The nurse told me they weren’t able to salvage what ruptured and that it might be harder for me to have children in the future, but I was confused. You know that feeling when you’ve just woken up from a deep sleep—like when you’re trying to remember who you are and what the world is because your brain has been shut down? I squinted at the bag of someone else’s blood that was dripping into an IV that was hooked into my arm.
“What?” I said.
The nurse repeated, “We weren’t able to save the fallopian tube. I’m sorry.”
What was she talking about? I did that thing where I tried to remember my life. What happened last?
The pain. I remembered the pain that made me want to stop being alive. I remembered the hospital blankets. So many heated blankets because I was so cold my teeth were chattering. I remembered the doctor visits the week before. “The baby is in the wrong place,” he’d said. Then the heartbeat wasn’t there. There were shots of chemotherapy. It was all coming back to me.
The nurse told me not to move. I looked down at a giant gash on my stomach that I’d had no idea was coming hours earlier. I was alive, but my baby wasn’t. I was broken—mentally, emotionally, and physically. I was afraid. Afraid of dying. Afraid of never having children. Afraid of never being happy again. Afraid of everything unforeseen that tomorrow might hold, because now I knew you could wake up and find your world falling apart.
I’d always tended toward fear, but the trauma of that ectopic pregnancy and the rupture and the emergency surgery and my lost baby made me afraid of the world in a new way and made me forget things about God. I could remember my fears, but I couldn’t remember how God could speak to them.
Here are three aspects of the nature of God that He helped me remember in that season of anxiety.
1. He’s the Sovereign Lord
The word sovereign means “possessing extreme or ultimate power.” In God’s case, it is ultimate by definition. He doesn’t have some of the power or power over a lot. He has it all. If everything came from Him, then there can’t be power that isn’t His power.
We sing about it in songs—God’s power. We see it all over the Bible in plain English and in stories about people like us. God parted seas and rivers to save His people (Exodus 14:21, Joshua 3-4). He healed diseases (Matthew 8). He raised the dead (Mark 5:21-43). We see it in history, and once you’ve walked with Him a while, surely you’ve seen it in your own life, too. But when life feels scary, we forget that His control is fundamental.
I think I spent a week in the hospital after that ordeal. I remember returning home, barely able to walk. I couldn’t work. I didn’t want to eat. I was just lying in bed while my Bible and prayer journal sat on my nightstand.
I remember opening my prayer journal—I still have it—and looking at the verse I’d written the day before my life fell apart. Something like, “…in God I trust, I will not be afraid… Psalm 56:11.”
I looked at my handwriting and my whole body went numb.
“I don’t know what to say to you, God,” is what I said to Him in that moment. Then, I spent weeks and weeks trying to turn my heart off and give Him the silent treatment.
It was the darkest, loneliest season of my life. I had forgotten that God is sovereign. I’d forgotten He knows and controls the tomorrows that terrify me.
I was looking at the stressful, sad, scary thing that happened to me, rather than looking at the God who is over it all, who has plans I can’t fathom, who has power, and who uses that power for our good. The God who caused the sun to stand still (Joshua 10:13) caused my life to still and helped me remember His power is perfect. He is over everything, and He is in control, and in spite of what one day of our life may tell us, we have thousands of years of evidence that His sovereign purposes are beautiful for us.
2. He’s the Source of Peace
There is nothing that shakes your sense of peace like an unexpected tragedy (or even just the fear of one).
I thought, “My baby died … and then I almost died … and I was prayer journaling about how peaceful I was through this. I was looking at You, right God? And wasn’t I praising You? Why did You let this happen?”
I wrestled with those questions for months. I forgot that God, my Rescuer, is the only source of peace.
When we look only at the pieces of our lives, there’s no peace in our lives. Our people can die. Our bodies can rupture. Our houses can burn.
But Hebrews 13:8 tells us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
If we look to pregnancies and health and wealth and anything else in this world to be our source of peace, we will live in fear.
Peace is found in one Person—the Person called “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). He’s the One who died to win the war that we don’t have to keep fighting in our heads.
When I finally remembered that, because of the prayers and fasting of my Christian community on my behalf, their acts of love, pastoral and mental health counseling, that’s when the peace came again. I remembered that peace is not about what I love but about Who loves me.
3. He’s the Sweet Father
During that dark season when I gave God the silent treatment, I was too scared to even admit that I was mad at Him because I knew I shouldn’t be mad at Him. I never doubted that He was real, but I doubted that He was good.
At my lowest point, my darkest, I was struck with the horror of what life could be without Him. The first words I spoke to Him after weeks and weeks of nothingness were, “I don’t know if You’re good anymore, God. But, I know that whatever You are, I need you.”
That was really the key step. It was just the beginning of a long process of healing and praying and counseling that helped me remember His goodness, but as soon as I went to Him the change was all but made. He is good. He can’t not be good. When we go to Him, even when we don’t know what we are looking for, we will find sweetness.
His kindness is what leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). He does good (Psalm 119:68) and He creates things that are good (Genesis 1:31) and He is out for our good. He works all things together for good (Romans 8:28). When we remember that He is good, we remember that we can trust Him (Romans 8:31). We remember that no matter what we are facing, God is for us, not against us.
We don’t have to be afraid because He is good. We can rest because He is the source of peace. We can trust because He is sovereign over everything. We can smile because through Christ, we can experience a tangible relationship with the good God who made us.
Whatever you’re worried about today, for whatever reason, remember who God is and be anxious for nothing.
“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Scarlet Hiltibidal is a very professional wife and mother. She is the author of Afraid of All the Things and He Numbered the Pores on My Face. She also writes a regular column for ParentLife Magazine. Scarlet loves sign language with her daughters, nachos by herself, writing for her friends, and learning how to be a pretend-farmer with her husband in Middle Tennessee. Find Scarlet on Instagram @scarlethiltibidal and at ScarletHiltibidal.com.