A Gift from God

Written by Ann Burns

February 18, 2021

When the Villains are Beautiful

It was just after Christmas, and I was all nervous. I closed my eyes; my heart was pounding in my chest—deep breath. Inhale. Exhale.

It seemed like an eternity, but in reality, it wasn’t all that long. I don’t know how anyone is supposed to be patient at such a time.

I cracked my eye open and looked at the strip clutched in my hand.

A thin pink line appeared.

Everything inside me was about to come crashing down in disappointment when suddenly it changed! It felt like my heart leaped up into my throat.

Two pink lines.

I was shaking. I had to compose myself. What if I had a faulty test? The one-line looked a little squiggly. Could that mean this was a fluke?

“I’ll chug some water and try again,” I told myself. I couldn’t bear the thought of being disappointed.

So, I tried again.

Two non-squiggly pink lines.

I was ecstatic; I didn’t know how to handle it.

Overjoyed and terrified, I placed my hand over my stomach, “I KNEW you were in there, my sweet one! I knew it! I’m so, so happy you’re here! Your momma loves you so much already!”

Sharing the news with my husband was undeniably one of the most joy-filled moments of my life. The love that we had consecrated to God had already proved so fruitful: it was bringing forth new life.
2020 was going down in history as the best Christmas ever.

I received the best husband, and we were now parents to the best little one.

A few weeks later, I woke up in tears. I had dreamt about death. I dreamt about people I love dying. Everyone in my dream was pulling me away from those who had died, “You have to let go. There is nothing you can do.” They said.

I sobbed and told them, “no, that’s not true.”

The dream was so vivid; it haunted me as the day progressed. My husband said he’d work from home; usually, that made me giddy because my best friend would be with me all day, but that day, I just kept crying. Every inch of me felt an intense sensation of foreboding and loss.

“I’m so sorry.” I kept saying.

Something was wrong, but I wasn’t sure what or why.

My back started to hurt. It felt like knives pierced my stomach; even my vision seemed fuzzy.

Then, I started to bleed.

In a sick, painful moment, I knew what it all meant: our baby was dead.

Every bit of me railed against the occurrence. I started to wail and panic: “I swear I will protect you. I won’t let you die. I’ve got you. I will keep you safe.” I willed myself to stop: stop bleeding. I willed to keep my baby safe.

But no matter how intensely I desired my baby’s life, how hard I tried to master my body, I kept bleeding. “No, I swear, I won’t let this happen! You are going to live!”
I was helpless.

Finally, I had to accept this was entirely out of my hands. I had to let go.

My husband heard me crying and immediately hopped off his call and drove me to the hospital. He was all peace, grace, and love. He was strong and held me close.
“It’s all okay.”

We were at the hospital for nine hours, until finally, what I knew in my heart to be true was confirmed: “You have suffered a miscarriage.”

Even though I knew it, I still cried. There was no escaping it now: our baby died.

At first, the sick fears of “why” filled my head. Why couldn’t I carry our child? I felt like a failure. I let my baby die inside of me — inside of me.I tasted defeat, and it was bitter and taunting. What is wrong with me? Why couldn’t I save him?

“That’s not true.” Eddie would tell me, scooping me up in his arms. “You have to trust God. You didn’t do anything wrong.”

Ed and I had just started to learn what it means “to be married” when suddenly we were thrust into sorrow and what it means to grieve together. Our whole world seemed to come crashing down in pain.

“Ah, newlyweds, you have no idea what sorrow is yet.”

We wanted our baby to live. In a life where so many people advocate for the killing of little ones, we wanted our child. Yet, God took him from us.

Why? How did that make sense?

“God, help me, please.”

In all things, God is good. Even in hurt, God is good. If we let go and let God take control of our hearts, He fills up those wounds with love. He restores our interior peace, and He holds us close in His arms.

I don’t know how to explain it, but as we battled for peace, we battled wills. My will against God’s will. Despite being one of the most stubborn people I know, I am no match for God.

Ultimately, God’s will is so much better.
God had entrusted my husband and me with a little soul, and for whatever reason, God called him back home before we could kiss his little face. He must be such a precious little one if God wanted Him back so soon.

“I don’t know why, but I just have this overwhelming sense that our baby is a boy,” I told Ed one night.

“So do I.”

We named him Theodore because he was and is a gift from God.

In Theo’s short time here on earth, he showed me how fleeting life is. We aren’t made for this world; we are made for Heaven.

Whatever fears we have, they’re so small compared to eternity. Life is fragile. Life is precious. In all that we do, the question should genuinely be, “what is this in light of eternity?” We need to be Heavenbound, and if we hold that in mind, there is nothing on this earth that can discourage us.

It’s not about what we will. Instead, it’s about conforming our wills to God’s. In all things, we need to surrender our hearts to Christ. In doing so, Christ fills us with His love and teaches us how to love. I love Theodore so much, but my selfish love refused to let him go. Only God could help me accept that Theo’s life needed to be brief. For as long as I live, I won’t ever fully understand, but I know Theo is abundantly blessed. And that in carrying him, he opened our lives up to more grace, love, and joy. His short life forever changed my life and my husband’s.

God calls us to trust. He calls us to throw ourselves in His Divine Love. In all things, He is good.

I will always count myself excruciatingly  blessed for being able to carry sweet Theo, even if it was short-lived. He brought me closer to Christ. He deepened the faith I have in my marriage, the love I have for Christ, and helped me understand in a new and more profound way, it’s not about what I will, but what God wills.

I give thanks to God for the sweet gift of making us parents.

Loss is a complicated topic. At times it is acute and frightening. Yet, all that we have is a gift given to us by God. Ultimately, all that is good belongs to God. We are supremely blessed. There is no room in our hearts for anger, only love and gratitude.


“You see, the child lives. Instead of the wind, he hears the sound of angels singing before My throne. Instead of the beauty that passes, he sees everlasting Beauty— he sees My face. He was created and lived a short time so the image of his parents imprinted on his face may stand before Me as their personal intercessor. He knows secrets of Heaven unknown to men on earth. He laughs with a special joy that only the innocent possess. My ways are not the ways of man. I create for My Kingdom and each creature fills a place in that Kingdom that could not be filled by another. He was created for My joy and his parents’ merits. He has never seen pain or sin. He has never felt hunger or pain. I breathed a soul into a seed, made it grow and called it forth. ” – Mother Angelica

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