I had just gotten back from telling my neighbor my good news. Later I noticed little pink and blue balloons tied to the branches of my small tree.
Cheryl, she is so nice. But my joy was cut short when I started bleeding.
“I want you to stay in bed for 48 hours,” the army ER doctor said. “After that, you can get up. If you lose it, you lose it.”
He obviously wasn’t talking about my baby. The one I had already pictured in my mind. The one I already loved.
I followed his orders. But that night I felt pain, and then a strong pressure. Afterwards, I reached into the toilet and scooped up what I passed.
At the doctor’s office, my husband and I waited. I couldn’t stop crying.
“Mrs. Peterson, what you brought in was not the baby. I believe you still have the baby in you.”
What? I could feel hope start seeping into me again.
“I want you to come back in a week for an ultrasound.”
Life Was Good
Everything was right with the world again. The sun was shining; the sky was especially blue. Thank you, God. It’s easy to praise him when things are going well.
A week later, the sonogram technician spread green gel over my stomach.
“So, do you want a boy or girl?”
“We want a girl.”
Minutes later, the doctor entered and got right to the point: “I’m sorry”
“I’m sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Peterson. There is no baby.”
My husband held me as my tears fell freely.
The next day, I threw myself into all we had to do. We were going home on leave, a trip we had planned for a while. There would be friends and family to see. But all I could think about was my loss.
“Anne, when we’re in Chicago,” Mike started softly, “could you not talk about the miscarriage?”
I nodded, unaware that a layer of anger started covering my broken heart.
After our trip, we had to get shots since we’d be going overseas for Mike’s next assignment. All kinds of shots.
The next day I noticed my forearm was red and puffy. I showed it to my husband’s aunt.
“You had a positive reaction to the TB test,” Lois said.
I dismissed it, sure she was wrong. But at a follow-up appointment with the doctor, he confirmed it.
“You’ve had a positive reaction to the test. You have come in contact with someone who has TB. When you get to Germany, I want you to start INH for a year. It’s a slow-acting medication, but very effective. Oh, and I don’t want you to get pregnant while you're taking it.”
Those words sailed out of his mouth, but hit me hard. I could feel another layer of anger encompass my heart.
A week or so later, my husband and I were at a gathering. He was excited for me to meet these soon-to-be friends. The kind chaplain approached me and said, “I sense within you a rage.”
I didn’t even know him. And yet, he was right. Glaring at him, I said, “You’ve got that right.”
My anger had ripened into resentment and then full-blown bitterness.
Stuffing down our emotions never helps. Those feelings can make our hearts harder and harder.
Not only had I lost a baby, now I was expected to wait a year before I could even get pregnant? Was God kidding? That did it. I was angry with God. After all, he could have prevented all of this.
At first, I gave God the silent treatment, which doesn’t really work because God still knows your thoughts. But I had to show him how mad I was.
I grew up believing anger was wrong. Both my mom’s silent treatments and dad’s explosions of rage showed me that clearly. Anger was to be avoided at all costs.
God Is Not Like Us
But I learned God was different than we are. Somehow he kept loving me even when I was mad. He kept providing for my every need. And then he did something I would never forget.
Our fellowship group was going to Israel for 10 days. Listening to the announcements about the trip made it so appealing. I remember one day whispering to God, “If you love me, I want to go to Israel.”
My heart was not in the right place. Yet God looked past my attitude. And not only that, God did send us to Israel providing the $900 we needed. Every single penny. And not when I was praising him and sharing how wonderful he was, but when I was angry.
Love Broke Through
My casing around my heart started melting. God’s love broke through my bitterness. God really did love me, even angry me.
Yes, we know because of John 3:16 that God loves us. He loved the world. But this was something else. This was God’s grace and mercy right before my eyes. God forgave my ungodly attitude, and then because of his grace, he gave me something I did not deserve.
God knew what was going on with me when I was in pain over my loss. Eventually, I cried out to him, and do you know what he did? He told me he loved me and that everything was going to be okay. And that’s when we have a decision to make. Would I hold onto the pain, or trust the one who loves me like no one else?
And every step I took in Israel reminded me how much God loves me.
When we get mad at someone, our anger could damage our relationships, sometimes even sever them. But that’s not the case with our Heavenly Father.
God wasn’t going anywhere. He tells tells us that in Deuteronomy 31:6. And God doesn’t lie.
A year later, I took the handmade, pink crocheted booties that Cheryl made me, and every day my son Nathan and I prayed for a baby sister.
And God heard us.
God Cares about Our Desires
So what about anger? Is it okay to be angry with God?
Yes, a hundred times yes. When we lose loved ones, jobs, or even our health, sometimes we plummet into despair. We say things we don’t mean, sometimes even to God.
The healthiest thing we can do is tell God how we feel. Read Psalms 139: 3-16. God made us, even our emotions.
God can handle us, no matter how we feel. Our Father has really big shoulders. I lean on them all the time.
A Prayer for When You’re Angry at God
God, we pray that you will help us when we face trials that seem so huge. We pray that no matter what happens to us that we remember your great love. And sometimes God, we do get angry. Will you help us to be able to share with you what we’re feeling? And Father, remind us that you are sovereign and all knowing. And one day we will understand the mysteries that are here. And if any of us have been holding onto our anger and it has made our hearts cold, just warm them up Lord, and help us release all of that to you. We pray this in Jesus’ precious name. Amen.
Anne Peterson is a regular contributor to Crosswalk. She is a poet, speaker and published author of fourteen books. One of which is her memoir, Broken: A Story of Abuse and Survival. While Anne enjoys being a poet, speaker and published author, her favorite title is still ‘Grandma’ to her three grandchildren here, and one in heaven. To find out more about Anne you can visit her on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and https://medium.com/@annegolliaspeterson/latest.
Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/AntonioGuillem