It’s been said that there are two responses to bad things in life: it either pulls you away from God or it draws you near him. But when you’re a mom who finds herself in the middle of a miscarriage, how can you respond with faith?
Finding God in the Chaos of Miscarriage
For a few brief beautiful weeks in December 2017, I looked forward to the coming year with renewed energy and focus. I had ideas lined out for Chaotic Life blog posts, had already outlined my goals for the coming year along with steps to reach them, but I was most excited about social media in January. After all, I was supposed to announce my second pregnancy.
All my plans and ideas ended before they even began. On December 28 I found myself, not at the first appointment like was planned, but being discharged from the emergency room as a “threatened miscarriage.” Women with this diagnosis have a 50-50 chance of continuing on with a healthy pregnancy, but that wasn’t my story.
A lot of women understandably struggle to hold onto faith during times like this. They ask, “Why did God let this happen?” or, “Where was God during this time?” For those women, I want to write this post based on my own experiences.
4 Ways I Found God During My Miscarriage
1) Finding God in Apathy
I want to be honest with you as I write this post, so let me start my story with current events. Just because I’m at a point when I can write this doesn’t mean that my spiritual life is back to normal. In fact, I struggle against apathy in all areas of my life right now.
I think that’s normal. When we lose something precious to us – whether that’s a dream, a person, or an unborn child – we enter the grieving process. This means that sometimes we’re too exhausted physically or emotionally to have a lot of energy. Other times, we might feel more energetic but aren’t ready to move on from that point of grieving. Or we may be able to see our God-given purpose – like how this blog is one way I minister to others – but let bitterness cloud our judgement when it comes to pursuing that purpose.
There’s about a hundred different things that tie me down into apathy. I’m sure you have one hundred of your own excuses.
However, God meets me in the middle of my apathy. He reminds me that I have purpose. I hear that nagging little voice inside me say, “Lauren, this isn’t you. I didn’t create you to be apathetic.” He also gives me the strength and perseverance I need to keep moving forward. The fact that I can keep working on Chaotic Life, or juggle my job responsibilities, and sort of keep our home clean, or even how I can write this specific blog post are all due to God.
Practical Steps for Finding God in the Apathy
- Read your Bible – Now isn’t the time to neglect this habit. When you’re in the middle of grief, you’ll feel compelled to exhaust yourself with a ton of other tasks. Resist doing those things until after you’ve read your Bible. Since I knew I wouldn’t stay dedicated to my own reading plans and goals, I found a simple reading plan on Pinterest to follow for now. I suggest you do the same.
- Pray – On those days when you truly do not feel like reading the Bible (it happens!), pray instead. Copy Hannah by being real before God as you pray. I like to prayer journal during these times so I have a record of God’s faithfulness in the midst of my chaos for later times. Don’t forget to ask God to deal with your apathy!
- Mantras – No, I’m not talking about meditation mantras. I’m talking about repeating phrases, or in this case, verses to myself. I remind myself that God is my strength (could come from any number of Psalms), that I’m promised comfort (Matthew 5), and that my child is now with God.
2) Finding God in the Initial Grief
December 28 was a whirlwind of emotions. The ER doctor who originally saw me early on that day ended things like I truly had that 50-50 chance. He never mentioned low Hcg levels or explained that, “what we’d expect to see in very early pregnancy” actually meant that I wasn’t showing as far along on the ultrasound as I should have been.
That period of uncertainty – as I wavered between optimism and pessimism – was the worst part. Still, when my doctor called me to give follow-up instructions, her statement struck me like lightning: “I don’t want you to lose hope necessarily, but this is most likely going to be a miscarriage.”
When I laid Hailey down for her nap, I retreated to my own bed to cry. I kept praying, “God, I don’t want this.” (What woman does, right?)
Right before I cried myself to sleep, I felt the Holy Spirit whisper, “You’re okay. You’re healed now.”
The phrase stuck with me over the next several days. Even though I lost my baby, the message was true. Even with grief (and later apathy) present in my life, I had greater emotional control overall. I began to lose weight without making any major changes to my lifestyle. Up until I got a cold this week, I didn’t even feel as tired as usual. I also avoided the usual 3-day migraine that’s been disrupting my life at the start of each cycle.
