For the parents of lost children.
Inside, just me, I was a mess.
I hated my body.
I hated that it never let on. It never clued me in that something so terribly wrong was happening.
I wouldn’t eat a full meal. I couldn’t bring myself to know that I ought to be praying for my food, because my prayers when I am pregnant always include, “Please bless this food for us…” This was also a way to remind myself not to carefully tend to the nutritious needs of my infant who was no longer within me.
I drank coffee all day long. As I swallowed the bitter drink, I knew that coffee could alter a woman’s ovulation cycle, causing difficulty in conceiving; I was spitefully glad for it.
To have a definitive answer, something reliable, without the guessing, the wondering…..the hoping….I started birth control pills. I swallowed them down angrily, refusing to put myself in such a vulnerable position of peering over a pregnancy test again.
I am blessed with three older children, but I found that especially in the early days after the miscarriage, their needs sometimes interrupted my need to actively reflect, meditate, and grieve. As I’d wipe my tears away and take the sippy cup my little toddler passed me, I would decide angrily, “Oh, I must be a bad mom. That’s why my baby was taken from me. I don’t deserve more children.” People sometimes say that tragedy brings out whatever you have already harboring in your heart, and because the only things I could see being brought out from my heart were misery, pity, and despair, I felt incredibly unworthy for the things in my life that weren’t taken away. I felt enormously insignificant.
During this particularly fragile time, I was told the most well meaning, but most extremely hurtful things, by others regarding my loss.
I was told that I wouldn’t be able to tell when my baby was born, that I wouldn’t be able to see him, that it wasn’t a real baby, and that I should think I was only having a period. I was told that I put too much pressure on my body and that is what caused my miscarriage. I was told that it was a blessing that my baby died because I had my hands full with my other children, and having children too close together is the kind of mother who would drive her children off of a bridge. I was told that I should be happy, because at least I wouldn’t have a special needs kid. I was told that I should find comfort that God spared my child from a cruel life here on earth (true), and that I should find comfort that God also spared me from having to mother another child. I was told that “these things happen” and that God isn’t in control over these things. I was told that my baby is now my own personal guardian angel, and I was told that there is an infertile woman in heaven who gets to be a mother now. I was told that God’s ways are so mysterious that I shouldn’t bother with trying to discover what His will is in this experience. Finally, I was told that this baby needed to die to make room for the next one, who would stay in my womb until the proper time.
All but one of these things are not true~and they are all hurtful.
I wondered if even the people I loved wanted me to be quiet about our miscarriage.
I talked about it anyway. A lot.
I was angry.
I was hurt.
I was terrified of thinking that I might be guilty of something that could have caused my baby harm.
And I was frustrated that I wasn’t.
I foolishly thought that my faith would make my bereavement easier, that I could reconcile my emotions easier. On the contrary, I could quite literally feel a spiritual battle wage within me and rip my spirit in painful, exhausting, different directions. I needed desperately to break free.
The pain and torment were suffucating me.
I felt God’s grace squeeze love into my spirit; I felt Him breathing His Holy Spirit into me, giving me life, giving my journey to glory life, constantly calming each new cry of my despair, hopelessness and agony.
I pushed Him, even as He soothed me, and wondered how long He’d take it.
Finally, after enough tantrum throwing,
I picked myself off of the floor, where I had previously been kicking and screaming like a wild child, brushed my sweaty hair off of my damp forehead, took a deep breath, and whispered,
“God, are you still with me?”
And, let me tell you what I’ve found:
- Scripture reveals that God knows all about a person before that person is even formed.
Scripture reveals that God doesn’t change His mind in the middle of His work.
Scripture reveals that God doesn’t lose control in the middle of His work.
Scripture reveals that God supernaturally oversees conception, for the purpose of fulfilling a critical aspect of His will.
Scripture reveals that God supernaturally oversees infant and child death, permitting it for the purpose of fulfilling a critical aspect of His will.
- Scripture reveals that God’s plan isn’t fulfilled through only one person at a time, thus revealing that those loved ones impacted by the loss of a child (namely the parents) aren’t put in the position of “accidental grief”, or “unintentional grief”, but that God weaves together His plan through multiple people, and their experiences, at one time.
Scripture reveals that God is intimately present and involved in gestation and fetal development.
Scripture reveals that it is God, not satan, present in the womb. Even in our fallen world, God has ultimate and total control over the lives that are created in our wombs.
Scripture reveals that conception, gestation, and birth are all reflective of our Lord Jesus Christ; we cannot “choose” to be made in His image, from conception, we simply already are.
Scripture reveals that God orchestrates our conception and our death carefully.
