"It is good for us to have trials and troubles at times, for they often remind us that we are on probation and ought not to hope in any worldly thing."
- Thomas a Kempis
Monday, September 16, 2013
My daughter Molly writes about the grief of miscarriage. I've excerpted part of it below, but read the whole thing if you can.
If you've experienced this grief, may you be immersed in God's grace and comfort.
There was no theology, no explanation, no consolation that settled the questions in my mind. Only the goodness of God and the promise Joey and I made when we married that we would always, no matter what, trust in the goodness of God. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life…
You know, there is still no theological explanation for this.
Not even that God “allowed” for it to happen. To be honest I don’t even really understand what that means anymore when people say it. And I still say it about certain things too.
To be honest, not even the fact that God knew it would happen or that he is in control or the explanations that Satan did it or that pain just happens.
The only consolation, this–God was holding me and grieving with me. And he is good all the time.
And the more that I live and get to know God… The less I try to explain away my circumstances or the pain of the world– the less I say, well that natural disaster is probably Gods judgment and That must have been Gods will, and the more I think Wow, God’s heart is breaking right along with us and he is always holding us together and he is the most merciful and good Being in the universe. He IS Mercy. He is Sovereign. And he is Good. I’m done trying to figure out how those things fit except that 1 Peter 1:20 says that he chose Jesus to be our redeemer before the world even began. And that he died for the sins of the world and chose us and there is nothing, not even death or loss of a baby that can separate us from his love. He is nearer to me than my deepest grief ever felt.
So yeah, questioning my own theology was scary because I didn’t want to know the answers. I just wanted to be held. And you know what… I was.
The odd thing, looking back on that time, is really, there was so much going on in me and yes I cried a lot (and I still do when I think about it every once and a while) and that was by far the hardest experience I have ever had, but looking back at my journal and planner, you would have practically never known it happened. Seriously. I looked back recently. And if you know me you know I am an avid journaler. I look at my planner and its like, Read the rest of this book and finish this essay this weekend. Make sure to finish translating this chapter. Study for Greek quiz. I mean, y’all, I was trying to graduate. Life went on. Life went on and I had to go to my Ceramics class that next week with that girl who was 5 months pregnant and 3 months married sitting at my table complaining about being pregnant almost every single day and NONE of my classmates ever even knew about the miscarriage or that I was pregnant in the first place.
The first time I really journaled about it was actually months later, after the emotions resurfaced when I saw What to Expect When You’re Expecting in theaters. Because one of the girls had a miscarriage. And by that time, others had forgotten.
So I think I really needed to write this because for whatever reason processing it in this way was never part of the grieving process and I think it should be for me.
So, with all of that… I mean, I could literally write for hours about the complexities of my emotions. I didn’t even touch all the emotions about what if I were to miscarry again with my next pregnancy. Doubts about whether I can handle loss. Trying to figure out where my loss fit on the scale of losses from bad to the absolute worst. The awkwardness of technically having been a mom for a short while but feeling so disconnected from that fact and having to know what it feels like to lose a baby before knowing what it feels like to have a baby.
But I do want to end on the redemptive note. As you all know, three months later I got pregnant again. I made it to that first ultrasound and not an appointment went by without my doctor using the word “perfect”. I heard the heartbeat countless times and felt precious flutters and kicks that some women never get to feel because this world desperately needs the return of Jesus.
And you know, it crossed my mind. It crossed my mind within the joy of Arden’s conception and the pregnancy that had the other baby lived we would have never had him. You know, I became okay with that uncomfortable fact.
We both kind of knew on that rainy day that she was a girl. And I can still see the picture that The Lord brought to my mind of her in heaven. She was blonde. Have your theology about all that stuff. But she is in paradise with Jesus. We named her Madeline Rose. Because Mary Magdalene was the first one to see Jesus after he rose…
And in perfect, beautiful redemptive fashion, a year later… That Monday early morning I experienced labor pains rather than miscarriage pains. We walked through those same doors on a Monday morning a year later and walked past the ER to get to the elevators to have a baby. And y’all… At 10:04pm I had a beautiful baby boy and it felt so right. And he was perfect. In my arms in that moment… He was everything I ever dreamed of and more and that moment felt so relieving and there was finally the fulfillment.
God is so gracious and merciful. I am absolutely overwhelmed by his grace in giving us Arden. I am overwhelmed by his grace in even allowing me to enjoy life at all. To breathe. To laugh. To cry and to feel real and true emotions. His grace is becoming more and more evident and colorful with every passing day. As Graham Cooke says, every day is a day of grace. Sometimes God’s grace allows you to enjoy what is happening and sometimes his grace allows you to endure what is happening. Life has less and less been about what is happening to me but more about who he is and his perfect, incomprehensible, amazing, merciful nearness.
I don’t know what is coming. Another miscarriage? Maybe. Worse? Maybe. Loss of others I love? Eventually. But this I know. His grace is sufficient in my weakness. In my moments in this past year and a half–not just the miscarriage but other circumstances including labor and post partum depression–I have felt the feeling of nearly falling apart. Not knowing if I will make it through. Feeling so weak because so many others go through so much worse than I ever have. And I have come out on the other side not with my situation changed or even with a significant increase in faith but with the assurance of a merciful and good Father’s love and nearness.
And I’m convinced that assurance is going to carry me through until Jesus comes back or until he takes me to be with him.