As I allow the Holy Spirit to guide me through this new feature called Faith Notes, I am often prompted to contact someone I don’t know and ask them to share their testimony. Even though I don’t know what their story is, the Lord does and He knows who needs to hear it. Tammy Stewart is one of these people. She shares her story of the loss and heartache of multiple miscarriages and how she found the faithfulness of God through it all. She is becoming a dear sister-friend who desires above all things to glorify God in her life and help others. She and I are praying that you will be encouraged by the words of her heart.
Describe a time when you felt abandoned by God or very disappointed in Him, thinking He had failed you.
We desperately wanted a third child and began trying for one in 2002. That is when all the heartache began.
From 2002-2005, I suffered through four miscarriages and a molar pregnancy.* One miscarriage required surgery because the baby did not have a heartbeat. That is one of the most devastating news an expectant mother could ever hear. The molar pregnancy also required surgery to remove the mass of cells that is common with this type of pregnancy.
After the molar pregnancy I could not get pregnant for a year and I had to have my blood drawn once a month to make sure the cells did not grow back or that I did not get choriocarcinoma, a cancer which can be caused by molar pregnancies. The other three babies, I miscarried naturally.
Although I knew that God did not cause the miscarriages, I just could not understand why He was allowing these things to happen to me.
*A molar pregnancy is a noncancerous (benign) tumor that develops in the uterus. It begins when an egg is fertilized, but instead of a normal, viable pregnancy resulting, the placenta develops into an abnormal mass of cysts (www.mayoclinic.org).
During this time, how was your faith-walk impacted? Were you angry? Fearful? Numb? Doubtful? Did you turn your back on God for a while, or cling desperately to what you know to be true, even though your emotions told you otherwise?
During this time, I actually feel that my faith-walk began to grow deeper. I grew up knowing God and believing in Him and His goodness and faithfulness. But although I knew that He did not cause my pain, and I feel I never really turned my back on Him, I still could not understand why He was allowing me to go through this.
I was angry, I questioned Him many times, and I wondered what I had done to deserve such pain and heartache. I wondered what I had done wrong—had I done some awful sin for this to be brought upon me?
I believe I actually began to grow closer to the Lord, as I prayed and talked to Him a lot! I even asked Him to not allow me to get pregnant again if I was only going to lose the baby. I knew in my heart that God would never leave or forsake me, but after each loss I began to wonder.
We decided to give up trying for that very much wanted third child, mainly because my husband said that he could not stand to see the hurt and disappointment in my eyes again. I tried to be happy on the inside, but I continued to be hurting on the inside. I did not want to give up!
What happened to resolve your faith crisis? How did God reveal Himself to you during this time? With extraordinary comfort? Reassurance? Peace that passes understanding? Quiet knowing?
As I prayed and talked to the Lord, He began to reveal Himself in many ways to show me that He was still there and that I could have peace. After the fourth miscarriage, I had a really tough time dealing with depression and just could not feel any peace concerning the loss. My father-in-law had just passed away in February of that year and I miscarried in December, so the depression was very real and deep.
One night I had a dream that I feel God sent for me. In the dream, I came to a room — completely white as snow — and I could see what appeared to be an elderly gentleman with his back to me, sitting in the middle of the room. I could tell he was bouncing his knee, but not sure why.
As I walked closer to him, he turned around and was bouncing the most angelic-looking baby on his knee. As soon as he saw me, he turned to me and said, “Don’t you worry, she’s just fine!” I immediately woke up and knew I had seen my father-in-law taking care of my baby.
This dream was as real to me as I am sitting here. I’m not sure if anyone else believes me, but I know God showed me a little piece of Heaven that night. He showed me that I could find peace and that I was going to be fine.
He showed up many other times and many other ways during these devastating times in my life. Through the mail He sent me encouraging words in a card from a very unlikely person. He gave me a shooting star one night, and He sent me comfort through my pastor, friends, and family.
The biggest way the Lord revealed His goodness and faithfulness to me, though, was when I found out I was pregnant again in 2007. No we weren’t trying, but God had other plans. You know … His timing is perfect, not ours.
When I discovered I was pregnant again, I had so many feelings of fear return. I was so afraid, I was almost two months along before I could even tell my husband. Again, I prayed and talked to God a lot! I reminded Him of my request to not allow me to get pregnant if I was only going to lose the child. I needed peace about this pregnancy and this child.
