowly started going away. He checked for the heartbeat and couldn’t find one with a Doppler but since it was early, he wasn’t concerned but sent me to ultrasound. Our same ultrasound tech that celebrated with us 3 weeks prior was the one who then had to tell us, “I don’t hear a heartbeat, guys.” Total darkness came over my entire life in that instant.
The Lord and I wrestled hard in the next little while. I don’t know that I’ve felt this kind of anger toward the Lord before. There were days where I very much hated everything and everyone. I told my therapist I saw through this that I just don’t feel like talking to Him or reading the Bible because I’m just so mad so I’m avoiding him instead. He so kindly reassured me that I actually am connecting with him but right now my connection is a fight. It’s a wrestle and that’s okay.
I never had a father figure growing up but in 31 years of living, almost 6 years being His daughter, I truly feel this is the first raw father/daughter moment we have had. We’ve had our moments. Trust me. But in this moment, it was me, slamming my door in my room like a teenager because He told me that I couldn’t have something that I asked really nicely for and thought I was ready to handle. I’m sitting on my bed weeping and screaming, “You suck! You don’t love me! I thought You trusted me” and what I’m doing is hoping He does not try to come into my room, yet looking up through my tears to see if I can find the shadow of His feet at the bottom crack of my door. I am secretly waiting for Him to turn the handle, come sit on the bed with me, and gently put his hand on my leg and let me yell at Him and cry even louder.
Our outside story: We are moving on and finding joy in the small things.
Our inside story: As recently as last month, in another round of our fertility treatments, we got a positive pregnancy test on a Monday, a positive pregnancy test on a Tuesday, had blood work done on Wednesday, and got the call Thursday it was negative. Chemical pregnancy. An early miscarriage. Again. To say my anger was rekindled towards the Lord is an understatement.
My flesh is bent to run. I’m an avoider. Let me tell you – this pain does not go away. This is not something you can run from. I even had a sweet friend tell me that this may be the Lord’s way of telling me that my running has to stop. My avoiding Him has to stop. In the Bible, James tells us to draw near to God and He will draw near to us. The reality is He already is near. I know He’s here. To be honest, I can try to say all I want that I haven’t heard Him speak since that day but even through my “I’m not talking to you” days (which I’m still struggling to get out of) all I heard over and over when I was begging Him to tell me where He was were the words “I’m here.” The reality is, that has to be enough.
Praise be to Christ that He has put into place women close to me to speak life into my areas that seem dead. To speak light into areas that still seem dark. I could not do this alone. When my emotions get the best of me, I have to be surrounded by women who can remind me of the truth. His truth. That His grace is sufficient and that He is my gift. In the end, our life is not measured in the tangible gifts He gives. Our gift is HIM. He initiates, sustains, and fulfills. He is our source, supply, and goal. We haven’t lost hope. We aren’t sure how our outside or inside story will end, but we know that He is working even when we feel abandoned and forgotten. To Christ alone be the glory and may His light shine brightly through our pain.
Carmen Smith, Guest Blogger