There was no denying the sudden, sharp stab in my lower abdomen that caused me to crumple over in pain. Something was drastically wrong. And I had a strong suspicion as to what it could be: I could be pregnant. The troubling part, though, was that I didn’t suspect a normal pregnancy. It was a tubal.

There was no denying the sudden, sharp stab in my lower abdomen that caused me to crumple over in pain. Something was drastically wrong. And I had a strong suspicion as to what it could be: I could be pregnant. The troubling part, though, was that I didn’t suspect a normal pregnancy. It was a tubal.

I remembered enough from my nurse’s training to recognize the symptoms. I knelt to the floor with the impact of the grief that was flooding my soul. A baby within me was dying. Although I knew that my own death could be a possibility, my mind could only focus on my child. In that moment, a well of tears opened up as I asked the Lord, “Why?”

The events that followed are lengthy, but suffice it to say that an immediate emergency surgery followed, and I grieved the loss of my 8-10-week-old unborn baby, a child who would have been my seventh.

This wasn’t supposed to be a part of the plan, Lord, I remember thinking. You know how much I love children and want a large family. Why did this happen? The depression that followed was deep, and I found myself struggling to come out of it until a dear friend came to visit me three weeks later.

“I waited awhile to come see you,” she explained, “until you were ready to receive what I have to share with you.” She then handed me a little paperback book. “I know what you are going through, because I experienced miscarriages too. Read this, and then we can talk.”

Her visit was short. Although I don’t remember the name of the book, I do remember that the author provided me with a turning point. And I was able to come out of the pit in which I was stuck.

Life doesn’t always give us what we hope for or want. Life is unpredictable. But when we know Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, He can provide us the grace and strength to get through whatever it is that comes our way.

As I look back on my life, I see that my miscarriage was just one of many unpredictables. Over the years, there have been many courses and events I would not have chosen to walk through. Yet in everything, I can clearly proclaim that God was there. Most times, I confess that I didn’t recognize His presence at the moment. But in looking back, I can see evidence that my Lord carried me through and that He did have a plan.

As I progress in years, I can see more clearly that God has a purpose in everything He allows to enter my life. And in the process, I’ve learned a few things—not that I have arrived, but in maneuvering the twists and turns of life, the Lord has shown me a number of steps to take in order to come out triumphantly when life becomes difficult and we encounter unpredictables.

Acknowledge Your Emotions

In dealing with my first miscarriage (and the four that came later in life), the hardest thing for me to acknowledge was my feelings. Especially hard was my anger toward God for allowing my miscarriage to happen. The more I suppressed that feeling of anger, the more I struggled. I knew that anger was a sin, so how much worse, I thought, was my anger toward God! It wasn’t until I read that paperback book, which my friend shared with me, that I realized I wasn’t alone. The book dealt with miscarriage and loss, and every mother who contributed to its contents acknowledged the same thing: anger toward God.

The realization that I was not alone was comforting and freeing at the same time. Anger is one of the stages of grief, and it needs to be worked through. The God of heaven created us with human emotions. He knows our struggles with them. There is nothing wrong with questioning the Lord and acknowledging our feelings. Besides, He knows all our thoughts anyway, so why not tell them to Him? “But [Jesus] knew their thoughts” (Luke 6:8).

When I finally “let it all out,” I felt no condemnation. Rather, I experienced a listening ear. The Lord was waiting for me to sob in His arms and to experience the warmth of His love. I am now able to comfort others who go through the same experience. I am humbled when the Lord uses me in such a way.

Know that God is in Control

Nothing takes God by surprise. And there is not anything that can enter into our lives but what He allows. Just look at the life of Job. Through it all, God was aware of everything the devil was throwing at him. The Sovereign Redeemer was watching Job’s reaction and testing his faith.

The Lord was waiting for the right moment to intervene. Yet His grace was sufficient, and in the end, Job triumphed. Today he is a shining example to us of the hope and reassurance of God’s presence in every aspect of our lives.

Don't Forsake God's Word

It is very tempting to forget our Bible reading when going through struggles. Yet this is the very thing we need the most: communication with God. How can we hear from Him if we do not seek Him in His Word? We can speak to Him within our hearts, but it is most difficult to hear His voice when we are not reading the very words He left for our comfort and encouragement.

Often, when encountering the unpredictables, I find that I can get despondent, with no energy or desire to do anything but wallow in the pit. But this is what Satan wants—to keep us away from the only One who can truly help us.

Even when I don’t feel like it, I make myself read my Bible. Maybe it’s just a few words or verses, but when I reach out to the Lord, He is always there waiting for me. And more times than not, I find just the help I need.

