*Disclaimer: I wrote this post in May of this year, but never posted it that month due to the busyness of life. So it's finally happening. As you read it, imagine it's still May 2013. :)
Four years ago to the month, Jake and I found ourselves driving along the Peak to Peak Highway in agony and anger. We needed an out, a place to get away to. To breathe, to cry.
We finally stopped at a National Park with a glistening lake tucked away in the valley of Longs Peak and Twin Sisters Peak. We got out of the car and started walking, holding hands and silent. We couldn't get away from what was coming but it felt good to try. To physically exert ourselves with the pent up emotions and hurt in our hearts.
We rounded the far side of the lake and took a trail off to the right and up into the hills. After walking for a bit, we decided to spend some time alone, to think, pray, and process. I continued to pound my feet along the rocky path until I found a large stone that overlooked a valley and snowy peaks. I sat and gazed at the beauty around me and wondered where God was in my suffering. The wind picked up and I thought about how God must be in it. Strong and fearsome, and yet right now, so quiet.
We had just learned the day before that the little one being knit together in my womb had stopped living. This baby was gone. Not to be carried to term. Not to be brought home like I desperately longed to. And yet again we were being plunged into grief.
We had gotten away to think, to process this new loss. Eleven months out from watching our first baby, Molly, die from a rare brain aneurysm, we were just 14 weeks pregnant with baby number two and starting to tell people of this new life.
On this walk by the lake we both struggled in different ways. Me with my anger and questions of how God could do this to us. Extend hope only to pull it away. Jake struggled with his faith and attempted to make deals with the Creator in order to make sense of this fresh loss.
That was four years ago.
Today, after an early morning surprise date in which we road horses in Estes Park and walked around a historic hotel, we found ourselves back on that same highway looking for a good place to hike and talk. No agenda, just looking for something to do before we had to be home to relieve our sitter. We have discovered in our 7 years of marriage that long car rides or walks often yield really good conversations between the two of us.
And where did we end up? At that same lake and trail we had been at only four years earlier. Oddly enough, that lake is called Lily Lake and across the road is Twin Sisters Peak and trailhead. Pretty neat, huh?
The twins' middle names are a reminder of what God allowed to happen in our lives by giving us Molly only to take her back a week later. Piper Marah (which means bitter turned to sweet) and Lily Mataya (which means unexpected gift from God).
On that hike today we realized so many things. God was indeed with us when we felt Him the least. Even though we had lost another baby, He had other plans in store for us. Plans that we couldn't fathom or see possible at the time. And isn't that so gracious of Him? To give us more than we asked for? To bless us even more than we imagined? That is our God.
Piper was our baby A, the only baby we were expecting when we discovered I was pregnant in August of 2009. Because when most women take a pregnancy test, they think, "woo hoo!! We're pregnant! We're going to have a baby!!" Most people don't expect to be pregnant with twins. Well, several weeks later, we discovered an "unexpected gift from God", Lily Mataya, our Baby B.
This second time at Lily Lake, I experienced so many emotions. Jake and I stood at that same rock that I had sat on 4 years earlier and I just cried. I cried for the babies we had lost, the road we had traveled, the hard days of not understanding why God had allowed us this cup, and how much my heart was missing my babies in Heaven. And I also cried tears of immense joy. Tears for the incredible gift that we have in all three of our living daughters: Piper, Lily, and sweet little Rainey. I am overjoyed at what God has given us.
He has given us so many gifts. And that's just what our girls are: unexpected gifts that we do not deserve, on loan to us from our Sovereign God.
Thank you, sweet Jesus.