Saturday, March 22, 2008

Words of Comfort

I meant to write this a couple of weeks ago, but there hasn't been time, so I apologize that this is an unusual writing for Easter, but in some ways it still fits.

Between my son and my daughter, are three children who are in Heaven.

There was Mara - we don't know if she was a girl, but we had a boy in our arms, for some reason, it was easier to consider her a girl -- whether because we wanted one, or because it was too painful to relate it to the idea of losing Chris. Mara means bitterness. Naomi had chosen it for herself when her own name, meaning "pleasant" could no longer apply to a woman who has lost her husband and two sons, and all she had.

We were in in the emergency room until 3 a.m. the night before my husband's ordination, and the process of losing her took weeks. It was probably an ectopic pregnancy that "resolved itself," they never could find the embryo...just an empty sac in my uterus, and a blip near my ovary. The HCG slowly went up for several weeks, and then slowly started going down.

Then came Jessica. We lost her at six weeks, on Ash Wednesday. It hadn't been a week since we'd found out about her existence. I cried through the contractions while holding and nursing my one year old while my husband was at church conducting the service. There had been a little spotting, enough for me to stay home that evening, but nothing to indicate that miscarriage was imminent. By the time he came home, everything was done, and my toddler was sleeping calmly. I haven't been to church on Ash Wednesday since.

Noah we lost at 19 weeks. The midwife couldn't find his heartbeat, but we didn't believe anything could be wrong until we saw the face of the ultrasound technician who wouldn't let us see the screen. After all, we'd made it past the "dangerous time." But she just sent us back out again and told us that our doctor would be calling. The doctor wanted to send me to an abortionist to get a D&E, because they were expert at the procedure that most OBs never have to perform. I wouldn't let a murderer chop up and suck out my baby. My doctor then checked me into the hospital and induced labor and continually checked on me through the night. We held him in our hands, wept over him, had him cremated, and gave him a memorial service with my inlaws in attendance. God bless them.

The congregation didn't know about the first miscarriage. We didn't know them well enough to let them know what was going on. I cannot begin to express the pain of enduring the other two losses in the public eye, putting on a brave face while people assured me "it was God's will" or "you could always have another," or worse "At least you have Chris." Those are statements made to people who do not realize that the children lost were real. They stabbed my heart.

There were two words that brought me comfort. Words directly from the Bible...words that usually only seem to draw attention for their smallness...the shortest verse in the Bible. "Jesus wept."

Jesus wept outside of Lazarus's tomb, knowing full well that He would be raising him from the dead in just a few moments....knowing alsol that he would soon conquer death. Jesus wept because it was NOT His will that any of us should ever have to face death. Jesus knew so completely the eternal horror we would face because of our sinfulness. We often glibly dismiss what to him was so tragic that He Himself took on flesh and endured our punishment and conquered it so that we would not be utterly consumed by it.

A few weeks ago, these words rang in my ears again because they were the gospel text, and hearing them brought to mind that it was near that time again. Nine years ago, these words brought comfort to my heart because Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead was the gospel reading near the week that would've been Noah's due date. As far as I am concerned, it is one of the richest texts in the Bible (and it blows me away that it isn't even in the One Year Series)-- showing Thomas's loyalty to His Lord, allowing the much maligned Martha to be the one to run to her Lord and utter the clearest confession of faith in the resurrection of the dead that is in the Bible.....and to show so clearly how tragic death is...that death even brings the Lord of Life to tears.

It was not God's will that my children died. I will see them again in Heaven, but to know that Christ wept with me over their deaths even though He is victorious over death brought so much more comfort than "it was God's will." That didn't ring true. God never made man to die -- He didn't want us to know what evil was. He wanted us to eat from the Tree of Life. Satan and man conspired to bring to bring death and evil into the world. It was not God's will that Adam and Eve should die, or that Lazarus should've died (twice), or that as we age our bodies should break down and turn on us, or that the babies that He creates to live should die before even taking a breath...His tears show that, as does His own death and resurrection.

