The very first thing I am going to do when I get to Heaven is give Jesus a gigantic hug.
And then I am going to meet my daughter. (Or son.)
It was over 11 years ago now, yet it still feels like it was just yesterday. My husband and I had tried for over a year before we finally found out we were pregnant with our second child. It was a long, dark road paved with heartache, tears, and desperate prayers. We were ecstatic when we found out we were finally expecting. Since we already had a boy, I thought it was going to be a girl and was busy picking out names for her.
We were so happy.
But our joy quickly turned to fear when one day I noticed that I was bleeding. I prayed the whole way to the ER. Once there, I was sent for an ultrasound and I noticed that the technician was eerily quiet as she worked.
It wasn’t long before the doctor came in and told us, “Your baby has died.”
His words hit my heart like a two-ton brick. I burst into tears and clung to my husband. I wanted to scream, “You’re wrong! There must be something you can do! You have to be wrong!”
He went on to explain that my baby had only measured 7 weeks and I was at 11 weeks, so something had gone wrong and my baby had just stopped growing. He then explained what to expect in the coming days as my body continued to miscarry, set up an appointment for an ultrasound a week later to make sure everything came out, and then they sent me home.
Just like that.
There was no information on how to process the loss of our child. It was a miscarriage, not a still birth, and I was only 11 weeks along, so we were left on our own. But even though I was still early in my pregnancy, we had lost a child. We had lost our hopes, our dreams, and all our plans for the future. We really had no idea how to move forward. There was no funeral to plan. No chance for closure. No chance to say good-bye. Our baby was just gone.
One minute my heart was busy planning for a new addition. The next minute I was busy trying to pick up the pieces of my shattered heart.
That Sunday I had a choice to make on whether or not to go to church. God had been preparing me for this very decision, because earlier that week I had heard a sermon in which the pastor talked about how during difficult or painful trials we tend to isolate ourselves and that is exactly what the devil wants. He wants us to hide so he can keep us from receiving comfort from God’s people, the church. The pastor’s words haunted me. I knew I needed to go to church, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to.
What I really wanted to do was crawl in a hole and pretend the whole thing wasn’t really happening.
But because of that sermon I forced myself to go to church. I pasted on a smile and sat down next to my good friend. She immediately hugged me as tightly as she could and whispered words of encouragement. Everyone I encountered that day was very sweet and understanding. It was still hard but at the same time their encouraging words were like a soothing salve on my wounded heart.
Later that week I received a beautiful card from all of the pastors and leaders there. They had all written encouraging words and scripture verses for us to cling to in the days ahead. And throughout the following weeks other church members shared words of comfort and prayed for us. We had visits from family as well, who did their best to support us in our time of need.
When I look back at that time, I feel that the biggest step I took towards healing was going to church and letting them know what happened. That step of allowing others into my pain, gave God the opportunity to work through those people to offer me comfort, encouragement, and words of hope.
It still was not easy. It still hurt like hell. But the pain was easier to handle with others beside us.
“Odd as it may seem, personal trials and sorrows are rarely meant to be purely private matters. They are meant to make us vulnerable to God and others. Jesus said to his disciples, ‘You are those who have stood by me in my trails.’ (Luke 22:28) Jesus didn’t hibernate in his grief. He risked the vulnerability that could lead to deeper friendship, love, and trust. Jesus received comfort from his friends because he was humble enough to let them in on his trials.”Invitations from God, Adele Ahlberg Calhoun
If the God of the universe sought comfort from his friends during painful trials, we would be smart to follow His example.
When a lion is hungry, he does not just go out and attack a herd of buffalo. No, instead he waits in the bushes and watches. He actively searches for the one who is wounded, sick, or all alone. And the animals know it, too. Water buffalo will protect the sick and old members of the herd by having the healthier animals surround them. They know it is not safe to be alone when they are hurting.
And isn’t it interesting that the bible says, “Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” -1 Peter 5:8 NLT
Satan knows you are at your weakest when you are wounded and all alone. So he waits for that moment, and then he pounces.
Girl, I know it hurts. I know it is hard. But I promise you that seeking out others to walk with you through your pain is the smartest thing you can do. And I know that sometimes people don’t handle grief well. They may be well meaning and yet say things that hurt. If they do, just remember we all make mistakes and then seek out someone else. Or look instead for a support group. Whatever you do, don’t stop seeking companionship. Because the devil is actively prowling around, waiting for you to be alone so he can attack.
Don’t give him an easy target.
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. This post is in honor of all those who have ever lost a little one. We will never forget them. We will always miss them. And we will keep looking forward to the day we will finally be reunited again. If you are suffering from a loss, please feel free to comment here so we can encourage you. Or you can email me from my contact page. We are here for you! You are not alone!