Christmas is a time filled with joy and happiness. Here in South Africa, it’s a time to go to the beach, braai (barbecue) every night, enjoy beautiful sunsets and have a blast with friends and family.
It’s the season to be jolly. “Tra-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la.”
Or is it?
Exactly a year ago, over Christmas weekend, I had my first miscarriage. Even though I was warned by my gynaecologist that this might happen, I kept praying and believing that he was wrong.
There is absolutely no way to prepare for something like this when it happens. It seemed so completely foreign to my body, although statistics have shown that an estimate of 15 – 20% of pregnancies ends in miscarriage. And, doctors also don’t take it seriously until you have had four miscarriages in a row.
Honestly, when I think back to it now, I really don’t know how I got through it or managed not to spoil Christmas for the whole family. The only surety that I have is that if my husband wasn’t right there with me supporting me in the only way he knew how, it would have been a lot harder. He just kept on loving me. To just let me be and feel whatever I needed to feel was the best thing that he could have done.
To cry when I needed to cry,
to just be quiet,
he just gave me space
to live in those feelings.
The Way Forward
When you are caught in that moment of anguish, there really seems to be no way forward, no way for you to make it to the other side. How do you celebrate the life of Christ when you’re literally dealing with death in your own body?
After we returned home after the holidays, the next six months were really hard. However, breathing through the pain allowed me to get a fresh perspective on life.
It wasn’t easy.
Moving forward seemed so pointless at times. How was I supposed to keep pushing on when something that brought such great joy (literally) died within me? There are absolutely no words to describe the pain and loss. For fleeting seconds I thought that I might be better off dead.
But then love made me appreciate that I was not in this alone. And, I knew that my 15-month-old needed a mom and that she needed me to be present.
How Did I Move Forward?
For the longest time I didn’t.
And then, I
- Focused on one day at a time and those around me,
- Took moments for myself to weep over my loss,
- Worked hard to not completely be consumed with my grief,
- Celebrated the life that grew in others around me, because wasn’t about my loss, but about their celebration, and
- Sought out God’s Word…
…even if it felt like it didn’t mean anything.
The Question of Faith
This intense loss brought about a crisis of belief for me. Most of us have been taught that we cannot question our faith, that there is no room for doubt in a Christian’s life. However, when you hit rock-bottom there are some questions where you struggle.
When you are in church leadership, people often elect you to have it all figured out, to have it ALL together ALL the time.
After all, you are supposed know the truth about God and who He says He is, right? So, how can you struggle with doubting God?
As a leader or his wife, when you become hopeless and angry at God for a season, does it send mixed signals to the congregation? Does it make them doubt everything that is true and everything that is God?
Whatever the answers to these questions might be, I came to a place in my life where I questioned God’s love for me.
- How can He allow bad things to happen to God-fearing people?
- How can He love me when I have to journey through something so devastating?
- Does He even care about what is happening to me?
I don’t want to go into a theological discussion about good and evil in the world; I just want to voice some of the questions that mull through my mind when we are faced with life-altering incidents.
You can have all the head-knowledge in the world about who God is, but when trauma hits, head-knowledge needs to become heart-knowledge.
In The End
Six months later, after I’ve started to deal with all these questions and just started coming to terms with what happened and drawing myself back into reality,
I had another miscarriage.
I was absolutely demolished and it felt like the Lord had completely abandoned me and hit me to the ground. My every effort to stand up and face life seemed to be met by a strong hand ready to push me back down.
I felt like I had to start from scratch again.
Now, in the middle of another Christmas season, I’ve been forced to look back over this past twelve months. What I’ve found is that this year has been all about shaking my faith to the very core foundations. It has been about believing, or rather, choosing to believe that God does love me, in spite all of the circumstances that surround me.
With everything that transpired this year, I’ve come to realize that there IS a place for doubt in the Christian life as long as we keep seeking God in all of the pain and do not shut Him out completely.
“You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all you heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
It sounds so easy when you read it, but it really isn’t when you have to put it into practice.
I have to say that although it has been the most difficult year of my life, He has proven Himself faithful and trustworthy. There is a choice I have to make every single morning: to choose to trust the Lord, to continuously seek Him out (even when I don’t feel like it!). Because He IS who He says He is, you believe it more fully when you find it for yourself.
I am pregnant again.
Although it has been a very scary experience because of previous losses, it has also been such a blessing. The Lord does restore when you truly chase after Him with your whole heart.
His timing is just definitely not ours.
“Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.” ~Oswald Chambers
May you have a very blessed Christmas season. I pray that His Holy Spirit will graciously take you on a journey to discover the Father’s heart for you, too.