I am no stranger to grief or miscarriage. Unfortunately, Brett and I have experienced the loss of three of our children. Each one was unique, shocking, painful, heart wrenching, and seemingly unbearable. When our first baby went to Heaven in 2007, I wasn’t yet a Christian and didn’t understand life the way the Bible explains it. I was full of shame, embarrassment and drank to numb myself from all the pain. Having two more of our children graduate to heaven this year, I have dealt with the pain very differently. For one thing, I no longer partner with shame. None of this is my fault and it is also not God’s fault or His will. (If you have a problem with that, we can chat, but maybe wait a couple weeks- or months.) The enemy of my soul came to steal, to kill and to destroy. Only he gets credit for the early death of my children. (John 10:10) The GOOD NEWS is that my Savior, Jesus, came to give life abundantly! This includes promises that God has plans for my life and my children’s lives (Jer 29:11). My baby’s deaths were not God’s plan, but He will work it for good, He has promised us all that in Romans 8:28. So what does this mean as I work through all the stages of grief?
In grieving the loss of my children, its more than likely I will experience Denial and Anger. Its common to want to Bargain with “what if” statements or feel Depressed. The experts say that when we’ve worked through these things, whether it be a short or long process, those of us grieving will eventually reach Acceptance. For me, personally, I seem to be pretty stuck in Anger for the time being. I am angry that we have lost the dreams, hopes and excitement for another child we loved deeply. I am angry I will not get to hold my three babies this side of Heaven. I am angry that in the midst of our prayers, they still passed away. I am angry that Elle and Johnny are hurting and have had to deal with such adult issues at such young ages- TWICE! I am angry that a miscarriage costs so much money (as if the pain and disappointment weren’t painful enough, now I have to pay thousands of dollars in medical bills that I cannot afford- AGAIN!) I am ANGRY! I want my children back, I want our joy and excitement back, and I don’t want to be going through this again. How does this fit in to me being a Christian? Perfectly.
The Bible says in Ephesians 4:26 ‘And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry.’ So each day, I am being real with myself and those trusted sources around me and discussing and processing my feelings. I journal, and tell the Lord my troubles and let Him speak His truths back to me. He is, after all, the great Comforter. He reminded me recently that anger is not my friend. Holding it inside will not serve me well. Jesus also lovingly reminded me that there is nothing wrong with my feelings. I need not fear them, run from them, nor deny them. Read the Gospels. Jesus had many feelings that he expressed throughout His time on earth. One of those emotions was anger (check out Matthew 21 or Mark 3:5). If being a Christian means “little Christ” or being like Him, then we are just fine to experience anger that our children have been taken from us. It will not be life for me, however, to let that anger control me. So, daily, I take it to Him. Literally, I pray and give it to him verbally, laying it at the foot of the cross and waiting for the exchange He wants to make.
Sometimes, the emotions get bigger and overwhelming. But the good news is that God can handle it- all of it. While riding home with my mom this week, we were having an emotional discussion where I was lamenting about how hard this all is. That I feel weak, broken, and discouraged. I was crying when we paused the conversation so I could get out of the car and get the mail. I wiped my tears to clear my vision and open my first medical bill for hundreds of dollars. That. Was. It! I was done! The anger went through the roof and I needed to let it out. I walked to our basement, grabbed a hatchet and took out all my anger on a dead tree in the back yard. I screamed, I wailed, I bawled, and hacked away until I lost all steam and fell to the ground in the ugly cry. I felt slightly nuts but mostly relieved. All the big emotions from the past year had become too overwhelming in that moment and a physical release was needed.
I realize that even reading about this may make some uncomfortable. Many of us have been taught that our emotions are bad and that as Christians we are to keep up a facade that we are fine all the time. I want to tear through that lie. Jesus felt all the emotions and did not sin. He was not controlled by His emotions. He turned to the Father in all things and we can do the same. Grief is not pretty, it rarely makes sense, but it is necessary to work through. I am smack in the middle of the process and I feel like a bouncy ball of emotions half the time. All the feelings are big, but they do not control me. I may be heartbroken, but I still have a hope and a future. I know my God is faithful and good. He is kind and loving. He has great plans for me and my family and He will walk us through this. All of it.