Saturday, November 5, 2011

When God says "No."

The Abyss... By Kristina Smith Blizzard

Once upon a time my grief pushed me out on to the ledge. I stood on the edge, and stared into the abyss.  The abyss stared back at me, mocking me, challenging me, asking me, "Is that all you got?"

Deeply wounded and angry, I shook my fist at God knowing all the while I was but a child throwing a tantrum. God understood my anger, and loved me in spite of my limited understanding.

Pain has surely bent me, but never broken more than my heart, and my stride. There were many times when I asked, "Why me? Why my children?" It has taken me years to be able to see even part of the answer.

I have come to understand my wounds have left me more than scars and pain. They taught me lessons I simply could not have learned otherwise:

Only a broken heart can ever hold true love in it's fullness.

Only those who have suffered great loss can really appreciate what they have.

There is life on the other side of the pain, and that makes surviving worth it.

And finally, that I can use what I have learned to help others. Doing so is both very important, and very rewarding.


I wrote that little piece a few months back, and as I just attended the funeral of a long time family friend, it came to mind again today.

It was heartbreaking to see the depth of pain in the face of his wife, to see in her eyes that she didn't believe me when I said, "You are going to be okay." At this point in her journey, I am sure she can't imagine anything will ever be okay again. My pitiful and clumsy attempt at reassurance just rolled off her like water off a duck. She has absorbed all she can for now. Her husband suffered a great deal over this last year or so. They knew his diagnosis was terminal, but that doesn't stop one from hoping, and praying for healing, now does it? She must have asked God countless times over the last year to heal her husband, and yet she was forced to watch helplessly as her husband painfully, and ever so slowly left this world for the next. She wants to know why God didn't heal her husband. She had begged Him to do so. Some people may think God didn't answer her prayers. I think he did. Sadly, His answer was no.

I have had my share of God saying "no" too. I know my losses are not the same as losing a husband, but I think some of what I have felt and learned still applies here. I prayed to God for each of my babies to be born healthy and normal. I loved each of my babies with all my heart. Yet time after time, I was told again, and again, that my baby had died. It happened to me 10 times, eleven if you count Morgan's twin. My sense of loss left me feeling like my chest was just a huge gaping hole. I got to the point I was beginning to suffer from the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder. I would walk into the doctor's office and feel myself start to unravel a bit. My hands would tremble. My heart would race. Sometimes I felt like the office walls were closing in on me, or that I couldn't breathe. I lost the ability to contain the tears that inevitably ran down my face. I would sit there feeling embarrassed, braced for impact. Each time it became more difficult to simply make myself walk through the office doors. If you are wondering if that kind of loss gets easier to take, it does not. If anything it got worse, as my hope of ever having a baby dwindled, and my over taxed coping mechanisms reached their limit. I stubbornly kept asking God for a baby, and He kept saying no. His answer was hard to take. I couldn't understand His reasoning. We were happily married. Our bills were paid. We were more than capable of taking care of a child. Why would God tell me no, and then turn around and give a baby to someone else who was less capable and less willing to care for it? He even gives babies to women who will chose to abort them. I was angry at God, because I couldn't see his logic.

For a while. like a stubborn teenager, I refused to talk to Him. Even when I was too angry, and too childish to take his answer gracefully, I always knew that any distance between us was created my me, and not by Him. He never left me. He never abandoned me. I got angry and turned my back on Him. He is a gentleman. He never forces Himself on us. He waited for me to calm down, and turn back to Him. He stood there all the while with His arms wide open, and patiently waited for me to come to my senses.

I did not have anyone in my life at the time that had dealt with recurrent miscarriage, but I remembered a lady I had worked with when I was in my twenties who had. Although she had never discussed it with me, I was told she had 5 miscarriages before she finally gave up. I remembered thinking how hard that must have been for her, and that it was very sad. I thought highly of her, and I knew she would have made a wonderful mother. Even back then, long before I had a true sense of what that kind of loss would be like, I was impressed by her ability to keep going. She had been through what must have seemed like hell, yet she and her marriage had survived. She had been able to go on with her life. Her silent display of strength made me like her even more.

After having a few miscarriages of my own, I had a whole new understanding of what she had been through. I understood why she gave up trying. I started telling myself, "If she could live through this 5 times, I can survive it 6." It became my own little internal mantra for those times when I wasn't even sure if I had the strength to draw my next breath. I kept telling myself, "It has been done before, so I can do this." My co-workers experience had taught me a lesson I had never forgotten. Because of her, I knew that this painful time in my life was just a season. Eventually, this storm would pass, and I could survive it. She was living proof that on the other side of the pain, regardless of the outcome, was a life worth living. I promised myself we would try 6 times, no matter how much it hurt. I put my head down, and concentrated on just putting one foot in front of the other. My sixth pregnancy resulted in my first live birth, our beautiful son, Logan. The truth is without her example, I am not at all sure I could have kept going. I don't think I would have ever made it to my sixth pregnancy without knowing what she had been through.

