It is Well

by Natalie Leonard

Go back with me a couple months to November, one of the craziest months in recent history with election 2016 hanging in the balance. I had wished that week away for months in advance. Oh, but I would take it back in a second.

November 6th. Two days before the world’s inevitable “E-Day” (Election Day, for those who want it spelled out.) It was Sunday. I woke up extra early, like 4 am early. When you gotta go, you gotta go 😉

I had been putting off the inevitable for over a week. There were signs I rolled my eyes at; my favorite was almost fainting running into the room when the Cubs won the World Series a few nights earlier! {Go Cubs!}

So at 4 am, on Sunday morning, I peed. On a stick.  And I waited. I’m in the digital age people; I just can’t…are they—aren’t they—they’re lines!  I’ll always be digital—I need Not Pregnant / Pregnant spelled out.

I had been waiting for 35 months. So what’s like, two minutes? I knew it would be the same outcome as the previous 35 months. (That’s one month short of three years in layman’s terms).  David was heading out of town the next day for ten days for the end of his tour. I had told him a few days earlier I’d do it before he left. So 4 am it was.

Over the previous 35 months, I learned to guard my heart to not hurt each month. And I had recently started imagining our life as a family of three and being content with that. I was skeptical. I was sad and discouraged, but I was content. I wanted Ella to have a sibling so much it hurt. She was not made to be alone!

Ella was certain it would happen. She knew she would be a big sister. Only four weeks earlier, as we sat at dinner at our neighborhood Mexican restaurant, we talked about having twins with purple and green hair; one boy, one girl.  She stopped us and said let’s pray about it (all the heart eye emojis). And our sweet four-year-old (less than two months shy of being five), prayed for us to have a baby.

That same week Ella prayed, two of my students stayed after school for our monthly coffee hang, and during our conversation about still no babies, they stopped and prayed over me. I won’t ever forget that moment either. The three of us were in tears standing and praying in my room about life, our future and a baby for me.

He knows what we want before we ask it, but he wants us to ask! Present our requests to Him because He wants a relationship with us! So sweet!

Sitting in the dark at 4 in the morning with no one around, I read the word I won’t ever forget. Pregnant.

Y’all, I sobbed. Fell on the floor and cried out to God in thanks, fear, and disbelief. I was pregnant. The Lord had answered our prayers. God is so good!!

I didn’t have a plan to tell David. I gave up on daydreaming the perfect way to tell him years ago. It hurts too much when you come up with a plan each month only to be let down. So in my half sleep, I looked around the bathroom and saw a pen and a box top to an old Birchbox.  I wrote a little message that simply said “Surprise Dad!” With the stick on the box top. (So gross if you think about it!)

ItiswellEDITED-2.jpgAnd I went back to bed. And couldn’t sleep…I laid awake until David’s alarm went off at 6 am, pretended to be asleep, and then waited for him to go in to the bathroom.

He was probably in as much disbelief as I was! We did the only thing we knew to do. We prayed and thanked God for this sweet baby growing inside me!! Three years is a long time.

So much can happen in such a short amount of time! We had seen our families over Thanksgiving and shared the amazing news with them and celebrated!! I was feeling all the feels (nauseous ones that is!), my clothes were quickly tightening, we came up with names, we planned our future as a family of four, we made summer plans since a new baby was coming in July! I was tracking baby’s size on the apps and joining the blogs!

Fast forward to November 29.

I took off work early and David met me for our doctor’s appointment. Such joy and excitement and nerves walking back into the doctor’s office. It had only been six months since I stopped fertility treatments, so it hadn’t been long since I’d seen my doctor. I was so excited to see her to tell her the news and rejoice with her!

The next few moments are a blur, but also the most vivid in my memory. I can see our sweet baby on the screen. I can see them. But there was no heartbeat.

Shattered.

Heartbroken.

Dazed.

(S)he was real. (S)he was loved. So, so loved.

(S)he’s gone. My heart won’t be the same.

(S)he was here.

It’s been almost four months, and I am just now allowing myself to deal with it. I was angry. I was sad. I was confused. I put up every wall I knew to put up. I felt completely unseen. Forgotten. I said I was mad at God out loud to a few people, but that wasn’t even true. I was sad. I was just really sad. My soul was crushed. After three years, it seemed cruel that our baby would be taken so quickly. Really quickly.

