Think of a time when you felt filled with exuberant joy.
The year my third baby was born. She was my rainbow baby - A baby born after a miscarriage or pregnancy loss. In my case, after 3 losses through miscarriage.
The pregnancy was full of fear, but every turn of fear was quickly switched to hope as my entire church prayed for the entire pregnancy.
But, that's not all.
God doesn't just answer prayer - He gives in abundance - More than you could ever hope or imagine. And, that was the case with me.
Every step of the pregnancy was a miracle. But, every step went far above and beyond what I could ever hope or dream or imagine.
Let's start with the loss, because often joy comes through loss or pain.
It started with the unexpected loss of three pregnancies. The first one came very unexpectedly, after two non-complicated pregnancies and births of my son and my daughter, I was pregnant again. But, this time, it would end far too soon and oh so painfully. But, while that one would be the longest pregnancy that I would experience only to have it end in miscarriage, it was the second one that hurt the most. Even the third miscarriage didn't hurt as badly, though it did put me into a several-year stupor of numbness.
It was the second loss that hurt so deeply. I think because the second miscarriage was what I thought was my gift of redemption, only it came to a tragic end instead. See, the first baby I lost in miscarriage happened in September of 2003. The third baby would have been due to be born in September, 2005. Only, this child was never meant to be held in my arms. But, the second baby that hurt so badly seemed to be my redemption. This baby would have been born in 2004. I held onto hope that this baby was going to be God's way of saying, I've heard your tears, and I'm sending you redemption. But, that one was not meant to be held in my arms either. I guess because I had thought that my hope for life rested in this baby is why it hurt so badly.
So, when I became pregnant in early 2006, I was filled with fear. But, God had a plan of joy for me instead.
I didn't even have the pregnancy verified by a medical professional until I was well past the "safety" date of my other losses.
I began to pray
We asked our congregation to join us in prayer
I had a close friend who brought me food and took my other 2 children places while I rested
I was still so full of fear
But, there were signs of God through it all, and ultimately He would share with me so much incredible joy.
First - I thought she was going to be a boy, but God had placed the name Eliana on my heart. I dismissed it till the 9th month when I decided to Google its meaning only to discover the name means:
I am the Lord who Answers
Second - September had become a month of despair and loss and tragedy, but while she was due to be born in October, God saw fit to bring her forth in Setpember instead. Not only did he truly redeem September for me, but he had her born on the Sabbath of Rosh Hashanah. Now, if you are unfamiliar with this date - It is the Jewish New Year celebration, when things are made new again.
Happy Rosh Hashanah - Here's Eliana!
Third - I had always wanted a home birth, and actually a water birth, but I was a bit too afraid to do so in case something went wrong. BUT GOD, saw to it that my labor was short and that my baby came so quickly that there was no time to get to the hospital. Not only was she born at home, but my husband was the first to greet her, delivering her into his arms. And, I only missed the water birth by a few minutes. Had I stayed in the jacuzzi where I was laboring, she would have been born in water as well.
There are many more small details that God saw to it to bring to my attention as He truly redeemed my loss and turned it into joy.
I was walking on a cloud for years after her birth.
This is my story of joy from loss. What's yours?
Is joy something you can muster up all by yourself? I really don't think so. I really believe that true joy is only found when we are in the presence of God. The Bible says:
You will make known to me the path of life;