Can you see that through her painful experience God had revealed to me a lesson? Years before I needed it, He had given me a little piece of truth to hold on to. He was able to use her pain, and her ability to gracefully move on with her life as a guiding light though my own darkness. Without knowing her, without knowing about what she had been through, my life would have been so much less. I would most likely not be a mother today. In an odd way, my children are her children too, because they were born of her pain as well as my own.

A year after the emergency C-section that saved our son's life, we started trying to have another baby. I had 5 more miscarriages. The losses were still very hard to take, but my fear of forever remaining childless was gone.

After losing Morgan's twin early in my twelfth (and last) pregnancy, I went into preterm labor at just 26 weeks gestation. For those of you who don't know, forty weeks is full term. I had been hospitalized with preterm labor several times with Logan. They were always able to stop my labor. As we pulled out of the drive way, about noon on January 12th 2007, I felt confident they would stop my labor again. I thought we'd be back home by the next night. I couldn't have been more wrong. I had no idea that life as I knew it was over.

They were able to stop my labor, 20 minutes after my water broke. A mere twenty minutes too late to change the direction things were going. The very instant my water broke my whole world tilted on it's axis. As a nurse, I immediately knew there would be no going home anytime soon. I knew the next time I left the hospital, it would be after my baby was born. I knew she would be born extremely premature. Most frightening of all, I knew I could lose her, and that I had absolutely no control over whatever would happen next. I was officially in uncharted territory. I had prayed for God to help them stop my labor, to protect my baby from being born so early. His answer was no.

After what is best described as a three day long nightmare, my daughter was born on January 15th 2007. There were a lot of prayers sent up in the following 4 months while we were in the NICU. I prayed that she would beat the enormous odds against her. I prayed she would be spared the effects of being born so extremely early. I prayed she would still be given the chance at a "normal" life, the chance she deserved.

At just 1 pound 13 ounces (840 grams), I knew she was at risk for a brain bleed. I asked God to spare her that devastating and life threatening complication. His answer was no.

I asked God to stop her brain bleed from getting worse. His answer was no.

I asked God to keep her infection free. His answer was no.

I asked God to heal her, so she would not need surgery. His the answer was no, not once but twice before she was even a month old.

I asked God to spare her any complications from surgery. His answer was no.

At times, my prayers were reduced to incoherent sobs. Did He not hear me? Did He not care? Did He have no mercy?

Over time, I adjusted to the "new normal." I came to accept the fact that being a special needs parent is part of the journey on I am on. I began to see that God didn't always say no to me. There were some pretty huge yeses in there too.

I asked God to give me the strength to face my trials. He said yes.

I asked God to give me children. He said yes.

I asked God to let Morgan live. He said yes.

I asked God to help me be the kind of mother my children need. He said yes.

I asked God to show me what good could possibly come from all of this. He said yes.

He has provided me with a way to use what I have learned to help others. He has allowed me to see our pain has not been in vain.

In a recent sermon, my pastor said, "How you handle denial reveals a lot about your spiritual maturity." Looking back, I can see how my own responses pointed to the kind of spiritual growth I had yet to achieve.

I have learned God is a good God, and he gives us good gifts. It is our own human limitations that hinder us from seeing how an unwelcome fork in the road can be for the best. I have learned that I can trust God, in ways I would never have understood before. When I can't see how something could possibly be good, I have learned I can trust God's heart.

I have come to see that life is like a huge, intricate tapestry woven by the very hand of God with precision and love. Each of our lives are a single thread in that tapestry. The problem we have as human beings, is that we are not often able to step back far enough to be able to see how our own thread, and the path that it takes is important to the whole. The grand scheme of things often eludes us. It takes the omnipotent eye of God to fully appreciate it all. It is rare that we are given a even a glimpse of things from God's perspective.

As a Christian parent, I am called to raise my children for their holiness, not their happiness. I often tell them no, and they can't begin to understand the grown up reasons behind my logic. They often get angry at me for saying no. That my no is for their own good, or the good of others, doesn't really matter to them at the time. They just want what they want. The explanation is sometimes too adult for them to grasp at this age, at their present level of maturity.

Can you see the parallel between my relationship with my children, and God's relationship to us?

Taking the parallel further, when my child is angry at me for saying no, I don't stop loving my child. I don't abandon my child. My saying no does not prove I don't love them, or that I don't care about their pain or disappointment. I grieve when my children grieve. I hurt when they hurt. Even if they don't always appreciate it, I always do what I know is the best for them. God is the ultimate Father. He loves us in the way all good fathers do.