Scripture reveals that it is wicked for a child’s life to be taken by our own hands, through any form of preventable death, but it is not wicked for God to take a child’s life through miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death. And, scripture explains the difference.
Scripture reveals that while it is not wicked for God to take a child’s life, He does not delight in it.
Scripture reveals that no pregnancy–even those conceived in unrighteousness (out of wedlock, for example), or those terminated in unrighteousness (elective abortion, for example) are orchestrated for condemnation, but that every pregnancy–even those conceived in righteousness (within a healthy Christian marriage, for example), and regardless of duration of pregnancy, is intended by God for our sanctification.
Scripture reveals that this good outcome can be expected because our purposes and calling can even be expressed in utero; life in the womb has value to God’s kingdom.
Scripture reveals that the expression of purposes and calling in utero is more effective with the mother’s participation–her willingness to submit to that possibility.
- Scripture reveals that because infants in utero participate in fulfilling the will of God, they too participate in the Lord’s great inheritance.
Scripture reveals that sometimes it is precisely because you are where you are supposed to be, that tragedy strikes, and that when it does, Jesus is watching and praying on your behalf.
Scripture reveals, even though there is a natural order (a cause and effect law) of things, that sometimes God circumvents the process with supernatural blessing, and that other times God orchestrates His divine will through the process. For example: If a woman is infertile, He may a.) supernaturally bless her womb (not removing the infertility, just circumventing the cause of it), or b.) use the cause of the infertility to allow her to glorify Him–perhaps through a miracle of the cause being cured, or perhaps by not curing it. We cannot know in advance which He will choose, but we can know it will be intended for our greatest good and for His glory.
Scripture reveals that children lost to us are not lost to Him.
Scripture reveals that God brings His work through to completion.
Scripture reveals that whatever blessing we bestow to others through our loss and grief isn’t the intent of the loss, but is a secondary fulfillment. For example, my baby didn’t die so that I’d build this pregnancy loss support website. However, God knew beforehand that because of my experience, my heart would long to reach out to others, and so He blesses my endeavors. The primary fulfillment is the change in my own heart. The secondary fulfillment is whatever I do with that.
These scriptural references to these promises can be found in the article entitled “The Answers“.
Before you head over to the link, however, I want you to know that if you’ve walked away from God, if you’ve angrily stormed out of the house, so to speak, I’m inviting you now: it’s time to come back home.
Luke 15:12 tells of a young man who is angry with his father. He wants to collect his inheritance, which, isn’t given until a person has passed away. What he is essentially saying here is, “Dad, I wish you were dead.”
So, the dad figured out the portion of property that would belong to his son, sold it, and gave the money to the young man. Could you imagine?
In verse 13 the young man gets as far as he can from his dad. He sets out for a distant country, and then spent the gift his dad gave him –the verse says he squandered it– on every whim and desire he had.
By verse 16 he has become so empty, so desperate for happiness, for fulfillment, he realizes that he squandered so much opportunity trying to satisfy his desires, that he diminished his own opportunities for real needs. He becomes willing, eager –the verse says he longed— to eat pig food. Can you imagine that?
He reached a point, by verse 17, it says, “he came to his senses.” He thinks about his father, and wants to return to him. He sets out for the long journey home, thinking about the hired hands at his father’s farm. In verse 19 he is prepared to work as a slave, just to have meager provisions and the stability of his father.
But verse 20 tells us of his father’s reaction:
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”
After that, the dad told his servants, Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Can you imagine with me, a proud, happy dad wrapping his son in such a vivid demonstration of love? He wanted everyone to know that he loved his son…the son who wished him dead, but then returned to him.
If you have walked away from God,
if you have run away from God,
if you have cashed in all goodness that He’s blessed you with and spent it everywhere else you could,
if you are exhausted,
I invite you,
God invites you,
just come home.
God is waiting.
I ask you now, what you think it would feel like, to return to the Father you so angrily rejected. If you didn’t have to reconcile all of the differences, if you didn’t have to fix things first or work your way up to the top. If you didn’t have to “perform” or “act” or “do”. If you just returned to Him, and He wrapped His robe around you for all to see, what would you do?
I think of Mark 5:25-28
And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
All she wanted was to merely touch just one of the tassles dangling from the bottom of His robe.
He will do much more than that.
If you have lost a baby, and in anger turned from God, I’m asking you right now, to come home.
Maybe you’re experiencing a pregnancy loss right now, or maybe you’ve had multiple losses and it feels as though you’ve been bleeding for twelve years, or maybe, it’s your heart that has been bleeding, broken, and in need of mending for such a long time.
Come home. Reach out to Him.
He will embrace you excitedly and lovingly.
He will wrap you, like a robe, covering you, veiling you, loving you in His all-sufficient grace.