Sunday, April 17, 2011

Beyond No's

Joe and I were talking last night about how we wish others could see the way God has been faithful during the trials we have had to face in life. Over and over we have seen His hand at work, even though so often it was during the hardest times. The following is the story of Grace's beginning, and how even then God was gifting us with glimpses of His plan.

We dreamed of Grace long before she came to be. We tried for over a year to conceive, and every month my heart sank when I realized it would be another month before we had another chance. My father in law had cancer at the time and as he got sicker we started spending more time out with them to help out. As he moved into hospice services we moved in with them to help to care for him at night. One night while everyone was sleeping, Canton and I were talking about our wanting a baby. He was so tired and the conversation only lasted a couple minutes. Just before he fell asleep he asked me, “What if God says no? Will you still trust Him?” I couldn’t respond. It was like I had been struck over the head by a fallen tree. What if God’s answer was no? Tears rolled down my face as I watched Canton sleep for another hour. Resounding in my heart through the searing pain, I kept answering over and over in my heart... “Yes, I will trust Him. I will always trust Him.”

Canton died just a couple days later. That conversation was the last we ever had. At his reviewal, Joe's cousin approached me asking if I was pregnant. Of course the question was jarring and left me feeling a little overweight. Amy said she had a very vivid dream in which I was playing with a little girl with brown hair who was laughing. She said she knew that it was my little girl. I thought, well maybe God is testing me. Or maybe He is giving me hope for the future. I wiped a tear away and said, “No, I’m not pregnant.” A couple hours later Joe’s sister approached giving me a big hug. “Hi, Annette. I just had to tell you about a dream I had the other night. She went on to tell me that in her dream I had a daughter with brown curly hair who was playing with another little girl who she felt was her daughter (although she did not have children yet either). Are you pregnant?” “No", I said, "but I’m a little freaked out!” I went on to tell Susie about the dream her cousin had just shared.

On the way home I was telling Joe about the strange questions and conversations at the reviewal. “Well, could you be pregnant?” Thinking back, I was a little late, but with the current circumstances of stress in my life wasn’t surprised about that. Besides we’d only been home once in the last month and a half to “do laundry”. After actively trying to get pregnant for a year, it seemed unlikely that the one time we weren’t trying I had gotten pregnant.

The funeral the next day was a wonderful testament to the amazing man Canton was, and the life of service to God he had led. We went to bed that night utterly exhausted... physically, emotionally and spiritually. The next day I couldn’t get the conversations at the reviewal out of my head, so I snuck off to the store for a test. I snuck it back in and couldn’t get into the bathroom fast enough. It was positive. I think I read and reread the package insert 5 times. Positive. Pregnant.

My sister, Alisa was living with us at the time and I got to share the news with both my husband and sister at the same time. My heart soared and I said a little thank you to Canton, for helping me realize that even if God had said no, I knew my answer back would have still been yes.

In the end, our journey with Grace brought us full circle, and back to the original question. When she was diagnosed with cancer and the treatment did not work and our prayers for healing came back as a no... again the question resounded. "What if God says no? Will you still trust him?" Through the pain wrenching at our hearts, we looked back over the evidence of God's presence in the journey of life and there was no other answer but the one that kept repeating in our hearts, "Yes I will trust Him. I will always trust Him".

I'm reading back though the caring bridge journal entries and there was so much I left out. But I will tell the stories as long as you'll listen. There is so much still to learn from it all.


  1. Wow! I love hearing more of your story. God has definitely been at work creating a beautifully deep work in and through you.

  2. God IS faithful. And interstingly, always seem to find moments where we question his faithfulness. We tend to hear "no" because we always are living "in the now". And day after day, minute after minute... God lives "in the not yet."

    I swear I feel my ears heare more "no's" than "not yets". Just like with my head... my ears aren't as strong as my heart. The stronger one ~ my heart ~ hears the "not yet".

    God created my heart... I'm not really sure what comes first... I've never had the blessing of reading "What to expect when you're expecting" to know if the heart comes before the ears and head... If it doesn't... then I'll dispute the book (I say that with a smile of course).

    Only because I know that God lives for hearts. He smiles for hearts. He KNOWS hearts. He wonderfully made yours, Joe's, mine, and beautiful, bountiful, boisterous Gracie's. Dang, He's pretty darn good at making hearts... if I do say so myself.

    I, too, wish and wonder how and why others can't see the way God has been faithful during the trials we have had to face in life... People continue to trudge along, without asking God first. Asking him to sieze our day, and make it his. So, we go ahead with wild abandon and make the trials of our lives on our own, then stop and wonder why God did it. "Ding, dong, silly... don't you realize you did it... not me?" says God.

    And then he FAITHFULLY says, "even though you created this trial in your life, I love you so much, I'll get you out of it." then he whispers, "Follow me..."

    I love you, Annette. You are one of my treasured blessings in this life. God made my heart... and in it, I pray that people see you, Joe, Grace, Mae & Joy... snuggled right there next to our ever-faithful Savior.

    Cheers... to pregnancy tests that reveal miraculous wonders that bless our lives. Cheers to a wonderful, mighty, and blessing-filled Heavenly Father!

    Much love, BIG hugs...

  3. Annette, Please keep writing as you have a real gift when it comes to writing. I suggested your blog to Jane Haering ( her daughter Ann had a carringbridge page ) I see you as being an encouragement to others who have lost a child ( Charlie Smith ) Continuing to pray for you and your family.

  4. It took me a while to figure this blog stuff out.
    We had 2nd infertility after a miscarriage. It was tough to deal with. We used a fertility drug for 5 months and we were on our last month and I had trips for work and we were not together much that month. And we had a new hot tub and I was late and so before I got in the hot tub I was tested and I was pregnant. In God's time not ours.
    God knows what we we had a need when we need it. It does not make sense to us cause we see only our little piece. It is very frustrating for us - and I know I pass that frustration on - to God and others - R is a saint sometimes. But we just have to trust in a bigger picture and in a eternal picture.
    Love you guys