When the Storm Ends

SHARED BY JESSICA BRUCE

Joy for the Future

I often think of my wedding day. Not necessarily about my dress, décor, or the party, but mostly the weather. The day of my wedding, it rained. I don’t mean a little rain storm; it was a torrential downpour. I was so upset because I worried about our out-of-town guests traveling in the storm—and I worried my hair would fall, my dress would get dirty, or my make-up would run.

The day started with a bridal brunch. During the luncheon, my mom’s dearest friend handed me a story about the meaning of rain on your wedding day. It read that rain was a blessing from God—farmers would pray for rain and then praise God after the storm because the rain meant an abundance of crops, fertile land. So for it to rain on your wedding day was a sign that you would be blessed with fertility and many children.

Gosh, how I just loved that story. I cherished it. Matt and I had always wanted a large family. In the beginning, it was three children, and as the years went on, that number increased. I often envisioned our life with three to five children. I could see me driving our minivan full of soccer balls, Barbie dolls, and french-fries. I imagined our queen-sized bed being full of little kiddos, all snuggled in watching Saturday morning cartoons. It was everything I’d ever wanted. My heart was so full of joy for our future, it could have exploded.

A Shattered Vision

On July 16, 2016, our fifth wedding anniversary, I delivered our second child into the hands of Jesus—our second daughter, our sweet Camille Louise. My world came crashing down that day, the vision of our future shattered. My perfect, beautiful baby girl was gone. I think of that day often: I think of Camille and her long fingers, long legs, gorgeous thick black hair, her cute little nose. I think of her sweet smell and the feel of her lifeless body against my chest.

I also think about the weather. I think of the crash of the thunder, the loud beating of rain, the way the room would light up with every lightning bolt, all while I labored. It was one of the worst storms that summer. It reminded me of my wedding day. I remember thinking, How ironic, of course it would rain. It felt like the floors of heaven had opened up and just let go.

After hearing that story on my wedding day, I’d developed a love for the rain; it felt like a promise. But that night it felt like a lie, a cruel joke. I felt foolish for believing in that promise, for finding hope and joy in it. Maybe I was completely wrong about its meaning. Maybe it was just an unfortunate coincidence.

Grief, Faith, and Peace

It has been eight months since I said goodbye to my angel. My life looks completely different from the vision I had for our family. Not only did we bury our baby, but for several months now, we have struggled with infertility. Our plan was to start trying for our third when Camille was around eight to nine months. We knew that was close in age, but Dorothy and Camille were three years apart, and we wanted our younger children closer—especially since we were planning more babies.

Here we are, twenty months from the time we decided to grow our family, and we have one living child, one child in a grave, and an empty uterus. The hope for more children is quickly fading, becoming increasingly heartbreaking as the months go on. To be disappointed month after month while grieving a child is soul-crushing. This is the furthest from the vision I had for my family. I want my dreams back. I want to imagine the sound of tiny feet running through my home and big giggles coming from the bedrooms.

What I used to think was a blessing, a promise, feels more like tears over broken dreams. Maybe that’s what the rain meant from the beginning—maybe heaven knew my heart would be crushed, so it just cried from me.

Jessica and her daughter, Dorothy

Jessica and her daughter, Dorothy

I try to remember Jeremiah 29:11: "'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.'" I constantly remind myself that God’s plan for me and my family is good. I know this is true, I know that with my whole soul, but it is so easy to forget, especially when everything seems to scream, No! This sucks! This isn’t good. This is hell.

Every morning (who am I kidding—also every afternoon, every evening, and every night), I pray for God to give me peace, to give me His peace, because right now finding peace with my struggles is very, very difficult. Even though I struggle, I find comfort knowing He is listening, He hears me even if it doesn’t feel like it. And He is providing me with the peace I ask because I can laugh again, I’m able to find joy with my life and with my family, and I’m able to look in my living daughter’s eyes and see an amazing future. Having faith doesn’t make my grief easier or less painful; it just gives me the strength to keep going, to keep trying to be the best mother and wife I can be.

I’m trying to stay positive and hopeful for my family’s future, I’m finding the courage each month to keep trying, despite the disappointment it causes, because I can’t let fear and heartache rule my life. I don’t know what my future holds, but I know it will be good because He says so. I don’t know how it will be good or what constitutes good, but I pray that my faith will grow. When the storm ends, I pray I see my rainbow.

 
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