I’ll never forget my first Mother’s Day….I walked through my garage into our laundry room and saw a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a mylar balloon that read “Happy Mother’s Day.” I immediately burst into tears, not because of pregnancy hormones. I wasn’t pregnant…I desperately wanted to be pregnant but I wasn’t….I hadn’t just delivered my first born….instead we had buried our second born only a few weeks ago. They were buried in a grave marked inside me. Their obituary was shared with just a few close friends. Only a handful of people even knew her name, or had even thought to ask.
I have a confession to make….I am
slightly completely obsessed with paint samples.
Picking the color for baby boy’s nursery was no exception…I not only used my own collection, but the samples from a few friends DIY projects.
That’s 13 paint samples!!!
I know…. I know…its
kind of ridiculous….
Although not as ridiculous as being personally known by the paint lady at the Home Depot…”Back for more samples?” she smirks with a twinkle in her eye.
I secretly hope she thinks I am just a really fast painter and am already on to my next project…
But, I think she’s on to me….
Rene and I actually set the record for the largest amount of paint samples bought for one room, in our former town’s Home Depot… they should give you a coupon…or a punch card for that….buy 10 samples….get the 11th free!
I had finally narrowed it down to these four samples:
And I chose the one on the far left.
Than I went to the paint store – realized the sample card looked like a tan color…was nervous because my final selection was from a paint sample several years old, and I was afraid time had corrupted the color. The thought of buying another paint sample was going to send me over the edge...so I did what every paint sample connoisseur knows to never do…I bought a whole gallon of paint, in a color un tested on my wall…oooopppsss
Don’t worry its – no VOC paint
I gave the room one coat…left for a few hours…came back…and I HATED IT!!!!!!!!!!
I thought I was painting a light blue/gray…but instead it looked like an icy pastel blue…and since we weren’t using Disney’s Frozen as a theme here I
was disappointed had a complete meltdown…
I was like a momma bird who had lost all the sticks for her nest…
At church the next day…I found two friends with great DIY skills and even greater hearts. I gave them a hug, and silently pledged to not let go until they promised to come and tell me what color to paint baby boy’s room.
slight absolute look of pre-natal nesting hysteria in my eyes...they not only came and helped me pick another color but also helped me re-paint the entire room.
Ironically we chose a color that was in my final four
The winner is…. “Flint Smoke”….2nd from the left…however when I painted the sample on the tan wall it looked like Bright Teal (even brighter than it shows in this photo).
When I painted it on the newly painted wall, it gave a completely different dimension to the color which I absolutely loved!
Turns out I wasn’t a paint sample hoarding, hysterical Momma Bear after all. I just needed a new perspective to help me see that “Flint Smoke” was the perfect color.
My painting fiasco reminded me that sometimes when we are faced with a problem we just need a different perspective to help us find a solution.
I was thinking about all the times in life when a situation has seemed overwhelming, unjust, tragic, or impossible to my own human understanding, until I spent time with Jesus and I was able to understand His perspective and it changed everything!
I am reminded of Asaph’s words in Psalms 73. Asaph was a righteous man who served during King David’s reign as the head of all musicians.* He must have been a man familiar with singing praise to God and also humbly serving others in this role. I don’t know what was happening in Asaph’s life to make him write these words: Psalm 73:2&3
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,
my steps had nearly slipped.
For I was envious of the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
Maybe he had experienced betrayal by a close friend or felt frustrated by the evil that he saw around him. I think many of us can relate to Asaph’s feeling of injustice…feeling like evil is winning over the good…and it can feel overwhelming like Asaph describes in Psalm 73:17:
But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,
When Asaph encounters the presence of God his perspective completely changes: Psalm 73: 17b-18
until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I discerned their end.
Truly you set them in slippery places;
you make them fall to ruin.
Then he sets his heart on the safest and most secure place in the universe: the faithful and unchanging character of God’s goodness: Psalm 73: 25-26
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
I also believe that God uses His people to help give us a needed perspective shift. If my friend hadn’t suggested re-trying the paint samples over the new color, I never would have found the perfect color! I thought we needed to go and get a completely new batch of paint samples. Fortunately her new perspective on my problem saved me from the humiliation of being “that indecisive preggie lady” visiting the Home Depot paint counter for the billionth time.
We are blessed with wisdom when we seek wise counsel!
What about you? What helps give you a perspective change? Anyone else out there a paint sample connoisseur? Have you ever painted an entire room and hated the color?
I had a meltdown on our babymoon.
A meltdown over puffy feet and swordfish.
