The day before we put our house on the market, I found out I was pregnant.
It was a tough time to discover this news with a major move ahead and all the limitations that a pregnancy would put upon me. After all, who would help JJ move our furniture now? And would I be up for packing in light of possible morning sickness and fatigue?
Regardless, I started to warm up to the idea of expanding our family within the next few days and even started thinking about baby names. The truth is, I never wanted Liam to be an only child, but the timing was never right to have another baby before. So, as much as the timing still did not seem right to me (nor would it ever, considering my age), I was happy that Liam would finally have a sibling, and I started to pray for a strong relationship between the two.
All that changed the morning of my birthday, however, as I had reason to believe that I was losing my baby, and as much as I wanted to ignore the signals, I couldn’t. The evidence remained consistent throughout the day.
At JJ’s suggestion, I took a pregnancy test that evening, and JJ was thrilled to see that it was still positive. I felt somewhat relieved too, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was the beginning of the end. A quick trip to my doctor’s office the following day confirmed my horrible suspicions. The baby was gone. My pregnancy was over.
The following week, I cycled through different negative emotions—shock, anger, hopelessness, depression. I couldn’t understand why God would allow us to experience such a loss. I still don’t understand, other than knowing that we live in a sin-filled world, and none of us are exempt from experiencing its horrid consequences up close and personally.
I told God I was angry with Him early on, and I wasn’t willing to receive His comfort, because I knew it would mean acknowledging what had happened, and I just wasn’t ready to let go of what could have been. I wanted God to somehow switch back the hands of time and to erase this awful reality. I wanted to welcome a new baby into our home this fall. I wanted Liam to have a sibling. I wanted to have something to look forward to in light of the upcoming move to a small town that gave me so much angst. I didn’t want to let go of my dreams.
Nonetheless, as much as I tried to push God away, I still found comfort in knowing that He was near. I’ve been through enough hardships alongside my family to recognize that God often seems silent in the midst of our trials, but He’s never far away. We’ve seen His fingerprints all over our stories when we have looked at our hardships in retrospect. This time around, I’ve been more aware of His nearness to me in the moment, grieving alongside my broken heart.
Sensing His presence has made me to think of the few times that my own son has gotten hurt and pushed me away. Each time, I have wanted to gather him into my arms and hold him until his tears have subsided, but he has pushed me away. Instead, all I’ve been able to do is to stand at the entryway of his room, watching him silently as he cries on his bed, waiting for the moment that his pain and anger will fade and he’ll let me console him again.
Perhaps I have acted this same way toward God. I have refused His comfort in my own pain and anger, but He has never left me. He has been watching over me all this time, silently sitting with me, as He has waited for the moment where I would accept His comfort once again.
As much as I would rather never have to experience the emotions that come with mourning a loss (or experience a loss, for that matter), I’m grateful that God does not rush us in our grief. He doesn’t offer meaningless statements or trite responses in hopes that we’ll all the sudden be okay and move on. After all, those words only add to the pain of loss. No, He allows us the time that grief deserves, and He sits with us the whole time while we mourn.
Not only have I been thankful for His presence in my life during this time, but I’m also comforted in knowing that my grief doesn’t scare Him away. He’ll never abandon me in my pain and suffering. After all, Jesus Himself was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). He understands it better than anyone.
These days, the pain and sadness have subsided some, although they creep up on me unexpectedly at different times, and I imagine this may always be the case. But I know God will see me through this. I know He will encourage me and sustain me when I need it most. And as is the case with many of the past hardships I have experienced, I believe I will see more of His fingerprints over this time as I look back over it in the years to come. I see Him with me now, but I believe He’ll open my eyes even more in the years to come so that I can see just how much He was at work in my life throughout this time. I just have to keep trusting that He is good. I just have to keep believing that He is not withholding good from me.
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11