Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Room

Just yesterday I sat back in The Room. The one with the tan walls and the painting of the brightly colored flowers, likely placed to give the otherwise blank room a little color and life. The one with the ultrasound machine that shows expectant mothers their babies’ heartbeats, and the same machine that delivers the crushing news that a heartbeat can’t be found. This time was different of course. I wasn’t expecting anything really. I had been back once since that day, a different room, a different machine, but I knew the facts. My body was still trying to hold on to what was left of the pregnancy. In my frustration over having to continue to deal with the loss, I told Andrew that I wished my body would get the message and just do what it was supposed to. That’s when he reminded me that my body was doing what it was supposed to, trying to hold on to life at all costs.

I had already signed all the paperwork, the consent forms that protected the hospital should something go wrong. My appointment for surgery had already been made. I was supposed to go downstairs to have my pre-op lab work done and then report back the next day at 11 o’clock. The nurse had gone through the details of the procedure and had answered my questions. I was nervous of course, I really shy away from any type of surgical procedure, especially ones that involve needles and being put to sleep.  Which really means I dislike every type of surgical procedure. Maybe it has to do with a fear of pain or fear that something could go wrong, but I have a feeling it has more to do with my fear of being out of control. I was willing to do it though. Three weeks on this roller coaster had been long enough for me and I was ready to get off. 

As I sat in The Room waiting for my doctor, I tried to be strong. I tried not to think about what it was like the last time I was here, and instead just focus on the facts. Going over in my head what the nurse had told me would happen. Andrew reminding me that it would be a quick procedure and then he would get to take me home. That this nightmare would be over soon, and I could start the long process of healing.  And then something happened. In the physical realm, it was simply that a nurse came and brought the ultrasound machine in the room and left. But something else. A nudging of the Holy Spirit. As I stared at the machine, I thought about the possibility of not having to have the procedure at all for the first time. Sure, I had been praying – prayers that everything would go okay, that God would be with my doctor to help her make the right decisions, that He would give me peace and comfort about it. But I had not been praying for a clear ultrasound. Up to this point, I had not considered the possibility. I had taken the medicine and it had not worked. I had waited the amount of time, taken another test, still positive. [Oh, the irony of it all. A positive test when I needed a negative. Knowing at some point all I would want would be a positive.]  I had focused on the facts, what the doctor had told me needed to happen, and had not. I had not thought to pray for something that felt out of my reach. But sitting there, staring at the machine, the reality of it all just before me, I begged God for it. I prayed fervently out of a desperation of my heart, not just with words, but with my spirit. I’m not so sure it had as much to do with not wanting to have the surgery at that point. I knew the procedure wasn’t that big of a deal, so many women have it done and I knew deep down I would be okay. But at that moment, I needed to know God was with me. I needed to know that he heard me, that he cared about the details. I needed to feel the loving protection of a Father. I was willing to accept everything else that had happened, but I desperately needed Him to show himself to me.

I have referenced Shauna Niequist’s book “Bittersweet” before because there is just so much in her book that has spoken to me in this season. I remember a part of the book where she talks about what the Celtics call “thin places.”
 “One of my favorite Celtic ideas is the concept of thin places. A thin place, according to the Celtic mystics, is place where the boundary between the natural world and the supernatural one is more permeable – thinner, if you will. Sometimes they’re physical places. There are places over Ireland where people have said, if you stand here, if you face this direction, if you hike to the top of that ridge at just the right time of day, that’s a thin place, a place where the passage between heaven and earth is a short one, a place where God’s presence is almost palpable. Thin places: places where the boundary between the divine world and the human world becomes almost nonexistent, and the two, divine and human, can for a moment, dance together uninterrupted. Some are physical places, and some aren’t places at all, but states of being or circumstances or seasons.”
I’m not one to usually believe in mystical ideas, but to me, it isn’t so much about mystics as it is about a Holy God and a belief that He can show us a little bit of Himself in very tangible ways. Many people describe an experience where they felt God’s presence in different ways. But I like this idea of thin places and for me, yesterday, that examining room was a very thin place. You see, when the doctor came in and did the ultrasound, the ultrasound to confirm that I needed the surgery, it didn’t surprise me that she found nothing and gave me a clear report. As she told us “this is good news, sometimes these things just happen and we can’t necessarily explain it,” I knew that God had moved. He had moved in that room and I had felt His presence so close. As the doctor left the room I broke down into sobs and was so overcome by the Holy Spirit that I couldn’t even talk. I felt like Andrew was concerned because of my outburst and he kept reminding me that this was good, that I wouldn’t have to have surgery, that this part of the ride was over. But what he didn’t know and I couldn’t even  describe at the time, was that they weren’t sad tears. This time they were grateful tears, grateful that God had heard me, that he had showed me more of Him, that he had reminded me that he was very near, even in that Room. 

I never wanted to have to go down this road, to experience this pain. But God has taught me so much in such a short time and I am learning more every day. He is reaching down and showing me little glimpses of heaven in this broken world. He is teaching me to pray for the things that He places on my heart, instead of speaking empty words without faith.  He is teaching me to look for Him in the most unlikely places, to live in constant expectancy of Him. I have realized that in my life, the thin place wasn't just that examining room. I found Him there because that's where I looked for Him the hardest, where I took hold of Him and refused to let go. But any moment, any circumstance, any season of our lives can be a thin place. I now more fully understand the meaning of Jeremiah 29:13.

I don't know where you are right now reading this, what kind of road you are walking down, but I promise you if you look long and hard enough, if you take hold of God and refuse to let go, He will show you more of Himself than you ever thought possible. He will meet you there in that very real and thin place.


  1. Oh Laura! I'm so sorry. I am a stranger out in California, I think I found your blog a while ago through Kelly's Korner maybe? I've been following your journey. I've stood where you are standing, twice, and it's just the darkest, most heartbreaking place to be. Praying for comfort, for love, for some sort of understanding, for peace, and for healing. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself, as always with life, the seasons will change, you will be new again, and life will go on, even though it doesn't feel that way right this second. If there's anything I can do, please let me know { or you can find me at}. I know how lonely it is to be lost in this kind of grief. Praying for you!!

    1. Hey Ashley! Thanks so much for reaching out to me, it always helps to know that others understand what you are going through and to see how God is now working in their lives! I have felt God's comfort and His love like never before and I have hope that there are better days ahead. Thanks for taking time to read and share in this journey ~ I have enjoyed catching up on your blog today! Your little ones are just precious :)