At first, I was certain I would not write this. It’s deeply personal. It’s sad. It’s just plain not the kind of thing you go around advertising. You don’t talk about it much, because, how do you bring up bad news without being a complainer or a Debby Downer? You don’t talk about it because you so don’t want to be pitied…But you do so want to be hugged.
I wasn’t going to write this. “Leave it for someone else,” I thought. Someone else will have the same hurt and write about it and minister to the rest of us.
But I just couldn’t shake it. I can’t shake the truth that I know God allows us to walk rough roads so that we can comfort others who walk those roads. It’s straight from Scripture.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” – 2 Corinthians 1:4
I doubt most people realized anything had been amiss. My absence from social media and even my own blog probably didn’t raise any questions, although I certainly
conspicuously absent from my life for several months. I still showed up to most of my regularly scheduled meetings and only let tears slip down my cheeks in public on a few occasions when I just couldn’t stop them up any more, and even then I was quick to sweep them away with a quick swipe of the thumb and a deep breath to stem the tide.
But, despite trying to go on with life, despite trying to be a ‘big girl,’ despite trying to hold it all together— the truth is that those months were some of the most trying of my entire life. I’m sharing this story now and here because I simply want to be faithful to allow the Lord to use the pain He’s seen fit to let into my life as a healing balm to someone else’s soul—someone else who has been covered in despair and who feels the weight of it like dirt shoveled over a grave.
I was in the eighth week of pregnancy when the doctor looked at my husband and me apologetically and said it was not good news. A miscarriage was likely inevitable. We were shocked. Just seconds before she had walked into the tiny room, we had done a quick check of the questions we were going to remember to ask—the first being, ‘When could we find out the gender?’
It seemed so amiss and yet so routine that as she delivered the news and said we could check once more for better results in a few days, that happy music kept filtering through the speakers in the ceiling. It seemed the stereo should have realized that this was not a happy moment. In the movies it rains on bad days, and the music fills with minor chords to match the mood. This, though, felt so out of place. It was not what we were expecting.
The waiting was especially trying, as, although we got the bad news in week eight, weeks nine, 10, 11 and 12 ticked ever so slowly by as we waited for the “end.” We hoped to avoid surgery if at all possible, but those days of waiting were so, so very long. The weeks dragged on forever. We desired to deal with it, put it in the rearview mirror and move on, as much as possible. To return to joy. To return to normalcy. Personally, I wanted to stop having morning sickness for a baby I’d never hold in my arms. I wanted to climb down off the insane hormone high on which I had been deposited. I wanted to eat a normal amount of food again instead of two breakfasts, two lunches, huge dinners and endless snacks. It seemed like at every turn there was another huge reminder of the pregnancy that wasn’t. The symptoms taunted me. What the doctor had said was a “sign that this was a healthy pregnancy” was now not a sign of anything at all.
Finally, in week 13, it was over.
I’m convinced there is no “easy” way to lose a baby. While we managed to avoid costly and more invasive options, the “natural” option we “selected” was frankly and honestly terrible—an experience I wish were so less common than statistics show it is.
Did you realize that as much as 25 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage? That means that for every three couples who make a pregnancy Facebook-official, one couple is mourning a devastating loss.
And most likely, they’re mourning silently.
For a myriad of reasons, most people don’t talk about it. This silence has created a vacuum of help and hope. When we don’t share and don’t use our past pain to comfort and encourage others, we do ourselves and each other a disservice and disregard our Lord’s instructions. We miss the chance to steward well the trials the Lord lets into our lives. While it is often the last thing we want to hear when we’re shoulders-deep in turmoil, we know that according to what the Lord had James write in his epistle, trials have an important purpose in our lives, ultimately leading to our “lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).
So, not knowing what your individual story is, but being certain that so many of you share this hurt, I simply want to sit down with you criss-cross-apple-sauce on my red suede couch where we can both be vulnerable and let God minister to us.