Practical Steps for Finding God in Initial Grief
- Don’t resist emotions – God created anger and He created grief. If you’re experiencing those things, don’t hold those back. Pray through those emotions with honesty. After all, God already knows what you are thinking. For myself, I wasn’t angry at God so much as the fact that I suffered a consequence of living in a wounded Creation. In a perfect world, I never would have experienced a miscarriage.
- Hold on to the little messages – I think a lot of times we dismiss those little messages as being in our imagination, or we get so caught up in our original interpretation that we view them as false when they don’t come true. However, when we trust that God means what He says, those little messages can become a great source of comfort.
3) Finding God in Circumstances
I’ve written two different blog series on Learning God’s Voice. One of those posts focused on how God speaks to us through circumstances. My own words kept coming to mind in the week following the miscarriage.
On Christmas Day, my Mom gave my sister-in-law and myself each two books of planner stickers. Since I bullet journal, some of the stickers aren’t very applicable for me. However, I took the bigger stickers to decorate some of my blank pages.
What really got to me after my miscarriage, though, was the sticker I put on the cover. At the time, I felt drawn to use this particular sticker. I kept arguing with myself over it, too. I didn’t feel like it was applicable for my life at the time. This is what the sticker read:
Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.
Then, when I was struggling to know where to go in my life now that my envisioned 2018 was over, I flipped to my monthly forecast pages to cross off some of my January posts that would now be too painful to write. I was trying to decide what I needed to do about goals that I no longer felt like pursuing when I found the second sticker that I had instinctively placed:
A year from now you may wish you had started today. -Karen Lamb
I’m all for resting and taking time off from unnecessary tasks as needed, but the minute I read that I realized it would be true for me. So instead of taking one or two months completely off, I simply reduced some of my self-imposed goals to stop them from becoming a source of stress during this time in my life. I then gave myself two extra weeks to get organized.
Practical Tips for Finding God in Circumstances
- Read “How God Speaks to Us Through Circumstances”. It has the most practical advice I can give you in it.
- Give yourself lots of grace. When I prayed over and considered my year, I felt compelled to keep moving forward. That doesn’t mean you need to do it, too. You might feel prompted to enter a waiting period in your life. That’s okay!
4) Finding God by Remembering the Past
Once the stickers caught my attention, I started to remember God’s faithfulness during past circumstances. I remembered how He guided me through previous periods of grief. I also remembered a prayer conversation from a couple of months earlier.
I had read another sad story from another Christian woman. I can’t remember the details of it because it had been a reoccuring theme in my life at the time. As I felt depressed, I prayed, “God, why am I going through all of this? I have no reason to be sad. Is this necessary?”
I ended that time of prayer with two very strong impressions:
- That there would be more sorrow in my future.
- That it was all leading somewhere.
Now, I’m not trying to escape the sadness of what happened to me by claiming that God has a plan specifically in my miscarriage. All I know is that, as a writer, every emotion and experience I face (or sometimes experience secondhand through somebody else’s story) gets stored away as raw material. These things make me a more powerful writer.
Because of that, I feel reassured that there is a beautiful destination that I’m walking towards: God’s plan for my life.
This conviction in turn helps me fight the apathy mentioned earlier in this post.
Practical Steps to Finding God by Remembering Your Past
- Promise journal – Even if it’s a sentence each, write down previous promises that God kept in your life.
- Reflect on your God Stories – If you’ve faced hard circumstances before, reflect on how you met God in those moments. Sometimes it’s easier to notice God’s presence in our life when looking back. (And if you don’t have a way to collect these already, please check out my Total Spiritual Toolkit. I keep a worksheet in there specifically to collect these kind of stories. They are a huge benefit to read during life’s storm!)
This is my story about how I found God through miscarriage. If you’re a Christian woman who has also experienced this storm, please consider sharing your advice and testimonies during your own circumstances.
Also, if you are going through or have recently gone through a miscarriage, please don’t let my words become a source of guilt for you during your own period of grief. We’re all designed differently. I handle bad things in life unusually well. If I knew the reason why, I would share it. Please don’t compare yourself to me though.
Finally, please seek out professional counsel if you’re struggling with depression.