This is the final chapter of my blog-book, When God Could’ve But He Didn’t, which tells the story of us losing our firstborn, Berea Dannielle, and how God has turned our mourning into joy. He did it for us. He can also do it for you. Be in faith—sure of what you hope for, and certain of things you cannot yet see (Hebrews 11).
It has been three years since that day. When I was writing this book, I published it with 19 entries (chapters), in faith that one day, I will write a 20th already having another child. He is one year old as I write this. I envisioned this to be a chapter of hope, having another child and one who I don’t only get to look at or touch the feet of, but also hold in my arms and lavish with love. God being God, He had an even better plan.
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Ephesians 3:20 MSG
Six months after Brei passed away, we were already trying to have our second child. After a couple of months, I felt a sense of brokenness. I even had a play on the word: I felt broken—broke and barren. Broken. It was as if the peace that guarded my heart and mind that I wrote about went on a holiday break, and lies started to creep in. We were not in lack, but I felt we were. I was not barren, but I felt I was. It was a time when I had accomplished a lot and yet I felt I haven’t really reached anything. I felt broke even when we had all that we needed. “If only I had that much, then I can do this and that,” I thought. There was nothing wrong with me but I felt barren, having negative pregnancy test results when I finally tried to use them. Month after month, I hoped but to my dismay. I looked at myself and saw nothing. Jack of all trades, master of none. Words of others offering certain opportunities were left just as words, leaving me all the more feeling inadequate. Then the Lord reminded me that all I ever wanted to do was to obey Him, and having pleased Him through doing what He told me to do is more than enough. Whatever happens next is best left to His perfect will and timing. And yes, that includes having another child.
I Told You So
Days after I started blogging about Brei, someone from church messaged me. That time, it was almost two years since her and her husband lost their firstborn due to the same rare condition we lost ours. I remembered her after a few months, and so I got in touch with her wanting to encourage her. I ended up getting encouraged instead, as she was already three months pregnant then. It all the more gave me confidence of the hope I have in God, that surely He will bless us with another child, who, to our delightful surprise, I was actually already carrying then! At the end of that month, I finally had a positive pregnancy test, and, after doing my calculations, we waited until the sixth week to have an ultrasound. In my first pregnancy, we went straight to do an ultrasound, which confirmed that I was five weeks pregnant, and then we were asked to come back the following week for a second ultrasound for pregnancy viability (baby’s heartbeat). Wanting to avoid multiple ultrasounds (a.k.a. payments) this time, we scheduled to have an ultrasound on my sixth week. That’s where the surprising twist to this story came about! I thought I was six weeks pregnant. We knew what a six-week ultrasound would look like, and we were a bit puzzled at the sight of what was on the screen, disoriented trying to find our tiny bubble: We were puzzled for a moment until the sonologist said, “You are pregnant, but the date you gave was not your last period. You’re 9 weeks and 2 days pregnant.” We were long past the tiny bubble stage! Then I was more pleasantly shocked than puzzled. NINE weeks! There were nights I was asking God for a baby and He’s already given him to us without us knowing! Oh, how faithful and generous our God is!
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Psalm 27:13 NIV
That verse we’ve been holding on to ever since… It’s like I wanted to tell myself, “I told you so.”
The most logical explanation for why I thought I had my period when I was already pregnant: I experienced bleeding during the pregnancy. It just so happened it occurred when I was expecting my period, it lasted like a period, and it was like the past few irregular times (since I gave birth to Brei, my cycle was less on-the-dot). Based on the timing of when it happened, it can be related to “implantation bleeding,” which is a normal occurrence when the embryo implants onto the uterine lining, but it was quite long and a lot just for that. The week after, for about five days I had some light unusual discharge after working out. I recall that around the same time in my first pregnancy, I had to go on a two-week bed rest because of a hemorrhage. Whatever the reason behind all this, I know God simply spared us from worry, anxiety, stress, and not to mention, bills for multiple ultrasounds and meds! He just chose to surprise us with the delightful news that He had already given us the answer to our prayers way before we found out.
Best for All
On February 2017, around a week before what would have been Brei’s second year with us on earth, I gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Chadric Noah. It’s interesting to note that I was in labor (we wanted to try VBAC) in exactly the same high-risk pregnancy unit room, and I was operated on (CS) in exactly the same operating room when Brei was born. I am simply dumb-founded at God’s attention to detail. It was as if history was being redeemed. After my maternity leave, I was blessed to attend a two-week school in our church. One of the topics was on sufferings, and at the end of the session, we sang “It is Well with my Soul.” Tears poured out as if it was three years ago. To think this was two years after Brei, and already after Noah. I was standing, raising my hands, singing to God from the core of my being. I tried to keep still as emotions rushed in and tears flooded out. I was overwhelmed as if it just happened and then, I heard Him. It was unmistakably God, Himself, whispering in my heart:
She died to keep you broken, so I can keep on making you whole.
You see, if something is not broken, it doesn’t need to get fixed. If something has not died, it cannot be revived. If the ax head didn’t sink, it didn’t need to float (2 Kings 6:1-7). Even when He didn’t have to, God used Brei’s death for my good. Nothing else could have broken me in this way, so God let me birth a daughter for Him and allowed Her to be with me for a short while. God used Brei’s death for His purposes, for Brei’s best, and for my best.
God’s Purposes: God wants to be reunited with His children.
Our Story: God is with Brei.
Brei’s Best: Ultimately, the best that could happen to a human being is when we meet with God and be with Him forever.
Our Story: Brei has eternal life, without having to go through this fallen world (at least not for long).
My Best: Jesus came to give us life and have it to the full (John 10:10 NIV).
Our Story: I, made whole.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28 NIV
More than just to encourage you that your story is not yet done as mine was not three years ago, I pray that whatever broke you today, you allow God to use to make you whole. I pray that what feels like things falling apart today, tomorrow you would see that things were simply falling into place. I am certain that if you continue holding on to God, you, too, will get to that point when it’s no longer about what He could have done, but in looking back you would see the hand of God working for your good, even when He didn’t have to. Twenty entries (chapters) in my blog-book testifies not of my resilience or strength, as mine was not even an inch of what was needed to get us through what happened. The book—our story—testifies only of God’s love, comfort, peace, strength, and grace. All we did was to hang on to God. In fact, even that I do not consider to be of our own capacity. It was God who was holding us in the palm of His hands, and He never let us go. May this song be used by God to speak to you and to heal you as you find yourself inside His loving and reassuring arms. Indeed, He makes the broken beautiful.
This is a true story of how God had turned something—someone—from broken to whole, and that’s what made this story so beautiful. Nothing missing; nothing broken. Shalom!
May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it!
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 MSG
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