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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

    “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10, Christian Standard Bible).

    One of the strangest conversations I’ve had was with a lady I’ll call Kathy, who seemed rather aloof and difficult to get to know. In trying to come up with a topic to break the ice and hopefully engage her, I inquired, “Have you gone on vacation yet this year?” This seemed a simple question, but her response startled me. “No, I’m saving all my vacation time for when I get cancer.” Did I hear that correctly?

    Eventually, Kathy and I did become friends, and I learned a little more about her story. Her mother had died of cancer in her early forties, an age Kathy was now approaching. Because of this, Kathy had developed an overwhelming fear the same would happen to her. Fear convinced her she would die young.

    Perhaps Kathy’s fear was an extreme form, but it kept her from enjoying life in the present. Fear brings inner turmoil and robs us of peace. We must not allow the voice of fear to drown out the voice of faith. It’s possible to banish fear from our lives with God’s help. When we look at His Word, we discover what fear is and what it is not.

    Fear comes from Satan, not God.
    The father of lies is the one who whispers those fearful thoughts in our ear. God’s voice carries a message of love and power. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment” (II Timothy 1:7, CSB).

    We do not face our struggles alone.
    It doesn’t matter who or what comes against us, God is there. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?” (Psalm 118:6, CSB).

    God’s love is stronger than any fear.
    God is perfect love. Fear and God’s love cannot coexist. Fear must leave. “Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? . . . No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:35, 37, CSB)

    The closer we draw to God, the less fear controls us.
    His love surpasses anything we face. “There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears is not complete in love” (I John 4:18, CSB).

    God declares we belong to Him.
    When we remember the tremendous investment He made to redeem us, we realize He will always come to our assistance. “Now this is what the LORD says—the one who created you, Jacob, and the one who formed you, Israel—‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine’” (Isaiah 43:1, CSB).

    What is fear saying to you today? You can silence it and regain peace in your life through the power of God?

    When I am afraid, I will trust in you” (Psalm 56:3, CSB).

    Prayer: Lord, I do want to place my complete trust in You, regardless of any situation I face. I know fear cannot exist when Your love is present. If I fill my mind with thoughts of You and hide Your Word in my heart, I can conquer any fear the enemy tries to put in me. With Your help, I am victorious.

    “Trust in the Lord with all your heart;

        do not depend on your own understanding.

    Seek his will in all you do,

        and he will show you which path to take.”

    Proverbs 3:5-6

    How many times have you cried out to God “I just don’t understand!” I’ve done it plenty of times. When my life wasn’t turning out the way I thought it would. When I miscarried the first time, then the second time and especially the third time. When my heart hurt so badly I wasn’t sure it would ever heal.

    I’m sure you have your own memories flooding your mind right now of times when you cried out “I just don’t understand God!”

    This verse tells us though not to depend on our own understanding – and I’m so thankful for that. I do not know the end from the beginning, but my God does. I have no idea what tomorrow will hold, but he has already walked my tomorrow before me.

    If we seek his will in all we do, he will show us which path to take. It might not make perfect sense to us, but we will feel peace in knowing which direction we are to go in.

    He is not the author of confusion, rather he is the Prince of Peace. Our Everlasting Father.  The one who holds the world in His hands.

    He is always in absolute control, and has a purpose for your life. In moments where you simply do not understand, trust his word when it reminds us to trust in him with all your heart. He will never lead you astray.

    God, I’m thankful that when my life is confusing and I’m questioning your plan for my life, that I can turn to your word. Lead me today in moments of doubt.