Praying, when you are Pregnant-After-Loss(es)
I have written before about praying when you are pregnant, both here on Joyful Domesticity and in the Rainbows & Redemption devotional I helped write & edit a few years ago.
Desire and surrender are the perfect balance to praying.
~Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life, p123~
And today, here I am at 36 weeks pregnant with a precious and beloved little rainbow baby, preparing for the marathon that will soon be delivering him from my body into our arms… and I feel nearly at a loss for words at my Father’s feet. I want to pray. I feel like I know what I need to pray for. And yet the words feel so hard to come by. The contractions come more frequently than the words do. My words feel feeble and basic, deft of depth. Are they void of faith too? Lord, have mercy and give me faith in spirit that spills out into faith-filled, faithful words. It is hard to feel like my prayers would have efficacy. It is hard to feel like it even matters. All I can mutter while sitting here and silently speaking with the Lord in my heart is Oh God, I need Your strength and I need You to do the work ~ I need You to establish this work, and I desperately desire Your favor to be upon us.
I am fearful and anxious.
I am both physically and mentally weary.
I am prepared and completely unprepared, simultaneously.
I know God’s in control.
It is both freeing and terrifying to know that I have zero control.
I like meditating on these Scriptures when I have these anxious moments, and turning them into prayers:
Today I am reminding myself of certain truths that I can grab hold of in Scripture, in regard to my child’s life.
The Lord made and fashioned my son in my womb (Job 31:15) just in the same way that He made all other things in creation (Isaiah 44:24), and before even that, He knew my son (Jeremiah 1:5). He not only knew, created, and formed this little baby, but He knows the numbers of his days and sees him even in the secret depths of my womb (Psalm 139:16).
I am begging the Lord to be faithful to my family, to me, to my son ~ that He would deliver this baby from my womb in His perfect timing and cause him to trust the Lord even while he nurses, that not only would He cling to our son once he is born but that even now the tiny faith of my baby would be clinging to his God (Psalm 22:9-10). I am asking the Lord to be the One on whom our tiny baby is leaning even now, and that he will not be afraid when he is plunged into the hard throes of being delivered, and that in due time we all would be praising the Lord together for His provision and strength and deliverance (Psalm 71:6). I am confident that this fruit of my womb is a blessing, an unmerited reward from the hand of God simply because He is gracious (Psalm 127:3).
And so this brings me to my knees, knowing that this entire pregnancy has not only been planned, knitted, and seen by the Lord, but that He continues to hold my life and my baby’s life in His hands… knowing that the end is in sight, and while the unknowns of how and when delivery will happen are outside the reach of my knowledge, it is all in the Lord’s sovereign plan already. I am asking for peace in the waiting and wondering. I am asking for comfort in the face of pain and anxiety.
At just seven weeks, I wrote:
My prayers are no longer eloquent, but have been reduced to a childlike sputtering of short phrases. I walk around in circles feeling like time is slipping by at the rate of a tortoise race while my heartrate feels like a busy jackrabbit. At the heart of it all, I guess my humanity is saying that I want control, that I want what I do to matter and effect a difference. My child is in the coziest place, closer to me than anyone could possibly be in any other physical way—but I have absolutely zero power over what goes on in there. It is a helpless feeling. The helplessness of a child wells up within me, and I feel like a toddler. Those childlike prayers come out, the tantrums happen, I climb helplessly into my Father’s lap when I curl up on the couch with my Bible or my prayer book… and I remember the call of Jesus to become like a child. And I think, oh! That’s exactly what He has done to me right now! He has made me like a child before Him in all of my sputtering, frail helplessness!
At twenty-five weeks, I wrote:
Please grant us hearts that are rejoicing in You, Lord. Make us rejoice! Please give us confidence in You and peace with all people. Remind us of Your presence with us each day, no matter what arises—spotting, nausea, exhaustion—and give us Your power over anxiety. Lord, help me to bring everything to You in prayer. Give me the wisdom not to simply fret, but to rather be filled with thanksgiving so that I can bring You my requests in prayer and praise and supplication. Lord, please remind me that it is Your peace alone that will surpass my understanding, and will guard my heart and my mind in Your own Christ Jesus. When I feel anxiety beginning to take over, bring me to my knees so that Your presence, Your peace, and Your guarding Spirit will be the only thing overwhelming me. Please fill my mind with things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable. Please take away all things which are unlovely, false, dishonest, and fretful. Make me to dwell on things that You find excellent! Give me a heart that focuses on things that are worth of praise! Use Your people around me, Your Scriptures, Your Spirit that lives within me—to help me practice what You would have me do. And please, in all of these things, send Your peace to be with me and reign over me (Philippians 4:4-9).
At thirty-two weeks, I wrote:
It has not been an easy road for over eight years of seeking to grow our family. But Lord, You have done the work, and You have repeatedly restored us. Desolation has always been followed by restoration. We see Your faithfulness. We have seen it in the darkness and the valleys. We have seen it while dancing on the sunlit mountaintops. Your hand of grace and Your heart of mercy has never been far from us, even when we in our humanity somehow felt far from You.
Therefore, we sing to You and we give thanks to Your holy name. Because while we have felt the cold shady side of being Your children, living tangibly in the realities that You are sovereign even in the most painful and harsh of circumstances, our family is also living proof that You do bring the dawn—and with it, You restore joy.
And now, with the culmination of this PAL journey nearing my fingertips, I pray again:
Oh God my Father, You have been faithful. You have been my food and drink. You have been my peace and strength. You have been my hope and joy. Remind me of these things now while I am feeling weak, isolated, empty. When the contractions grip me, use their power to remind me of Your hands powerfully gripping me. When the pain overcomes me, fill me with Your presence so that the One who overcame the power of sin and death will give me the strength to come through the agony of delivering a child from my body. When the fear and anxiety of unknowns control all my attention, give my heart Your peace because I have confidence that You not only know all but planned all and hold all things.
Give us joy, because You have continually proven that You hear our prayers. Give us confidence, because You daily provide for all our needs. Give us energy, for You are the source of all light and life and strength.
Give me words to speak and pray that are glorifying to You. And remind me that eloquence is not Your measure of faith, but a contrite heart and open hands. These are what I offer to You today, my King and my God. Be near to me, near to my son. Don’t let us go.
Anxiety is unable to relax in the face of chaos;
continuous prayer clings to the Father in the face of chaos.
~Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life, p71~
I am asking for big blessings. Big strength. Big faith. Faith that will be far more precious than gold, for it has been tested and tried, given and proven. May the Lord’s blessing be upon us as He establishes the work of our hands and knitting of His covenant child in my womb. Amen.
A needy heart is a praying heart. Dependency is the heartbeat of prayer.
~Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life, p24~