It seemed like everywhere we went on our babymoon my husband, was getting a better deal…simply because he wasn’t pregnant. He raved about the medium rare steak he enjoyed at a new Orleans restaurant as one of the best he has ever tasted, while my meal was dry and uninteresting.
Then the next day, arriving in Florida, we went to a local restaurant known for their fresh seafood that came highly recommended by the bed and breakfast owners and it didn’t disappoint us my husband. My husband enjoyed one of the best seafood meals of his life and was able to choose from the three of fresh catches of the day. Three fish which are on the no-no list for preggie ladies because of their high mercury content.
I scanned the menu for other seafood options, there were none. Steak was out… because paying for a filet of well done steak to me is like paying Mc Donalds $30 for a Big Mac patty…the only option left was the breaded chicken…which tasted to me like an oversized chicken nugget.
Laughing over the discrepancies between our dining experiences, I went to bed dreaming of the beach.
The next morning I woke up with one thought, “how quickly can I get to the beach???!!!”
After breakfast we were packing our beach bag and Rene noticed that my feet – once delicate limbs – were now the size of an ogre and had swollen to resemble a puffed pastry. My ankles had also disappeared! Fortunately ankles aren’t a requirement for beach entrance so undeterred I kept loading up my beach stuff.
My husband, the rational, patient one in our marriage, put his beach towel down and started building a tower of pillows on the bed, for me to elevate my feet, turned on the fan and handed me a bottle of water.
“Babe, we have to reduce the swelling before we go out into the heat and humidity.”
Appreciating Completely annoyed with his loving concern, I plopped myself on the bed elevating my feet and scowled at Rene like a five year old instructed to finish their peas before dessert. After 2 minutes I enthusiastically said, “hey! I think they look better!” “Babe I still can’t see your ankles,” Rene said.
Commence: my 2 year old tantrum about pregnancy which in between sobs sounded something like…
“Everything you have eaten this vacation has been delicious, while everything I have eaten has been gross and now we’re here only 20 minutes from some of the most beautiful beaches in the country and I can’t see them because I’m pregnant and my feet look like Shrek’s….and I’m just sick of being pregnant and I just want a break from being pregnant…but you don’t get a vacation from being pregnant and….
I’m just tired of my entire life revolving around this baby!!!!”
I silently continued my sulking, counting the ways pregnancy was ruining my life:
Everything is now about him: my eating schedule, my diet, and my sleeping schedule.
Everyone is obsessed with him: how big is he, when is he due, what’s his name, is he moving?
I find strangers and friends in conversation, making eye contact with my belly, not my face.
In the same 24 hour period: I had experienced nose bleeds, nasal congestion, headaches, back aches, stabbing hip pain, round ligament pain, forgetfulness , discovery of varicose veins and cottage cheese lump thighs, fatigue, grouchiness, and unexplainable tears during cat commercials (maybe the most obnoxious pregnancy symptom so far, I’m definitely not feeling like myself if a commercial about cat litter brings me to tears).
If I experienced all of those symptoms in 1 day normally I would think I was dying.
I remembered a conversation with 2 awesome Momma friends who love their children really well, and welcomed me into the Momma club with these words,
“Charity, what you are entering is the great death: Motherhood. It is a death to yourself, but if you will let it, your death will draw you closer to Jesus and ultimately bring you abundant life”
I began to have some breakthrough in the days that followed..
I was dying, but there were some things in me that needed to die before I could become the kind of Mother I always thought I would be: kind, patient, sacrificial…you know not the kind that gets mad at their helpless unborn infant for needing food without a high mercury content because it creates such a giant inconvenience in my vacation food plans.
Gag…..no that’s not preggo reflux….but me gagging at the sound of my own selfish self – my selfishness that complains about sacrificing a few petty and temporal comforts for the good of the child they have begged God for.
I think there’s a good reason God gives us 9 months of inconvenience, life altering stuff to prepare for our newborns and its because we need a revelation and deliverance from our own selfishness – before 2 a.m. feedings, early morning poop explosions and no more holidays or weekends.
We’re all selfish…I’m selfish…clearly…and we all have layers of selfishness we didn’t even realize were there until something as completely reality altering as growing another human reveals it to you.
Lately I have wondered if my hips are preparing to birth the largest baby ever made, or seeking revenge from years of going unnoticed and being stuffed into skinny jeans. They
ache feel like they are being stabbed with a knife… all night long. Sleep over the past 2 months has been a tenuous dance between not needing to pee and finding the right combination of 10 pillows and muscle cream rubs, which can dull the pain for about an hour, allowing me to sleep for a whole 60 glorious uninterrupted minutes…before I get up and do the pregnancy night shuffle again: pee, rub on more sore muscle cream, rearrange 10 pillows too redistribute weight on opposite hip.
Its hard between 1 and 6:30 a.m. to remember – this is worth it – I am dying – but I am living more than ever before… I am sustaining and growing another life. As our sweet baby boy grows, may my selfishness die, so he and I can really live.
Ok Mommas and Dads! Have you ever felt like you were dying in parenthood? Why and how? Any preggo mommas with advice about alleviating hip pain while sleeping?
How do you respond to pain? Do you silently muscle through it? Clenching your jaw and holding silent stress in every muscle in your body? Are you a screamer (like me) who feels compelled to verbally process every ounce of pain you are experiencing?
Some people seem to almost enjoy the process of pain…friends who train for tri-athletic events on Saturdays come to mind.
I don’t enjoy pain and I don’t look for it. I am careful to avoid pain. I do yoga, pilates and water aerobics. Throughout junior high and high school I avoided contact sports and participated in theater. I decided to be the team d.j. instead of a player on our church’s kickball team….yes I am terrified of a ball hitting my head and yes I am in my 30’s. I don’t like dogs that are big, bark, or jump on you and I have been known to cross to the other side of the street when I hear one barking.
Emotionally I try to avoid pain by keeping everyone happy…this works…. so well never. I am also more inclined to apologize for someone else’s mistake than call them out and watch them suffer a consequence or work through awkward tension.
You may be surprised to hear that this self admitted pain avoider is planning and preparing for a natural, drug free child birth…I shudder a little whenever I say that phrase.
I am not a woman with a list of 100 reasons why epidurals are evil and believes there is any greater glory to be found in a natural vs. pain medicated childbirth. Any woman who has gone through the challenges and difficulties of pregnancy and delivery of a child whether by c-section, naturally or with drugs is my hero.
I have read my fair share of articles on the benefits of an epidural free delivery, but that is not the reason we are choosing that route.
The reason we are preparing for a drug free, natural vaginal delivery…comes down to a conversation between me and Jesus.
Charity: Jesus, what kind of childbirth do you want me to prepare for? (please say epidural, please say epidural, please say epidural)
Jesus: Natural delivery without an epidural.
Charity: So maybe I should ask again….Jesus, what kind of childbirth do you want me to prepare for? (please say epidural, please say epidural, please say epidural)
Jesus: Natural delivery without an epidural.
Charity: Maybe we should talk about this later.
We did talk about it later…having the same conversation over and over again, until one day, I reluctantly surrendered. “Ok, Jesus, if you are saying to prepare for a natural delivery without an epidural then that is what I will do. But let the record show, I think this is a horrible idea.”
Fast forward this week’s Bradley Birthing Class, where we were welcomed to class with the announcement that we were going to have a labor rehearsal…rehearsal….that’s one word a theater nerd understands.
How do you properly rehearse for something as dreadfully unique as labor and childbirth? Turns out…you can’t…. but there are different relaxation and breathing techniques that you can practice with your birth coach (my awesome husband, Rene) to be more prepared for labor.
Our labor rehearsal consisted of each woman being given a bucket of ice water. We were instructed to lie in a comfortable position and close our eyes. Then our teacher told us to put our hand in the water and not to remove it until instructed. For the first round of our ice bath our birth coaches were not allowed to touch us or talk to us. I also had no idea how long my hand was going to remain suspended in ice.
Going into this exercise, I thought it would be a breeze, I mean I’m from Washington our definition of a nice day at the beach is lower 60’s with a light drizzle…I can survive cold…
That was one of the worst and longest 60 seconds of my life. My husband told me later he thought I was going to start crying… because I WAS! It took every ounce of energy and self control I had to not remove my hand from the water.
I kept trying to do all the relaxation techniques they have taught us in Bradley class, breathe deeply, think about a beautiful beach, focus on breathing air into the tense parts of your body…yeah..right…all I could think was: “ow, ow, ow…when is this torture ending and this exercise must be like freshmen chemistry….designed to weed out the weak from strong…alright Mr. Bradley…you found me out…I’m the weakest link…I’m out of here, this was a huge mistake, I can’t make it through natural labor if I can’t endure my hand sitting in ice water.”
The worst part of the experience was feeling so alone. I knew people were around me, but no one, including my husband could talk to me, touch me or give me an indication of when the torture would end.
The second round was better, because our instructor gave us a verbal countdown of how many seconds remained.
The third and fourth rounds felt like heaven, for one simple reason: my coach could talk to me and touch me.
