Updated: Feb 3, 2022
This post was written by my wife, Maria. She shares where she is at in the grief process. The words "Even If" point to the idea that even if God doesn't do the miracle, answer the prayer, etc, we can still choose to trust Him. The concept was shared to us by a friend who introduced us to a podcast entitled "Even If" by Kelly Streiff. We've listened to one episode so far and as hard as it is, we begrudgingly look forward to listening to them all.
Even If. I kind of hate that statement. A few years ago, when I was on the long, slow road to physical recovery a dear friend gave me a gift. It was a bracelet with a phrase on it that had been purchased from a shop in her hometown. She had received one of her own before facing her own physical journey to recovery. Her bracelet said something empowering and encouraging like “Do not fear” or “Be Courageous.” Words that ring true from the book of Joshua as the children of Israel crossed the Jordan and entered into the Promised Land. I could understand why someone would want to have that type of reminder around their wrist while facing the grueling, daily battle to physical recovery. But the bracelet she gave me said something else. It said “Even If.” Even If? No thank you. I was believing God for a miracle. I was trusting in His faithfulness to restore. I was waiting and petitioning and seeking and hoping and believing Him for all of it. How could I not? I know what He is capable of. So, I thanked her for the gift, I did appreciate her thinking of me, but I went home and threw it in the trash. There was no way that “Even If” was going to become my mantra. How could I stop hoping for the pain to end and healing to come? God had given me too much hope, too many promises to hold onto, too much faith to settle for “Even If”, even if I had to be patient.
Sitting here, a week after delivering our perfectly beautiful 38 week old still-born baby girl, I wish I still had the luxury of “Even If.” Instead it’s “already dead.” There’s no room for God to move and declarations that we will remain faithful even if He doesn’t. The promises have gone void and the future as we knew it has been stolen. There were no precious newborn cries upon delivery. The only sound that could be heard was my own gut-wrenching, barely-able-to-breath-through-it sobbing. There were no beautiful blue or brown or hazel eyes looking up at me. Only a baby whose life had been taken by the very thing that had sustained her as she grew in the darkness of my womb. She had ten perfect little fingers that will never grasp onto mine and the sweetest little toes that will never be painted by her older sister.
I’ve been thrust into a life that I never saw coming and feel fooled by the God who knows the beginning from the end. Now instead of “Even If” I have to somehow figure out how to live in the “Even When.” Even when it seems as though God has written this beautiful story of redemption and faithfulness and it all slips away in a moment. Even when He answers a prayer that you had been praying for years and then takes it away at the very last possible second. Even when He gives you peace to step forward into something that seemed scary and impossible for so long and sustains you through it all only to find out He never intended for your baby girl to make it home. Even when the hurt seems way too personal and intricately woven together to just be the product of a fallen world. Even when you feel utterly forsaken and completely forgotten.
Now He has to show Himself to be faithful “Even Then.”