Of course it does.
God’s power exists all around us. All. The. Time.
I know that a lot of people are doubtful, especially when you’re in a desperate position from whatever troubles you’re going through. You may be thinking: Where is He? Why can’t I feel him? And the answer is that He is ALWAYS with you, but you may be so caught up and overwhelmed by your feelings that you’re just not noticing that He’s been by your side this whole time.
Over the last few days, I have sat down with Anchored: A Bible Study For Miscarriage, Stillbirth, & Infant Loss. After reading some of the amazing testimonies from this book and submerging myself into God’s word, He has set it on my heart to share some more of my experiences in detail with y’all.
First off, I’d like to make it known that I get anxious when things don’t go according to my plans. I feel more at ease when I’m in control of all situations. If anything steps out of line with my plans, I tend to panic. I’m also a worrier. Like, if I can’t remember if I turned off my hair straightener before leaving for work.. I’ll literally be consumed with worry for the rest of the day until I get home. That’s just me. And that’s how I’ve always been my whole life. I promise this is relevant to what I’m about to tell y’all.
To catch some of you up… Back in June of 2018, Noah was diagnosed with a cystic hygroma (a blockage in the lymphatic system, causing fluid build up – usually in the head and neck area). The doctor told us his prognosis wasn’t promising. There was a chance that the fluid would slowly disappear, and all would be well. But it was a greater chance that the fluid would be too much for our baby to tolerate, and his little heart would eventually give out. He was only 11 weeks gestation at the time, and mine and Chad’s hearts literally broke into a billion tiny pieces. With my longstanding history of anxiety and being a worry-wart, you’d think that I would just be a mess throughout my whole entire pregnancy with him, right? I thought that would happen too… but it didn’t.
After we left our doctor’s appointment that evening, Chad and I had our first real encounter with God. (Psalms 10:17) We were swarmed by His presence, and it was truly the most amazing feeling I’ve ever experienced. I felt His love, His peace, His power… and ohh there was so much warmth. It was like God was cradling my heart and my spirit in His arms. I had never felt so much comfort in my whole entire life. And that was just the beginning of it all.
Since that moment, I have felt God’s presence in my daily life… my fears were pacified, I hardly had anxiety about Noah’s condition, and I didn’t worry about the future. I felt so much peace throughout my pregnancy.. and it was amazing. God showed me mercy, because He loves me & He already knew what the outcome of Noah’s life would be when I had no clue. (Psalms 139:16) He gave me joy, so that I could bond with my son. He allowed Chad and I to see our son on ultrasounds on a weekly basis. He allowed us to hear his sweet little heartbeat over and over again. God blessed us with the experience of Noah’s movements inside of my belly — he even moved at the sound of Chad’s voice a few times, and it was so so beautiful!
Fast forward to a few months later. The day before Noah was born, I was at work when I noticed some suuuper light spotting. It was such a scant amount that I typically wouldn’t have found it to be alarming. But the Holy Spirit nudged at me then, and I just knew that it wasn’t gonna be good. As soon as I got home from work that night, I desperately tried to find Noah’s heartbeat with our home-doppler and I couldn’t hear a thing. Chad and I tried searching for him all over my belly for close to 2 hours. Nothing. We both knew something wasn’t right at that point, and we went to bed crying and praying. I remember being so desperate in our prayers because we didn’t want to believe that Noah’s life was over. We prayed for a miracle, and went to bed.. hoping that we would miraculously find Noah’s heartbeat in the morning and that everything would be fine.
And a miracle, He did provide.
God, again, had mercy on us and pushed my body into labor a few hours after that. My water broke precisely at 4:00 am at home, on our bedroom floor. Again, you’d probably assume that this would have thrown my anxiety-prone self into a “freak out” moment… but it didn’t. Without even realizing at the time, God was working through me. I was so strangely composed and calm. I called the on-call nurse from my doctor’s office and explained everything to her. I had Chad call our hospital to notify them of my water breaking, and pre-registered my admission. I calmly got dressed, brushed my teeth, washed my face, and even filled in my eyebrows – because I never leave the house without doing so lol. I packed my overnight bag with a few different outfits, threw in extra underwear, grabbed my wallet with my ID and insurance card, and even knew to pack my glasses and contact case & solution… all while fluid was gushing out of me. I was so calm. Now that I think back to that morning, I’m like “wow.. how the heck did I even do all that??” And it makes me smile, because I know that it was 100% all God.
