God, Why? God Who...

By: Jenny Abbott Edwards

The thought that is still hanging over my head is, “God, why?!” I know horrific things happen in the world because of sin and sinful people. But, I do not know why tragic anomalies occur.

Despite my utter shock that a family on vacation could be dealt with something that deviates so far from the realm of possible outcomes, I do not doubt that God was there in the midst of it all.

You see in my limited perspective, all I can think, even as a devout Christian, is “God, why? Why did you allow this to happen?!”

Close relationships cause friction, especially, when one is being refined, remolded, remade. In this refining process of becoming more like Christ, I find myself being able to be real with God. To be angry with God. To cry out to God in my prayers in my joy, in my sorrow, in my anger. Somehow in my former “Christian-walk”, when I thought I had to be sugar coated and fancy with God I thought I was hiding these feelings from him simply because I was not speaking them. I know. Really?

I think it is powerful for Christians to be real in that WE don’t always understand the WHY but we know the WHO. The God who keeps his promises.  The God who is mighty to save. The God who is love. The God who is light. The God who knit me together in my mother's womb. The God who knows my story. The God who knows my name.The God who sent his only son to die on the cross for a sinner like me.

I don’t understand the awful, the evil, the tragic events that are occurring in this world. But, I do, without a doubt, know that the God of this universe sent his only son to die for me. And, that alone, often leaves me wondering, “God, why?” Why would you send your only son to die for a sinner like me? But, he says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways.” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:9

Some of my greatest suffering has been in the loss of three babies in miscarriages. In the midst of each loss, I cried out, “God, why?”

Though the simple answer will never be given on Earth, the compassionate Father I serve, lovingly held me in His arms through each painful, heartbreaking loss. Over time and healing, He began to whisper to me that my suffering was not in vain, but that He had great purpose to prepare me to walk with someone else suffering a similar loss. Suffering, despite the outcome, can turn into triumph when we realize our suffering and the way we chose to walk as we write our story, has the power to positively impact the life of another.

Today, I came across a GoFundMe page for someone I don’t know personally in my church. After reading her story, Mommy of an Angel, my heart remembered a familiar pain and suffering. But because of God’s great grace and mercy on my life, I immediately heard his whisper, from Isaiah 55:10-12, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; and the mountains and hills will burst into song before you..”

As the darkness tries to consume this nation with grief and confusion, let us remember that He is the way, the truth and the light. Though we may not ever understand, “Why God?!” we can rest in WHO he is and the promises he has made.

Today, I ask you to join with me in praying for our nation. I also ask that you will pray for my sister in Christ through our unchosen bond of the loss of children. I asked English for her permission to share her story from her blog, Enlish Smith Blog, of baby Shiloh. I hope her story encourages you, in the midst of suffering, through the hope she has in Christ.

To read English's story, please click the link above or continue reading below:

Mommy Of An Angel

Our announcement!

On March 7th, 2016, I found out I was pregnant with our first baby. The two tests I took read pregnant loud and clear. I was filled with emotions of excitement and nervousness, but most of all I was just so excited to tell my husband Nick! All day I thought of little ways to spill the news to Nick. Let me tell you, that was the longest day ever. When I got off of work, I rushed home and told Nick our exciting news; we were going to have a little Smith! I still smile thinking about Nick’s reaction. I hadn’t seen him that excited about something in a long time. His eyes were so big and he had the biggest grin on his face for about 5 hours straight. We were absolutely thrilled. That next week I had my first appointment where they told me I was 5 weeks along. Due to being a type one diabetic, I had to set up appointments for every two weeks just so that they could make sure that all was going smoothly. My blood sugars and A1c levels were in the perfect range for a diabetic mommy who was having a baby.

