Share Your Story

Share Your Story

Four Dreams That Have Changed My Life

The heart of Sacred Stories is to help others experience a "Me too!" moment as the learn that they aren't alone in their experiences, to point them to their hope in the Greatest Story Ever Told and to help those who can't understand, understand a little bit better. Jessica's story gave me a "me too!" moment and pointed me right back to Jesus. If you have ever experienced infant or pregnancy loss or know someone who has, this is a life-changer. It's an honor to have Jessica share her story. 

Are you a dreamer?

Dreaming means many things to many people. Some view dreaming as a childish pastime, removed from reality. Some people associate dreaming with adventure and passionate pursuits. Others shy away from the word because of disappointments and letdowns they have encountered. I have felt all of these things. Dreaming is a loaded word. 

Here's the thing. God created you to dream. Not only does He care about your dreams and desires (because He put them there) but He wants to partner with you and dream along side you. 

What is a dream?
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, 'Always do what you are afraid to do.'"

The dreams I'm referring to are the ones that you hold closest to your heart, the ones that scare you. Why would what I desire most scare me? Because if the dream does not come true, the disappointment would be devastating. Yet, God created us with a purpose in mind. No one is here by change. No one is here by mistake. Yet so many times when I have seen dreams come crashing down around me in my life, am disappointed by the outcome, or am laden with doubt, God reminds me of this. He is not limited by our disappointments, and you don't have to be either.

I would like to introduce you to four dreams of mine. These are the dreams that I hold closest to my heart.This post is long and some parts are hard. But hang with me till the end, ok? It will be worth it, I promise. (side note-I wonder how many times God says this to us in our lives?)

I can still feel my hands tremble in nervous energy as I hold the test. I can feel the adrenaline rush through my veins as I watch a plus sign appearing on the screen like magic. I feel the surges of competing emotions: elation, doubt, joy, fear, and laughter slamming through my body like tempest waves. I have responded this way four times in my life.

 Four tests have turned into plus signs.

 Four times I have claimed my children, the moment I knew of their existence.

Four precious, tender dreams have grown inside me.

Aleah Grace

Meaning: Ascending

I married my husband in July of 2008. We spend two years of marriage together and then decided to expand our family. I'm impatient by nature and feared that it would take a long time to conceive. I also feared that if I did conceive that I would miscarry the baby. In hindsight I find it interesting that I was so fearful and concerned about things that had not even happened, and there was no family history of infertility or miscarriage. But having children was one of my dearest dreams, and dreams are scary.

Two months later on an early Saturday morning the stick turned into a plus sign. It happened. I was pregnant.

I was over the moon excited. But behind the excitement, I could feel fear looming in the background. Fear taunted, You are going to lose this baby and then all your dreams will be shattered. This will break you. And for the first trimester, I battled fear every day. Anytime I would feel a slight pain or twinge I would panic and wonder if I was miscarrying my baby. Every time I used the restroom I would search for any signs of blood. This went on for 10 weeks.

I finally came to the place of realizing that I could not go on bearing the load that fear and anxiety required me to carry. I remember journaling in my pregnancy journal late one evening. Through journaling, God and I had this conversation:

"Jessica, how do you like bearing all the burden and responsibility for this pregnancy alone?" I replied, "Lord, I'm sorry. It's too much. I can't worry like this anymore."

"Give this baby to me. Trust me with your baby's life."

"Ok. This baby is yours."

And I added this phrase which still gives me chills every time I see it written in my own hand writing, "Even if my worst fears are confirmed and I lose this baby, I know God will sustain me and bring me through." God knew me and my dreams. Not only did He see my dream of becoming a mother, but He was preparing my heart and preparing the way to walk with me through a dark valley ahead.

Fast forward three months to March 22nd. I was student teaching, and at our 20 week ultrasound discovered we were having a girl. I planned on becoming a stay at home Mom once our girl was born in July. I dreamed of what our relationship would be like, what she would be like. All those dreams came crashing down on March 22nd, 2011.

