In honor of Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day~
On Nov. 14, 1997, I gave birth to my first child, a daughter we named Elise. It was not an easy pregnancy or delivery. The days following were the hardest I knew, at that point of my young 19 years. Elise was born at just 26 weeks of pregnancy and passed quickly from our arms to the embrace of heaven. The amount of time I spent with her was not enough. I felt utterly lost—robbed of the life our family was supposed to enjoy together. There was no way to realign my expectations with this reality.
A journey of deep healing forced itself upon me, I didn’t have a choice. I had to trudge through the valley and keep going if I were ever going to make it out alive. Most days I felt saturated by the raw rains of fall. The façade around me was barren, echoing the climate of my heart. Colorful leaves now gone from the trees, their branches hung naked. It was the emptiness I felt inside. Nature understood me. It grieved with me and cried out on my behalf. Winter’s ache came next, cold and stiff. I struggled to warm myself against it. Somewhere along this season’s journey I found the healing God offered. He was with me all those days when I mistakenly thought I was alone. He whispered love as leaves fell over me; he soothed the sorrow of my soul while cloaking me in gray. He covered me, sheltering me in a safe place where I yielded to the sorrow. As I waited in the stillness comfort came and he did that which only he can do—forging wholeness from the broken pieces of my heart while I was unaware.
I learned to love Jesus in new ways that year, as I found myself diligently looking for evidence of his closeness. I breathed differently, aware that I inhaled his very presence. He would never leave me, which meant he was always with me. I asked him to show me how to see my life differently. I wanted to look through his eyes of promise. Without his lens I’d never find the beauty in this life.
My circumstances didn’t change as winter moved to spring. My heart still ached for Elise and longed for the day Charlie and I would discover a new life growing inside my empty womb. But in the midst of this sorrow I found an answer deeper than those things for which I grieved and the questions which resounded. I found a love that ran deeper than my loss. I found the arms of Christ encircling me, and felt his endless devotion like I had never known before. I discovered that he IS enough.
It wasn’t that this discovery made life easier, but it settled me.
Friend, he longs to settle you too. If you are facing the chill of fall, do not give in to the cold embrace. Keep fighting, don’t lose heart; take one more step. I promise you, Jesus promises this- The Lost Are Always Found.