Thursday, December 13

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means, 'God with us.' )”

Matthew 1:23 (NIV)

A while back my sister-in-law Rene had a miscarriage. Afterward, she suffered from severe depression and anxiety attacks and had to take medication to recover. It took her a year to gather her courage to try again for another baby, and when she did, she had another miscarriage. I will never forget her face—how it crumpled in pain—and the sobs that followed as the doctor confirmed that the baby in her womb was dead.

Rene and I often borrow from the line in Wuthering Heights when Cathy cries out, “I am Heathcliff!” Theirs is a crazed love affair rather than a friendship, but the principle remains that they are inseparable human beings. Cathy cannot discern where she ends and Heathcliff begins, and this is like Rene and me. As much as I could enter into her miscarriage experience, I did. We cried and prayed a lot together.

But human beings are limited. I could not be with her at every moment. I could not be inside her head. Even my brother Jim, who stood beside her and suffered with her, could not heal her heart.

At one of the lowest points in the aftermath, Rene told me she woke up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night. It was pitch-black, and Jim was beside her, asleep. She felt the darkness of her loss begin to suffocate her. All she could do was cry out to Jesus—and He answered. He spoke three words to her heart: I am here.

Immanuel—God with us—is a heady concept. However, even for God to be with us is not always what we want. It’s definitely not all we would ask for, if we’re honest. But it is enough to see us through—Jesus is enough.

Faith Step: Jesus never leaves you nor forsakes you. Receive that truth down deep into your bones. His grace is sufficient, and you can trust that He will be enough for anything you face today.

—Gwen Ford Faulkenberry