Our first ultrasound of Shiloh at 7 weeks!
As I continued my visits everything continued to go perfectly. I didn’t have bad morning sickness (which I was so thankful for), my blood glucose levels were great, and baby was growing right along. Nick and I spent every day talking about the future with our baby. Daily conversations would consist of names or nursery decor or about me making the transition to be a stay at home mommy. We took joy in simply talking about it. I remember the first time I heard our baby’s heartbeat. It was so incredible to know that God had created this tiny baby that was growing in me. We went back and heard the heart beat over 3 more visits and everything looked and sounded great for me and for baby. On my 16.5 week visit everything changed.

On May 27th, I went for my routine check up at my OBGYN and I was about 16.5 weeks along. I had been going every two weeks for a simple check up. Just two weeks before this I had gone in and heard the heart beat and they sent me one my way. This appointment went very different. As my doctor placed the cold gel on my belly I was excited to once again hear our sweet baby’s heartbeat. She moves the Doppler all around trying to pick up the noise but was having some trouble finding it. She added more gel and moved the little machine around… but still nothing. I didn’t think much of it as I just thought that the baby was tucked away and playing hard to get. I mean, I had just heard the heart beat two weeks before. She then took me to the ultrasound room to check again and I laid there waiting for her to say something, anything. She was very quiet as she continued to search for a sound. I could see my baby on the screen and in that moment I knew something was wrong. You see, last time I saw my baby on an ultrasound he/she looked like it was doing jumping jacks in my belly… and this time he/she was not moving at all. The doctor called for the ultrasound tech to come in and take a closer look. She took a look then turned toward the doctor and shook her head. When she shook her head my heart felt like it had dropped 30 feet. How could this be? What do I do next? How do I tell Nick? Why would this happen? How could something so perfect and exciting be ripped away so fast and so suddenly? I was alone at this checkup as I didn’t want to take nick away from work for what I thought would be another routine, 15 minute checkup. She told me to come back in a week to check everything out again but said I would miscarry this baby. I asked the doctor if I could use the back door to leave as I could not hold myself together much longer. I quickly walked to my car, got in, shut the door and cried like I have never cried before. This was a different sadness that I had never felt before. I called Nick and my family and headed home. I don’t even remember how I got home that day. It was one of those drives you leave and all of a sudden you are pulling into your driveway. I knew what the doctor had just told me and I knew what I saw but I still had hope. Hope that maybe our baby would have a heart beat again. Hope that maybe their machines were not working correctly. Hope that I would get to have and raise this baby!

**It is not my intention to give you, as a reader, a false sense of hope. Please know that our baby is in heaven with his/her incredible great grandfather and other loved ones. Through it all, God is still so good. Please read on.**

When I got home, Nick was waiting outside for me to pull up. I got out of the car I fell into his arms. I cried and he was strong. He packed up the car so that we could head to Charlotte for the weekend to be with family. We called an OBGYN doctor that Nick’s family is friends with and asked if he could take a look at me and give us a 2nd opinion. As we arrived to the doctor’s office for the second opinion he took a good look and confirmed to us that our baby had for sure gone to be with the Lord. He took measurements of the fetus and from those numbers it appeared that the baby had stopped developing at around 15 weeks. For a whole week and a half my baby had no heart beat and yet my body had not shown me any signs of miscarriage. No cramping, no bleeding, nothing. The doctor told us there was nothing at all that I had done to cause this to happen. That was good to hear because of course a caring mother instantly starts trying to figure out what she did or didn’t do that caused this loss. I had what felt like thousands of questions that will probably go unanswered until I meet Jesus face to face. We left the room and our family was outside waiting on us. We hugged them and told them that our baby is now in Heaven. We all cried and once again took a back door out of the doctor’s office. The doctor gave me a prescription for low pain meds and said if you see any bleeding to go to the ER. Well, we went the whole weekend and still no signs of miscarriage, yet I knew there was a lifeless baby in my belly.