He is risen, He is risen indeed, and because He rose from the dead, I know that I shall rise also, and I know with confidence that my children are safe with Him. My heart misses them and will always grieve that I was not allowed to hold them, know them, be with them..... because that is what we grieve when we lose those precious to us. We don't lose that grief even when we have the comfort of their salvation. But they are at the feast that I was at today at the communion rail and someday I shall look upon them and know them....because He is risen.

Alleluia.

18 comments:

Angelika said...

I have never had a miscarriage and pray that I never have to go through this pain that you are feeling. I am thankful that you have shared this with everyone that reads your blog. I think most of us don't know what to say to comfort someone who has had a miscarriage. It leaves most of us uncomfortable and unsure of ourselves. How quickly we forget that using Christ's words is what comforts us, not our own words.
Thank you for sharing.

Dan @ Necessary Roughness said...

RPW,

We have never had that happen to us, but my own mom had a miscarriage, which, if carried to term, would have resulted in me being a middle child. :)

Thank you for sharing this.

elephantschild said...

We lost a pregnancy on an Ash Wednesday, too. It was so early that most people wouldn't have known they were pregnant yet, but we're temperature-charters; the basal body temp never lies.

There have been others that I have suspected were early miscarriages; only our Lord knows. My experience does not compare, though to losing a child once you're "officially" pregnant.

When will people learn it's ok to say simply, "I'm sorry. Can I bring over a pan of lasagna tomorrow night?" :)

Jane said...

I think often about the four we lost. All were between 10-14 weeks. I am thankful that we hadn't yet announced those pregnancies, because I don't think that I could have dealt with the comments that I know would have come from some quarters.

Beth said...

When the twins were 9 months old I lost a baby. We'd only told a few people since it was still early. I went to the doctor to confirm the miscarriage before I had my first scheduled prenatal visit. It was hard enough to lose one...I can't imagine 3. Or one that's so far along. God bless you. And we WILL see them again. Isn't that wonderful?!

Cheryl said...

I know so many people--both friends and family members--who have experienced the loss of children through miscarriage, and I must confess that not having experienced it myself it is always hard to know what to say and I am always afraid of saying the wrong thing. Thank you for writing so openly about this and for introducing us to your dear little ones that have already gone to be with Jesus. I can't think of any more fitting time to have written this than on the feast of our Lord's victory over death.

MandyMom.com said...

I am going to share this with some of my friends who have had miscarriages.

I'm shocked by the things people say when a mother has a miscarriage. My mom also had a miscarriage, and I often wondered, if the child would have survived, would I ever have been born? Should I be thankful for the baby she lost? It's such a heartbreaking thought.

Gauntlets said...

God bless you. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Our third child died at around nine weeks. I lost his body at twelve, the day after Christmas. Evil things seem to strike the faithful on our most beloved holy days.

Thank you for your words. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

Beth said...

These are important words, I never knew how to act when we lost our 3rd at 4 months along.
Some people seemed to pretend nothing had happened, which was painful. Some made such a big deal out of it, I was uncomfortable. Does that make sense?
As a socially awkward person myself, I understand not knowing what to say. Your example was perfect.

Carly A. said...

I'm at day two post miscarriage in the 13th week. I have to say...I feel desperate and alone. Empty and Lost. Not sure how to go on. Thank you for blogging. I feel better knowing my feelings are similar and that I have not gone off the deep end. That I am not alone...and that I don't need to "get over it." I am so sad- but this blog helped me. I started my own today. http://lostinthisjourney.blogspot.com

I hope the Lord brings us all some element of peace of mind and heart. I see no light at the end of the tunnel. I am drowning.

The Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

Carly,

God bless you. I am so sorry that you lost your baby. You have been in my prayers since you posted, but my hotel connection wasn't letting me post.

MommytoMolli said...

