I want to share a piece of my story that displays God’s intricate and masterful weaving. Only standing at the end of this beautiful tapestry can I see what he did with all the heartache. He truly does take everything - good, evil, sad, and confusing - and transform it for his glory and our good. The symbol that God used to speak to me was horses, and now these amazing creatures will always remind me of his promise to make beauty from ashes.
My love for horses began a few years ago when we were trying to get pregnant with our third child. After our first two children, we went through three devastating miscarriages. We really wanted more kids, and we were determined. During that time I had a dream where I was brushing and preparing a horse. People were around me supporting me and praying for me, but it was I who had to do the work. In my dream I knew that what I was doing was very important. When I woke up, I knew that dream was significant. It wasn’t until many months later that it would make more sense to me. Because I knew that what I was doing in the dream was significant, I began to understand the horse as symbolizing “purpose”.
After having the first two miscarriages, I began to really rely on people to carry me through and be strong for me because it was just so hard on my heart. I decided to let other people have the faith and do the praying - I had nothing left. But after the third miscarriage and carrying on into the next pregnancy, people were there to support me and pray for me but I realized that it was I who needed to lead the charge. My pregnancy after the three miscarriages was very hard for me emotionally because I was so afraid that I would lose her too. However, I made it through the pregnancy and gave birth to my third child. Looking back, I understood that the “purpose” from the horse dream was the call from God to march ahead of the people supporting me and begin to lead the way. There was a season for me to lean on people, but God was showing me it was time to stand up and lay hold of his promises. People could stand by and support me, but I had to be the one to be strong, move forward, and become actively engaged in the battle ahead of me.
Now let’s rewind a little further now, back to my second miscarriage. I was 8 weeks pregnant and had begun bleeding. I bled for a week and wasn’t sure if I was just having weird bleeding or if I was actually losing the baby. Two ladies came over and prayed for me. As they prayed, they listened to God and told me what they felt he was saying about the baby. They shared wonderful things that made me feel so much better. If God had such good things to say about this baby and who she would be, then surely I wouldn’t lose this baby. Well that baby did not make it, and the pregnancy ended in miscarriage. Those ladies came over again to pray for me. At one point, one of the ladies said, “I know this doesn’t make sense, but I feel like you didn’t lose the baby.” Normally that might be offensive in such a situation, but for some strange reason it resonated with me. I didn’t know what that meant, but I just took it and set it aside in my heart.
Maybe a week later, I was thinking about everything and praying, and it hit me what that meant. When a person is here on earth, they have a special purpose. When they’re in heaven, they just get to be at peace and enjoy heaven. Perhaps they'll have a heavenly role, but they don’t need that earthly purpose anymore. I felt like God was saying that he was keeping that baby’s purpose safe. We wouldn’t lose who that baby was supposed to be on earth. I knew that her purpose was going to either be added to our next baby or spread out among our other kids.
Forward now all the way to my fourth child's birth (the second successful pregnancy after my three miscarriages). Right when she was born, she wasn’t breathing or crying for two minutes. In the moment neither Rob nor I were stressed about it. We were perfectly peaceful as the midwives worked to get her to respond. I just kept saying, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.” I was so tired; that’s all I could muster up. Eventually she did start crying.
It wasn’t until a day or two later when I was thinking it through that I started to become scared about what had happened. What if she wasn’t getting enough oxygen during that time? What if her brain was affected because of it? I was so sad and so scared. I talked to my midwife about it. She wasn’t concerned and said that it was fine because she was still getting oxygenated blood through the umbilical cord. That didn’t make me feel better. A few days later I asked the other midwife. She wasn’t concerned either and talked to me about it. I still wasn’t comforted though. I wanted to ask my midwife about it 100 times and get reassured in 100 different ways, but I was starting to feel like a burden. Also, if I brought it up to other people, they would often respond with concern. That didn’t help me at all.
I had a 6-week appointment with the midwife already scheduled, so I decided that I would give God that much time to bring me peace. If I didn’t have peace by then, I’d drill the midwife about it again. I also decided to stop talking to anyone else about it, even Rob. I just wanted it to be between me and God.
So one night as I laid in bed waiting to fall asleep, I told God my concerns and laid them before him. It was one of those moments with God that felt like a black and white “I need you to speak to me about this.” As I drifted off to sleep, I was in between awake and asleep when God spoke to me about the birth. I woke up feeling much more peace, not 100% better, but definitely better. This happened four more nights in between awake and sleeping. God told me specific words and showed me symbolic pictures. Some of them obviously pertained to the birth and some seemed more random. With each night I was getting more and more peace. At the end of it all, I felt 100% peace and knew she was totally ok. One of those nights, he showed me a picture of the profile of three horses running.
As I began to put all the pieces together, I think I know at least a bit of what it means. Ever since that first dream, horses have meant “purpose” to me. When I lost that second baby, God told me that he was saving each baby’s purpose, and we would still get to have that. I believe the picture of the three horses running is symbolic of triple purpose. We lost three babies, and I know that God has three purposes to put on my other kids - on top of the purposes they already carry.
I was thinking about this and so wanted a picture of three running horses to hang in our house. I started looking online and on Etsy to see if I could find something. But the more I looked, the more I wished I could be the one to take the picture. It would mean so much more to me. Knowing that we had a Nashville trip coming up, I thought that maybe I could somehow get a picture of horses. I had heard about wild horses in North Carolina. Maybe I could buy a tour to see them and get lucky with an awesome shot. However, I knew that my chances were slim of getting an awesome running shot. Probably they’d all just be standing around eating.
Then totally not thinking about horses, I was looking on Air BnB for a place to stay in Nashville. I came across a beautiful horse ranch called Cedar Springs Ranch and just thought it looked like so much fun. We decided to go for it and book it. It wasn’t until later that I connected that there were gorgeous horses there. Maybe I should bring my camera after all. I NEVER bring my camera on trips because it’s just so big and annoying to lug around. But we thought it would be worth it just in case.
I talked to Shirlee, the amazing ranch owner, about my dream to photograph running horses - three of them to be specific. Shirlee was so gracious and put three horses together and guided them to run around the pasture while I photographed their beauty. I ended up with a photo that is so powerful to me. It’s the profile of three running horses, almost exactly like the picture God showed me. (The photo I took is at the top of this post).
I just want you to know that God loves you this much. Even if things feel very difficult right now, I promise that in several years you will look back on your journey and see how God took it all, wove it together, and added in beautiful details. Then he will hand it back to you complete and more amazing than anything you could have dreamt or hoped for.
I wrote a children's book about miscarriage and Heaven called Our Heaven Baby. It's our story of pregnancy all the way to the hope of heaven told from my son's perspective, who was five years old at the time. To order a copy for yourself or a loved one, click here. I hope it is a huge source of hope!