Understanding Suffering

The image is still fresh in my mind. 
The young boy has fairer skin than his father and light blond hair like his uncle Ditto when he was a baby. He looks like a mini Rodolfo. His sisters can't stop touching mommy's belly. 
He would be due this November. 
I would be preparing the baby shower. It would be a Teddy-moonlight theme. I would already have all the decorations done. 
We would worry of what now seems like the "little things": a place to live, money to sustain ourselves, stable jobs, will the girls go to school?, will I be able to stay and homeschool?, can five live in a single room?, will we ever sleep again?, how do we manage with three kids under 3?

We would seriously lose sleep over these worries, yet thinking about it makes my heart jump. 
I have a hard time letting this image go. I am not grateful this isn't my reality. The heart understands not what it wants. 

I have been stripped naked from pride. 
I have never been vain with my looks. The few physical things I liked about myself were my perfect eyebrows and my low-maintenance, shinny, long hair. I still have my perfect profile nose. 
I do pride myself of a beautiful singing voice. I've been unable to sing for a month now from the damage from chemo, and the radiotherapy will further hurt my lungs and throat. 
I pride myself of a sharp mind. Well, my brain cannot even tolerate to focus enough to watch a movie, let alone read anything. Don't ask me anything; my answer is always "I don't know." 
I pride myself of having a "biblical worldview" on family, not desiring treasures from this world, but desiring to fill my quiver with as many arrows as I could for His Kingdom. I feel the same disapppointment in myself I felt when I couldn't bring Emmalee through natural birth, limiting the number of children I could have. Now none of it matters. Nothing I pride myself in matters with God's plans for me and how He wishes to use me. 

A friend recently asked if I thought God has prepared me to walk such a hard road. My answer was yes. When asked why, I. was surprised that I had a reason for that answer. Several months before my cancer my heart was in true angst for the Syrians. The Syrians are constantly on my mind and prayers. My husband would find me hiding in the bathroom crying my heart out from reading the chemical attacks on August 2013, the drowning children and mothers trying to flee to Europe, the homeless chidren facing a harsh winter to closed borders, the little girls being sold as "wives". I recently wrote on Facebook that my hard was nothing compared to the hard of millions. Some think I say this to be strong, but I really mean it. I can talk about the Syrians for hours and I choke back tears thinking about them right now. I also prayed in tears many nights for Giana's life. I feel a knot in my throat just thinking about her. So why did this prepare me for my hard? 

One thing people want to know is "Do you still believe and trust in God?" I find this question odd. I understand that many people turn from God if they're faced with such hard, but this people that claimed to "believe" in God did so in world where such hard already happened; it was just not happening to them personally. Was He not God when others' little children die of cancer? Was He not God when babies had to be dug out from colapsed buildings due to war while losing their parents to the explosion? Can we see such pain in the world and not make it our own? Is that why you can claim to believe in God as long as it is not happening to you? And if does happen to you you'll curse God, but you didn't curse Him before when it happened to others! I think I would prefer an atheist who denies God because he sees suffering in the world, than a "christian" who would deny God because he is suffering. 

We were promised suffering. 

John 16:33
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

I guess I was prepared because I suffered with others' sufferings. I had cried many miscarriages before my own. I have cried babies lost to SIDS, accidents, cancer. Suffering is not new to me. If anything, it's strange when it's my own. I am so grateful it is me walking this hard and not a loved one, my suffering seems mild. The only time cancer truly makes my heart angst is when I think of the pain my girls and family would suffer from losing me.

Suffering has such a beautiful promise for our faith.

Raomans 5:3-5
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

James 1:12
12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

How can we, then, believe in a God that allows such sufferings, and in His sovereignty, even brings them about in our own lives? I recently answered this question to my brother with another question. Do we really believe what we claim we have believed? Do you really believe that Jesus came to earth to die for you so that you may go to Heaven and be with Him when you die? Because personally my answer is yes, I understand my suffering is temporal. What is eternity compared to this life in this earth? Have I not been promised a new body in a new world? Has my Lord not promised to have a home waiting for me that He has personally prepared? Did He not say He Himself would dry the tears from my eyes and there would be no more pain? I believe. I believe my Sammy is already there waiting for when we meet. I believe my suffering, even if it would end in the least desirable outcome, is and would shape my family's life and faith forever as it has mine. If anyhting, suffering just makes me feel closer to Christ.

1 Peter 4:12-13
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
1 Peter 4:19

19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

And so I praised God for ridding me of pride and self-righteousness. 
I praise Him for having my baby safe and sound with Him.
I beg Him to give me a grateful heart for what was not.
And I pray this suffering makes me a woman of faith, which has my heart desire since I was twelve.