Allowed to Grieve

Just a few days ago, on October 15, people across the nation lit candles in remembrance of babies that were lost too soon. There was a candle flickering at our house, too. I haven’t shared this part of our lives with many people, but I have since learned the great power there is in sharing our journeys with each other.

In February 2015, we found out that we were expecting and we were so excited! Charlee and the new baby would be almost exactly three years apart. I had just officially been offered my current position as Children’s Ministry Director at Community of Hope, and the baby would be due before our crazy month of December (Charlee’s birthday, our anniversary, AND Christmas). I felt like God was showing off and had handed me the perfect little package of answered prayer requests.

Then, a miscarriage in the first trimester. We hadn’t even told people that we were pregnant, so it felt even weirder to share that we were no longer. And yet, how could our lives continue as they were when we had just lost a child?

The ob/gyn dismissed it: “Well, it’s not like you were trying for too long. You’ll be fine in a few months.” The statistics that were meant to comfort (15-25% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage) only made me feel like I shouldn’t be upset. It happens to lots of people. You’re fine! I already had a healthy daughter. I had only known I was pregnant for a short time anyway.

I felt like I wasn’t entitled to grieve.

Here’s what God taught me through friends who showed up on my doorstep and cried with me, through family who showed up with bags of groceries and tight hugs, through scripture that does not contain empty promises, and through prayer that didn’t change my circumstances, but changed me.

I am allowed to grieve.

I grieve because that life growing inside of me was made by God and known by our family.

I grieve because we bought a sweet, soft blanket that will never be wrapped around the child we lost.

I grieve because we will never know who that baby may have grown up to be.

I grieve because our family will never be whole this side of heaven.

I am allowed to grieve, and you are too.

If you have been affected by miscarriage, or have experienced pregnancy or infant loss, I grieve with you. But here’s the good news. God meets us in our grief. He is not scared by sadness, or anger. He never tells us that something is not worth grieving over and He never says, “Get over it.” Instead, he comes near to us. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18, NIV). Jesus weeps with us, and then wipes away our tears. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3, NIV)

There’s no neat, tidy ending to this story. We have since been blessed with our sweet Evelyn, but grief never truly goes away. I do know that my God is in the business of redeeming broken things, and He is continuing that work in my life daily. And so I continue to cling to this truth from one of my spiritual mentors and favorite authors, Elisabeth Elliot. “Of one thing I am perfectly sure: God’s story never ends in ashes.”

Your story won’t end in ashes either. God is at work.

 

A few extra things:

No Longer Slaves by Bethel Music – I had this song on repeat during this time

Bottle of Tears – A company I’ve just discovered that offers meaningful gifts to tell a friend you’re grieving with them

7 Comments

  1. Yolanda Termini

    I so appreciate this post. God bless you for sharing. As a result of my loss exactly like yours, they called it disenfranchised grief!! I became a bereavement specialist and co ran a group for just those parents with a dear friend for 10 years. God bless you and yours always.
    shirleyliz@aol.com Yolanda Termini

  2. Sharon

    On our path to adoption, we matched with a birthmom expecting twin girls after waiting several years. We were elated and began the prep to go to CA where they’d be born, and have things set up and ready to go when we got back home. We’d chosen names and told family. Long story short, we got a call from birthmom that she’d gone into labor early and one baby girl was stillborn and the other passed hours later. It was foreign to grieve for precious babies we’d never met, yet in our minds saw aspects of what our family life would be with them. One of the hardest things I’ve experienced. I now say they are angels who picked our son and daughter to bless and complete our family. Thanks for sharing your heart, and I still share those tears. But I’m so grateful for the gifts God has given in Sophia and Nico. Hugs, friend. XO

    • Jess

      Wow…thanks so much for sharing this, Sharon. I’m so grateful for Sophia and Nico, but sorry for your loss as well. Love ya, friend.

  3. Carol King

    Jesus told a story of a shepherd who had 100 sheep and was grieved when just 1 of them was lost. In my opinion, sheep are very interchangeable and it would be easy to say to this shepherd “get over it, you’ve got 99 more!” But if Jesus validates this shepherd’s grief over losing 1 sheep then He must certainly validate mine over the loss of my little lambs. My grief is still warranted even though He’s also blessed me with 3 to enjoy on this side of Heaven. Thank you for sharing your story, Jessica.

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