Last night, I was talking with a friend who asked if, with our miscarriages, there are times later down the road where the grief hits hard again. Honestly, it is hard for me to remember, but my recollection is that the loss is hardest closest to the source, and as time goes on, I have felt that life can go on, and look forward to the future. That despondent feeling of “pain is all there is in this world” begins to fade, and I am able to see that my life is still full of blessings. More blessings than I deserve.
Now, I will say that miscarriage is a loss of a person you have not even touched or made memories with. I believe that the loss of a person outside the womb is much harder – we have experienced both. Miscarriage, while most definitely the loss of a real person, is felt and grieved in the loss of hopes, dreams, and how you imagined your life would be with that new little one around. You don’t have memories of life with them, only memories of dreams of how life would be. You truly miss them, but you never knew them. I still have not taken out the sonogram of our lifeless baby since the very beginning of this trial back in June. That is the only tangible thing I have, and I know that looking at it would be very sad again.
This is just my experience, however. Everyone grieves differently and has different circumstances that make the loss harder or easier to bear. Certain friends of mine have only ever known miscarriage, and have turned to the hope of adoption. Certain friends have lost multiple babies in a row after having a couple of children, and have found new contentment in the life they have with “just two,” even though there are days they still mourn their dreams of having lots of children. Certain friends have lost babies in the third trimester or even after the baby was born, and carry with them the memory of holding and seeing their babies, and perhaps watching them pass into the next world. Each of us has our own lot, our own dreams to mourn, our own journey of faith to walk out.
One lesson I believe has been driven home by this third miscarriage is that God values our faith and works to protect and strengthen it in all things. 1 Peter 1:6-7 says that trials test the genuineness of our faith, which is “more precious than gold.” That really stands out to me. Gold, being one of the major driving forces of the world economy, is still not as precious a commodity as faith.
God desires that our faith “may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (v.7). He works to keep us to the end. When we walk through the valleys of despair and grief, our faith weak and barely alive, “The Lord upholds all who are falling” and “a bruised reed He will not break.” I have seen that when we are brought low and feel the most like we may not be able to trust the Lord anymore, that is when God is digging down through the sand, planting our feet more firmly on the rock, and making our faith stronger than it was before. But we have to persevere. We have to press on in fellowship with other Christians. We have to press on in reading the Word. We can tell God all we are feeling, even if we don’t understand Him or are angry at Him, but as long as we are making Him our refuge, there is hope for us. There will come a day when we reach the other side of the valley. The Shepherd leads us through it, and we will look back when days are brighter, and thank Him for delivering us from the mire.
What God asks of men, said Billy Graham, is faith. “God says, ‘If you suffer, I’ll give you the grace to go forward.'”*
When we are faced with adversity, we are to “take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16). The enemy of our soul would love nothing more than to destroy our relationship with the Lord and to isolate us from other believers. You can count it a success if, through your tears and pain, you have continued to seek the Lord. This is God’s amazing grace.
So, I will just say, “hold fast.” Wherever you are and whatever your circumstances, hold on. Your faith is not in vain, and your battle to keep it alive is actually the Lord’s battle. He will keep you til the end. He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, and He will not forget, on the last day, what you endured in your life. “Well done, good and faithful servant… Enter into the joy of your master,” He will say (Matt. 25:21). Don’t listen to the lies of the enemy telling you that God is doing bad things to you or has abandoned you. Extinguish those flaming darts – hide behind your shield and keep asking God to help you. The battle is His, and He will make you victorious.
*Excerpt from a 1949 sermon, “Why God Allows Christians to Suffer and Why God Allows Communism to Flourish,” as quoted in the book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand**
**By the way, this is a really excellent WWII book. I highly recommend it!