The activity went from torture to bearable with the insertion of one variable: encouragement!
I left the activity believing that I could actually survive labor without an epidural and realizing how thankful I was that Rene was going to be by my side because he is such a great encourager.
I was thinking about the power of a simple encouragement the rest of the night and it reminded me of earlier that day when I was at the grocery store.
I was headed towards the toilet bowl cleaner when I noticed a woman walking slouched with deep weariness. I felt the Holy Spirit nudge my heart to go and ask her if there was a way I could pray for her.
After working through my fear of how awkward and weird it would be to stalk someone in the dairy section and then talk to them about prayer…I went ahead and found her and asked if there was a way I could pray for me.
She responded by telling me I should probably get out some paper, because her lists of requests was that long.
What she was walking through was one of the most difficult situations I have ever heard. At one point she stopped, looked at me and said with tears in her eyes, “thank you so much for asking” and then she hugged me in the middle of the dairy aisle like she had needed a good hug and a long cry for a decade. I cried too and I prayed, asking Jesus to heal every place that needed healing and encouraged her that “Jesus loves you and He has His eye on you.” And then we both cried and hugged again next to some very confused customers buying their eggs.
She told me that day she had no idea how she would even make it through the end of the day. She felt so defeated in every way: physically, emotionally and spiritually….
But the simplicity of a question, “can I pray for you”
The presence of another human being listening to her story.
An embrace between 2 strangers, reaching beyond social norms, to simply say – I hear your pain, I care and I believe in you.
The power of a prayer, 2 people crying out to the only One who can fix and heal what was so broken…
It gave her the hope she needed to persevere through the rest of the day.
I wish I never missed or ignored an opportunity to encourage people. But I do.
I miss them because I am thinking about my own problems or agenda. I miss them because I am checking my phone. I miss them because I forget to ask, “Father what you are doing right now? How can I be a part of it.”
We need each other, we weren’t made to journey alone.
If you want to be a hope giver, find someone today with their lives stuck in a bucket of despair, in their real life drama starring pain and discouragement and offer them encouragement.
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:15- 16
I’m curious to know other reader’s labor experiences? How did you make it through? Who were your main encouragers through the process? Do you find yourself, like me, distracted and often unaware of those around us needing encouragement? How has someone encouraging you helped you through a tough time?
Wow, it feels like we haven’t chatted in forever. I hope you are doing awesome!!!! There has been so much going on the past week and a half that I haven’t had a chance to check in…so this should be an action packed update!
After saying good – bye to some of our favorite people and places in Corpus Christi, we have officially moved!
I have no pictures to share of our house covered in wall to wall boxes, because lets be honest I would like to forget that ever happened..especially since we are renting so I know we will have to do this all again someday. We were so blessed that my hubby’s company paid for movers – wow, movers – can I just say having someone come and pack your stuff, and then unload it is my favorite way to move – especially when you are preggo. I think I would still be back in Corpus Christi packing if it hadn’t been for that present from Jesus!
How are Jaxon and Sparta adjusting to their new life ????…all they needed was
our their couch and our their favorite blanket to feel right at home.
I think its unfair for me to lose couch access because of these sleepy felines…but they look so cozy I don’t usually have the heart to move them….especially when we experienced a freak March ice storm our first week living in Central Texas.
I am so glad you didn’t see I wish you could have seen my husband and I frantically searching for something to scrape the ice off the car at 6:30 a.m. Just a quick note for all the Texans who don’t have ice scrapers – giant barbeque spatulas work great!
And now for the most exciting part of this post…Baby Bean Update!
I am in week 12, which according to some people is the 2nd tri-mester although some sources say its the end of the 1st trimester. What do you think?
Being an eternal optimist I have been saying that I am at the beginning of the 2nd trimester…anything to distance myself from nausea, food aversions and feel like I am making progress. I can’t believe how much baby been has grown since Week 10:
Week 10: Baby Bean is the size of a Kumquat, which I learned is a garnish for beverages. And at $7 a pound…that’s all I could use it for. Try saying “Kumquat” 10 times fast without smiling…Its impossible to not smile when you are repeating that silly word!
Week 11: Baby Bean is the size of a Lime!
I like this pic because you can really see my baby bump =)
Week 12: Baby Bean is the size of a Plum.
Thanks so much for all your prayers for a healthy pregnancy! We met with our doctor before leaving Corpus for a last visit (so sad to leave her, she is truly amazing!) and she said everything was going really well!
