Two years ago today I lost my baby. In some ways the pain is still fresh. This was my third miscarriage and wasn’t to be my last. I spent most of the next two years crying or trying not to cry. I hadn’t been pregnant in eleven years and, thanks to health issues, I wasn’t supposed to be able to. Yet here I was.
Just as the numbness from months of crying would set in I would find out I was pregnant again and the cycle of loss, pain, and tears would continue. Over the next year I would lose two more children. What made it worse was that it was my own body doing it. I hated my body because it betrayed me and stole my babies from me.
I could rationalize it and even blame someone else. For well over a decade doctors had it wrong. Every treatment made me worse. Now I am finally on the path to healing but it is a long road. I still have years ahead of me before I will be perfectly healed. So it was those doctor’s fault….. But no, it wasn’t. They tried the best they knew, it was just the wrong things. It was me, I should have had that extra green smoothie, I should have taken that walk, I should have rested more. There is always something more that I could add to that list.
Friends tried to be supportive but being told “you can have another one”, or “you can actually get pregnant now so that is a good sign” wasn’t helping. As a matter of fact, I tried believing and telling myself those same things but they kept me from a healthy grieving process and caused me to take on guilt. Instead of mourning the losses, I tried to bandage it with thoughts of how healthy I was becoming. I removed as many traces of baby things from my life as I could. The pain built up beneath. On the day of the last miscarriage my brother called to tell me that he and his wife were expecting. As he shared his excitement with me, I was in pain losing my baby. They didn’t even know I was pregnant so as I tried to hide the physical (and emotional) pain I exaggerated the excitement that would have normally come so easily. Soon the pressure cooker of emotions and pain was near exploding. I lived like this for another year.
When I had my second miscarriage it was three months before getting pregnant with my youngest. It took me years to not feel guilty over enjoying and loving my son. I would never have had him if I hadn’t miscarried and somehow that made me feel like I betrayed the child I lost. All those protective self preserving instincts took me away from God’s healing. I started remembering how God gave me His peace about the miscarriages I had years ago but I fought back. I knew God was showing me that in order to walk in healing I had to be willing to confront the pain. I didn’t want that under any circumstances. Who would?
There I was trying my hardest to not feel pain and God is telling me to confront it. I tried to be obedient but I can’t say I did such a great job. I would give Him just small bits and He was faithful. Over time the pieces I hand over to Him have been getting larger and the healing is growing too. There are still certain triggers that bring on the numbness but instead of trying to push it down, I try to bring it to Him. I don’t know if I will ever stop hurting over what could have been but I do know that He has walked this entire path with me and has never left me.
Without pain, how could we be loving compassionate people? Without a willingness to experience suffering how can we truly be committed to each other or to God? These are the questions that keep me seeking a more complete healing. When the pain of miscarriage overwhelms me, I know I serve a God that is greater than pain and overwhelms me with His love.
The human mind can be described many ways including complex and even a bit mysterious. Our minds hold a great capacity to find the good, to grab onto hope in seemingly hopeless situations, to find the silver lining. It can seek truth, embrace wisdom, and gain understanding. Minds can be creative or logical or maybe a touch of both. Minds can solve problems, discover, wonder, and dream. But above all, the Bible says it is deceitful. ( Jeremiah 17:9 ) Our minds are quick to come to our defense even when we are at fault. It rationalizes our own desires as well as the whispers of the enemy. It can take a small wrong or a misunderstanding and turn it into a cataclysmic event. It can convince you that the truth is a lie and that the lie is the truth. It encourages you to jump to conclusions. It believes the speck is the whole truth even when that speck rests in a field that proves the speck to be a lie.
I think that our thought life is possibly the most difficult struggle in the Christian’s life. It is where our heart and the world play out the battle with our flesh. Our weakness are both exposed and made excuse for in our thought life. As soon as the conviction comes we tend to place blame. When we confuse conviction with condemnation we decide that it’s the enemy who is putting these thoughts into our head instead of realizing it is God trying to lead us out of bondage.
In this type of situation, condemnation is actually conviction given with restorative love that we refuse to receive.
Thus a cycle of being a victim continues. Even when we have a relatively small part in the wrongdoing, getting wound up in this cycle does nothing to help us heal, mature, or move forward. The only way to break this cycle is by changing our thought life.