But I know this. God is the same. He is unchanged.  God is faithful because He is God, and He is good. My circumstances don’t change who God is.

He was faithful in December of 2011 when I brought home a beautiful, healthy baby girl. He was faithful in November of 2016 when I went back to the same hospital and admitted through the same doors to have a D&C, because my body didn’t know yet that my baby’s heart wasn’t beating.

He is faithful.

He fulfills His promises. And His promises are about who HE is. He is trustworthy. He is faithful. He loves me. He sees me. He desires me. He is Creator. He is Healer. He is Provider. He is with me always. These are the promises God has given to me.

God has never promised me a child. It took me a long time to admit that. But He hasn’t. He hasn’t promised me any comfort or desire. In fact, Jesus said this life will be hard — really hard, but He will be there to walk through it with me. So if I never have a baby again, He is unchanged. If I do have a baby, He is unchanged.

God is good, because He is good. My circumstances don’t change that.

It’s taken me years to know that truth. To believe that truth.

My desire of having another child is important to Him, because he wants to know the desires of my heart. He asks me to present them to him with prayer and petition. And I will. But His will be done. I cannot change His will. His good, and perfect will. And I don’t want to.

Jesus was real in my life in the days and weeks following our trip to the hospital in November through our family and friends—our church.  They brought over food, they brought wine and yoga pants, they sent cards with God’s promises on them. Jesus hugged me big time through the people around me. It took me a little bit to see that, also. But what a sweet reflection of Him. The hands of Jesus, wrapping around me.

He was loving me when I thought I was completely forgotten by Him. He will never leave me. He promised that.

Today, I can write these things. The past four months, I was unable to say these things or believe these things. Today, my soul is trusting fully in Him. Today, it is well with my soul.

Jesus drew me into Him this week on a Sabbath beach getaway to rest. Just me and Jesus, to sweetly remind me, He makes all things new. Even me. He desires me. He is trustworthy. He is faithful. He is unchanging. I can rest in Him. All I need is found in Him.

“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:23

Far be it for me to not believe even when my eyes can’t see.
Through it all, my eyes are on You.
So let go, my soul, and trust in Him.
The waves and wind still know His name

– It is Well, Bethel Music.

ItiswellEDITED-4It is well with my soul.

While I was on my beach retreat the past few days, these things spoke to me unlike anything else. I wanted to share them with you.

** For further reading, check out She Reads Truth, the book. You can find it HERE.

** For further heart moments, check out Kristine Demarco, MightySteffany Gretzinger, The UndoingAmanda Cook, Brave New World

Natalie Leonard is Tulsa-born and raised, wife to David and Mama to Ella Kate.  Living in Spring Hill, TN, she teaches history at Independence High School where she also serves as Varsity Cheer Coach.  Natalie is also an Independent Stylist for Stella & Dot, which fuels her stylish side.  Natalie and David have taken quite a journey in the last 11 years of their marriage.  David is half of All Sons & Daughters, and just a month ago found them at the Grammy’s where All Sons & Daughters was nominated for ‘Album of the Year’ in Contemporary Christian Music category. Through the joys of life, David and Natalie have also experienced years of waiting, six years to be exact.  This is the story of their journey, as seen and experienced by a Mama who longed for a child, and finally the realization, alone with Jesus on a beach, that IT IS WELL….

1 Comment on It is Well

  1. Ashlie Brown // April 11, 2017 at 9:46 pm // Reply

    I never get on FB B/c I find it dark, uncaring, and melicious BUT something drew me to FB tonight and I believe it was to hear your story. Natalie, your words are like mountains, strong and tall…much like your faith in Him! I feel half your heartbreak as it took Chris and me a yr in a half to have our Precious PK. Half because, though I shared a common anger for Him all those months we didn’t see two pink lines and not understanding his delay in making our family complete, we never sent an angel to Heaven too soon.
    Your story brings tears to my eyes but strength to my soul B/c I believe in His work and I believe He has not given up on you as you did not give up on him! Thank you for sharing this chapter in your Book of Life! It reminds us all that life is short and shorter for others but that we must not give up on Him or what we want in life. You are beautiful inside and out!
    ~The Brown’s

    Like

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