We did find out at that visit that my iron levels were really low, which explains why I needed as much sleep as a 1 year old. Having never made it this far in pregnancy I didn’t realize that needing 10 – 12 hours of sleep at night and a 2 naps every day, while still feeling fatigued wasn’t normal. Ooooppppsss… Thank you Jesus for my Iron prescription, the first day I took it last week I felt like a different person!!!!! I still enjoy squeezing in a nap everyday but I don’t need as much sleep and I have lost the feeling that every movement I make is as difficult as trudging through mud.
More beef for me I guess…good thing I live in Texas!!!!
Are you on Spring Break? What are you doing for your break? Have you experienced iron deficiency before? When did your first tri-mester symptoms disappear??? – I am still waiting for that amazing 2nd tri-mester energy burst everyone raves about!!!!
This Thanksgiving break my husband and I traveled to Washington state to visit my family. Washington’s nickname is the Evergreen State and you can see why!
Hi Friends! I’m back =)
Thank you for all your Anniversary wishes. I am thankful for the sweet time my husband and I got to spend together.
Part of our anniversary trip included hiking a natural wonder, in the heart of Texas. I was not born and raised in Texas, so there are still quite a few “Texas” things I have never done. One of them is climbing to the top of Enchanted Rock.
I grew up surrounded by the mountains of Washington, so whenever I picture “hiking” I remember walking under the shade of gigantic pines, my sweat barely glistening because of the cool breezes sweeping through the mountains. Around the bend there is always a water source whether is a stream, creek, or a water falls.
If you have visited Enchanted Rock are laughing right now, at the surprise waiting for me.
All I could see was rock. All I could feel was heat radiating around me, as the granite magnified the heat. We were walking straight up a giant rock, all my romantic notions of an idyllic stroll beside an enchanted rock vanished. This was war! I was going to make it up this monstrosity. I started walking forcefully upwards, when my sneakers slipped and loose gravel tumbled down the side of the rock.
My husband gently instructed me to walk at a diagonal angle so that I would not slip as much. I walked at an angle catching a glimpse of the scenery behind me. It was a beautiful world of trees, enough green and lushness for even this Northwesterner to gasp.
I looked ahead, again faced with the glaring heat and enormity of the rock but I felt joyful and lighter. I was looking at a huge rock, but behind me was a luscious forest. There was beauty, shade, and refreshment right behind me. I kept glancing back at the vegetation, whenever the rock seemed to steep to keep climbing, and in almost no time I had made it to the top.
When I only looked forward, eyes glued on the biggest piece of granite I had ever seen, my heart became weary and the task of climbing felt slow and overwhelming. However, just a brief look back at the beauty behind me gave me renewed hope and joy for my climb.
I thought about how much of my life currently feels like climbing a giant rock. As I have shared previously, losing 2 babies this year has brought grief and moments of despair and hard questions.
Even as the Lord has brought healing and continues to heal, the journey of waiting to get pregnant again and all the “what if” questions, feels like climbing a very big rock. Some days, I feel like I can’t wait another second to get pregnant again. I want to give up and find comfort in self pity and despair, instead of doing the hard work of taking my pain and longing to the Lord, again and again.
But when I am tempted to despair, if I can look behind me – and remember – the beauty He has brought from ashes before. The miracles he has brought into my life in the past, then my spirit is able to carry on in faith and hope. When I remember there may be a mountain in front of me, but directly behind me is my testimony, the testimonies of other believers, and the multitude gathered in heaven right now – witnessing the glory and goodness of God, I can keep walking.
Its becoming a bit of an anthem for me in this season of waiting and longing for a baby, reminders to stop…take my eyes off what to me seems like the insurmountable obstacle, and to focus them on God, to focus on who He is – not what I am trying to accomplish.
Bless the Lord O my Soul and FOREGET NOT all his benefits. (Psalm 103:1)
When I forget –
I get overwhelmed
When I’m not
Who redeems your life from the pit (Psalm 103:4)
He’s the Redeemer
He takes the mess, the hurt and the brokenness and replaces all of it with His beauty and goodness.
Who satisfies your desires with good things (Psalm 103:5)
When I take my desire to the Lord, I am satisfied and filled with His peace and hope – regardless of what my pregnancy test says.
Does anyone else feel like they have a tendancy to keep staring a problem, head on for so long that it becomes consuming and overwhelming? What do you need to step away from and remember the hugeness and goodness of God today?
Today we continue our series on miscarriage, and how I found hope, healing and even joy after a miscarriage.
