Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Walking Through the Dark Forest of Miscarriage

This morning God laid something heavy on my heart. Maybe it's because I have a good friend that's currently walking through this scary forest. Maybe it's because I've walked through the same overgrown brush and thistles that she's walking through now. Maybe because I've walked it not just once -- but twice.

For whatever reason, God laid this topic on my heart. So today, I want to share a few words about miscarriage... from someone who's been there. (Feel free to share this with your husbands. They may find a few clues about how to love you well through this time.) I don't claim to have all the answers or the perfect scriptures to set things right again for you, but I can share what God did in my heart and life during that dark, cold and lonely walk.

I fought my feelings of GUILT

There's something about tragedy that makes us blame ourselves. I remember worrying that maybe I'd worked out too much or maybe I had eaten too many McDonald's french fries or maybe I'd allowed too much stress in my life.

But hear me. You are not to blame for your miscarriage. There's nothing you did to cause it. There's nothing you could have done to prevent it. So let yourself off the hook.

Once I let myself off the hook, then I was able to...

Allow myself to GRIEVE

This may sound like a no-brainer, but if you've experienced a miscarriage, you've lost a child. Even though you never rocked your child to sleep or gazed into her eyes, your sweet child has died. That's a tremendous loss, and don't let anyone try to convince you otherwise.

Actually, the fact that I had never cradled my babies or witnessed their first steps only magnified my grief. When a loved one dies, your mind immediately recalls event after event that you shared with them. You remember how funny he was or how intelligent she was. You remember past conversations you had with them. When you miscarry a baby, you have no such memories. That alone is cause for grief and pain.

My husband Anthony and I received grief counseling after our miscarriages (and an adoption loss, by the way), and our counselor encouraged us to have a memorial service for the children we'd lost. In the privacy of our home, we named both of our babies and spent time memorializing their short lives. I can't express how real that made our children to us, and how much it validated our grief.

Bask in the GRACE of God

When a loved one dies, and we know, that we know, that we know that they're now in heaven, it is a blessing indeed. Even on my worst, grief-filled day, I have faith that my babies are with their heavenly Father. And even though I wanted them here with me, I know that they're safe and warm in a place where they'll never experience an "owie" or hurt feelings. They're experiencing love and joy that I can't even imagine here on earth.

I can have peace because I know my babies are healthy and whole in the Father's presence.

It makes me think of the old hymn I've loved since I was a little girl in frilly ankle socks and braided pigtails:

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow 
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living 
Just because He lives

An added bonus in my life is the joy of God's grace as He increased my family. He's brought every single child into our family with gusto and purpose. And they -- all four of them -- navigate life with gusto and purpose. (Some days it actually drives me kinda nuts!)

I often ponder an interesting fact: my miscarriages took place in 2001. My Christian was born in Moscow, Russia on January 1, 2001. (Yes, that's 01/01/01!) If I'd given birth to either of those children, I know with certainty we would not have adopted my sweet Christian. 

And today that thought brings me to tears.

Just wait, my Sister. God's got an amazing plan for you. Your miscarriage is not some happenstance or meaningless event in your life. God will use it to transform you and make you a better you. He will bless your life, not only in spite of your losses, but because of them. You may not have all the answers right now, but look to the One Who does.

Believing God for you,