“Life was good. Life was easy. God was present. [My story] would have been an easy story to share… And then, out of nowhere my story changed, and it wasn’t so easy to share the Good News.”
If someone had asked to hear my story a few years ago, it would have been easy to share. I experienced a happy, healthy childhood and adolescence. I knew Christ from an early age, and He continued to be a presence throughout my life. I had a healthy Christian marriage and was involved in Apex. Life was good. Life was easy. God was present. It would have been an easy story to share.
And then, out of nowhere my story changed, and it wasn’t so easy to share the Good News.
Ever since I was a child, I knew I wanted to adopt. God commissioned my maternal heart for adoption early, and I intended on following through. In fact, when my husband and I began dating, I made sure he knew adoption was a part of my plan. Though I always intended on becoming a mother, I never desired to do so naturally. I had no longing to be pregnant. Soon after Ray and I married, Apex devoted a service entirely to the global orphan crisis. My already kindled heart ignited into a full blaze, and Ray and I chose to begin the adoption process. We were approved shortly after and began the lengthy process towards meeting my life’s goal– adoption.
Through the process, though, God began changing my heart, and I would go back and forth on whether or not I wanted to have a child by birth. While I wrestled, the decision was made for me. I was pregnant! I told my husband by writing a note on our dry erase board that simply said, “God’s plans are bigger than our plans…you’re going to be a Daddy.” There was so much joy that evening. We cried, we danced, we rejoiced.
However, our rejoicing was short lived. At nine weeks pregnant, I began to experience complications. Doctors told me I would most likely miscarry. We were told over and over I should have surgery to save myself the agony that would soon come, but we remained hopeful that God would, in fact, save our baby. For days I laid in bed refusing to believe we would lose our child. We prayed fervently on our knees, multiple times a day, for God to step in and do something incredible. We, along with so many others, were praying for a miracle.
We were filled with terrible heartache as we learned I did in fact miscarry. Our child was gone. While I endured excruciating physical pain, it was only a side note to the emotional pain that would plague me. For the first time in my life, I experienced depression. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t want to see my friends and family and I didn’t want to wake up every day to my reality. I felt like I had nothing left to live for and nothing more to give this world. I truly believed I would never find joy again; I would never get the miracle for which I prayed.
A friend from my House Church suggested I get free counseling from the Miami Valley Women’s Center. I wanted to feel better, so I went. The first little step was a huge victory for me. My counselor encouraged me to read my Bible and journal to God daily. It became the hardest part of my day, but also the most fulfilling. I remember reading Psalm 71 with her and landing on verse 14, “But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.” This verse became my battle cry. I clung to it. I wanted to believe in it so that I could live by it. I would cry out to God, petitioning Him to help me hope in Him. I clung more closely to God than I ever had because I had nowhere else to turn.
I realized I had two choices in front of me– I could either hope continually or give up entirely. Hoping in Him didn’t magically make life easy. I questioned why God would give me the desire to have a baby, only to take the child away. I grieved having to leave a job I loved so very much to get myself healthy again. I wondered how God could still be good if He chose to take my child away. I prayed every day, “God I believe, help me in my unbelief.” I worshiped God, through my tears, as I sang the words to “Be Still My Soul” and “It is Well.” Instead of sitting at home, crying and watching Netflix all day, I volunteered in the Apex office.
I wanted so much to believe I would be restored through this.
God’s plans were, in fact, bigger than ours. I discovered I was pregnant again. While this news came as a shock, I had long decided I would never try again, I knew had to snap out of my depression for the health of the new little baby. Even though I feared I would never bring baby number two home either, I hoped continually, and I praised God every single day. My pregnancy was both healthy and easy, and I felt so blessed with every day my little one grew stronger inside me. God also blessed me with a job at Apex that I never expected.
On April 2, 2016, we welcomed our son Theodore Joel Kenney into the world. We named him Theodore because it means God’s gift, and Joel because the book of Joel is all about God’s people being restored. God’s gift had truly restored us.
These days, I have a happy little toddler running around. We are done with all our adoption paperwork and training, and eagerly await the day we are matched and bring another child into our home.
I look back on my days of intense grief, and I don’t recognize the person I was. I found my joy again. I am living a new life, with continual hope, entirely orchestrated by the Lord. I wouldn’t want my life to look any different than it does right at this moment. I believe God did answer our prayer for a miracle; it just was a different miracle than we thought.
Theodore is not my savior. He is a tool my Savior used to show His goodness, kindness, and love to me. I will never understand why God put me through the trial He did, but I have finally come to the place in my life where I don’t need to know. I can trust in God. He knows what He is doing.
It is easy to share God’s Good News again. Heartache will still come, but I’ve learned to rely on God through the brokenness fully. Even now, I am walking through a trial; but, because of God’s faithfulness in my life, I will not dwell on this sadness forever. “Instead, I will hope continually and praise Him yet more and more.”
Author- Stacy Kenney
Photographers- Amey Lisch & Lauren Boone
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Apex is a diverse body of believers. The stories we share are intended to showcase the personal experiences of your fellow believers as they learn to live out their faith. Anthologies encourages our readers to view these stories as a platform for dialogue on a variety of topics relevant to our lives as Christ followers.