I’m sure you’ve noticed dandelions. One day you see one in the yard and remind yourself to pick it before it goes to seed. But then you forget about it. It’s only one little flower. Then overnight it seems to have taken over your entire yard, and your neighbor’s. And maybe even the house around the corner. Dandelions get multiplying. They are masters at it. While we may not like them in our yards I believe this year we can become more like them as far as multiplying goes.
In autumn, around the time of Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish New Year, the Lord will give me direction for the upcoming year. A word that keeps standing out to me. A song that I can’t let go of.
It was near the end of summer when I heard the first notes of a song on the radio. It was one of those moments when you feel quickened inside and you listen with intention, excitement, and peace. Even now as I’m typing this, I’m listening to it and I am washed over with joy.
It wasn’t until a few weeks later that I realized I hadn’t asked for His leading for the upcoming year. Quickly, I begin asking for his Word for me and before I could even finish asking that small still voice spoke and said that He had already given it to me. At that very moment on the radio that same song began and I realized anew just how faithful God is. Freely giving even before we ask.
As the lyrics were sung the meaning for both the song and the Word for the upcoming year filled me.
If there is one thing that I’ve been afraid of, it’s pain. I don’t like it. I have lived through years of physical and emotional pain. I think emotional pain, at least in my experiences, is worse. There are no pain reliever pills I can just take to make the hurt go away. Still, I know that experiencing emotional pain is important, even critical, to my spiritual growth. If I put up walls to block pain, they inevitably block love too.
There have been times when the fear of emotional pain was so great that I was frozen and unable to move. The more probable the likelihood of experiencing pain was, the quicker and the more severe the freezing up would occur. The enemy knows this about me and has used the threat of pain against me far too many times. I’m not proud of that. But God has been teaching me how to fight against it. Maybe children grow up faster than I’ve learned this, but I’ll take the slow progress over no progress.
In the process of teaching me how to consistently submit my thoughts to Him, He has given me comfort and strength in Christ’s Passover and Resurrection.
Christ didn’t want to die. His flesh battled fear, very possibly over the pain He would endure. He asked Father to remove the cup from Him, yet still submitted to Father’s plan no matter the cost. I don’t for a minute believe that Christ feared Father not following through and bringing Him back to life. He knew He would hold the key to unlock the captives. Death was nothing to fear for the Son of God. The process of dying was possibly a very different story.
How could a person overcome the fear of a painful death that caused him to sweat blood? I believe that He had experience based faith during His time in human flesh that caused Him to know God’s character in way we too can know. He knew that Father would not abandon Him. He new that Father’s plans were always for good and not even one tiny pinch of pain would be wasted or without purpose.
Because Jesus carried the heart of the Father, His love for all of God’s children compelled him. Who among us wouldn’t gladly lay down our life for those we love? Jesus had far more than one or two people to lay His life down for. He realized the pain He would endure would be temporary, have a purpose, and that Father would be His strength. I believe this gave Him courage to submit His flesh under the authority of the Father.
Spending time in prayer being honest with ourselves and with God, casting down vain imaginations and replacing them with what the Word says, remembering Who God is and meditating on Scriptures are all keys to overcoming fear.
When I look at what Jesus did for me, for all of us, it gives me courage. I know that by following the example He set I surrender my weaknesses to God and He gives me what I need to walk the path He laid out for me. I do as He leads and He guards me. I can confidently know that any pain He allows is under His authority. It doesn’t mean I can be reckless and it doesn’t mean that I look for painful situations. But when they appear, and they will, I can know without a doubt that just as Christ overcame, so can I. Not because of my own ability, but because of my confidence in God’s.
Those who seek truth will happily acknowledge it even when it comes from outside of ones own group/affiliation/point of view. They will also just as easily point out what is false from their own group/affiliation/point of view as they would from an opposing view. Too many people just want to prove what feels right to themselves as being truth. The first thing they hear that feels good is all the proof that is needed. But, there is no such thing as “personal truth”. What is true is truth regardless of who you are or what experiences you’ve had. Our experiences can cause our viewing angle to be different or even blocked and effect our willingness to admit truth. Partial truths are still lies. Truth never changes and is proved when viewed in it’s full counsel.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
There is only one truth and one source of all truth. And the Truth will set you free.