If you missed the story of our Sweet Babies you can find it here:
Top 5 Ways you can support someone who has experienced Miscarriage: http://claritywithcharity.com/?p=420
Last week I shared that after my second miscarriage I was finding it very difficult to experience any hope or joy… “After about 2 weeks of walking around in my tornado of bitterness, anger and comparison it struck me how much I did not want to be this person. I didn’t want to be a woman who snapped and glared at every pregnant momma in sight. I didn’t want to resent other women who had healthy children, and I didn’t want to be angry at God. I didn’t want to spend the next twenty years of my life wandering around in self pity, I had to get out….but how??? I felt so trapped.”
One morning I went into our guest bedroom, got on my knees and cried out to God, “God, I need your help, I don’t want to be a bitter woman, I don’t want to be mad at you, I don’t know how to work through the way I feel, but you do, PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!”
In the midst of my desperate plea for help a quiet stillness came over my heart and all I heard was this phrase in my mind over and over again, “Bless the Lord, O my soul”…”Bless the Lord, O my soul”…the words of David from Psalm 103:2.
My heart stopped at these words, deep inside my spirit fought… “what about me God? I’ve been through a lot here! Do I really have to bless you right now? I don’t feel like it, actually I am pretty mad at you.”
The phrase kept echoing over and over, and I knew, I knew I needed to say the phrase out loud, to agree with His Word, to choose to agree even when I felt like it was the last thing I wanted to do. I said it slowly and quietly at first, then a little louder, a little more sure, then heaviness broke, a victorious confidence rose in my heart, and I screamed it over and over, “Bless the Lord O my Soul!” My heart erupted with praise, I began to thank God for who He was, for who I knew Him to be, for who His Word says He is. He is kind, He is faithful when I am faithless , He is strong, He is powerful, He is just, He is good and He is worthy….He is so worthy, even when life is hard really hard, and I don’t understand…He is always worthy of praise.
As I praised Him and thanked Him for who He was I received major breakthrough, the hardness that my heart was being drawn towards begin to melt.
I asked Him my questions. I asked Him why I had to lose two children in 6 months when I knew so many women who had lost none. I asked Him why He hadn’t resurrected my child back to life, when I knew that He could. I asked Him why Liya died when I believed with every fiber of my being that she would live here on this earth. I asked Him if I would ever hold a child of mine in my arms. And I asked Him “WHY” about a million more times.
I felt His comfort, His compassion and His heart break right along with mine. He was listening to every question. And still I heard no answers.
But I encountered HIM!!!!!!!! His presence was so much sweeter and greater than all of my questions. His presence filled the gnawing ache in my heart. His presence filled the emptiness all my questions had carved into my soul. He was enough, even though I didn’t receive the answers I thought I needed and even deserved.
Then He spoke to my heart. He asked me if I would lay it down. Lay down every question. He asked me to give up my right to know and understand what I so desperately didn’t, what I so desperately wanted to know and understand. What I felt I had a right to understand.
I knew this was part of the road to healing for my heart, part of the journey towards hope and so I said yes. I said yes because I knew that God was for me, and He wanted my heart’s healing. Only He could show me how to be whole.
I wanted freedom more than I wanted my questions, I wanted the wholeness He had for me more than to keep my grip and grasp onto my what if’s and why didn’ts. I have learned if God says to do something, to do it, because He loves me. He is wise and wants to guide me into all truth.
Whenever the Lord asks me to lay something down, I always picture the cross. I think about the cross and how when Jesus died He paid the price for all sin, suffering, shame, disease and death. I think about the empty tomb and how regardless of what sorrow I experience in this world, that because of His victory I have a place in heaven, where there will be complete and utter perfection.
I think about the cross and grave because I need to remember, I am not just laying down my questions at the foot of a garbage can or leaving them in an empty room, I am laying them down at a place that is the source of victory and miracles. I am laying them down and leaving it all with Jesus, the one who loves me most. That is an awesome and safe place to leave my questions.
I can’t tell you the ten steps to work through a miscarriage. I have found moving through grief towards a place of wholeness is such a different journey for each person. But I know how I came to this place. I found it because I was desperate and hungry for Jesus. I was desperate for His help and for an encounter with Him.
Where can you go, to find what you need? Its in Him, Its in Jesus.
Become desperate to encounter Him, Ask Him your questions, and then humble your heart to listen and submit yourself to do what He says. Read His Word, and cling to it. His Word and Character are unchanging and a source of life and truth regardless of our circumstances or our feelings.
I pray for you, friend, that whatever heartache you have encountered that you will be able to say “Bless the Lord, O My Soul (Ps. 103:2)” and that you will encounter the One: “Who forgives all you iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:3-5)
We will continue our series on Miscarriage, by looking at a specific question I really wrestled with after losing our second baby. What do you do, when you do not receive the object/circumstance/breakthrough that you had been believing God for?