I believe God takes us through our journey in such a way as to help us develop as we should. I have come to understand we are on this planet to grow as spiritual beings, not just to enjoy ourselves. The only part of us that lasts, that really matters in the end, is our spirit, our souls. That means that our spiritual growth is what is most important. The rest of what we are is just fluff, ultimately temporary and inconsequential. I know that I have grown a great deal, particularly since Morgan was born. She has made me a better person, and a better mother. The lessons I learned came at a high price, but the truth is they couldn't have come any other way.

I try to focus on the good things that have come from what we have been though. I look for ways to make some good come from what I have learned.

Sometimes when God says no, it can feel like one great big stunning sucker punch. Sometimes His no means your dreams and expectations need painful revision. The trick for me is has been to remember God's hand weaves the path of the thread of my life. I have learned to trust in the goodness of his heart, even when he says no.

As far as my family friend who died, at the age of 70, months into his illness, and months before his death, he accepted Jesus into his heart. Perhaps his illness was what it took to drive him to that decision. That is not something I can pretend to know. There is also the fact that with a long illness comes the opportunity to set your affairs in order. Not everyone gets that chance. It is a gift, the awareness that your time is near. It is a gift that comes at a high price, but it is still a gift. I believe in my heart my friend is in heaven. I believe his grieving wife will get through this, even if she can't yet imagine how that is possible. I believe she will see him again when her own journey is done. I hope she can feel the love I know God has for her. I hope she can draw on his strength when she is pushed past her own. I believe God has found, and will continue to find ways to use this experience for the good, even if our human eyes can't see it, even if our own limited understanding fails to reveal His truth.

I believe God is a good God, and he gives us good gifts.


To the special needs parents who read this, I would like to invite you to join my facebook support group for special needs parents:

"Loving a Miracle - Special Parents Supporting Each Other."
This is the original support group, and all content is open to the general public.!/groups/lovingamiracleismoving/

There is a closed group, for those of you who would like to post things outside of the view of the general public:
"Loving a Miracle - The Special Parent's Safe Zone."!/groups/lovingamiraclethesafezone/

There is also a public PAGE.  This is where I post information and links that I think are helpful to special needs parents.

Permission to repost/reprint: If you would like to obtain permission to repost or reprint this post, please send me an email to Thank you.

- Kristina Smith Blizzard


  1. Just blown away by this post, your strength and courage are amazing. My little miracle was almost the same weight as yours, and she also has additional needs but they are not the same as your dd xx

  2. Thank you my dear sis! Truly AMAZING!! This will touch more people than you will ever know.. You found the words that so many of us have a hard time finding.. For that I am thankful, for I too ask these questions of God.. I never doubt his love or if he will see me through the next obstacle but when you are in the mist of the storm having this to read as a reminder will be of great help. I love you!! Keep up the work of God! XOXOXO

  3. This is what God has been teaching me: That we are not to decide what is good or bad. He makes all things good. In the garden, Eve ate from the tree of the "Knowledge of Good and Evil". Before this, Adam and Eve just accepted everything which happened as good. They didn't know evil.

    As fallen people, we like to think we know what is good and what is bad. But I often find that the very things I thought were bad, turn out to be the things I cherish most, as God has redeemed them.

    There is good and evil in the world. But God is the only One with the wisdom to discern which is which.

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful testimony.

  4. I heard someone say this weekend that when God says no it's because he knows what the end result of our desires would be, and He has a greater yes. I have wrestled with God's "no" to sparing our youngest daughter's life, and as she left us for Heaven in July I could not imagine how that was better for us than what we wanted. As we begin to heal though, we are clinging to faith that God has a greater yes for us. Thank you for sharing your courage and your faith... it's such an encouragement.

  5. Kristina,
    I have always said that we never know when or how or who our actions and reactions to things, good or bad, will affect. They are like the ripples in a pond when a rock is thrown. The ripples go on and on, whether we see where they end or not. Your story of your coworker is living proof of that. Her strength affected your decisions, and consequently, your strength now affects so many others. Your voice is clear and strong and delivers a powerful and important message...even if we only have one finger left to hold on with, we should all keep holding on. It's easy for us to share the story of our journeys. They are simply facts and figures. It's much more difficult to reveal what goes on in our
    heart. Thank you for your courage.

    Jennifer Stagg, Shyanne's mom

  6. I love your writing; it resounds with my own struggles and thoughts on God's decisions in my life. At 17, I gave up my first pregnancy created out of a horrible "relationship" and vowed to never have children. My husband married me knowing this and was completely satisfied with "just me". Eleven years later, after coming to Christ and working through the turmoil I had created in our marriage, He blessed us with twins :o) I was on hospital bed rest for 9 weeks and my babies had a hard time during their 2 month NICU stay after being born at 30 weeks but all glory be to God, they have been an absolute blessing in our lives. I'm thankful for a heavenly Father who forgave me and am eternally grateful for the hardship of my pregnancy and their first few months of life; the recollections of those memories help me enjoy each and every day, whether we're having a good one or a bad one :)

  7. You a truly a remarkable woman with strong convictions.