Today is National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Day (October is national PIL month). In honor of the baby we said goodbye to, I am sharing a sacred but very honest excerpt from my book, This Undeserved Life, regarding our miscarriage.
We have some online giveaways happening; see those here.
I was furious, and felt betrayed.
The days unfolded one at a time, slowly and painfully, holding horrors I never imagined experiencing. When doctors warned me of the possibility of miscarriage, I had no idea the toll it would take on me.
I had not the slightest hint of an idea I would be wrecked completely, stripped of my will to keep going. I thought I wasn’t handling infertility and the wait well?
Compared to this ugly process of anger and loss, I handled the wait like a hero: miscarriage made me a train wreck. I felt unChristian at best. Some pastor’s wife I am, smiling through the storm—not.
Every Sunday for months, I sobbed the entire way through church service. For weeks I hid in the light booth of the theater and read grief books to distract myself from people. My job to minister to others was put on pause with my own permission; I had no will or strength or desire to be of service to others.
I was out of commission and I felt fine if that disappointed people. There was nothing in me to pour out.
Empty didn’t scratch the surface of my heart.
Praying was confusing. I knew He was with me. He was steady and there, quiet but there. I didn’t know how to talk to God. I didn’t know if I wanted to or didn’t want to.
At times, His presence was welcome and warm. Other times, I avoided Him, afraid of feeling safety and peace, afraid to feel secure when I thought I should feel sad, afraid my vulnerability and sorrow were bad things.
Overall, I grew confident that He could handle whatever feelings I had bottled up inside me. Even if that meant being angry and upset at Him, pointing my finger and enraged, without a doubt He could handle it.
Believing He could handle my ugly rawness—my frustration and fury along with my disappointment—freed me to feel wholly loved by Him. It unleashed this great understanding of His scandalous grace.
As I learned He was giving me permission to grieve, even if it didn’t look pretty, I found a deeper sense of belonging to Him. I uncovered a closeness to Him I had never experienced, a closeness I rarely noticed in others.
Experiencing His permission to grieve set me free to be broken.
I didn’t realize how deeply I needed to just be broken in order to inch towards healing.
I wrote two verses in my journal which I carried around with me everywhere: “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” Psalm 56:8.
If God collected my tears and recorded each one, surely He invited me to shed them. Surely, He knew sorrow was inevitable on this life journey. Surely, He cared.
The second was, “Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow. Where briers grew, myrtles will sprout up. This miracle will bring great honor to the LORD’s name; it will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.” Isaiah 55:13.
I felt caught up and entrapped in the thorns of loss and grief. Briers pricking my heart, holding captive my joy. But I was not without hope; though heavy and downtrodden, I knew He would come through.
I knew He would come through without me pretending I was okay. His faithfulness and promises didn’t depend on my ability to smile through the thorns and storms of life, but rather to trust Him through them.
My friend tried encouraging me not to be mad. This notion to “let go and let God.” She was the picture perfect pastor’s wife, submissive and beautiful, home cooked meals and multiple kids. She was quiet and kind, gentle and loving.
The implication was I could magically be okay and not care, move on, not be frustrated with God. The pressure I felt was to let go of my anger and sorrow, because those things make life about me which is selfish.
But for one of the first times, I felt confident to boldly declare He could handle my anger.
My goal in this process was to be candid before God. I believe pretending to be something I wasn’t was when resentment would start to dig its roots.
Pretending I was okay when I wasn’t began to feel inevitable; living life raw and vulnerably isn’t popular. At least not in the christian culture. Pretending I was fine seemed inevitable when “pastor’s wife” somehow translated into the expectation of a super woman who isn’t phased by pain.
People would tell me to take my time in healing, but soon after gave me (sym)pathetic pity-looks, wondering why I was still moping around. Couldn't I just get over it? I read in their facial expressions.
Forgetting was far from my mind, and yet it seemed everyone else had forgotten before I could barely begin the grief process.
From the same chapter in Isaiah, chapter fifty-five, I clung to His words confident He wanted my broken heart instead of my forced attitude. He would transform my attitude over time as needed, but what He desired was my heart, raw and honest. Even if that meant anger, bitterness, sorrow.
“And so the Lord says, ‘These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away. And their worship of me amounts to nothing more than human laws learned by rote.’”
From this verse, I figured He wanted me close; for me to be close to Him, I had to be honest with Him. There was no other way.
One day at a time, I breathed, and asked Him honest questions that pressed into me: How do I keep walking through grief when no one seems to give me permission? Do I give in to culture and societal expectation or do I fall into Your arms where it’s safe to be vulnerable? Why did we conceive only to miscarry right when we felt free to move into adoption?
I felt halted up, confused, heavy, but I knew He could handle the heaviness consuming me.
This is an excerpt from my best-selling book, This Undeserved Life. It hit #1 in Infertility, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Grief, Adoption, and more.
To read the first seven chapters of this book free, This Undeserved Life, download here:
Don't miss this week's giveaway on Instagram with Soul Cysters — it's a beautiful and custom baby loss ornament.