We just lost our daughter at 16.2 weeks gestation. We found out early (13 weeks) that we were having a girl b/c I was seeing a specialist due to a blood disorder I have (which was ultimately found to be the cause of her death). We fell in love with our princess as did the rest of our family! Her name was chosen (Crimsyn Molli), her nursery was bought, her closet filled with dresses/tutus/shoes that Daddy especially picked out with his little girl in mind, and picture frames that said "It's a Girl" with her ultrasound photos delicately placed inside adorned her nursery dressers. We were so ready for her to be here in June 2012... but this day will never come now. I know it's NOT God's will for her to be in Heaven. He promised her to us after 4 years of us trying to conceive. He didn't take her from us either, but he is holding on to her up there for us now until we can get there to be with her. God is good! Even though it has only been 8 weeks since we saw her lifeless body on the ultrasound machine, I know I will get stronger. Thank you for posting what so many never say.

Carrie said...

You do not know me, I simply found your blog through a google search, but at the same time I feel so connected to you.

I just had a miscarriage about a month ago. I was raised a pastors daughter and am married to seminary student. My world has been rocked since this miscarriage and I am quite frankly-angry at God.

Reading your post helped me to realize that losing my 'Mizpah' was not God's will. I hope within the weeks to come I can instead run to God for comfort instead of lashing out at Him with anger.

Thank you for sharing your grief and not sugar coating it. God bless you.

Desiring children said...

Thanks for sharing this. It is very hard. Baby stopped growing at about 6-7 weeks. They gave me two ultrasounds at about 8 and then 9 weeks. We opted for natural miscarriage, so basically am still walking around with the pregnancy sac and everything else, until next week, where it will be surgically removed.
At the moment, I am angry at the Lord - it takes so much for us to fall pregnant in the first place! I am disappointed and sad and there is pain in my heart at what the Lord allowed. Satan came to destroy, but why did God allow him to do so?
Some brethren have told me that "it is God's will" because maybe God can see that the baby would never serve Him. Possibly, but still very painful...

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this. In my case I believe it was my sin that made me lose my identical twins. About an hour or so before my water for both sacs broke, I asked the Lord why I was in pain. I had heard the voice of the Lord tell me twice to go to the hospital (HE knew I was to go through labor which I did not know at that time). He responded to my question - "Think back on what you did last week." I now recollect I had said - 'Let these babies die, I will do such and such a thing for you' It was said in the bitterness and hopelessness of an argument I had with a family member. I recollected this after the miscarriage and have since wondered why the Lord did not bring this to memory before I went through the miscarriage - I could have repented. Earlier God had given me a similar warning which I did not heed (I Tim 4:14), I think the Lord had run out of patience with me and my uncontrolled toungue. Much as it saddens me, I guess when I introspect - I did not behave worthy and responsible enough to mother the gifts he gave me - identical twin daughters. Guilt ate into me but I am trying to realize that God indeed forgives and throws our sin behind Himself. Jesus has forgiven me, I am struggling to forgive myself.

Anonymous said...

I've been praying to find comfort and some sort of understanding, and then I found this post.Thank you for reminding me that my husband and I that we are not grieving alone - our Heavenly Father is weeping with us and rocking our child in His arms. I was 6 weeks on Friday, when I suffered a miscarriage. With today being father's day, and tomorrow being our anniversary, it was even more heartbreaking to tell my husband. But I'm thankful we hadn't told our 3 boys yet. This is my only miscarriage, and my heart weeps for all the women who have had to endure this heartbreak and pain. Praying that this whole process that my body apparently has to go through will pass quickly...

Anonymous said...

Thank you.
I am a pastor's wife who should be 12 weeks pregnant with our second child. Last Monday I heard the words, "no heartbeat." Tuesday, the miscarriage happened. Only my husband and I knew about this pregnancy. Even though I'm suffering in silence, your words help me to remember that I am not alone.

Hannah Entrekin said...

I really appreciate this article. I just miscarried my little boy Aiden and no one seems to know how I feel or how to comfort, even my husband. I'm just so blessed to know that this is not the end. I will be with my little baby boy in heaven real soon and it will be a glorious day.