'Even if I died, which was possible, God would still be good'
Steph’s story | Pregnancy issues and the challenging of trust
“I feel like God has been teaching me the same thing over and over again. God is good and he is in control. And I am not.”
“In 2011, we moved to the Tiwi Islands. We were working at a school run by Indigenous elders. And during that time, we started trying to have kids. It was really hard. Years went by. It was a real challenge to my faith. Some of the other Christians in the community were saying things like, ‘You just need to have more faith. You need to trust God more. If you have faith, he will answer.’
“I really struggled for a long time. I started to believe maybe it was my fault, that I didn’t have enough faith.
‘Then one day, a friend on Instagram shared a quote – ‘and if not, he is still good’. I picked up my Bible and found the Old Testament story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. When they were thrown into the furnace, they said to King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘The God we serve is able to deliver us from it … but even if he doesn’t, we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up …’ (Daniel 3:17-18).
“It meant a lot to me. God was able to rescue them, but even if he didn’t, they would still trust him. He would still be good. It gave me a lot more confidence. God is good regardless of whether he gives us what we want, or not. He’s in control. It wasn’t about my faith, or lack of it. It’s up to God. And if we couldn’t have kids, it would be hard, but it would be okay. God would still be God.
“In 2014, we met with an adoption agency. If we wanted to adopt, we would have to leave the Tiwi Islands, so we gave ourselves a deadline. If we weren’t pregnant by October of that year, we would go through the adoption process. I fell pregnant in September! We were really excited!
“But for my whole pregnancy I had severe perinatal anxiety. I would constantly worry ‘what if something happens to me, or the baby?’ Then, when our baby was three weeks old, I had mastitis. It turned septic in a matter of hours. I was well versed by my midwives on what to do if I got a fever with mastitis so I dutifully went to the Emergency Department.
“From there, I spent four days in hospital and my doctor told us multiple times over those four days that he was glad we came in, because he didn’t think the outcome would have been good if I’d gone to sleep that [first] night …
“The doctors said that I may not have made it had I not come in. I was reminded again: I’m not in control. God is still God. Even if I had died, which was possible, God would still be good. It was scary, but I had a real sense that God was in control.
“Two years later, our second child was born and when she was two weeks old, I got sepsis again. I remember in emergency, all the bells started going off and the nurse yelled, ‘Sepsis!’ I was rushed into the resuscitation area and then taken to ICU, to try to save my organs. I spent two days in ICU and another eight days in hospital. Again, we were told that if we hadn’t gone in, I wouldn’t have lived. It was horrific and scary. We had to really practice what we already knew. There is so much heartache and suffering and pain in the world. We don’t have much control. But God is in control. It feels like over and over again, he’s given me opportunities to learn that … even now, while we’re living in Melbourne, in lockdown.
“I love the Mercy Me lyrics – ‘I know you’re able and I know you can//Save through the fire with your mighty hand//But even if you don’t//My hope is you alone.’”