Cautiously prodding a crumpled tissue out of the way, I carefully reached my hand down into the garbage can and fished out the used pregnancy test. I’d tossed it in moments earlier but now I was second-guessing myself.
I held the test up close against my face and squinted, hoping against hope that somehow that would change the answer. Maybe I hadn’t waited long enough? Maybe there was a very faint line and I’d just missed it?
One lonely pink line stared back at me and my heart sank. The pregnancy test was definitely negative.
This monthly echo of disappointment is heard throughout my conversations with countless women. Time and time again, I hear how this wave of emotions slowly wears away at them: the seemingly endless waiting, the hopes raised, the hopes dashed. It’s been six months since our last miscarriage, a near half year of trashed pregnancy tests but already, I too feel the weight of this passing time.
Is this it? Are we done? The question sidles up beside me each month, nudging and prodding already tender wounds. If this is the end, it seems like a rather sad and tragic way for things to conclude: a decision that does not feel like my own, but rather one that has been taken from me. I wonder if it is worth the stress, anxiety, and impatience to press on. Do I even want to do this anymore? Surely it would be easier to mourn this loss once and for all, rather than month by month?
Most days the seemingly unending flood of optimism and hope washes over me once more and I think that this time everything will turn out okay. This time everything will be different. But then there are days like today: when the pregnancy test lies damp in the trash and I think about how much easier it would be to just let these hopes go. To move on and dream different dreams.
My heart is ferociously impatient and beats with the desire of one who isn’t yet satisfied, who yearns for more than what I’ve been given. But it’s also so very tired of being hurt. So very tired of the answer “no.”
I think we all find ourselves in these places of wanting and longing for more.
After the pain and heartache of five pregnancy losses, I too desire a different conclusion to the past three years. But buried beneath the pain and heartache of a stillbirth and four miscarriages have come beautiful lessons of contentment found in the most difficult of places.
Lying at the root of our longing for more is often a feeling of dissatisfaction with what we have now. This wasn’t the way we’d wanted things to end. Perhaps we compare what we have to what others have and feel that it’s not fair — we “deserve” more than we have been given. Haven’t we been faithful enough? Patient enough?
Placing our hopes in the fulfillment of something, we’ve lost our focus on Someone. We’ve forgotten that this story hasn’t been written for satisfaction in and of ourselves, but rather, satisfaction in Christ alone.
Still, my impatience tends to leak out and smear my prayers. The words “wait” and “trust” seem to continually hover over my devotional life and I feel like the Israelites walking around with sand-filled shoes for forty-years. “How long, O Lord? How long?”
And then I hear that still, small voice whisper one more word: surrender.
Surrender the life I thought I’d have for the life God is asking me to live.
A life lived in submission is not about giving up our dreams but instead, about laying them before the Author of the Universe and saying, “Your will be done.” Releasing our tight-fisted grasp on the control panel, we acknowledge our hopes and dreams, pains and fears, but surrender them nonetheless into His fully capable hands. We trust that God’s plan is good, even when (especially when!) it doesn’t appear to align with ours.
The word surrender feels like a sweet embrace, or a refreshing balm against parched lips. It’s the freedom to stop fighting our way though and to simply follow the footsteps of One who knows the way better than we do.
And so, with bare feet against laminate bathroom flooring, I stare at the pregnancy test tightly gripped in the palm of my hand and slowly release my grasp. It falls into the trashcan with a clatter that sounds less like a concluding chapter and more like a linking paragraph. The weight of that negative pregnancy test is no longer something that I have to carry but rather, a conscious monthly choice that I make to surrender.