He makes my tummy flip flop. He’s my very best friend. He’s my soul-mate. He’s everything. He’s every hope. Every dream. Every ambition. He’s the person who holds me close to him every night and the one who I wake up next to every morning. I love every detail of him. His eyes. His freckles. His nose. His hair. His hugs. His silly faces. His laugh. His cry. I love all of him. And it makes me giddy to think about the day I stood before God and decided to love Him forever.
I completely freaked out before my wedding. I’m more anxious anyway and the stress was wearing on me heavily in the weeks leading up to June 20th. But I knew no matter how much my body freaked out and my mind raced that Jon Harrison was the man I was supposed to marry, and somehow, we pulled it off. I can remember standing at that altar in a mix of sheer joy and sheer terror all at the same time. We had no idea what was ahead of us. All we were sure of was the fact that we loved each other, God created us to be together, and no matter what happened, how much we fought, what obstacles we faced, we would always, ALWAYS be together. So we said “I do” and walked out of those church doors into one of the hardest, yet most precious years of our lives.
I don’t think I will ever forget the day we found out we were pregnant. I was exhausted and craving a hotdog and Jon decided that a trip to the DG for a pregnancy test was necessary. I laughed when I unwrapped the test thinking to myself “There is no way”. We weren’t trying to get pregnant and I was taking birth control. We took 5 pregnancy tests that day and finally decided after the Clearblue test spelled out “Pregnant” that there was no denying, we were going to have a baby. We both laughed and jumped up and down and squealed with delight at the thought of having a baby. Though it wasn’t in our plan, we knew we both could not wait to be parents. It was as if God had placed a stamp of “approval” on our marriage and our lives and blessed us with a baby just as a surprise gift. We told our parents the same day and soon after announced our pregnancy to our church, our friends, and on social media.
From that day forward, Jon and I embarked on what would be the sweetest, most precious and life changing 9 week journey of our lives. We fell deeper in love than we have ever been and trusted each other more than we ever had. We held hands a lot. And we kissed a lot. And we touched my tummy with excitement and joy knowing that there was life inside of me. We cried together and feared the unknown together and dreamed and planned together. All three of us. And on the day I laid on the ultrasound table and heard the words “No heartbeat”, I looked over and Jon was looking right back at me. In that moment our hearts broke at the exact same time. He walked over and laid his head against mine and we cried together.
I miscarried at home. What I didn’t know until later is that Jon woke up about an hour before I did to me tossing and turning in pain and he knew what was happening. He didn’t wake me up, he just waited and let me sleep through all that I could. When I finally did wake up, Jon never left my side. He sat with me through everything. Through all of the pain and insane amounts of blood he never ever left or even turned his head. He sat right there with me at the lowest I have ever been. My face was flushed and bright red from the loss of blood and I had bags under my eyes. My clothes were ruined. My hair was still damp from washing it earlier that night and I was sweating. My baby was gone. I felt like a failure and like I had lost part of us at the same time. I was exhausted and nauseous and sad. I was so very sad. He called the doctor and took me to the emergency room where I laid in a hospital bed and sobbed. I was not the beautiful, tan blonde headed bride from that wedding day less than a year before.
I used to try with all of my might to impress Jon. I have loved him since I was 14 years old. My makeup had to be perfect. I had to live up to the girls in his past. I had to be ambitious and pretty and smart and who I thought he deserved. I never ever dreamed he would see me, much less love me, as I sat and cried during the worst moment of my life. But he did. And in that moment I realized that I had married the one my soul loved. The one God had picked out especially for me. The person God intended to love me like Christ loved the church.
Jon is the most incredible man I know. He has a job which requires much of his time and attention. He is very active in our community. He takes care of his parents, my parents, and especially his grandparents. He’s an elder in our church. He’s a farmer and a husband too. In addition to the not so smooth transition of house renovations and a new bride, Jon lost his mentor and best friend, his Pa, in January. In March, we lost our baby. And you know what? He still looks at me and asks if I’m okay. He doesn’t cry or let his emotions out like I do. But in those moments when I am sobbing over the loss of my baby, he pulls me close and says “I know babe, I miss them too.” He constantly worries about me. He constantly is trying to be strong and positive for me. He works hard for me. He prays every day for me. His focus is ME. He is the epitome of a godly husband. He is who God chose especially for me. But I do not feel adequate for him. So much so, in that moment when I realized I had lost my child, I thought I had lost him too.
When I heard the words “No heartbeat” I thought it would not only be the end of the life inside me but the end of the relationship I had built with the person I loved the most. I thought it not only would ruin me but ruin us. How could he love me after seeing me like that? How would we ever be able to get through this? People get divorced after this kind of thing. We just got married-how could God let this happen? This would be the end of us. Jon has always been my best friend. Even before we started dating, I loved him. For years, I loved him. I love him so much it scares me. When we got married and found out we were expecting, I just knew that a baby would mean we would always have a little bit of each other- no matter what happened. And now, we don’t have that baby. We don’t have that part of us walking around and crying and laughing and growing alongside us. We don’t have that security. We don’t have that assurance that we can see.
But God doesn’t call us to a security-or to a faith- that we can see.
In fact Hebrews 11:1 tells us “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” I Bethany Harrison have to have FAITH that my baby is alive and well and in the arms of Jesus. I have to have FAITH that I will see that baby one day. I have to have FAITH that God will see our marriage to the end of our lives, no matter how much we stumble along the way. I have to have FAITH that God will protect, guide, and lead us in our marriage and bless us with children. I have to have enough FAITH to trust God when I cannot see assurance. But that’s not an easy thing to do.
For a newlywed couple, scared to death, that baby was so much more than just our first child. That baby was everything. That baby was security. That baby was my whole life. That baby was my dream come true. That baby was MY miracle with MY husband. And having FAITH that we not only will make it through this as individuals but as a couple is so hard. Sometimes I honestly don’t know how we are going to do it. But we are doing it. One day at a time. We fight, we don’t communicate well, we cry, we stress, we get really tired some days-but we are doing it. We have done it for 2 months almost. And we will continue to.
So sweet mama or wife out there who is scared to death and feeling so inadequate and wondering how on earth you are going to make it through what you are going through, take heart in Hebrews 11:1. Know that just because you can’t see God, doesn’t mean he is not there. Just because you don’t know how on earth you are going to make it through after losing your baby, doesn’t mean you won’t. Just because you are TERRIFIED of your marriage falling a part, doesn’t mean it will. Fear is a liar. It paralyzes us. It prevents us from making progress, from moving forward. It is the opposite of faith. I have to remind myself of that on a moment-by-moment basis. But every day gets a little easier. And every day that we make it through is a little more encouraging. And in the end, faith trumps fear every time. No matter how earth shattering our circumstances may seem.