I KNOW that God is good. I KNOW that God is wise. I KNOW that God is love. And I KNOW that God's will and purposes are formed in perfect goodness and perfect wisdom and perfect love. I know this, and I accept His purposes for my life. But that doesn't stop the pain. And that doesn't stop the questions. Why did He create life in me when I wasn't even trying to conceive and then wait just long enough for me to fall in love with my babies and then take them right out of my womb? Why?
Loss after loss I've asked the same questions. And loss after loss I've received the same answer--Trust Me. Love Me. I am here.
Yes, I trust You. Yes, I love You. Yes, I know that You are here. But...
Do you ever want to ask God to leave you alone? To let you live your life in peace? I do, or at least a part of me does. A part of me wants to beg God not to teach me His ways, not to mold me to His likeness, not to use me in His service. But then I think, what would life be like without Him? Would there be less pain? I don't think so, life is painful, with or without Him. I just wouldn't have Him to comfort, guide, and carry me. Would there be more peace? No, life is chaotic, with or without Him. I just wouldn't have Him to shelter me in the storms. Would there be more hope? Impossible, life is short and has a clearly marked dead-end without Him. He is hope. He is my only hope.
*Where to go from here?*
Every time I conceive a new life in my womb, my heart expands exponentially to create a home for that child and my mind stretches wide open to welcome a new life into my life. Every time I lose a baby from my womb, my heart and mind are left with a gaping emptiness I don't know how to fill. In the past I've taken those spaces and filled them with hope for 'the next time.' Now, after growing space in my heart and mind for three babies at once and losing them all, I'm left with such a huge emptiness that I feel lost inside of it. But my husband and I weren't planning on having any more children. God planned these babies, not us. So now what do I do? If there is no hope for 'the next time' to fill this hole, to focus those aimless thoughts in the night, to hold the pieces of my heart together, then what do I do with those thoughts and the frayed edges of my broken heart? I don't know. I really don't.
How can I feel so safe in God's arms, so sure of the rightness of His purposes, so certain of the wisdom of His will, and still feel so lost?
I don't know. I really don't.
Have you ever read the book of Job in the Bible? It's always been a book I struggled through and didn't really like. It's all about loss and unwanted advice from family and hurtful comments from friends and the reality of God being God. But it's the story every woman who miscarries can relate to. You know what I'm talking about. We've all heard--"That's just nature's way of getting rid of something that didn't grow right." and "It's not like you lost an actual child." And, from the 'churchfolk'--"You shouldn't feel empty. God is all you need." and "God needed your babies more than you did." What I like about the book of Job is that God didn't get mad at Job for asking questions and for wailing out his pain. But God did get mad at Job's friends who acted like they were speaking for God, like they knew why God did things and how God thought. When people make those comments and when they tell me how I 'should' feel, I just remember Job and those comments lose their sting completely (well, almost completely).
*What it's okay to say*
Here are some suggestions for you friends and family members out there who need a little guidance on how to communicate with a mother who's just lost a baby.
"What can I do to help?"
"I don't know what to say."
"I'm hurting so much for you."
"I'm praying for you."
And don't let a day go by for the first couple of weeks that you don't say one or more of those things. It's pretty much all she can think of at that point, and you not mentioning it keeps her silent in a world of pain she doesn't know how to share. Don't try to make her talk, just let her know it's okay if she wants to.
'what NOT to say':
"You can always adopt."
"You're young. You can always try again."(Would you go to a funeral and tell the grieving widow, "You can always just get married again"?)
"At least it happened early." (A loss is a loss, minimizing it is not supportive, just hurtful.)
I debated about whether to include this part or not, but, in the interest of complete honesty, I had to. I know that anger is one of the stages of grief, but it is the hardest stage for me because I'm a peacemaker, and anger always seems wrong to me...especially when it's God I'm angry with.
Anyway, here goes...after another night of sorrow, I suddenly woke up ANGRY, not a little angry, but really, really MAD--at God. I tried to hide it, even from myself, but it kept seeping and oozing out and when I got a phone call from our realtor that the buyer had backed out of our contract, I lost it. I cried and ranted and raved at God. And once the anger started flowing, there was no stopping it. I spent the whole day in tears, asking God what He was thinking, where He was in all this, if He really thought I deserved to be tortured, why everything seemed intentionally designed to make my loss as painful as possible, and when He was going to finally decide I'd had enough and LEAVE ME ALONE! And, you know what, I discovered some things. First, I discovered that I didn't just suddenly get angry; I'd been simmering for days and just wouldn't admit it to myself or God. Second, I discovered anew that I truly am a sinful person capable of being about as unlovely and petty and spiteful as the next sinner. Third, I discovered that God loves me just as I am. He wasn't surprised by my anger because He knew what was in my heart all along. Fourth, I discovered that pouring out the anger in my heart was the ultimate act of trust. God said in His word that we couldn't escape from His love and that He loved us while we were yet sinners. Trusting Him with my anger was trusting Him to be who He said He was and trusting Him to do what He said He would. And fifth, I discovered that by being willing, finally, to trust God and walk through this part of the valley, the healing could begin. As I released the anger I'd been hiding in my heart, peace seeped in to take it's place. That is the gift of God, peace that passes understanding. And I could finally begin to receive that gift when I fully trusted God with all that I am, the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly.
I know I have a long, long way to go. But a subtle shift has taken place in my soul. I still cry at night and I still hurt all the time, but I am living again, feeling again, moving forward again. And that ever-resilient hope, so fragile, so easily crushed and broken, has risen again.