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    “I’m so sorry, I can’t find a heartbeat.” The room began to spin. I had heard these same devastating words four years prior. Surely this wasn’t happening to us again! We walked to the car, numb, reliving a nightmare we had already experienced. Why, God? We thought this baby was our promise, our rainbow after the storm. Sure, we had two living children to drive home to, but that didn’t change the feelings of loss and grief we found ourselves experiencing for the second time in four years.

    Over the next several months, I dealt with the overwhelming desire to have another child. I would dream that I was holding a new baby, then would wake confused and, at times, angry. I experienced feelings of extreme guilt, wondering why I couldn’t just be thankful for the two healthy children I was blessed with instead of longing for another. Then one Sunday night my father-in-law preached. Following his sermon, he told the congregation, “Tell God what you need.” I knelt down that night and prayed a simple prayer; “God, if it’s not Your will for us to have another baby, I need You to take the desire away. If it is Your will, then I need You to make a way.” I immediately felt peace come over me, and God put a verse in my heart that night as I knelt at my pew. “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

    A few months later we were shocked to discover we were expecting another baby. Fear and worry overcame me. This was not our plan. How could I go through another loss? How could I face people who would surely think we were crazy for not being content with the two children we already had? I felt God gently nudging me back to the verse He gave to me. “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” I remember where I was sitting in the doctor’s office when I said the words out loud to God, “God, this is YOUR plan. This is YOUR baby. Whatever happens, I will trust You.”

    For the next nine months when fear would overtake me, when I would wait for what felt like hours for the nurse to find a heartbeat, when I would lay awake the night before each doctor visit, trying not to let fear and anxiety overtake me, I would quote my verse. “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” Then, on August 11, 2017, our baby was born. The doctor was shocked to find that his umbilical cord was barely connected to the placenta. What should have been another loss for our family was instead a true miracle from God.

    I held our baby boy for the first time and wept, repeating the words “God, this is YOUR plan. This is YOUR baby. A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.”

    Brianne Buford is wife to Brandon and mom to Zane, Zoe, and Zeke. They live in O’Fallon, Missouri, where Brandon pastors The Lighthouse UPC.

    Reposted from the Ladies Prayer International Newsletter.

    *In loving memory
    Zachariah Buford 5-27-12
    Zion Buford 3-17-16

    Psalms 61:2 “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

    Have you ever had an unexpected situation sneak up on you in life? Did it completely catch you off guard? I experienced one of those “I feel like I can’t handle this” experiences last year when I suffered my second miscarriage.

    Everything was going according to plan, the baby appeared to be healthy and growing. All was right in our world. Everything changed the moment the doctor informed us that our sweet baby had stopped growing two weeks earlier and that the fetus had a defect.

    In that moment, I couldn’t speak much less cry out to God, but He knew that my heart was breaking and my world was crumbling. He knew if I could open my mouth and forms words, I would have cried, “God! Take this pain, this is too much. I need Your peace now more than ever. I’m scared for surgery, but I know you are always with me. Please be near to us today.”

    I was overwhelmed, it was a situation that I alone could not handle. I felt sorrow cover me like a blanket and attempt to suffocate my joy and trust in God. But, moments later, I felt the peace of God sweep into that hospital room – a peace that felt like I was being cradled in the hand of God.

    If you’re feeling overwhelmed today by grief or pain, allow yourself to be led to the rock that is higher than you. Watch as God calms your fears and replaces sorrow with gladness.

    Prayer: Lord, I pray that I would be surrendered to You today. I am tired and feeling overwhelmed. I know I need You and You alone. Help me find my rest and joy in You. Amen.

    Devotion by Caitlin Walker