Faith After Miscarriage
Faith After Miscarriage
“Aside from dying ourselves, I’m not sure it’s possible to experience death more personally than to have it occur within us. When the experience of death is that personal, trite religious phrases and sympathy card expressions become more difficult to utter and even more difficult to accept.” - Abbey Wedgeworth, Held
I can still remember the feeling of both grief and relief washing over me as I read those words in the week following our miscarriage. In the cloud of intense physical and emotional pain, I couldn’t identify how I was feeling, but that short paragraph described it perfectly.
How could I accept phrases like “God works all things together for good” or “You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” when the life that had been growing and developing inside of me just a few days ago was dead- over before it had a chance to begin, rejected by my own body.
Well-meaning phrases from friends like “at least you know you can get pregnant,” “at least it was early,” and “you’re so young and healthy, you can just try again,” came in, but I couldn’t find comfort in these rationalizations either. The grief over the death of our first biological child caused me to seriously question my faith and ask questions like: Why did God choose to not answer our prayers to allow this pregnancy to continue? Is this punishment for something I’ve done? If He allowed this and all the horrific events of 2020 to happen, what kind of suffering is next? Can I even believe His word and promises are true?
In the following weeks and months after the miscarriage, my physical strength returned, but I felt so discouraged by my lack of faith, anger towards God, and up-and-down emotions. This was not my first experience with suffering, loss, and death- so why couldn’t I see past this and have my faith in God restored? I remember thinking I would have to “work so hard” to restore my relationship and trust in God. Thankfully God quietly reminded me that “working hard” is actually the opposite of what a close relationship with Jesus looks like.
Selfishly, I wish I could say it was through me spending hours praying, fasting, and seeking Bible passages about God’s sovereignty in suffering that restored my relationship with Christ, but it wasn’t any of those things, it was His grace. When I felt like I couldn’t fully come to God in prayer, He sent people to love me and just spend time with me in my grief. I experienced the quiet love and presence of God through friends and family members reaching out- through texts, calls, offers to babysit, showing up at our door, and even flying across the country to spend time with me (some of these people not even knowing the pain we had just experienced).
As we head into the Lenten season of 2021, I still have days where I’m sad, angry, and distrustful of God. There are times when I feel like I can’t worship, pray, or trust Him, but I know that He is not disappointed in me or walking away from me in these times. I’m comforted by the truth my faith isn’t defined by how firmly I can hold on to God in the midst of suffering, but by how firmly He holds on to me. The story of Easter- Jesus’s atoning death on the cross and resurrection from the dead wasn’t so we could “work harder” to keep up our faith in the midst of suffering, but so that we could experience His grace over and over when we fail and are hurt by the painful parts of the broken world we live in.
I would like to say that the lessons I’ve learned about faith from this miscarriage will cause me to never question my trust and relationship with God again, but I know that is not true. Thankfully my relationship with God is not defined by my own work and abilities, but on His finished work on the cross, and constant, unchanging, unconditional love for me- love that will stay with me through whatever brokenness, loss, or death we may experience within us on this side of eternity.
*Before having a miscarriage, I didn’t know how to respond when others experienced this pain. While there is no one-size fits all response as each person’s experience of miscarriage is unique, several friends recommended and gave me the Held devotional which I found extremely helpful. I also found this blog post about texts to send to a grieving friend really insightful.*