My little belly bump at 16.5 weeks

Tuesday the 31st of May, I had my follow up appointment with my OBGYN. They checked everything out one more time and told me that I needed to be induced and deliver the baby. Nick and I drove over to the hospital to start our journey toward delivering our sweet baby. It was a little hard being on the labor and delivery floor where I could hear babies crying but I was brave. I am telling you I had the Lord’s strength and peace over me. They then drew my blood, started my IV, and then gave me the meds to start inducing me. Three hours flew by and they gave me my next dose of meds to help induce me.

In the hospital about to be induced for delivery

Many hours passed and the cramps started to come but only like a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10 in pain. Then all of a sudden that 3 went to a 10 real fast! Contractions were hitting with a vengeance every 45 seconds then every 30 seconds. My body was shaking, I was breaking nicks hand from squeezing it so hard, and that poor bed got a few punches thrown at it. The nurse called for an epidural. While waiting on the anesthesiologist to come in, my water broke. That was a strange feeling. I told Nick that something was happening and he told the nurse using my exact words, “Something is happening!”, he yelled down the hall. She  was so calm and comforting while taking care of me and then prepped me for the epidural. Once the epidural finally took action the physical pain was gone… but emotional pain… well these meds couldn’t fix that. This was a rush of emotions and experiences I have never been through before. I was nervous but having my amazing husband right by my side through it all helped me so much. We got through it together. Next we just rested until about 5:00 AM on June 1st when my wonderful doctor came in and said time to push. She broke down the bed, got everything ready and I pushed. By 4 total pushes, my body delivered our baby..

The doctor placed our baby in a blanket so that we could at least hold it. Our baby was a bit bigger than I imagined (about 6 inches long) yet still so tiny. It amazed me how absolutely perfect its little body appeared. The fingers and toes were so small but so real. His/Her little nose looked just like mine and it had strong muscles like its daddy. When I looked at our baby I said “God is so good”. Though this moment was so hard and so sad I still knew God was good. He is so good to create life and for babies to be so small yet so detailed and intricate. I’m telling you, I never knew I could love a little body so much. That baby is ours. Half me and half of Nick and with the Lord and with our love we made this little baby. My heart was hurt and still hurts that our baby was taken away after that. That was the first and last time we will get to hold our first baby here on earth.Through this we remain thankful.

I was asked, if given the choice to have ever been pregnant would I take that choice after what I went though… my answer is that I would definitely choose to have been pregnant. I’m thankful I went through the labor, thankful that  I got to hold my baby, and thankful I carried him or her for 17 exciting, wonderful weeks. I still don’t understand why, but God created this baby for Heaven. He or she is up there without a scratch on its body and up there with perfect health. He or she is getting lots of love from the Lord, as well as it’s uncle, Papa, Papaw and all of our other family members who have passed. My old teacher and friend put a verse in new perspective for me. I told her we still don’t understand and she told me that is why God gives us a peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Sometimes understanding doesn’t give you peace or doesn’t solve the issue. But the peace from the Lord can and is far better than understanding. Although my heart hurts and I still cry almost daily I choose to trust the Lord. For His ways are better than ours. I hold tight to His promises. I lean on the Lord for grace and peace. Even though this is so hard and I have my “why moments” and weak moments, He truly pours out His peace on us and that helps us though. We have named our sweet angel; Shiloh Reese Smith. For Shiloh means peace. We love our baby and will celebrate the 17 weeks that I carried him or her and celebrate the sweet moments that we got to hold little Shiloh. I know we will hug and kiss Shiloh again one day in Heaven.

A sweet nurse at the hospital gave me this knitted angel and this is a photo of our last ultrasound of Shiloh

I continue to Pray daily for the Lords peace and comfort over this situation. I know God will make good out of this and I hope my story can help encourage other mothers who are having to go through this tragic and heartbreaking time. And no matter the circumstances, we have a Heavenly Father who wants to love us and shower us with His peace and love.
-English Noel Smith-

Verses that have encouraged me through this journey:
Philippians 4:6-7
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Psalm 29:11
11 The Lord gives His people strength.
    The Lord blesses them with peace.
Jeremiah 29:11
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
Matthew 11:28-29
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.