Admitting the Ugly Truth

We moved to SE Asia with our 10 month old son in 2014. The rest of that year is pretty much a blur of language learning and culture shock but I do remember the next 2 years with perfect clarity. I spent the majority of that time trying to get pregnant, being pregnant or recovering from multiple miscarriages.

In the grand tradition of overseas wives I was sure I’d be able to handle pregnancy and childbirth in a foreign country. In fact, I was looking forward to the adventure of it. Our second child would be born in Bangkok- how cool was that? However, God seemed to have other plans for growing our family. And I was not giving into those plans gracefully. Even after the first 2 miscarriages in 2015, I had a shred of hope. Surely, this was still possible. God wouldn’t ask me to go across the world, far away from family, friends, support and decent medical care and then take this away from me over and over again, would he? I prayed and begged and took supplements. I just needed to wait for God to come through.

But there were 3 more losses in the next year, a few months apart. By the time I was staring at that last positive pregnancy test in October, I realized the primary emotion I was feeling was fear, not joy. The anxiety I had in the next 2 weeks was through the roof and when the inevitable did happen, the sadness almost pulled me under completely. My husband and I both agreed. It was time to be done. I needed to let go of this dream of having another biological child and admit to myself that it was not going to happen for us.

This was not done without a lot of grieving and anger towards God. Why had He let this happen to me? Not just once, but over and over again? I felt like I had been obedient in coming here. I had done everything He had asked of me and he couldn’t even give me another baby? He knew how lost I was in this place our first few years here, how hard it was. Why would He add so much more hard to this experience? There were healthy pregnancies and and newborns all around reminding me of what God was refusing me. Try as I might, I could not move past my anger at the situation.

The ugly truth hit while I was reading a blog written by a woman who had suffered infertility along with multiple miscarriages as well. As I read about her experiences the thought that came into my head was “This is not the same thing at all. Because she doesn’t live where I live or do what I do.” I froze- Wait, WHAT? Where did that come from? Is that what was really in my heart?

I had to finally admit to myself – and especially to God- what I was really angry about. It wasn’t just about the miscarriages, although those were heartbreaking. But by serving him in this place, by following my husband to this country, I felt like he OWED me something. Can you imagine? The God of the universe, who sacrificed his son to give me life, owed ME. Because I was living in a place with no Starbucks,  Amazon delivery or decent hamburgers, I was entitled to be in God’s debt?

This was some super ugly stuff I had unearthed and I had to spend quite a while in prayer confessing my arrogance and pride. I’m still confessing all of that stuff because, to be honest, it’s something I struggle with on a daily basis. But with every prayer my heart is softened, and my eyes opened to see the beauty in the life God has handed me. He is my portion, and I am working on that being enough. Yes, I was obedient to Him when I came here but that is the only response possible to the overwhelming love and mercy that he pours out on me daily. I owe him everything; and whatever undeserved gifts he desires to bless me with will be received with open hands and a thankful heart.

Have you ever had a truth you were afraid to admit to yourself or God?

How has God shown his forgiveness and grace after you admit to your ugly sin?

21 Comments

  1. Debbie Marshall April 5, 2017

    Thank you, Lindsey. I relate to your struggle, and admire your ability to express it so well.

    1. Lindsey Brewer April 6, 2017

      Thank you Debbie!

      1. Lindsey Brewer April 6, 2017

        Also, that is a huge picture and it will not let me delete it- sorry! 🙂

  2. Jessica April 6, 2017

    I share in the same struggle and also live in Asia. It’s a task to remember these things. Thank you for putting this into words.

    1. Lindsey Brewer April 6, 2017

      Thank you Jessica- it can be so hard for me to trust God during the struggles. And Asia is HARD! Blessings to you

  3. Ulrike Byle April 6, 2017

    Thank you for your honest sharing!!

    1. Lindsey Brewer April 6, 2017

      Thank you for reading! 🙂

  4. Sue Farho April 6, 2017

    I have lived the same struggle in Africa after 28 years. I am still in Africa but oh how Jesus has drawn me closer and closer to Him through my struggles of infertility. Romans 11 Oh the depth of the riches of both the wisdom and knowledge of God how unsearchable are His judgements how infallible are His ways.

    1. Lindsey Brewer April 6, 2017

      I love that verse! It’s been amazing to me how much God has worked through this time of infertility. I think it’s such a brutal thing for us as women to deal with and the fact that God can and does work through that is such a picture of his grace

  5. Yvette Livesay-Wright April 6, 2017

    Lindsey – Thank you so much for sharing. You are missed back home and I can’t even imagine all you have gone through. Hugs from Fort Worth to you. I am encouraged by this post and I’m going to share it in my Scriptionery.com media posts as an encouragement to others! Love you friend.

    1. Lindsey Brewer April 6, 2017

      Thank you Yvette! Missing everyone back home as well and I’m so glad this can be an encouragement to someone!

  6. SK April 6, 2017

    Working thru something similar, but thru the issue of singleness. I told God I wouldn’t move overseas until I was married, but then not going became more miserable than anything, and I knew it was time for me to obey! But out here, I feel angry and lonely and desperate for a spouse to walk thru life with. And it’s that same ugly attitude in my heart that says “God I’ve given everything for you- couldn’t you at least give me a companion?!” But you’re right- this is pride to think that He owes me something. He’s given me everything! I am really fighting to not agree with the accusations that the enemy not-so-subtly whispers to my heart about God. The Psalms are a good go-to in speaking the truth about who He is, and I’m declaring them until I believe it again! But the pain is real and I can’t deny it. But I also have enough history with God to know that He really is good and I don’t want anything less than His best. But I want to make it to the end of my life with a happy, thankful, childlike heart, that finds its joy and satisfaction in Him. I used to say that only He satisfies, but now I get to choose this truth and believe it until I experience it. But still my hope is too strong to give up believing. I’m still contending for my spouse ❤. But even more important than that is holding onto Him. Jesus said that “you WILL love me with all you le heart mind soul and strength” and I believe He is faithful to bring that about in us all. He is committed to us!