As always, I welcome your response. How have you worked through grief? Where are you at in your healing process?
Moving from Hurt to Hope after a Miscarriage: Part 3
She is a girl. I had known she was a girl from almost the moment I found out I was pregnant. As I prayed about this babe’s life, I felt like the Lord told me it was a she, and that she was a dancer and one who had the anointing to lead others into worship. I felt Him say that she was witty and her jokes would make you laugh out loud.
The morning after the ER visit, I woke up feeling strange, because sadness enveloped me, strange because my husband had to go into work uncharacteristically early and he was no longer beside me. The steel fist of grief twisted my heart, my baby girl was gone… and she had died inside me. I don’t know how to describe that feeling, but it is awful, real and powerful. I hated knowing that death happened inside a place that was made to hold and cultivate life. It had happened despite the progesterone supplements and the high HCG numbers. It had happened in spite of deep love for our baby.
I rolled out of bed and felt angry…maybe more angry than I have ever felt in my life. I don’t get angry a lot, I get sad, frustrated and impatient but true anger is not something I usually experience. I don’t like the way it makes me feel or act, but there it was…raw anger. I went to the kitchen and slammed cabinets and yelled at the cats for acting like, well ….cats, meowing, pooping and being hungry…”how dare they!” I thought.
I walked around the grocery store glaring at stranger’s in the peanut butter aisle because they were holding a baby, and I wasn’t. It seemed like there were mothers and baby girls down every aisle. I felt like everyone in the world could snap their fingers and get a beautiful, healthy baby girl anytime they wanted. I saw mothers yanking sticky fingers and yelling “shut up” at their little ones….its hard not to judge other parents especially when you want to be one. Then there were the mothers with starry eyed adoration of their babies, who cooed about their undying love to their little ones. They felt the same love I had for my baby, but they held theirs in their arms and mine was only a memory in my heart.
Four months later it is hard to remember what she felt like, as our souls collided.
Her life was like a firework exploding into the darkness, lighting the night with its brilliant color only to fade into an all consuming black sky mere moments later. I remember her light, I remember her brilliance. But what shade of red was that firework and what tones of blue did she use to light the sky? I remember her light, I remember her color, but her memory is like a picture you took on family vacation, before digital cameras. Back in the days when you used real film and prints came back blurry, because the tourist taking the picture was jilted by a biker on the sidewalk. Her life feels a little hazy, I know what was supposed to be there, but it was too quick for me to catch the true intricacy of her beauty. And I HATE that!!!!!!!
That is the worst part. Not remembering clearly what you want to so desperately remember. What I have of her is the memory of what it felt like when her life began to grow inside of mine. I remember my heart welling up with such intense love that I would have risked all my dignity and sanity to save her life. I would have done anything to give her a chance to giggle and dance…because I just knew she was a giggler and a dancer and I loved that about her. I loved the essence of joy her life held, the way her essence fueled my heart to beat a little faster.
Before the dr. came in to tell us the results of the sonogram, I sat in the frigid room my hand held by my husband’s, providing warmth and stability on a surreal night. I saw in my mind Jesus standing beside me. I saw Him cradling my baby in my womb. I glimpsed what advanced technology could not see yet, my little one surrounded by fluid in my womb. Jesus held her, and I knew, I knew she was His, she was now with God.
I named her Liya (pronounced Lay –yah). Liya means “I am the Lord’s”
After my first miscarriage my friend had given me a scripture as a promise, Isaiah 44:1-5. In the passage it says that your offspring “shall spring up among the grass like willows by following streams. This one will say ‘I am the Lord’s’.” I looked up what name meant “I am the Lord’s”– it was Liya. In Latin, Liya means “ bringer of the gospel.” I thought that her physical feet would carry the gospel across the globe. While her physical feet never walked this earth, I believe that part of the redemption of God is that whenever her story is told, salvation will come to the hearts of people.
Her life proclaims the story of Jesus, how He left heaven and became man while fully God, walked on this earth for 33 years, healing and loving people wherever He went. He was perfect and died a horrific death on a cross. He died for every sin that will ever be committed. He died and paid the price for my sin and yours. He died to bring victory over illness, and disease and death. Three days later He rose again, bringing complete victory to the power of death.
When we acknowledge our utter need for a Savior, commit our life to Him and admit the right He has to rule and reign in on our life, we too experience victory over death and sickness. We do not die when our bodies breathe their last breath, we will live and reign with Him forever in Heaven.