Accept Our Limitations

As mothers, our desire is to fix everything. And it grieves us when we find that we can’t. Take rebellion, for example. Rebellion isn’t supposed to occur in homeschooled children—or so I thought. Over time I found that as hard as I tried to pass on my values to my sons and daughters, and as much as I attempted to keep them from the temptations of the world, I had to come to grips with the fact that it is only God who can reach the heart. He is the One who created them with a free will.

This unpredictable really took a toll on me. My mother used to say, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” The Lord instructs us as mothers to “Train up a child in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6). Training, only, is our responsibility. As long as we are faithful to our own calling, we can trust the Lord to take care of the rest.

We are limited in what we can do. God alone can convict the soul and draw a sinner to Himself. Unpredictables, quite often, are out of our control, and they can only be handled by the Lord.

Release Our Expectations

When it comes to expectations, the Bible states, “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him” (Psalm 62:5). It is difficult not to have expectations in any venture. As I mentioned above, I did not expect to deal with a rebellious spirit in any of my children. I thought that because I homeschooled, I would avoid this. My expectation was unrealistic.

Unrealistic expectations apply in all of life, which again, can open the door to unpredictables. For example, no one expects a family member to turn on them. No one expects to be slandered by someone they are taught to respect. Yet these things, and more, may occur in one’s life. They are not impossible. However, the Lord can use these unpredictables to draw us closer to Himself and to strengthen our faith in the long run.

When we seek to live life to bring honor and glory to our Savior, then even the unpredictables can be used of Him.

Realize the Power of Prayer

When unpredictables happen, prayer is often our only recourse. For a number of years now I have carried a heavy burden of concern in a heart-wrenching situation. Humanly speaking, it seemed an impossible situation to remedy. Yet, even in spite of this, I never gave up praying and trusting that the Lord had the power to intervene if He so willed.

Eventually I found myself coming to a place of acceptance and resignation that if it was the Lord’s will for the situation to continue, I would accept it and leave it all in His hands.

It was a tough point to come to, but I finally found peace in the midst of it. It was then that the Lord moved in a way that no human effort could have brought about. He did “exceeding abundantly above all that [I could] ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). “Call unto me,” God says, “and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:3).

In the heartache of my unpredictable, when I called out to Him in prayer, the Lord answered . . . and I experienced an increase in my faith by leaps and bounds.

Avoid Being Alone

There is a tendency when going through tough trials to isolate oneself. When I experienced my first miscarriage, I didn’t want to see anyone. My grief was so strong that I just wanted to be by myself. I had no desire to face people who didn’t know what to say. The loss of my child was difficult enough to deal with myself, without having to face the good intentions of others.

Now I know that a certain amount of alone time is needed to process a difficult situation, but after a while, it can become dangerous to one’s spiritual, physical, and mental well-being. That is what happened to me. After spending too much time in the pit, I found that I couldn’t get out by myself. Thankfully, the Lord sent my friend.

Through this unpredictable, I learned to reach out in future situations and get out of the pit as quickly as possible. It’s hard, and it takes a determination and willingness that is only possible with the Lord’s grace. That is why staying in church is also very important. All the more in these times do we need the preaching of God’s Word with insights that only the Holy Spirit can provide for our situation.

Take Thoughts Captive

Sometimes unpredictables happen that wound so deeply that they leave a scar. The very thought of them can stir up feelings inside that instantly consume us and take away our joy. It might be a comment made by someone totally unrelated to the incident, or the sight of a place where the wounding took place, or even a person who reminds us of the incident because of their relationship to it. Whatever it is, the unpredictable can instantly be brought back to our consciousness.

Recently, a good friend shared with me the result of her counseling experience with an exceptional pastor and advisor. She had been through the deep waters of a physical affliction, and the effect of it was impacting other aspects of her life. The counselor advised her to take negative thoughts captive on impact. Stop them right there. Counteract them with Scripture. Send them packing. Do not allow them further entrance into your heart, soul, and mind. “On impact!” she repeats to herself whenever a battle surfaces. She immediately gives it to the Lord. “Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

In the process of going through my unpredictables, I have experienced the value of tapping into the flow of the Lord’s amazing grace. I’ve learned the ever-increasing importance of leaning upon Him for strength. And I’ve come to the realization of my need to allow the refueling power of His undying love to fill my spirit.

My prayer is that the Lord will use the above insights to somehow encourage you to stay the course, to not lose hope, and to rest in Him and His plan for your life when the unpredictables happen. Life without unpredictables is not guaranteed, but what is guaranteed is that with the Lord’s help, you can get through them.

This article was published in the January/February 2016 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine.