the prayers He didn’t answer

“And when God finally reveals His strange and mysterious ways,
it will drop us to our knees in worship.
We will thank Him for the prayers He did answer.
We’ll also thank Him for the prayers He didn’t answer
because we’ll finally understand why.”
– Mark Batterson,
Praying Circles Around Your Children

The tears formed so quickly, I sobbed and actually choked on my spit.
Grief is messy, that’s for sure.

“The prayers He didn’t answer…”
I prayed so many prayers for those babies, believed as much as I could that God could–and would–do it, clung to the promises of Scripture…

…and yet…

He didn’t do it.
They didn’t… They weren’t… Words seem to fail me when I speak about them.
I never got to hold them.
Instead they are with Jesus.
And for that I am grateful.
But my heart will aches for them.
In a similar way that my body still aches so many months after giving birth, my heart still aches from the trauma of losing them.

I don’t know why God didn’t answer that prayer–those many, many prayers.

But I do know a great blessing that came from the wreckage.

We wouldn’t have Noelle if it weren’t for that loss.
And I can’t imagine life without her–her sweet smiles, gentle coos, the way she “sings” with me in the darkness of the night.

It’s messy–this grief.
It’s tangled with a gift, intermingled with joy.

There’s sadness and beauty, anger and gratitude, confusion and wonder all wrapped up together. Like the threads of a rope. Like the workings of a web.

It’s difficult for me to sort, much less to explain.
It’s difficult for me to understand, much less to convey.

Maybe you, too, know this mess of grief.
Maybe you, too, find yourself amidst its deep and dark waters.
Hopefully you, too, find yourself guided to the stiller, calmer, and clearer waters–the ones by the sandy shore of rest, relief and healing.

And if you, too, get choked suddenly, unexpectedly–by the visitor unannounced of this grief that will always be with us–well, that’s okay, too.
It’s all part of the journey, the navigating of this messy earth until we reach the shores of Heaven, walk through its golden gates, and gaze upon the glory of the One who holds it all… the One who holds them all.

photo: Apple Rose Photography

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