Have you ever heard or said the phrase, “If I knew then what I know now”? If I had known, I totally would’ve saved all my 80s clothes! I would’ve invested in my younger years. I would’ve taken care of my health more. These aren’t regrets per se, just lessons I’ve learned along the way. And how I wish I could’ve told myself what I know now when I was ready to give up on God.
In 2003, after having two healthy boys with no complications, I had an ectopic pregnancy. My fallopian tube ruptured, and I almost lost my life. It was a big wake-up call for how brief life can be. It spurred my husband and me to move from Oklahoma to California so he could finish his master’s degree. While we were there, I experienced a miscarriage. The doctor there told us we may need to stop trying if I experienced another one. We pretty much left it all in God’s hands. There was only a small chance that I could have ever get pregnant anyway, due to having only one tube. We prayed hard and after several years, we decided to start the adoption process.
A few years later, we were back in Oklahoma, saddened by how expensive it would be to adopt internationally, even though we originally felt called to it. We decided to begin the foster-to-adopt process. And smack in the middle of this process, we found out I was pregnant. It was a miracle! The tears of joy and shock we experienced are hard to explain. I prayed that we could have a baby girl this time. We praised God harder than we ever had before.
But soon after I found out I was pregnant, I started having some pain and other troublesome symptoms. After a few weeks of bedrest, I found out the pregnancy wasn’t viable and was brought in for a surgical procedure. When I woke up, I learned I had another ectopic pregnancy, and my only remaining tube was lost during the surgery. I would never conceive again.
Heartbroken does not describe the pain I felt. We were devastated. I mourned for months. I had so many people tell me, “I’ve miscarrried before. I know just how you feel.” I also got, “Well, at least you have two healthy boys.” They had no idea that I was angry with God. For at least a year, I shut Him out completely. I felt like I had done all of the “right” things and deserved to have this child. I grieved for a long time. I grieved the complete family I had pictured—what might have been. I felt ready to give up on God altogether.
Oh, if only I could go back in time and talk to my 34-year-old self.
I would tell her that she would not have just one daughter, but would get to adopt two beautiful girls. She would have over and above what she begged for. She would even get another son. She would absolutely feel like her family is complete, just not in the way she imagined. I would tell her that even though her dream of international adoption seemed impossible, God would provide the money for all of it. I would tell her that she is not inadequate. God called her to adopt older children with big-time struggles. He trusted her with that. He equipped her for that. I would tell her that 10 years later, she is stronger, emotionally healthier, and she is breaking free from her doubts and fears. She is becoming whole through Christ, not in what He gives, but what He does for her in her thoughts and heart. He is mending her.
If you find yourself in a place where you’re ready to give up on God like I was, please don’t. Not yet. No matter how angry you get, He won’t leave you. I was broken. Utterly hurt and scarred. But God loved me during my grief and despite my anger at Him. And He will be with you in your pain, too. You can trust He is good and that He is making a miracle out of your sadness by transforming it into something good in you.
And He knows what you don’t know now, but will in the future.