Maya Angelou says there's no greater agony than an untold story. I've lived in silence for weeks now, swallowing down a story too private for blogs and Facebook. Because this private situation consumes me at the moment, I cannot speak well about much else. I've become mute. Perhaps if I share my story, I'll feel free to move past it.

Today, I am 11 weeks pregnant. Sort of. It is not a viable pregnancy, but my body hasn't figured that out. And so for weeks, I've managed nausea, soreness, fatigue -- the regular gamut of first trimester symptoms -- all without the exciting promise of a child, which would make these ailments worthwhile. Every night, terrible images of half-formed babies fill my dreams, and every morning I wish for any symptom of miscarriage... not because I didn't want this child. I desperately did. But I'm ready to move forward. Yet, instead of cramping and bleeding, I get more nausea, fatigue, and a uterus that is growing still steadily enough to make my clothes fit poorly.

Don't get me wrong. I am positive that God will turn this all around for good (Romans 8:28). I know He's allowing this hardship out of love, even if I don't yet see the benefits of this frustrating phase. I also know there are women in far worse situations than this. Women who deliver stillborn babies in the ninth month. Women who wait a decade for pregnancy. Women who will never know the joy I feel as the mother of two sweet girls.

Still, I'm exhausted and sad.  Yet I feel guilty for grieving... like I should be tougher than this. I wish I knew anyone personally who had gone through this same thing. What I would give for a quicker miscarriage.

My greatest comfort is that it is the Advent season. I serve a God so mighty, He will wipe out every trace of sickness and brokenness and damage in this world. Yet, rather than doing this through lightning bolts from Heaven, He was personal. God came down as a weak human embryo, and because of that, the death of my little embryo will be redeemed. This pain I feel now will have purpose.

Every night, I curl up in bed with one hand on my thickening waist and sigh sad. An empty pregnancy hurts like empty hope. And I remember that, other than Christ, whatever we hope for in this life is as empty as my womb now is. Hope in anything but Jesus leads to pain, disappointment, wasted time, shattered dreams.

But while the Earth may crumble around us, there was a Baby who did come. Emmanuel, God with us. And while He came small and humbly, He is unshakeable, eternal, reliable, our hope, and our God.

"Jesus is my hope

and I know He stills the wind

so take my very life away

as long as I get Him"

-Mandi Mapes