Just a few days ago, on October 15, people across the nation lit candles in remembrance of babies that were lost too soon. There was a candle flickering at our house, too. I haven’t shared this part of our lives with many people, but I have since learned the great power there is in sharing our journeys with each other.
In February 2015, we found out that we were expecting and we were so excited! Charlee and the new baby would be almost exactly three years apart. I had just officially been offered my current position as Children’s Ministry Director at Community of Hope, and the baby would be due before our crazy month of December (Charlee’s birthday, our anniversary, AND Christmas). I felt like God was showing off and had handed me the perfect little package of answered prayer requests.
Then, a miscarriage in the first trimester. We hadn’t even told people that we were pregnant, so it felt even weirder to share that we were no longer. And yet, how could our lives continue as they were when we had just lost a child?
The ob/gyn dismissed it: “Well, it’s not like you were trying for too long. You’ll be fine in a few months.” The statistics that were meant to comfort (15-25% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage) only made me feel like I shouldn’t be upset. It happens to lots of people. You’re fine! I already had a healthy daughter. I had only known I was pregnant for a short time anyway.
I felt like I wasn’t entitled to grieve.
Here’s what God taught me through friends who showed up on my doorstep and cried with me, through family who showed up with bags of groceries and tight hugs, through scripture that does not contain empty promises, and through prayer that didn’t change my circumstances, but changed me.
I am allowed to grieve.
I grieve because that life growing inside of me was made by God and known by our family.
I grieve because we bought a sweet, soft blanket that will never be wrapped around the child we lost.
I grieve because we will never know who that baby may have grown up to be.
I grieve because our family will never be whole this side of heaven.
I am allowed to grieve, and you are too.
If you have been affected by miscarriage, or have experienced pregnancy or infant loss, I grieve with you. But here’s the good news. God meets us in our grief. He is not scared by sadness, or anger. He never tells us that something is not worth grieving over and He never says, “Get over it.” Instead, he comes near to us. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18, NIV). Jesus weeps with us, and then wipes away our tears. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3, NIV)
There’s no neat, tidy ending to this story. We have since been blessed with our sweet Evelyn, but grief never truly goes away. I do know that my God is in the business of redeeming broken things, and He is continuing that work in my life daily. And so I continue to cling to this truth from one of my spiritual mentors and favorite authors, Elisabeth Elliot. “Of one thing I am perfectly sure: God’s story never ends in ashes.”
Your story won’t end in ashes either. God is at work.
A few extra things:
No Longer Slaves by Bethel Music – I had this song on repeat during this time
Bottle of Tears – A company I’ve just discovered that offers meaningful gifts to tell a friend you’re grieving with them