I read “All is grace,” I examine my own life, and I see it is true. But.
I look at the life of a friend of my husband, someone I honestly barely know, and I can’t see it. I cry tears long buried in my own heart for her; I wake to crying, my daughter needing food, and I cry trying to feed a starving soul. So many of my own hurts resurface, so many unanswered questions come calling again, and I pray healing Balm of Gilead over the soul I once was.
Because almost two years ago, my dreams and hopes were shattered.
I had wanted nothing more than to be a mommy, and it had looked like my desires were going to be filled. I was able to look at the baby aisles with excitement and not anxiousness. There was so much joy even in thinking that God chose me and my husband to have a baby!
And then eight days passed, and I started bleeding. The ultrasound showed no baby, and I was sent home. Two days later, my husband and I went back to the hospital and birthed the remains of our hope alone in the ER.
Devastated doesn’t begin to describe how I felt, but I didn’t question God’s goodness nor His love for me. It happened, but it was fairly common. I named the baby Abiah, which means “God is my Father,” to show that, though I was hurting, I still trusted. Slowly, I began to find my feet again. By the end of summer, I was almost happy again.
In September, I found that I was pregnant again, and once again, I was over the moon. God had given us a second chance! A fresh start in the fall-what a wonderful way to count down the days until spring! For four blissful days, I wondered once more in the beauty and mystery of early pregnancy. Then Thursday came. Thursday, with its hope and promise of the weekend, turned to despair and anxiety when I saw the blood.
The doctor, though, couldn’t say if the baby would live. Too small for a heartbeat, but not too small for a picture. More bloodwork would have to be done. Results would be in on Monday. Call if anything changes.
Friday came, and there was even more bleeding. Still, the baby had not passed. Had hung on another day. Hope. But Saturday morning, before dawn, I felt this baby pass as well. Second from my womb given to God early. So very early. Monday’s ultrasound confirmed it. Ronan, my “little seal” put on my womb-promising that there would be children.
At first, I had such a peace about it. I could thank God, see good in it. Then the questions came. The hard ones that no one can answer except God Himself. Aren’t You supposed to be good? How is this good? How can You say You love me, when You take the very thing that I want most? The thing that I feel deep in my soul is my calling in life? How can this be part of Your plan? Your will?
The most haunting questioned His love. And I retreated. I said, “No, God.” I would not count anything as joy because what joy could there be when two of my children died before I could even see them? When only God knew anything about them other than they were ours, mine. I retreated because it was easy.
Then again, I really did want answers. I wanted hope. I craved joy. At my deepest hurt, I said I hated God for what He had done, and there were no words that could calm my soul. But as I began looking for answers, I realized that no one wanted to give them to me. There were few comforting words outside of family ties, no matter how I craved them. So I found them where they were hidden: online. Bloggers like Angie Smith and pastors like Francis Chan spoke to my heart in ways that no one else had, and when friends and even church members had no words or spoke hurting words instead, God saw that my heart did have what it needed.
I slowly retreated into a world that blocked out the pain by focusing on the good: I read how suffering brings us closer to Christ, about how Christians are called to suffer for Christ’s sake, and how doing so brings us even closer to the glory that God wants us to be. I reveled in how God takes the sufferings of this world and redeems it all for His glory. But I still did not see how He loved me.
Until. One morning I drove to school under one of the cloud-blankets that occasionally comes up. For some reason, I looked at the clouds, even though there never is anything seen in this particular kind of cloudy sky. And there it was, plain as day: a tiny baby being held in much larger hands. I cried tears of joy because I knew that God was sending me a love letter in those clouds, and through the tears, I watched the image, burning it into my mind, until a grove of trees covered it. Once I had passed the trees, I looked again and could not believe my eyes. There was another baby being covered with angel’s wings, so tiny and precious. And I cried even harder because God had proven it: He loves me! He loves me enough to show me my babies, the ones I had never had a chance to see. He loves me enough to remember, and He loves me enough to allow me to share.
It would be a grave lie to say that I immediately found joy again, but I did think so at the time. Instead, I gradually opened myself to see the riches of His grace and the joy found therein.
And then, in May, just over a year since the first miscarriage, I once again found that I was pregnant. I was so cautious, so afraid, but I realized early on that I could not live in fear. So I gave my child up to the only One who could take care of the babe. Daily, hourly, I prayed for God to have His way. I prayed that God would do His will, no matter what that outcome would be.
Gradually, May became June, June became July, then the summer that seemed like it would last forever found its way into September, and we saw our little girl for the first time. So many tears of joy filled the next several months…and then it was February. And she was born. And she was here, our Abiella Kaitlyn, “God is my [pure] Father.” My daily reminder that God’s ways are pure, holy and He knows what He is doing. My daily reminder that God numbers our days, collects our tears in a bottle, knows our hurts and weaknesses, and still is daily transfiguring us from glory to glory.
And this is why I cry for the one whose baby was stillborn. This is why I ache for her, cry for her, pray for her. Because out of all the lessons God uses to perfect His children, the loss of a child is the hardest to bear. Because out of all the losses out there, losing a child who hasn’t spent one day outside the womb is the hardest for others to understand.
The world doesn’t go on for you, even when others are getting pregnant, having babies, and living. And once you have lost a child before it is born, there is the fear that you may have more that won’t be. There is the thought, however dark, that you may not have been a good enough mother. That God doesn’t like you. That you weren’t good enough to be a mother. Lies that the enemy tells to make us second-guess and question. Lies that tear apart the already fragile heart.
My heart has heard the lies, but I see now what then I could not. That God gives so many daily gifts that to question His love seems ridiculous. That His grace is sufficient for me because His strength is made perfect in my weakness. That thanking Him for these grace-gifts bring unmerited, immeasurable joy. That even in my two miscarriages, I can find joy. For what other way would I know pain? What other way could I minister to others than by experiencing deep sorrow first-hand? And it’s more than just practical application: I know for certain that I will see them in heaven. I know that I will never have to question their salvation. I know that God can take much better care of them than I ever could. I know that I have two less lives to worry about. And, most importantly, I would not have my daughter if I had either one of them. I would not have her smiles, her grins, or her personality. She was made at just the right time for just the right purpose, and I could not choose her siblings, no matter how much I miss them, over her.
Oh, my Abiella Kaitlyn, you are a beautiful promise, a breathtaking reminder of God’s sovereignty and love.
Have you heard about the She Speaks Conference–a conference for women who seek to connect the hearts of women to His heart– a place for those who desire to serve Him as he leads–a place I cannot see myself–a place He whispers I need to see…
This post has been submitted for a scholarship to go simply because God, using this special writer and lovely woman, called me to come out of my comfort zone…Won’t you join me? It’s getting a little too crowded in here…