This is not the end of the road, sister. This is not the end of happy days. It’s not the end of hope. It’s hard to see right now as devastation seems the theme of your waking hours, but God has not forsaken us. He is still faithful. He is still good. This is the part where we cling tightly to what we know to be true and what we’ve studied all those quiet mornings we’ve spent with the Lord before the storm. Now is when we use the armor we’ve spent quiet time after quiet time buffing and shining. When we don’t know what to pray anymore, and we don’t have the oomph to open the Word, we cling to what He’s already taught us and already shown us. We say, ‘thank you’ to those who have genuinely agreed to share our burden and to lift us up in daily prayer to the Father. We let them carry us to Him for a while. Sister, He’s quite acquainted with broken souls. He knows what it is to grieve so hard that sobs wrack your frame as you crumple to a heap on the cold ground. Again. And again. And again.
And if you don’t already know Him and have that relationship with Him, He’d love nothing more than to take care of that right now. His arms are open. He’ll carry you and your burdens. He’ll wipe your tears and lead you to a place where you can lie down in peace and truly rest. He’s waiting for you to call out to Him. He’ll be faithful to answer.
No matter where you find yourself today, here’s what I want you to know. Here’s what I would say to you from one grief-ridden girl to another as we fill a trash can with tear-drenched tissues.
- It’s okay to not be okay. You and I are not superwomen, despite what we me may have tried to make ourselves think. We aren’t impermeable to life’s sorrows, and we don’t have to act like we are. Life, like years, is full of seasons. Ecclesiastes 3 tells us there are seasons for everything. If you’re in the season of sorrow, wear the appropriate clothing. Don’t bring your sunglasses to a rainy day. If you need an umbrella, grab it. Don’t try to be bigger than the seasons. That’s God’s place. We are simply set here on earth and asked to walk through the weather He allows. If you need to cry, cry. If you need to sob, sob. If you need to retract from the busyness of normal life to grieve, do it. Don’t be afraid to be sad. It’s okay. Sad things should make us sad. When we love greatly and extravagantly, we have to realize that the flip side of that coin is that when heartache comes, it’s going to sting. Bad. That’s okay. This won’t last forever. But if you just paint over your grief and don’t work through it, it might. Deal with it now so that you actually can move on when God allows this season to change to the next.
- Hope does come in the morning. The sun will shine again. You will dream again. You will laugh again. Things will excite you again and cause you to smile again. God is so gracious to us. Somehow, in his sovereign wisdom, he has orchestrated time to help heal our wounds. While you will always carry a small piece of this hurt, as the days go forward, little by little, the hurt will heal. The memory won’t go away, but somehow it will get easier. A friend of mine and her husband actually experienced this same trial just a short time ago. I thought it was so fitting that they gave their heavenly baby the name, “Hope.” Even in their pain, they trusted God’s hand and His character. They knew, no matter what the future looked like, that they could hope because they truly believe the God they serve to indeed be a good God.
- The Lord can work this pain for good. I’m well aware of how hard it is to believe that or even care when you’re in the thick of a pain this deep. Who cares what good comes later when the good you wanted was just ripped away? Certainly I thought that at times. But the thing is, when it really comes down to it, I do believe that God withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11). What I imagined would be really good for me and my family was not the thing that God foresaw to be good. Perhaps this painful time is really an act of mercy on the part of my Father. Perhaps he knew that a chromosomal problem would have plagued my child with a very difficult and painful life and saw fit to spare the child of a lifetime of suffering in exchange for an immediate entry into heaven. We’ll never know this side of heaven.
I also believe that it is a simple fact of the matter that we live in a sin sick world. People get sick. We suffer. We die. We all do. And while God does not withhold all of that suffering from our Christian lives, He prepares us to minister to one another as we walk through it. He has instituted a beautiful way for some of his children to reach out and care for others of his children as they walk through the rocky roads that wrap around this fallen earth. It’s exactly as He says in 2 Corinthians 1:4. He comforts us so that we can turn around and share the same comfort with others. Whatever pain you have today, know that there will come a day when another soul crosses your path—shoulders drooping, eyes ready to spill salty tears over the brim like an overcome dam—when they will need you to take their hand, hug there neck, listen to their hurt and be the one to remind them of the promises of hope and changing seasons we have in Christ Jesus.
So today, sweet sister, take a breath. Cry if you need to. Wear your sweats if you need to. Take a long nap if you need to. Ask for prayer, accept help, grieve your loss and hold on to the hope that a fresh hope will come. You may not feel like it’s close, and maybe it’s still a bit of a ways off, but know that despite how far away it feels, it is coming. Remember that the night is indeed darkest before the dawn of morning