I turned thirty last weekend. And honestly, I ran from Jesus the whole day. Ran away from grief over the death of some dreams and begged husband, son, caffeine, food, and credit card to fill me up. No one’s surprised that those left me high and dry.
At 5 o’clock in the late afternoon I finally slowed my swagger, turned around to face the God I’d been running from, and let Jesus have His way in my heart.
I finally told Him the truth.
I was supposed to be pregnant on my 30th birthday, and my soul hurt because I was not.
What the rest of the world is just finding out, what Jesus somehow knew long before it happened? We lost a baby in June. A little life we’d known of only a few weeks slipped out of my cramping, grieving body well before his or her February due date could even come close.
When I turned 20 I was certain I’d have two or three children by the time that decade came to a close. Jesus had other, better plans. But to turn the decade and have only one child because death had stolen from us? It stings. Not merely the death of a dream, but the very real death of a very real soul we should have met just a few months from now. I finally admitted the pain to Jesus, and He held me close. No scolding waited. No frustration over my frailty. “He remembers that we are dust,” and He cradled me as His prized, dusty daughter. (Psalm 103:14)
Looking back on my twenties I realize this has been His way all along. When the bottom falls out on my dreams and desires, that’s when He comes nearest to bind up my broken heart and give me what was always better than the best I could imagine: Himself.
The sorority sister who died, the boyfriend who couldn’t decide, the interviews that tanked, the roommates that moved out married, the deployment that wrecked our honeymoon years, the months we thought we’d be pregnant but weren’t, and this most recent grief of pregnancy lost, these turned out to be the sweetest times of my life.
The moments I never would have chosen for myself were the exact moments that Jesus leaned in and spoke loudest, “I choose you. You are mine. Stay with me.”
All too often we women of God hear exhortations to guard our hearts and think we’ve been asked to curb our emotions, build up our defenses, and maintain the wholeness of our own souls. All the while, Jesus has actually invited us to offer up our busted, broken hearts to His healing hands. The answer is not in feeling less, but in offering Him more. Rather than lopping off the parts of me that malfunction and ache, I’m to offer them to Jesus so His love can graft them back into Himself. Christ alone is our wholeness, but we are not made whole until we offer Him the totality of our brokenness.
If I could turn back the decade and tell 20-year-old Katie just one thing, perhaps it would be a proclamation of freedom to feel, to surrender, and to run straight to Jesus every time. He has moved most profoundly through the moments I abandoned the charade of got-it-all-together-ness and embraced what a fragile, needy daughter I was, looking to my good Father to supply every need, collect every tear, and resurrect every death.
And if there’s one thing I hope 40-year-old-Katie will be able to say of in-her-thirties-Katie? Any anthem I hope this decade might proclaim? It may be this simple refrain:
Give me Jesus, give me Jesus!
You can have all this world,
But give me Jesus.
(For more on miscarriage, motherhood, and learning to offer Jesus every part of my heart, I’d love for you to join me in my own little corner of the internet.)