Robert & Roberta Adair

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Part of me wants to wait to share this until post-delivery. Yet, 1) I have time and energy to share it now, 2) I think not posting would be more about fear than anything else, and 3) (wow, I’m getting really forgetful!).

“This time next year…”

Don’t tell our moms, but we went camping at 38 weeks :)

As I wrote earlier, the theme of last year’s spring retreat with A2 was listening to the rhema of God. We had a prayer team from the US that helped us practice, led a seminar, and was available to pray after a few of the sessions.

To back up a little, I went to the conference still grieving our loss quite a bit. Despite several months passing, I felt confronted by our sadness everyday – and this intensified there. I wish I could say I reacted well to one friend with two bouncing toddlers talking about wanting more children and to yet another friend who was gorgeously pregnant. Seeing her lovely, round belly reminded me of my empty one.  (As R is fond of saying, it’s often easier to mourn with those who mourn than to rejoice with those who rejoice.) Let’s just say I did a bit of praying…and perhaps more of the confessing type than the seeking-the-rhema-of-God type.

Then, during two different prayer times, two ladies on the prayer team mentioned this phrase to me: “This time next year.”  I assumed they were talking about the baby thing as I had shared with them about our loss earlier. Yet I had a secret that made me feel like I didn’t really need to listen to their words.

I didn’t need rhema to feel hopeful as I was already hopeful. For a few weeks leading up to the retreat, I felt pregnancy symptoms, so my response to their words was, “Uh uh.  Cool.  Whatever” (dismissive).  Yet, on the last day, I felt cramping followed by no more symptoms. About a week or so later, I had a negative test. Where I had felt a shred of hope/expectation/anticipation, again, turned to deep emptiness.

Anyway, back to the prayer time. One lady said the phrase (“this time next year”). Another confirmed it as they practice having prophecy backed up by someone else (oops, I should use their nomenclature of rhema – although I don’t quite get what the difference is…).   I jotted the phrase down but just about forgot about it despite it being repeated a day or two later.

Fast forward to September when I had a mostly-clear positive preggers test. Instead of excitement, however, I felt crazy anxious. Please don’t let me miscarry again. Please protect this baby. Please protect this baby. Please… I had scary dreams, and I tried not to feel too hopeful or even get too attached. I felt my (our) innocence was gone – I didn’t want to think of names or what the baby would look like or how we’d tell family.  I just remember feeling and praying, “Lord, help us make it another day…to the next appointment…”  Whereas going to the doctor before meant that my eyes were wide open looking for a squirmy peanut, now my eyes were clamped shut waiting for the doctor to mention seeing the beating heart. (followed by relief and then…more fear.)

It wasn’t for several more weeks when the doctor said the due date would be in May that I realized it would be over this year’s retreat. Then I remembered the phrase, “this time next year,” and felt pretty…humbled. My fear didn’t immediately leave (nor did my clamped shut eyeballs at doctor appointments for awhile), but hope started to grow. A bit hesitantly and a bit skeptically, I somewhere along the line decided to trust the phrase received in prayer as a prophecy coming to fruition.

The bummer is that we will miss this year’s retreat, which is ironic considering the speaker and his wife are our friends and mentors from our time at Wheaton. We’ll also miss making memories and spending time with our mission family – many of whom we only see twice a year.

“This time next year…”

Dr. G and Jayna from Wheaton visited last year

Yet the amazing thing is that we can look back over the last 2 years and see ways that God has specifically cared for us in our loss(-es). I remember the ladies on my team crying with me (not talking with/at me but sitting and crying with me) – this cared for me in a special, deep way. I remember kind emails, cards, and flowers from friends and family that expressed to me the gentleness of God and his people. I remember R’s amazing patience, presence, grief, and love.  I remember the view of the mountain from the hospital and from our home and reciting/praying Psalm 121 almost like a mantra (“I lift my eyes up…the Lord watches over you…”).

“This time next year…”

I love mountains – and our hiking trip last summer in the Kita Alps was worshipful, healing, and amazing

And now I also remember (and anticipate!) that God is faithful to his promises, to his rhema. He didn’t have to give me the promise of “this time next year” through those two ladies. After all, I didn’t exactly receive it with pom-poms and crazy faith – having first semi-dismissed it, then forgetting about it, and then feeling skepticism, fear, and doubt. Yet now I receive this phrase as a sweet gift from him – to reassure, to give hope, and to remind me of his sovereignty, goodness, and presence.

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