    1. Lindsey Brewer April 6, 2017

      Oh wow, SK- I totally hear this. I was single until I was 36 so I very much walked through the same thing- and apparently I didn’t learn everything I needed to since I had to deal with it AGAIN! I so admire your obedience in coming overseas in your own. That takes amazing bravery and dedication to Christ. But it is SO hard to consistently believe that God has our best in mind, isn’t it? When we are sure that we would be happier, more content, more effective for his Kingdom, with a different story. The pain is SO real and the enemy uses that so well to convince us that we deserve the things we desire. I love that you turn to the Psalms because that has been my go-to as well for the last few years. I am praying for you, that you will be able to hold onto hope and the goodness that is God’s plan for you. He IS faithful!

      1. Melissa April 10, 2017

        That is exactly it for me – “thinking I would be happier, more content, more effective for his Kingdom, with a different story” — thank you for putting it into words. I wouldn’t really be happier writing the story myself, but it’s hard to get my hand back from trying to grab the pen sometimes! It is a related issue for me, but the same internal struggle. We are so blessed to have our son, but he was not born healthy like I wish he was, and while I can hold him in my arms, my heart still breaks for the normal life he won’t be able to live. Thank you for sharing your heart here.

  7. Spring April 7, 2017

    Thank you so much for this post. While I didn’t struggle with infertility, I have really struggled with feeling bitter at God. We mostly have gone where my husband’s giftedness is very apparent. I feel in the background and not ready to go onto the field again. It has been a process, but I am starting to thank God for the struggle. Thanks so much for your honesty. It is encouraging and refreshing.

    1. Lindsey Brewer April 7, 2017

      I can really relate to these particular struggles as well. In the mindset of my pain, my husbands ministry was going really well- and all our supporters would talk about how much God had blessed our time here. I became so bitter about the fact that God seemed to be “blessing” our ministry life but He didn’t seem to care about my personal losses. Feeling in the background is a great way to put it! I’m thankful that you have gotten to a place where you can be grateful for the struggle. That is so encouraging for those of us slowly working that way.

  8. Christy April 7, 2017

    I can so relate. In our first year overseas I had a third miscarriage in a row. During that time we also had to leave our country of service very unexpectedly and relocate to a completely new country/language/culture. I remember feeling like I was failing at everything. Couldn’t learn a language, let alone two, couldn’t help getting kicked out of a country, and couldn’t even keep my body pregnant for more than 10 weeks at a time. I am still learning to give up my idea that I should be able to do everything myself. God’s grace is sometimes so hard to accept. I am so sorry for your losses.

    1. Lindsey Brewer April 7, 2017

      Oh yes, the failure feeling! I am very familiar with that one. And I can’t imagine having to relocate on top of everything else! I think the enemy loves to make us feel like we are worthless over here. I knew I was a horrible wife, mother, language learner and worker- and I feel like miscarriages add a whole other layer. I was just at war with my body for 2 years and exhausted by the end of it. After lamenting to my counselor how little I had accomplished over here she gently pointed out that I had been grieving since we arrived…and I needed to give myself some grace. I hope and pray that you have found some peace on this hard road. I am so sorry for your losses as well and thank you for sharing.

  9. Elizabeth April 7, 2017

    I think your story really hits on some of our underlying beliefs about God. And there is something in us that thinks God owes us . . . something. . . . when we give up everything and move overseas to serve God, especially when it comes to our children. We tell ourselves that God loves our children even more than we do (He does), but we think that means nothing bad will ever happen to them.

    This was highlighted in our community just this year when a recently graduated high school senior, who was going to Bible college to get teacher training to come back and serve TCKs in one of the local schools, was hit by a car and killed. Many of us parents in the community had to start re-evaluating what we really believed about God’s love and protection. We thought God would protect kids who grew up overseas and wanted to serve God themselves. We thought we knew what that would look like.

    Reminds me of Gordon Lightfoot’s old song about the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. It makes me cry every time, but I keep coming back to it, especially the line “Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours?” Indeed we wonder where the love of God goes sometimes. As believers we know the love of God is always with us. We just don’t always understand it. Yet God’s love is present even in tragedies like that TCK or this shipwreck. Somehow. In ways we simply can’t understand yet.

    1. Lindsey Brewer April 7, 2017

      Those are such hard things to think about. There were many times during my grieving that I truly wondered where God was in all of it. I will probably never understand the purpose this side of heaven. And it has made me evaluate all the ways I view God’s role in my life. He is faithful- but sometimes the knowledge of that is all we can cling to. I am so sorry for the pain your community went through this year losing that child.

  10. Kathryn borba July 5, 2017

    Woah, gut punch.
    While serving in Japan, My eldest was born with an extremely rare syndrome, which causes facial paralysis along with clubfoot. He need to get her to our home country for speech therapy took us off he field. (Though if I’m being honest, God brought us off the field for his own reasons.) there is a certain amount of entitlement I felt (feel?) “how dare God do this to US. Isn’t we scarification everything for him?!” Of course, you hit the nail on the head. He is not in my debt; I am eternally in his.
    Whether or not he calls us back again, my ultimate goal should be joining him in his work, not currying enoug favor to avoid pitfalls and pain.

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