A Carefully Laid Net

"My enemies have set a trap for me.
I am weary from distress.
They have dug a deep pit in my path,
but they themselves have fallen into it." Psalm 57:6 (NLT)

It was February 1996 and I was looking at a small plastic stick's window which had a pink plus sign in its middle. My heart did a flip-flop in my chest! I had dreamed of this moment for almost three years since Rob and I had said "I do" before our family and friends. I knew that this moment was huge. I quickly counted eight months into the future-October. I shivered in anticipation of what I had just realized and let myself daydream. In the coming months, when the leaves began to fall in the autumn winds and the local high school football band could be heard through our windows, I was going to meet my first child!

Four days after my joyous discovery, I found myself pointing the car to a doctor's office I had never been to. My insurance had given me limited choices and this man was one of them. It was as if the weather outside saw the fog in my head and the tears of my soul. I could only see as far as my headlight beam would reach, although the clock said the sun should be high in the sky by then. I inched my way across town in the soupy weather, tears streaming down my face all the way. Something inside me knew that my dream had died inside of me, but my heart refused to acknowledge what my head already knew. Maybe, just maybe, there was hope that trained professionals could help me keep my dream alive. If a mommy's sheer desire could give a little one a chance at life, I knew my baby had a fighting chance. Besides, the kind receptionist had told me to, "Come into the office, if it would make you feel better, dear." Yes, it would make me feel better, I decided.

I sat in a daze in the waiting room surrounded by women much farther along in their pregnancies than me. People tried to avoid my red-rimmed eyes and, thankfully, no one asked me any questions. I wondered if they knew why I was there. A nurse called me into an examining room. The doctor bustled in and quickly assessed the situation:

"After all, Mrs. Lantz, it was just a ball of cells at this point. Look at it this way, you weren't even really pregnant yet. You're young. Try again. You can get dressed now and go back to work today if you want."

You weren't even really pregnant yet? What did that mean? It was just a ball of cells? Then why does my heart feel shattered in a thousand pieces? What was a routine examination to this man was the death of a dream. Not the death of a dream just four days old, but the death of a continuous dream of twenty-seven years. The dream which had begun the first time I ever held a doll in my arms and tenderly pretended that I was her mommy.

Now I was plunged into a new world of terror. What was wrong with me? No one close to me had ever experienced a miscarriage that I was aware of. My mom had delivered four healthy children. I decided I must be a freak. I had just taken it for granted that my body would be able to carry a healthy baby to term. I hadn't been able to this time; what about the next time?

It has taken me years to understand that Satan has used the painful experiences in my life to lay a carefully planned net that I have walked right into. Jesus has told me in Scripture that Satan is the father of lies and that this evil one can even masquerade as an angel of light. When I do not come to the Lord with my hurt, the pit that Satan began digging for me at the time of my first breath, can become continually deeper until I can no longer find my way out. In his arrogance, Satan continually accuses me before my God day and night. And then he throws those accusations into my ears in order to have me believe what is absolutely not true. Two of the biggest lies that I have believed in the past during painful circumstances, such as my miscarriage, are that my God has abandoned me, and that He cannot be trusted to do the best for me. I used to buy into both of those lies and, in so doing, was forced to live through some of the most miserable years of my life.

After my miscarriage, I lived with continual fear of the future. It seeped into every part of my life. I began the impossible and utterly exhausting task of trying to control everything. It affected all my relationships. I was blinded to the truth that my trying to control everything in my life made me the most out of control I had ever been. I could not submit my fear to Him.

One day I had had enough. Out of the depths of my soul came the most desperate, gutteral cry I had ever experienced. It formed what was not the most articulate prayer or the most spiritual one, but one which came from the heart of a wayfaring stranger who wanted to come home. "Jesus....help me. I have seen you in my childhood. I have seen things that cannot be explained away by human reasoning in the Congo. If You are there, please, please, please come to me. I can't live like this anymore."

He came. Jesus, my Redeemer, came for me that day. "Shawn, where have you come from and where are you going?" My heart responded that I didn't know. I was scared. I had so much healing to do. And so gently, He said, "There is no place that we will go that I have not gone before you. I will be with you. I will help you face it all. And we won't do all the healing at once. We'll just look at it a little at a time." I had never had a consistent, daily time in the Scriptures. I knew that that had to change. God's Word is it! It is powerful and effective. A double-edged sword, it has cut away the dead parts, just like a surgeon's scalpel would do. Has it hurt to go back and work through it? Yes, and sometimes I thought I would die. But I am a living, breathing testimony of that power that raised Christ from the dead that lives inside of me. He has given me a new song, a new life.

And what has God's Word done for me? Now instead of feeling abandoned when unexplainable and terrible things happen, I now know that I have a perfect Advocate who defends me against those terrible accusations that Satan says to my God about me. My Jesus, because He has destroyed the power of sin through His death and resurrection, now lives to intercede for me. In fact, I have now experienced the victory of Satan falling into the pit he had dug for me. I know that I can never be abandoned. More than that, what Satan planned for evil through my pain and heartache, my heavenly Father has allowed for my good, even letting my pain comfort others. Now that is full redemption!

Jesus, surely I would have perished in my affliction had Your Word not rescued me from the net and pit that the enemy of my soul has labored so intensely over. In You is the victory. You are the reason I get up in the mornings. I can live my life with abandon in the safety of Your will for me. No one and nothing can ever snatch me from Your hand. You are my everything.