I started contracting before we even left the house to head to the hospital, and instinctively I knew to start timing them. Mind you, we had never taken a single pregnancy or birthing class, hadn’t watched any videos, hadn’t really researched in depth about anything pertaining to birthing plans because — hello, we were only at 20 weeks at that time. I’m also not an L&D or Mother/Baby nurse, so I had very minimal knowledge about what to expect during labor. I continued to time my contractions in the car (which was a 25 minute commute to the hospital), and I squeezed my legs together and trekked through Walmart to purchase maxi-pads for the fluid that was still continuing to leak out of me. Gross, I know.
Then, we finally get to the hospital and get checked into L&D triage and my contractions were becoming stronger and were happening closer to the ones before. Yet, I’m still oddly calm by this time. Our best friends, Chris & Nimsi, called just as we were getting settled into our triage room and prayed over us. And my goodness, the presence of God in that room became so apparent after that. His Spirit was so powerful, it almost made the atmosphere feel thick, and I couldn’t help but start bawling at this point. It almost felt like He came into the room and surrounded us like a coat of armor, preparing us to head into the biggest battle of our lives. (Psalms 29:11)
If you’ve had children before or are medically savvy, you’d know that first time labors usually take F-O-R-E-V-E-R. But by the grace of God, my body recognized what needed to happen and it happened QUICK. Not even 2 hours into my admission at the hospital, my contractions intensified times a trillion. I felt every single thing that was happening within my body. The pain was so intense, that it caused my body to tremble and seize with each contraction. I remember so vividly how the contraction pains shot through my whole entire body for what felt like a lifetime. And through all of this I kept hearing a voice in my head, telling me one simple word. Push. And with just a single push, our beautiful son came out into this world.
Noah Ray Ballard was born still at 7:31 am on that day. He was breathtakingly beautiful. His BIRTH was beautiful; a miraculous process that God blessed me with. He knew that it would be unbearable for me to have to keep my angel inside of me until the doctors were ready to induce at a later date. He knew that our journey would have been even more painful and traumatic for us if we had to surgically have Noah removed from my body. He knew that my heart would suffer enough with our loss, that He had mercy on me and allowed me to experience a beautiful and natural birth of my precious baby boy.
3 and a half hours from the moment my water broke, until the birth of our son… with zero complications. If that didn’t have “GOD” written all over it, I don’t know what else I can show you! How amazing is it that during what should have been one of the most traumatic experiences in my life, GOD loved me enough to show up and carry me through the process?! (Psalms 46:1) I mean, I think about our whole journey all the time. And each time, I feel like I become more and more amazed at how wonderful our God is.
I know that our entire pregnancy and Noah’s birth into Heaven was meant to happen. It was meant to be one of the greatest testimonies of my life. It’s crazy how so much goodness has resulted from this specific testimony. God has used me, through my pain and submission to Him, to help so many other people whose children have experienced the same fate as Noah. He has used me to be a light of hope to those who are hopeless and submerged in their own grief from the loss of their children. He has opened up my heart to love at a greater capacity. He has taught me the true value of life — especially that of an unborn child’s life. He has placed it on my heart to become an example of His grace, strength, and love. He has shifted my heart to always try my best to be more like Jesus, and glorify Him in everything I say and do on a day to day basis. (Psalms 73:28)
Because we had to let our baby go, my life is forever changed. Changed in the way I live my life, the way I see and hear HIM, and in the way that I am meant to do His will and live out the purpose that He has placed on my heart. (Psalms 40:3, Psalms 40:8)
So, again, to answer the question I know many of y’all have asked at some point in time.. including myself, once upon a time. Yes, the power of God does exist. And it starts with us opening our hearts to Him, fully surrendering ourselves to Him and His will over our lives, and simply allowing God to be God. Know that He has the power to carry us through anything we go through in life; all we have to do is have faith, and trust that He loves us and He will never leave us alone no matter what.
I pray today, and all the days, that anyone who is suffering any type of traumatic experience or loss of a loved one will be touched by God. I pray that you will see His light and His glory, even through the darkness. I pray you accept that sometimes we have to go through these trials in life, in order to learn about ourselves and draw closer to God. I pray that you find peace in whatever it is you’re going through, and for the strength to withstand the hardships to get to the other side towards happiness. I pray that God will reveal His presence to you, to provide the comfort and the hope that you desperately seek. I pray for God to mend all of your brokenness, as He has done within me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what He has done.” (Psalms 105:1)