I'm going to give you the short, condensed version of this story. My body went into preterm labor. I was dilated to four cementers and was airlifted to a Denver hospital. While we were there we discovered nothing could be done to stop our little girl from coming early. She was 23 weeks gestation, on the edge of viability. On March 23rd, Aleah Grace came into the world, alive. Jesus let me have here for 59 minutes, and then He took her to heaven. She was gone.

Asher Jason

 Meaning: Happiness

Nearly a year had passed since our sweet Aleah died. We tried to become pregnant as soon as I was recovered physically from her delivery, not because we were trying to replace her but because the dream of being a mother would not die. In fact, that desire became stronger and more potent than ever. My arms physically ached for a child. Aleah created so much love in my heart but I had no baby to give it to.

In early March of 2012, I got my second plus sign with a mixture of joy and trepidation. I was carrying a baby for the second time. Later that month, we celebrated Aleah's birthday and anniversary of her death on March 23rd. It helped my heart to know I was carrying new life inside me. I was about 7 weeks pregnant. The next day, I began bleeding. Two days later on March 26th, my second child joined my first in heaven.

Judah Benjamin

Meaning: Praise

Sometimes dreams hurt. Dreams come from a place of hopefulness in our souls. I watched two of my dreams die right before me and inside me. My heart felt so tattered and trampled that I did not want to risk dreaming anymore. It was easier to shut down, to stop dreaming. I did not believe my heart could survive another heartbreak. I shut down all thoughts of motherhood. I stopped desiring to be pregnant. I could not believe that a year later, I was back at square one with two of my children gone from my arms. The idea of becoming pregnant again was almost repulsive to me. It took a year of trying to become pregnant after we lost our Aleah; I did not think I would be able to get pregnant easily again.

A month and half passed since I miscarried in March. It was May and I was waiting for my period to arrive, but it never did. This was not unusual for me because after Aleah's delivery my cycles were ranging between fifty and sixty days! My husband was at a Men's Retreat our church was hosting for a weekend. I was lying in our bed when he came home bursting into the room full of renewed life and faith. He told me about how the guest speaker had spoken on dreams. He told me how the speaker claimed God wanted to partner with each of us to fulfill the dreams that He has placed inside our hearts.

In my head I had many flippant and sarcastic remarks at the ready as I was listening to him. My heart screamed, No! It's too much. I cannot endure another loss and Well what happens when your dreams die? Because mine literally have. On the exterior, I smiled politely and nodded. Internally a war was being waged inside me.

 I remember the Holy Spirit asking me, "Jessica, what do you want?"

"You know what I want!" I snapped.

"Tell me specifically what you want."

I paused.

I didn't want to even admit to my own mind what my desires were for fear of them being ripped from me again. But I decided to admit what was in my heart.

"I want a LIVING child. One pregnancy. Give me just ONE full term pregnancy that ends with a healthy baby that I get to bring home."

At the time I did not know it, but this is what I know now from looking back at the dates. The very moment I felt most hopeless and ready to completely give up, God was working inside me, literally. I decided to hope one more time. Admit my dreams one more time. And unbeknownst to me, at the very moment my little dream was smaller than a pen point being formed inside me. I was pregnant, but wouldn't know it till a week later.

A few days later I felt a little off. I decided I'll take a test. It will be negative and then I can move on with my life. I took the test. It looked negative at first but I glanced again and saw a second faint line appearing. Sheer terror filled me, followed by a wave of joy, concluded by panic. Then came anger. I remember saying to God, "I'm not ready to lose a third baby yet. Couldn't You have given me a little more time before I have to go through this again?" God is bigger than my doubts, my frail heart, and my anger. Even in this moment of ugliness, He welcomed me with all my accusations and anger. He walked with me through the pregnancy that I couldn't bring myself to believe Him for. My reactions do not change or alter who He is. He is good and faithful regardless of if I think He is.

