As I said in To Have Loved and Lost: Part 1, the depth of my sadness, confusion, and pain of my miscarriage pushed me to seek answers - answers that WebMD couldn’t provide. I needed to know that I’d be ok, that my pain would relent, and that my laughter would return.
I turned to the Author of Life.
Statistically speaking, 10-15% of all known pregnancies end in a miscarriage. Sadly, I had become a part of a statistic. Miscarriages were common, and they just happened. And those were just the facts.
But all facts aside, I knew the truth about God’s character:
I knew that He was good. In fact, every good and perfect gift comes from Him. (James 1:17) He’s in Heaven and gives good gifts to those who ask Him. (Matthew 7:11)
I knew that He was faithful. (Deuteronomy 7:9) I knew that He hadn’t forsaken me because He promised He’d never do that. (Hebrews 13:5) I knew that Jesus promised to always be with me as well. (Matthew 28:20)
I also knew that God had good plans for me - plans to give me a hope and a future; (Jeremiah 29:11) and that He’d give me the desires of my heart. (Psalms 37:4)
And although I didn’t fully understand why it happened, I knew that He was God, and I was not. In fact, His ways and thoughts were higher than mine. (Isaiah 55:9)
And I didn’t need to understand it fully to trust Him completely.
The reality is life isn’t fair. Storms rage. Bones break. And some pregnancies don’t go full term.
And yet, I knew that my God could make it good.
28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
I also knew that I had an enemy, Satan, who “comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” The Bible describes him as a thief and a liar. (see John 10:10 & John 8:44)
And when life was stolen and the lies were thick: Something is wrong with me… I will never conceive again… I will never get the chance to be a mother like I desire and dream to be… I realized that Satan wanted nothing more then for me to grow cold-hearted towards my Maker in the depth of my pain. But the joke was on him because it caused me to lean into an even deeper relationship with Jesus.
I needed comfort, and I found Him to be “the God of all comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3) I needed peace, and His was perfect. (Isaiah 26:3) I needed hope, and I prayed Romans 15:13 over myself:
13May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Pain has a way of doing two things: while one will sink under its weight, another will push through the waves and rise above. I chose (and still choose) to rise above.
I believe that pain is purposed. Because…
Pain is oftentimes the very process that God uses to produce fruit in your life.
Job said it this way: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” (Job 1:21)
And out of my deepest pain and darkest night, His brilliant Light shone through. His Peace permeated my pain and covered my heart like a warm, fuzzy blanket - fresh from the dryer. The covers of His Goodness and Grace settled around me, and I pulled them up to my chin. Hope and Joy whispered to my vulnerable heart that I was going to be ok…
I remember the second, third, and fourth time as well.
I remember driving home from the E.R. in Ames, Iowa - in the middle of the night - after another devastating, plummeted HcG-count test result. Famished, my sister-in-law offered me a Nature Valley granola bar. It was the first time I had ever tried the Peanut Butter kind, and with my swollen eyes and steady stream of tears, I found the taste and crunch of the granola bar in the quiet, pitch-black night somewhat comforting…
I remember the season of running and marathon-training, taking a false-negative pregnancy test, and experiencing yet another baby lost that my body had shed - wondering if my dedicated running was to blame…
I remember being on a date with my husband down by the Raccoon River, where I sat in blood and sobbed, praying - even begging God to let me keep it. I boldly finished with Job’s confession: “He gives and takes away. Blessed be Your name.”…
The pain wasn’t any less than the first time…but I knew the Healer all the more.
And with each subsequent miscarriage, I found myself clinging to His comforting embrace. Although my husband, family and church were great, only God could truly suture up the wound of a broken heart.
I have loved and lost four times, and yet, I can’t imagine the pain of the women who have had to endure painful D&C’s, have given birth to stillborns, have lived through the nightmare of S.I.D.S., or have had to bury their child in the ground. To those, I extend my sincere condolences and the tightest hug from a skinny mom in Iowa.
But regardless of where you fall on the Loved and Lost Scale, know that your pain does not have to define you - nor diminish you. Instead, it becomes a part of you - a scar that tells a story.
James 1:2-4 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds [even the losing of your babies] because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you will become mature and complete not lacking anything.” (brackets mine)
In closing, sometimes when I’m ensuring my family is all accounted for - like at the lake, park, or mall…or even at supper time or on our way to go get ice-cream - there is a piece of me that is missing. It’s difficult to explain, but the feeling is there nonetheless. What gives me hope is that when I get to Heaven, I anticipate four brown-eyed beauties (that will have their Daddy’s gorgeous smile) will come running up to me and allow me to scoop them up in my arms - holding them for the very first time.
And until then, I find myself stewarding and savoring the moments with my four that I do get to keep with a forged joy - mothering on purpose - with purpose - and allowing my scar to tell its story.