Liya’s life, while only with us on earth for 7 weeks, is a testament to the power of Jesus and His victory over death. I knew the moment that I heard they could see nothing on the sonogram and my HCG had dropped, that she was alive. Even when I realized I would never cradle her in my earthly arms, I knew she was in heaven with Jesus. I would cradle her someday. I knew that she would never know pain, she would never know the sting of death because she was in a place with a Savior who had conquered death, in heaven where there are no tears. She would never know a day without the presence of Jesus.
I knew it was true: that there was no one I wanted Liya to be with more than Jesus. Yet, there was a place of indescribable pain in my heart that I had to deal with. There was anger and I didn’t know how to move through. With my first miscarriage it had been much easier to release Alexander to Jesus. I thought what I had experienced was common for a lot of women who are pregnant for the first time and so it would never happen again.
After about 2 weeks of walking around in my tornado of bitterness, anger and comparison it struck me how much I did not want to be this person. I didn’t want to be a woman who snapped and glared at every pregnant momma in sight. I didn’t want to resent other women who had healthy children, and I didn’t want to be angry at God. I didn’t want to spend the next twenty years of my life wandering around in self pity, I had to get out….but how??? I felt so trapped.
Next week, I will be sharing the steps the Lord took me through that brought freedom from bitterness, hopelessness and despair. I hope you will join me!
I originally wrote and published this post on the blog after losing 2 babies to miscarriage, if you would like to hear about my process of finding hope and healing after a miscarriage you can find that here:
It is challenging to walk through a miscarriage and it can also be challenging to know how to support a friend or family member who has experienced this loss.
I confess, that when friends shared about their miscarriages (before I had one), I felt unsure of how to respond. My heart ached with them and I wanted to support them, but I had no idea what to do and say. Maybe some of you have found yourselves in a similar situation, wanting to help but feeling helpless to do so.
1. Say “I am so sorry for your loss.” Through this statement you are expressing what someone who has experienced a miscarriage desperately needs to hear, an acknowledgement that they have suffered the tragic death of a loved one.
2. Acknowledge that you are honored they would share such a personal part of their life with you. Realize that what this person is sharing with you is probably the most difficult thing they have walked through. This may feel overwhelming to you (especially if you have never had a friend share this with you before). Instead of stressing over fixing them or making everything better, focus on your love and concern for the person. Saying something like this can be very helpful, “Thank you so much for sharing that with me. I feel privileged to hear about your baby’s life. This must be a very difficult time for you! I want to be there for you and I am not really sure how to best do that. How can I best support you right now?”
3. Act like you would if there was a funeral to attend and an obituary in the paper. While most families will not have a public memorial service for their child, their need for community support in this time is very similar. We received many of the acts of service and gifts listed below after our miscarriages and they were incredibly healing and also helped in a practical way. When people took these actions they not only acknowledged the tragedy we were walking through but expressed a physical representation of sharing in our grief.
– Send Flowers
– Bring a meal
– Send a gift.
– Send a card.
– Clean their house.
– Offer to watch their children (if they have other children).
Having a miscarriage is not only hard on a women’s heart but it also takes a physical toll on her body. The effects vary woman to woman but usually there is a period of time where you are very tired and weak. This is why I suggested acts of service such as bringing a meal, cleaning their home, or watching their children. I remember a friend bringing us a meal after our miscarriage and it was such a blessing, not only mentally to not have to plan dinner but because my body was so weak it was difficult to function normally.
4. Check in with your friend. Dealing with the emotions of a miscarriage can affect you for months and even years afterwards. Depending on your relationship with your friend, it can be helpful to check in with your friend to see how they are doing. I received texts, emails, and calls from friends months after the miscarriage asking how I was doing and letting me know that I was loved and they were praying for my husband and I. This meant so much to me. Their taking a moment to realize that I was in a season of grieving and that I was on their heart and in their prayers was helpful for me because I didn’t feel alone in my grief. The message or call can be as simple as, “ I just want you to know I am thinking about you and praying for you today. I love you! How are you doing?”
5. Pray for your friend. It sounds nice to say, “I’ll be praying for you” but it is A LOT nicer to share in the burdens of your friend and actually pray for them and their spouse. Here are specific things to pray, if you are unsure what to pray for.
– Healing for their physical body and also for their heart.
– For their doctor to have wisdom.
– An increase in intimacy with the Lord in this season.
– For complete health in their body, that miscarriage would never occur ever again.
– That there would be an increase in love, intimacy, good communication and trust in their marriage through the season of grief.
If you have experienced a miscarriage, what were things you needed to hear or acts of service and support that were helpful to you?