One day as I was coming home from work, I felt led to pray. I’m not exactly sure why I thought of this, but I asked God if He would give me a butterfly if everything was going to be okay with this pregnancy and if I would carry this baby to full-term. As soon as I had said, “Amen'” the biggest and most beautiful butterfly flew across my windshield. My God is so good and amazing! I actually felt a peace right then and there, and I began to thank Him out loud.
This was a high-risk pregnancy, and because I was over 35, my husband and I both had to go through genetic counseling. Even so, Sarah Grace Stewart was born in April of the next year, completely healthy and without either of us having any complications. As we brought her home two days later, butterflies literally flew by the hundreds among the dogwood trees on each side of the road! If that was not God, I don’t know what it was.
What scripture became a sure place for you?
My personal favorite: 2 Timothy, 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
And of course, 1 Peter 5:7-9 “Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you.
Did praise play a part of your faith restoration? What about thankfulness? Is praise a big part of your faith-walk now?
Praise definitely played a role in my faith restoration. Through my pain and weakness, God used it to teach me a lesson in patience and waiting on His timing. He taught me that no matter what, I must keep on praising Him. He had already blessed me in so many ways—I had to thank Him for the two beautiful boys that He had already given me. He reminded me that children are gifts from Him.
God’s strength came through my weaknesses. I knew that God did not allow the miscarriages or the heartache, but I knew that He could use them for His good and glory! I knew that He saw that I could be strong enough to keep praising Him in the storm, even when I felt all alone and that nobody cared. I knew that He could use my pain and my circumstances to help someone else who may have to go through the same things I did. God taught me that there is always, always hope!
In fact, He has already used me and my story to help others. I had a friend come to me about six years ago or so, seeking advice from me because she knew my story and she was desperately wanting to have a child, but she was having a hard time conceiving. I simply told her, “No matter what happens, just keep praising the Lord!” A few months later she was pregnant with her first child. We serve an awesome and mighty God!
How do you find God’s peace when you are troubled?
I try to find alone time with God, to read His word, and to pray and just talk to Him. He is our Father and we can talk to Him just as we would our earthly fathers. I like to read devotional books and I have a very special coworker who I can confide in. She brings me the exact scriptures I need when she knows I am feeling down or doubtful.
I also continue to ask Him for butterflies when I am needing to feel a peace about situations. He always sends them to me when I need them. Sometimes He sends them to me when I haven’t even asked for them, but He knows that I need peace and uplifting.
What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of the Lord?
I think the first word I think of when I think of the Lord is Father. He is my Father who loves me unconditionally and He is the only one that can give me true comfort and peace.
Could you offer some encouraging words for those who may be seeking, those wanting to draw closer to Him and trust Him more, especially during a painful season?
Just know that God’s timing is not like ours; His is perfect, ours is not. No matter what you are going though, always keep praising Him and know that He is never picking on you. He picked you out!
Although He does not cause our troubles, He has always known everything that we will go through, and He can and will use you and the struggles for His honor and glory, if only you allow Him to. And please remember, that as long as you have God on your side and you keep thanking and praising Him for all that He does for you, there is always, always hope! If God be for us, who can be against us?
More About Tammy:
Tammy Stewart is a preschool teacher and assistant director at First Baptist Child Development Center in her hometown of Taylorsville, NC. She and her husband, Tim, have been married for twenty-nine years. They have two adult sons Steven (and daughter-in-love Alexa) and Seth, a senior at UNCW. Tammy and Tim also have one daughter, their miracle child, Sarah Grace, who is now 9 years old. Their family is completed with two dogs, Doug and Bubbles.
In her spare time, Tammy loves to read (mostly devotionals), catch up with friends and minister anyway she can on Facebook. She also loves spending time with her church family (Taylorsville Church of God), friends, and family. For a long time Tammy has been wanting God to use her in ways that will honor and glorify Him.
Congratulations to Jackie Hart!
Jackie is August’s winner of an autographed copy of The Perils of a Pastor’s Wife. Would you like a chance to win? Subscribe in the box below to receive updates from me and you’ll be entered to win.
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Would you like to share your story to encourage others? I’m looking for people from all walks of life who want to use their difficult places for the glory of God. Many folks are hurting and feel that the Lord has abandoned them. Faith Notes offers them hope and helps them open their eyes to see Him in their midst. If you’d like to know more, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org