Living through grief takes courage.
Looking back at the darkest parts of grief takes courage.
Living life after grief takes courage.
Looking ahead to see that the darkness isn’t always so thick takes courage.
…to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
I am amazed to look back over the last eight years since my first baby died and see how far God has brought me, even though that grief has been compounded eight times since then.
- I smile and laugh. Daily.
- I have children. Even some here on earth. Wow.
- I can see others’ babies & stairstep children without feeling like my heart is going to implode. Sometimes I can even hold someone else’s baby. Even marker babies.
- I often see those maker babies (who are turning into marker children) as joyful ~rather than painful~ reminders.
- I can buy baby gifts or maybe even attend a baby shower without weeping.
- I don’t have daily anxiety attacks that my husband or one of my living children is going to die.
- I see all the reminders and memorial items in my home as comforts.
- I speak of all of thirteen of my children, including my nine in heaven, with gladness and thanksgiving. There might be twinges of sadness and what-if, but there is no despair.
- I can write about my grief, my miscarriages, my emotional or mental or spiritual struggles, with honest humility rather than humiliation.
- I find immense joy in Christ my King, to whom I belong ~and to whom my children each belong~ and find ever growing trust in His sovereign goodness.
- I have a marriage that has been tested by the fire of grief ~including our own version of infertility called uRPL~ which is stronger and deeper and richer than I knew it could be at only 8 years into our covenantal union.
- I can give of myself ~including my heart, my tears, my experiences, my prayers~ and no longer have to be primarily on the receiving end of comfort or encouragement.
I can look ahead to the future with hope and joy… and that happens to include looking ahead to my eternity in heaven, where I trust the Lord will reunite me with the covenant children I continue to miss, right through my new normal and through my embracing of life as it is. I have hope. I have joy. Not only for eternity, but for now. Because of Christ. And His work in me.
Grief changes so slowly most of the time, that it can be hard to notice the changes.
And then maybe after a big chunk of time, suddenly you turn around and see it:
the darkness is not as thick, perhaps the darkness has even lifted.
Sometimes I have felt guilty for those moments when I realize the grief is not as thick.
As though I am not adequately marking the lives of the children who I have lost to heaven.
As though working through the grief and assimilating it into my life is a negative thing.
As though grief is more of an eternal roadblock than a continuing road through my life.
But it is okay… in fact, it is not only okay and normal, but it is truly good… that life continues going on, moving forward, taking new shape. It is good that our grief does not cement our feet in one solid place for the rest of our lives. It is good that someday, somehow, the Lord brings us down the road again. He continues to shape us and mold us, recreating us to some extent, incorporating our past ~including our grief~ into our new normal now & for the future.
I am not the same person I was before I suffered the grief of miscarriage.
Part of who I am is the mother of children in heaven.
My grief, my fertility struggles, my suffering ~ it does not define who I am, but it is part of who I am.
So if you are in the thickest parts of grief’s darkness ~ it may well feel like the clouds will never lift, but someday you will see the sun shining again. You will have new shades & shadows to yourself, you will see through new lenses, and nothing will be exactly the same. And because of our God who is the God of grace & redemption, that’s actually a good thing.