I spent the last two months of 2018 in a holding pattern. Fear had me paralyzed. The words stillborn rang through my mind on a daily basis. I wanted to picture our life as a family of five, I wanted to buy clothes for the sweet baby kicking in my tummy, but every time I started to do one of those things this voice crept up in my mind, “What if…?”
It is crazy how far reaching the effects of loss and grief can be. If you had asked me at any point during the second half of last year how I was doing since our miscarriage the previous December, I would have told you I was good, that I didn’t think about it on a daily basis anymore. But the loss changed something in me on a deeper level that I didn’t realize until I faced complications in pregnancy again. My happy go lucky, “its all going to be okay” attitude was no longer my default. All of a sudden loss was a very real possibility, and my faith in Jesus while still there didn’t hold the same guarantee that I’d always subconsciously assumed it did. I should note here that I am fully aware that no such guarantee actually exists and always was aware, but something about experiencing loss made the reality of the brokenness of the world all the more real and more threatening to me.
I tried to speak truth to myself, that even if the worst happened God would still be good, He would still be unchanged. If I’m honest with you though, I feared that should things end badly I wouldn’t be able to believe those truths, that my faith wouldn’t hold up under the weight of such a loss. And so, I found myself in a holding pattern, eaten up by guilt because I felt I wasn’t “suffering well” as I waited to find out what the outcome would be and telling myself that once we were on the other side of the trial life could resume its normal pace again. In the meantime, I did whatever I could to stay busy and distracted.
Thankfully our daughter Eloise was born without complication and is now peacefully napping beside me as I write this. Being on the other side hasn’t automatically “fixed” my fear issue. It has however allowed me to see the whole situation a bit more clearly and opened up my heart and mind to receive truth from the Lord about the trial I just walked through. Looking back on those last two months, there are a few things I am thankful for.
1. I truly cherished time with my family. One of the things the Lord really cultivated in me during those late days of pregnancy was thankfulness. The uncertainty I felt about what life would look like on the other side of pregnancy made me cherish the days we had while things were still good. My condition posed risks to both the baby and me. As a result, I struggled mostly with fear of losing Eloise, but also a little bit with fear of something happening to me through the
2. I got to know God as my comforter. 2 Corinthians 1 talks a lot about God as our comforter amidst suffering. I spent a lot of time playing out different scenarios in my mind about what might happen with Eloise, always ending up frustrated that the situation was entirely out of my control. Reading 2 Corinthians 1 I was reminded that our God is the “God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction.” I was reminded that I was constantly seeking God to change my circumstances, or have them go a particular way, rather than for comfort amidst them. I had this idea in my mind that as a Christian I needed to be strong in the midst of the trial, not letting fear win, assuming everything would be okay, etc. What I realized is that God just wanted me to bring all the things I was struggling with and feeling to Him. He is the only one who could help me make sense of all the emotions and fears. There is a Stephanie Gretzinger song that speaks so well to God’s heart towards us in the midst of trials, “Cecie’s Lullaby”. His heart is tender, loving, and kind to us. It’s that of a loving father who hurts when we hurt. When I really remember these truths it helps me to silence the condemning voices in my head and just bring all that I’m struggling with before the Lord. Then, from a posture of submission and surrender at His feet, He begins to silence the fears and bring true comfort to my weary soul.
3. I yearn for Heaven more than ever before. Overall 2018 was a year that made me more aware of the brokenness of our world than I’ve ever been before. I don’t think there was a single day that I wasn’t walking through a trial of my own or alongside a close friend, not to mention the onslaught of distressing news that every day seemed to bring. But as a result, I can honestly say that I can’t wait for Jesus to return and my soul truly yearns for Heaven, to see things set right.
Today as I’m writing this Eloise is officially one month old. I still have some residual PTSD from my pregnancy with her. I’ll still cry when I talk about it, the fear I felt about losing her still sits just beneath the surface. But day by day, as I open up my bible, pray, and worship, God is righting the posture of my heart. He is reminding me the truths of who He is. Our world is a broken one in which Jesus himself promised we would have trouble. But this is not how God intended it to be and Jesus is coming again to set things right once and for all. Lord haste the day!!