Weeks went by and every day I woke up and wondered Is today the day I will lose this baby? Day after day, night after night my little dream remained inside me and grew to be a bigger and bigger dream. I could feel small hope rising and growing inside me too. I asked God, "I need something to stand on. What do You say about this baby?" I was reading in the Psalms that morning and as soon as I read this verse, I knew for certain in my soul that this was His answer. Psalms 27: 13-14 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

At 38 and a half weeks of pregnancy, my son Judah Benjamin came into the land of the living screaming with a head full of jet black hair, surprising his two blonde parents. He was alive. He was full term. He was my dream, and he came home alive.

Selah Joy 

Meaning: To pause, to reflect on the Lord

With the birth of my son, for the first time in years I felt restoration and joy return to my life. Our family of three was happy, content. Yet the little voice inside of my soul would whisper to my heart, one more. I often thought back to the conversation I had with God where I told Him "One pregnancy, just give me one pregnancy." Part of me felt greedy asking Him for another.

But once again, I heard Him ask me in the stillness of night, "Jessica, what do you want?"

I replied, "One more."

In May of 2014, we learned we were pregnant for the fourth time. We rejoiced when we discovered this baby was a little girl. She, like her brother, came into the world screaming. She was full term and had the lungs to prove it! She also is the spitting image of her sister, Aleah. I have 3D ultrasound pictures of Selah when she was at 23 weeks gestation, the same as Aleah when she was born. The resemblance is uncanny. Aleah was born March 23rd. Selah was born December 23rd. I almost named Aleah, Aleah Joy but God told me, "No, name her Aleah Grace because you will be given grace." When Selah was born I knew Joy has been reserved just for her. They also have the same letters in their name which was discovered thanks to autocorrect. My Mom went to announce Selah's arrival via text to some friends. Upon typing the name Selah for the first time into her phone it auto corrected to Aleah. Some people may say all these are just coincidences. But I know God was showing me how deeply He knows my story, knows my pain, knows my dreams. He put them inside me. He reminded me, He was there all the time. All of it. When I was in the valley of despair and loss, He was there. When I was victorious and full of joy on top of the mountain, He was there too.

God is not a genie in a bottle that appears to grant wishes. We cannot manipulate Him as a child manipulates and whines to a parent with their demands. He is God. Yet what a good God He is because He cares about your dreams and mine. He cares to come beside us and dreams with us. I don't always understand the hardships, losses, and sorrows in my life. But I know Him. I trust Him. Even in the valley of the shadow of death, I know He is with me. He did not abandon me. He will not abandon you. Wherever you find yourself today, take heart and know that you serve a God who loves you, who is for you, and who is actively working on your behalf. After my miscarriage, I asked a pastor in an email, "What do you do when your promise and dreams from God die?" The pastor never responded. But years later I was at a stop light, driving to the grocery store and I was reminded of that question. I felt the Holy Spirit answer me. He replied, "You rejoice that your God is a resurrecting God and brings the dead to life." No matter how far gone a situation seems in your life, know that your God brings the broken, wounded, and dead back to life. There is no one like Him. Do not lose hope, your story is not finished yet. Have the courage to look at your situation and say I don't know why this is happening, but I know who You are. And I trust who You are.

I do not know why my first two children died and went to heaven. I do not know why my third and fourth children have lived. But what I cling to is that I know who my God is. I trust Him with everything. I firmly believe Romans 8:28, And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose. God is not only working out good on my behalf but He does the same for ALL my children. I may not understand it, but I have decided to trust Him with my dreams. And though this chapter of pregnancy has come to a conclusion in my life, I eagerly await what God has in store for my story. I eagerly await what God has in store for your story. Always remember, He created you to dream, He wants to dream your dreams with you, and no matter what happens He will be with you. Dream on dreamers.

Jessica Harris is wife to Jason & Mama to Judah and Selah. Motherhood has taken her on the ride of her life! She is passionate about creating a happy home through organizational strategies, tasty eats, and learning new parenting strategies. She believes that not everyday is easy, but everyday we can choose joy. Jessica blogs at Harnessing Happy

No comments