This month, we would have welcomed a new baby into our family.
Ever since I took my first positive pregnancy test with Everly, miscarriage had become one of my greatest fears. This past July we had one.
It was a heartbreaking, painful loss followed by a confusing four months of weekly blood tests and frequent ultrasounds. I’ve wrestled with whether or not to journal about this experience in this space. Since I trust that God is the redeemer of painful circumstances I decided it was worth writing down in hopes that others might be encouraged too.
I’m still processing it – and probably always will this side of Heaven – but God has brought his surpassing peace through the following realizations:
1. My baby lived and is now living in Heaven.
Immediately following the loss, I felt foolish for feeling grief. After all, we didn’t even get to hear the heartbeat. Was it really a baby yet? These feelings were reinforced by the well-meaning comments I received: “This pregnancy was a practice round”, “The timing just wasn’t right”, and “You were only how many weeks along?” Finally, I went to God’s word for comfort. I searched for any scriptures that spoke about the unborn. There was Psalm 139:15-16:
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret…Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
The best comfort came when I read Luke chapter one and realized that Jesus was Lord in the womb. When the angel Gabriel met with Mary he didn’t tell her that she would carry the savior only after she reached twelve weeks, or at the first moment she felt the baby kick. He told her that the moment the Holy Spirit came upon her she would conceive the Savior. The Lord’s presence was so fully abiding in Mary’s womb that when she went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, Elizabeth’s unborn baby leapt in her womb and Elizabeth prophesied!
Clinging to these truths helped me to move past the awkward guilt of grief and realize that grieving the loss of life was actually a form worship. In acknowledging that my baby lived, I honor God as the creator and sustainer of life.
I have complete confidence that my baby is currently worshiping God in his presence, and I can’t wait for the day when I get to join them!
2. Even miscarriage can be an expression of God’s goodness.
God is still good. God is still good. God is still good. I must have chanted this phrase a hundred times following the miscarriage. It might sound trite, naive, or even overly optimistic, but the truth is that I TRULY, 100% believe it to be true.
The same God who didn’t even spare his own Son – but sacrificed him on my behalf – lovingly ordained my loss. He wasn’t caught off guard by it. He wasn’t too weak to stop it. Because He is completely good and completely loving, I can trust (although I confess I don’t fully understand) that losing our unborn baby was what was best for both of us.
Hard truth to swallow? Definitely. But it points me heavenward. If it was good and best to take my baby to heaven before they could take their first breath on earth, then heaven and being in the Lord’s presence must be immeasurably better than I currently ascribe it worth!
This truth has HUGE implications for my life now: how can I live in fear of what will happen to me, Everly, Mike, or our future children when I know that the best lies beyond? How will we as a family live knowing that what we do now only matters eternally if we’re living in light of it?
3. I can truly rejoice in my weaknesses.
I believe no experience is wasted – God redeems it all – so naturally, I immediately began looking for ways to make meaning of this loss. I saw how tightly I clung to my ideal family. Since we were engaged Mike and I would confidently tell people that we wanted four kids, born back-to-back. Silly as it sounds (I mean, did I really think I could control that?) I was devastated that this miscarriage frustrated our plan.
Good, I thought. I found the lesson God wanted me to learn. Surely now that I confessed it we can move on and I won’t be such a control freak anymore. But feelings of frustration, disappointment, and bitterness kept creeping back in over, and over, and over again.
I sought reassurance from friends and family. While they encouraged the best they could, none of them were able to give me answers or heal me of my depressing thoughts. I’d take my feelings to God in prayer, but I’d still end up tripping over my feelings again days, hours, even minutes later!
A perfectionist by nature, I found these “failings” really defeating. Words from my sister brought 2 Corinthians 12:9 to mind:
But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
I am too weak to process my grief and disappointment. No amount of time or encouragement from loved ones will remedy my weakness. But those unmet desires and pains drive me to the Lord. He is the only one who can satisfy and isn’t bothered by my relentless need of him. In those moments when I trade striving and self-berating for surrender and trust, I experience His strength.
I don’t know what the Lord has in store for our family. We still hope to welcome more children into it, but ultimately, our trust is in Christ alone. If God did not spare his own Son but gave him up for me, he will certainly also graciously give me all that I need today (Romans 8:32). So I’ll stand in that promise for now and I’ll rejoice in what he abundantly gives each moment I’m living.