Unexpected Joy


by Mekela Ulrich

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18

A few weeks back my little Otto Bear was dedicated to Jesus. I love this little guy so stinkin’ much! He’s fun and smiley, and when he laughs, he exudes joy! He makes his brother and sister smile when they are crying…it’s an amazing trick I’ve discovered!

Right before this little guy got put in my womb –very strategically- I had a miscarriage. That’s hard- so hard. I had to wait a whole TWO WEEKS before I found out what had happened to the creation I knew was in there straight from the get go. When my body was going through the horrific process I thought I was okay. I’d shed a tear here and there but nothing out of the ordinary…for me.

The day came when I got the results back from the lab after drawing my blood for the second time. “Your HCG levels are lower,” confirmed the nurse, “this is weird.” She hung up. Forget the insensitive phone call, she could have had her own troubles that day. Besides, who likes delivering that kind of news? I hung the phone up and from the lonely spot on the couch where I sat, sounds I had never heard come out of my body before flooded every room in the house. My husband was working, my toddlers asleep. I cried to God, not the, ‘why me,’ but, ‘WHY?’ I had just been asked to step down from a position at work earlier in the week and then to lose a baby? All things I had absolutely no control over.

God is faithful though. The verses that follow were words I read over and over again but didn’t have much meaning to me than beyond the obvious, but all of the sudden at this point of weakness, they were given life:

“My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in a secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one came to be.” Psalm 139:15-16

Those 35 or so days that sweet baby was being made were ordained. God saw it, He knows it and my unformed baby, that little piece of ME, is made perfect in heaven and is in the midst of our heavenly father doing what I love best…SINGING! That baby is singing her heart out to Jesus and not holding an ounce back.

The chapter goes on but this part was directed to me:
“How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand- when I awake, I am still with you.” Psalm 139:17-18

Jesus never once wanted this to hurt me, but to grow me and those around me. His thoughts are precious; they are sweet and loving and kind. I am reminded daily that I don’t get to see His big, almighty, beautiful picture. And that’s a good thing because then I would never be surprised- and really, surprises are the BEST…Otto Vincent Ulrich was plopped into the innermost part of me to redeem what had been lost and mourned. God surprised me with a perfect baby boy who STILL arrived FIVE weeks early… But God gifted us again and sent us home as a family of five without any NICU stay.

So when we all prayed together with Pastor Jeff that morning that this baby boy “would point others to God’s grace…” I’m pretty confident He is already doing His almighty work!

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:24

As tough as the trials can be, I consider it an honor. It’s an honor that God wants me to know more about Him.

“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I WILL LISTEN TO YOU.” Jeremiah 29:11-12
I gripped onto, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you.” I’d say them over and over again, aching. That’s real life goodness. It’s okay to mourn. But don’t look back at yesterday. The days to prosper are ahead.

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